The economics of serverless cloud computing

The economics of serverless cloud computing

  Unlike in the past, going serverless has become a real option for businesses these days. At Flint Technologies Solutions, we know making that transition can be difficult, and it can help to know more about the benefits of going serverless before you undertake the process. A recent study found that roughly 37% of businesses already use serverless technology to some degree: 14% were already using it in production, 11% were testing it out, and the remaining 12% were in the exploration phase. That’s a lot of businesses opting for Function as a Service (FaaS) solutions. At Flint Technologies Solutions, our goal is to help you integrate the latest and greatest in serverless tech so you can realize the amazing cost savings to your organization. Contact us to find out how we can help.

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THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS USE AZURE TO PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE REHAB PROCESS

THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS USE AZURE TO PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE REHAB PROCESS

THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS USE AZURE TO PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE REHAB PROCESS

 

THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS USE AZURE TO PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE REHAB PROCESS

This week, Azure shows versatility by providing insights from rehabilitation workouts. DaShawn Shead knows what it takes to be a champion. He also knows what it’s like to face obstacles. With the cloud-based computing power of Azure, DaShawn and the Seahawks work to gain an edge through the performance-driven metrics and insights provided during rehabilitation workout sessions. Azure captures and analyzes data faster and more efficiently, letting you focus on the processes that yield results.

CLOUD COMPUTING RESOLVES WATER POVERTY

CLOUD COMPUTING RESOLVES WATER POVERTY

CLOUD COMPUTING RESOLVES WATER POVERTY

A research team is using Azure to track groundwater levels in impoverished communities by tracking the data from hand-pumped wells in the region to monitor aquifer health and devise ways to deliver improved well performance across the area. To handle data transmitted by multiple nodes, cloud-based computing is essential. The ease of porting existing frameworks as well as the Machine Learning capabilities of Azure have reduced the time needed to repair a well from 30 days to less than three.

IPv6 Migration

IPv6 Migration

Analyze your present infrastructure carefully

Before starting your migration to IPv6, you have to analyze your infrastructure and find out how much of it is actually compatible with IPv6. If you think judging your routers, switches and network cards will be enough, you are very wrong. You have to find all infrastructure IPv4 addresses in your network, details of where they are referred to in all applications, and a list of all DNS mappings. This analysis would show if your present external DNS provider supports IPv6 and if the infrastructure devices support IPv6.

You have to make sure every operating system and anything related to networking has to support IPv6. Many older versions of software might not support it, hence you will have to update that too. Make a list of all the parts that are incompatible and upgrade those before you start the shift to IPv6. Any sort of conflict between IPv6 and your network might result in a slower transition or even an unsuccessful one.

Perform an IPv6 cost-benefit analysis

Obviously, any form of transformation or change requires money. Shifting to IPv6 and preparing for it, both are going to require some investments. Hence, it is ideal to perform an IPv6 cost-benefit analysis before actually starting the preparation.

After you are done analyzing your infrastructure and have your list of changes needed, calculate how much money is needed and prepare the benefits you are getting for it. All the stakeholders have to receive it and understand it fully so that they get the complete idea of why this is needed. This report will prevent the migration from being canceled halfway through, which happens to be the case for many enterprises. Many business owners start questioning the purpose and benefits of the expensive transition after it begins and ends up ordering it to be stopped.

Hence, a complete cost-benefit analysis will help the migration stay on track and will also allow the management to collect sufficient resources and funds.

Create a test lab

When you are done with your preparations, it is best to start segment by segment. Even before that, it is better to start by experimenting with a test environment to make sure the implementation of IPv6 is being done properly and is not causing any clashes with hardware or applications. The test lab should simulate the fundamental operations of the enterprise so that the results obtained are reliable.

Draft an IPv6 plan

Once you are done testing and experimenting, write out a fool-proof plan about how you want to implement IPv6. IPv6 is not an improvement from IPv4 only for the increased number of addresses it provides, but also for the many new features it offers! IPv6 has many operational features which can be used to make networking easier and simpler, hence you should try to use as many of those features as you can. Experts suggest that you should get to know about the features of IPv6 in details so that you can use it to the fullest. Moreover, you should utilize your analysis to improvise on how your network operates, as you probably will not be checking it so thoroughly anytime soon again.

Finally, implement IPv6

After you have all your resources ready and everything figured out, roll out IPv6 in your enterprise. Remember that upgrading segment by segment is the proper way to go, as you never know when a problem might arise. While the upgrade goes on, you will be using both IPv4 and IPv6 so there is no downtime to worry about, and if you want to keep your IPv4 addresses after that, you can do that too.

No matter how much you read about IPv6 migration, all this might seem very complicated and critical when you attempt to do it. If you want professional advice and help, you should get in touch with Flint Tech Solutions and avail their expert Network Installations services.

Educate your IT department thoroughly

While there are many similarities between IPv4 and IPv6, there are quite some differences too. Most of these differences lie in the structure and operation of the protocols, and these can affect the performance of applications and the overall infrastructure.

Therefore, it is important to make sure your WHOLE IT department is aware and educated about these differences. They will have to figure out ways to deal with any issue that might occur or be prepared for unpredictable inconsistencies. “Whole” had been emphasized on as many businesses think preparing their networking staff will be enough to conduct an easy shift from IPv4 to IPv6, but unless all your IT employees know how to handle IPv6, they will be facing problems every step of the way through migration and even after it.

