Welcome!

Recurring Revenue Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Xenia von Wedel

Blog Feed Post

In the Cloud, It’s the Little Things That Get You. Here are nine of them.

#F5 Eight things you need to consider very carefully when moving apps to the cloud.

imageMoving to a model that utilizes the cloud is a huge proposition. You can throw some applications out there without looking back – if they have no ties to the corporate datacenter and light security requirements, for example – but most applications require quite a bit of work to make them both mobile and stable. Just connections to the database raise all sorts of questions, and most enterprise level applications require connections to DC databases.

But these are all problems people are talking about. There are ways to resolve them, ugly though some may be. The problems that will get you are the ones no one is talking about. So of course, I’m happy to dive into the conversation with some things that would be keeping me awake were I still running a datacenter with a lot of interconnections and getting beat up with demands for cloudy applications.

  1. The last year has proven that cloud services WILL go down, you can’t plan like it won’t, regardless of the hype.
  2. When they do, your databases must be 100% in synch, or business will be lost. 100%.
  3. Your DNS  infrastructure will need attention, possibly for the first time since you installed it. Serving up addresses from both local and cloud providers isn’t so simple. Particularly during downtimes.
  4. Security – both network and app - will have to be centralized. You can implement separate security procedures for each deployment environment, but you are only as strong as your weakest link, and your staff will have to remember which policies apply where if you go that route.
  5. Failure plans will have to be flexible. What if part of your app goes down? What if the database is down, but the web pages are fine – except for that “failed to connect to database” error? No matter what the hype says, the more places you deploy, the more likelihood that you’ll have an outage. The IT Managers’ role is to minimize that increase.
  6. After a failure, recovery plans will also need to be flexible. What if part of your app comes up before the rest? What if the database spins up, but is now out of synch with your backup or alternate database?
  7. When (not if) a security breech occurs on a cloud hosted server, how much responsibility does the cloud provider have to help you clean up? Sometimes it takes more than spinning down your server to clean up a mess, after all.
  8. If you move mission-critical data to the cloud, how are you protecting it? Contrary to the wild claims of the clouderati, your data is in a location you do not have 100% visibility into, you’re going to have to take extra steps to protect it.
  9. If you’re opening connections back to the datacenter from the cloud, how are you protecting those connections? They’re trusted server to trusted server, but “trusted” is now relative.

Of course there are solutions brewing for most of these problems. Here are the ones I am aware of, I guarantee that, since I do not “read all of the Internets” each day (Lori does), I’m missing some, but it can get you started.

  1. Just include cloud in your DR plans, what will you do if service X disappears? Is the information on X available somewhere else? Can you move the app elsewhere and update DNS quickly enough? Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) will help with this problem and others on the list – it will eliminate the DNS propagation lag at least. But beware, for many cloud vendors it is harder to do DR. Check what capabilities your provider supports.
  2. There are tools available that just don’t get their fair share of thunder, IMO – like Oracle GoldenGate – that replicate each SQL command to a remote database. These systems create a backup that exactly mirrors the original. As long as you don’t get a database modifying attack that looks valid to your security systems, these architectures and products are amazing.
  3. People generally don’t care where you host apps, as long as when they type in the URL or click on the URL, it takes them to the correct location. Global DNS and GSLB will take care of this problem for you.
  4. Get policy-based security that can be deployed anywhere, including the cloud, or less attractively (and sometimes impractically), code security into the app so the security moves with it.
  5. Application availability will have to go through another round like it did when we went distributed and then SOA. Apps will have to be developed with an eye to “is critical service X up?” where service X might well be in a completely different location from the app. If not, remedial steps will have to occur before the App can claim to be up. Or local Load Balancing can buffer you by making service X several different servers/virtuals.
  6. What goes down (hopefully) must come back up. But the same safety steps implemented in #5 will cover #6 nicely, for the most part. Database consistency checks are the big exception, do those on recovery.
  7. Negotiate this point if you can. Lots of cloud providers don’t feel the need to negotiate anything, but asking the questions will give you more information. Perhaps take your business to someone who will guarantee full cooperation in fixing your problems.
  8. If you actually move critical databases to the cloud, encrypt them. Yeah, I do know it’s expensive in processing power, but they’re outside the area you can 100% protect. So take the necessary step.
  9. Secure tunnels are your friend. Really. Don’t just open a hole in your firewall and let “trusted” servers in, because it is possible to masquerade as a trusted server. Create secure tunnels, and protect the keys.

That’s it for now. The cloud has a lot of promise, but like everything else in mid hype cycle, you need to approach the soaring commentary with realistic expectations. Protect your data as if it is your personal charge, because it is. The cloud provider is not the one (or not the only one) who will be held accountable when things go awry.

So use it to keep doing what you do – making your organization hum with daily business – and avoid the pitfalls where ever possible.

In my next installment I’ll be trying out the new footer Lori is using, looking forward to your feedback.

And yes, I did put nine in the title to test the “put an odd number list in, people love that” theory. I think y’all read my stuff because I’m hitting relatively close to the mark, but we’ll see now, won’t we?

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in development and launches of disruptive technologies to create new market opportunities as well as enhance enterprise product portfolios with emerging technologies. His most recent venture was Octoblu, a cross-protocol Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network platform, acquired by Citrix. Prior to co-founding Octoblu, Chris was founder of Nodester, an open-source Node.JS PaaS which was acquired by AppFog and ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...