Welcome!

Recurring Revenue Authors: Elizabeth White, Bob Gourley, Alberto Pan, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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 currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20PRO, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, 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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
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...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...