Posts tagged "Cloud"

Does Moving to the Cloud Sound Scary? Read This.

Despite the rapid growth in cloud services adoption, there are still significant hurdles that must be overcome for certain types of businesses to make the leap. The objective of this article is to describe those obstacles and elaborate on how to overcome the challenges they present.

Legacy Data
Many businesses that otherwise anticipate moving to the cloud have legacy business data with which to contend.  For a number of individuals and small and medium size businesses (SMBs), the complexity and costs associated with migrating that data to a cloud service may cause enough friction to slow or stop adoption.  Additionally, many SMBs with either a small or nonexistent IT team do not have the internal resources to solve these issues.  Despite the continued presence of these obstacles, few solutions aid individuals and SMBs to migrate to the cloud with legacy.

Similarly, educational institutions also find themselves in a precarious position as they consider cloud services.  While cloud services allow universities to save on both cost and support time, the issue of legacy data for educational institutions is even more complex than for SMBs discussed above. In particular, educational institutions have many inactive or infrequent users, making the relative value of that data less than it might have been at a private enterprise of the same size.  In addition, cloud services offered to educational customers are often low-cost or free, leaving little incentive for cloud service resellers to pursue these clients versus more lucrative SMB or enterprise opportunities. Although the economics of working with these entities makes it difficult for many IT services companies to focus on winning their business, the fact remains: universities want to migrate their old data to new cloud services.

The desire of individuals, SMBs, and EDUs to move to cloud services, coupled with the hurdles described previously, has created an opportunity for low-cost, high-quality tools to enable these types of clients to migrate and manage their data.  It is these tools, rather than high-cost custom services, that will provide the solution to these issues.

Vendor Lock-In
Assuming you’ve made it through the legacy data migration challenges described above, you are now faced with a new problem: vendor lock-in.  One of the benefits of local and on-premise solutions is the high degree of data control that they provide.  But moving email, documents, pictures, or other data, however, typically reduces the flexibility to manage these resources.

Not all vendors were created equally. To make money, many vendors actually rely on the fact that once you are using their service, it is difficult to leave and export your data somewhere else.The methods of access for your data are highly dictated by the parameters of the vendor\’92s cloud service, and the APIs that service providers make available do not address the need for cloud data management tools.

As users come to rely heavily, and even exclusively, on cloud services for their business data, there is an increased need to have insight and control over where and how that data is stored and made accessible.  Likewise, this need creates an opportunity for data management tools to meaningfully visualize information about user data and to empower users to move data out of a service, between accounts on the same service, or even to other services.

Our experience working with clients on these issues indicates that there is a strong desire from both IT professionals and non-technical users for tools that enable data mobility and management.

Data Mismatch
Currently, many users of cloud services may have data stored across multiple services. When a user wants to interact with a piece of content in one services, the changes are made only in that single cloud silo, and not applied to identical data in other locations. Although the data management tools described above will enable users to move data from one service to another, one can envision a bolder concept in which the perception of data in various services is different.

Our vision for the future of cloud services is to significantly reduce the degree to which users concern themselves with the issue of where their data is stored.  We are working towards providing a single hub with the framework to integrate with various cloud services, which will allow users to access and edit data in one place and have the content changes pushed to the other services.  This type of tool removes the concern over disparate data resources across different cloud silos and harnesses the true power of cloud computing.

As cloud data management tools help to solve the adoption issues today, new paradigms for how we interact with cloud data are on the horizon.

As a leading cloud data migration company, ShuttleCloud provides individuals, SMBs and EDUs with data management products to overcome these challenges. We are particularly interested in issues associated with migrating to the cloud, data management across cloud services and working towards a fundamentally different way to interact with cloud data.

Bob Greenlees is the Director of Operations at ShuttleCloud, a company that specializes in cloud data migration and management products.


The Cloud Condenser – Volume 2

ShuttleCloud is proud to present notable cloud industry news from December 2012.

This series is updated bi-weekly with the latest and greatest resources on all things cloud.

Google Apps: The Numbers You Need to Know | David Politis of bettercloud
Over 5 million companies are using Google Apps for employee email and other back-office tasks. But what types of companies? Bettercloud puts together a great data set with viusual cues and analysis of why certain industries are more prone (or reluctant) to make the Google Apps switch.

