Thursday, December 18, 2014

Clearing the clouds

Brush these myths about cloud-based services right away
Sifting information from knowledge is as crucial as differentiating myths from facts. Cloud computing, which is fast approaching a mature stage in the market, is an area where these are often confused. A number of myths surround the concepts or cloud computing and, often, information is taken as knowledge by a prospective cloud-seeker. The thumb rules: choose your cloud partner with care, do your research about what you need and don’t be afraid to ask for information. Let’s start with some of the myths about the concept and technology of cloud computing:

1.     Cloud is for bigger companies/ Cloud is for smaller firms: Cloud has evened the playing field to a large extent among companies of different sizes, and its solutions cater to enterprises of all sizes – macro, medium, micro and even cottage industry. Why, smaller firms use cloud in the form of mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail, which are both on cloud! For bigger companies, the host of services – platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – offered by a number of cloud companies can offer a number of solutions. It is up to you to choose the right fit.

2.      Cloud is the ultimate solution: This may seem like a contradiction of the above point, but it isn’t. Yes, cloud computing has something to offer every enterprise and usually drives down operation costs and increases efficiencies and productivity. But it can’t take over every task that your IT department performs. Armed with proper information and a reliable cloud computing partner, you have to figure it out on your own – what can be done on a public cloud, which are the areas that can work better in a private cloud and what are the data areas that you would rather have on on-the-ground servers.

3.      Cloud isn’t safe: This one of the most common myth, nay fear that people have when they consider cloud computing for their enterprise. But statistics reveal that more data has been compromised with on-the-ground data centres than even public cloud. In fact, there have been negligible cases of security breach in both public and private clouds. And because cloud computing companies, whose core competency is data management and security, know how crucial it is to keep your data safe, there’s little reason to believe they will do something that will harm their own reputation. Most reliable cloud service providers have a number of security measures for data protection – be it dedicated firewalls, systems to detect any intrusions, advanced encryption and several security standards. To ensure that the market trusts them, several cloud companies also engage third-party security audits.

4.      Cloud is cheaper: This is one of the biggest selling points of cloud computing companies. And while using cloud services costs less than having to invest in and maintain a corresponding on-ground infrastructure and framework, long-term use of cloud services slims down that advantage. You also need to keep in mind that not all cloud computing services are becoming cheaper – SaaS, for instance, costs the same as it did. Where cloud-based have a significant edge, however, is that this isn’t just about the money you invest in the beginning. How it helps money matters is that using cloud computing is more cost efficient. For instance, you can easily scale-up or scale-down depending on the magnitude of your operations. This option of increased or decreased use of storage, infrastructure, software or platform is, perhaps, the biggest advantage of cloud computing.

5.      I don’t need big data: This is a line that is often given to a cloud-based service provider when he/she makes a sales pitch. But enterprises need to understand that the sooner they understand the importance of big data and learn how to use it to maximum advantage, the more competitive it will make them. With the increase in the volume of data that is being churned out by enterprises on a daily level, which also needs to be store for future mining, having easily-accessible storage solutions for this data is important. This is an area cloud services help immensely; they not only help you store data but make it accessible to it in real-time, no matter when and where you are.

Friday, November 7, 2014


It may be a relatively-new technology, but cloud computing is fast changing the way we do business. The days of cumbersome data centres and tech teams that were busy managing huge amounts of data, taking back-ups, ensuring data security are on their way out. There are technology companies that are doing all that and more, and leaving you to deal with your core competency area.
Take, for instance, companies such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, which are offering these services in different forms –Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to Platform as a Service (PaaS). Of these Amazon Web Services offers IaaS, while Microsoft and Google offer IaaS as well as PaaS.
Highly popular among these is the Google App Engine, which offers PaaS, and gives you the immense freedom to build and run applications on Google’s infrastructure. These App Engine applications are not only easy to build and maintain but can be scaled up according to the traffic and data. The Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are the perfect solution for small and medium businesses (SMBs) since these businesses don’t have to invest in a server or manage it – you simply upload your application and are ready to go!
The Google App Engine supports apps in Java, Python, PHP and Go and runs apps reliably despite large data. These apps run in a secure environment, with the App Engine allowing distribution requests across multiple servers with scaling-up options available to meet heavy traffic or more data.
Having said that, however, there are gaps and hurdles in the Google App Engine – or any other cloud computing technology, for that matter. For instance, it falls upon the end-user to learn Google App Engine’s infrastructure, its various APIs and build apps on that. The Engine also has certain security measures built in, which make it tougher for an average end-user to grasp easily. This results in the learning curve becoming steeper and longer.
As a result, more man-hours are required since the development cycle is longer. Two, since the technology is relatively new, getting the resources to pick up these technologies is tougher. There is also a scarcity of professionals in the area since you need more specialized and advanced developers for the same.
More importantly, these are new technologies and Google keeps updating its APIs frequently. As a result, there is some part of the code that becomes obsolete and has to be upgraded again. And herein lies the biggest gap – if the end users are maintaining their own custom applications, they have to constantly monitor that part of their code, too.
Infiflex’s Giffy addresses all these issues and more. A generic application, Giffy uses Google App Engine’s APIs and with that framework, you can use customer applications, thus making the learning curve relatively constant and significantly shorter. Giffy resembles most of the current applications or application frameworks. It gives the end-user the freedom to concentrate on the specifics of her business rather than wondering how it is implemented.

Giffy from Infiflex makes it easy to use different kinds of business processes. Most of the things in the app are easy-to-use and understand, what with the click-and-select menu options. What’s more, even the complicated configurations can be worked out by developers with less than three years’ experience. The icing on the cake – all this can be done without redeploying the application because the customizations can be done at run-time. For more on how Giffy can be the answer to all your Google App Engine questions, watch this space.