IBM Launches SmartCloud Docs, New Cloud Collaboration Features | David Roe of CMS Wire
IBM’s SmartCloud Docs is the newest direct competitor to both Google Docs/Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. This webapp software allows users to create all types of documents and then share and collaborate on them with colleagues. The initial emphasis of differentiation for SmartCloud Docs seems to be enhanced security, which is still dubious at best in regards to Google Drive and similar services. The SmartCloud Docs product is available for free to SmartCloud Exchange Advanced users, but comes at the nagging price tag of $3 per user, per month for regular IBM SmartCloud users.

Why The Enterprise Renaissance Will Be Big On ReadWrite In 2013 | Jon Mitchell of readwrite
Instagram may have been a disruptive acquisition with its $ billion price tag and $0 revenue stream, but software visionaries argue that real software, fixing real problems, will begin to take over the acquisition market in 2013. Great quote at the end, too: “There really isn’t a difference between Enterprise and Consumer software anymore. The line is between playing around and getting things done.”

Changes to Google Apps For Businesses | Clay Bavor of the Official Google Enterprise Blog
There used to be free and premium versions of Google Apps. Individuals were signing up for the business package, while businesses were signing up free Google Accounts. The experience wasn’t optimal for anyone, so now Google is offering one premium product and recommending individual consumers to just create a free Google Account. Also, Google Apps for education is free.

New Zealand and The Cloud

ShuttleCloud’s Director of Operations Bob Greenlees recently sat down with TechDay, a technology resource for new startup businesses in New Zealand. They talk about both the present state and also the future of the cloud, along with New Zealand’s position in the dynamic cloud marketplace. 

What role does the New Zealand channel have to play in cloud?
Bob: The cloud is global, so as cloud services continue to be adopted by businesses worldwide there will subsequently be a need for local value-added partners and resellers to assist New Zealand’s businesses and educational institutions (both small and large) as they move into and within the cloud. Shuttlecloud works with clients and resellers in New Zealand and we see this as a significant opportunity within the cloud services ecosystem.

Are there any specific areas New Zealand should be capitalizing on?
Educational institutions are rapidly embracing cloud services due to the large expense of implementing and managing on-premise solutions. With substantially reduced infrastructure and support costs, as well as a lower total cost of ownership, cloud services are becoming very attractive for schools.

As these entities being migration their populations to the cloud, we’ve witnessed exponential increase of interest for customized and cost-effective educational solutions such as ours. While working with Harvard University and Stanford University, for example, we implemented custom (university-branded) self-service email migration portals with consumption-based pricing, rather than a flat fee. Schools are ideally suited to this type of solution as they simply want to offer email migration as an option, allowing them to avoid the expense and complexity of a large-scale data migration.

What are some of the key issues keeping businesses (customers) from moving to cloud?
One hindrance is the fear of having their data locked into a certain provider, which is actually a concern that we address with our data migration service. Our goal is to provide users with flexibility of their data and the freedom to migrate between different cloud services.

Some customers may have a lack of confidence in cloud-based systems, most often derived from mis-information. In reality, cloud applications are generally more stable
than in-house solutions in terms of up-time and speed.

Anything else you’d like to add?
This is a very exciting time to be a part of the cloud services ecosystem. The promise of low-cost, high-quality cloud alternatives to on-premise solutions has not only arrived, but is rapidly expanding. These services provide businesses and schools of all sizes, and particularly those in the SMB category, the powerful tools with minimal overhead that allow them to focus on their core business or educational goals. Ultimately, cloud services greatly reduce the complexity and expense of IT support.  

We have also seen significant interest from companies surrounding the issue of data ownership, given they migrate to the cloud or have already done so. Since data confidentiality, security, and ownership are of paramount importance, it is helpful for companies that are evaluating the cloud to partner with cloud data management vendors like ShuttleCloud to help manage their cloud data.

The Cloud Condenser – The Best of the Cloud

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with news from various sources on a topic as broad and diverse as cloud computing.

We hope our new Cloud Condenser series will help you find some of the best reading in recent articles on the cloud.

Government adoption of Google Apps picking up steam

by Mary Shacklett – Tech Republic

Manage staff transition in Google Apps: A 10 step checklist
by Amy Wolber – Tech Republic

Gmail finally blows past Hotmail to become the world’s largest email service
by Sean Ludwig – VentureBeat

Google, Yahoo, VMware Just Buzz Compared to Microsoft Office
by Elliott Markowitz – The VAR Guy

The New Microsoft Office Web Apps: Still Free, Still Almost Good Enough
by Mark Hachman – ReadWriteWeb

*Check back bi-weekly for the latest and greatest resources for all things cloud.