Analyze your present infrastructure carefully

Before starting your migration to IPv6, you have to analyze your infrastructure and find out how much of it is actually compatible with IPv6. If you think judging your routers, switches and network cards will be enough, you are very wrong. You have to find all infrastructure IPv4 addresses in your network, details of where they are referred to in all applications, and a list of all DNS mappings. This analysis would show if your present external DNS provider supports IPv6 and if the infrastructure devices support IPv6.

You have to make sure every operating system and anything related to networking has to support IPv6. Many older versions of software might not support it, hence you will have to update that too. Make a list of all the parts that are incompatible and upgrade those before you start the shift to IPv6. Any sort of conflict between IPv6 and your network might result in a slower transition or even an unsuccessful one.

Perform an IPv6 cost-benefit analysis

Obviously, any form of transformation or change requires money. Shifting to IPv6 and preparing for it, both are going to require some investments. Hence, it is ideal to perform an IPv6 cost-benefit analysis before actually starting the preparation.

After you are done analyzing your infrastructure and have your list of changes needed, calculate how much money is needed and prepare the benefits you are getting for it. All the stakeholders have to receive it and understand it fully so that they get the complete idea of why this is needed. This report will prevent the migration from being canceled halfway through, which happens to be the case for many enterprises. Many business owners start questioning the purpose and benefits of the expensive transition after it begins and ends up ordering it to be stopped.

Hence, a complete cost-benefit analysis will help the migration stay on track and will also allow the management to collect sufficient resources and funds.

Create a test lab

When you are done with your preparations, it is best to start segment by segment. Even before that, it is better to start by experimenting with a test environment to make sure the implementation of IPv6 is being done properly and is not causing any clashes with hardware or applications. The test lab should simulate the fundamental operations of the enterprise so that the results obtained are reliable.

Draft an IPv6 plan

Once you are done testing and experimenting, write out a fool-proof plan about how you want to implement IPv6. IPv6 is not an improvement from IPv4 only for the increased number of addresses it provides, but also for the many new features it offers! IPv6 has many operational features which can be used to make networking easier and simpler, hence you should try to use as many of those features as you can. Experts suggest that you should get to know about the features of IPv6 in details so that you can use it to the fullest. Moreover, you should utilize your analysis to improvise on how your network operates, as you probably will not be checking it so thoroughly anytime soon again.

Finally, implement IPv6

After you have all your resources ready and everything figured out, roll out IPv6 in your enterprise. Remember that upgrading segment by segment is the proper way to go, as you never know when a problem might arise. While the upgrade goes on, you will be using both IPv4 and IPv6 so there is no downtime to worry about, and if you want to keep your IPv4 addresses after that, you can do that too.

No matter how much you read about IPv6 migration, all this might seem very complicated and critical when you attempt to do it. If you want professional advice and help, you should get in touch with Flint Tech Solutions and avail their expert Network Installations services.

Cloud Management Tools

Cloud Management Tools

As time goes by, more and more businesses shift to the “cloud”. The reasons are quite simple as the flexibility, accessibility and scalability offered by cloud computing cannot be matched by on-site data centres.

Using a cloud such as Google Drive or Microsoft Azure for personal usage is quite simple, as you are basically dumping all your files in a single place and using whatever features that specific cloud offers. However, availing the cloud when you are running a business is no easy task.

Many times, you also have to integrate other business tools into your clouds to be able to offer/use features that your cloud does not have. In that case, you also have to consider whether your cloud will support it.

All these tasks (designing, deploying, monitoring and managing) are made easier when you start using Cloud management tools. These are extremely strong tools that make managing your clouds a walk in the park as they usually show all the information you need in one place.

Different vendors provide different tools, and most of them have some unique features. Even then most allow you to manage your different clouds using that tool only, integrate third-party applications needed to install or monitor resources, and have dashboards to show you the current status of resources and detailed reports to give you an overall view. They also notify you when the consumption of a resource has crossed a set marker and all you to control the usage of users to restrict unauthorized access or overuse of resources.

Therefore, using the right tool can greatly enhance the efficiency of your business. If you’re wondering which one to use, worry not as we will be listing some of the most famous ones.

Cloudability Cloud Management

Cloudability helps you to monitor, track and optimize your cloud expenses as it’s a specialized cost management tool. It supports various private, hybrid and public cloud service providers. It enables organizations to track resource consumption and also gives detailed reports to properly analyze and distribute budge for resources in accordance to need.

It has quite a few features, which include usage reports generated on fixed schedules which you can share too, dashboards that show you all that you need to know in one place, budget notifications when the predefined limit of a resource is over, Reserved Instance (RI) planner so that you can properly provision Amazon reserved instances, alongside API access so that you can access your data from other tools.

vRealize Business

vRealize Business is VMware’s cost and utilization management tool for services provided by cloud computing. It provides valuable information regarding the expenses of virtual machines, and like cloudability, it also lets you manage the allocation of resources according to budget and need. Additionally, it gives important insights that allow you to make cloud infrastructure management even simpler.

vRealize Business can be used in many public, private, and hybrid clouds.  A special feature of this tool is that it predicts what-if situations based on cost and utilization. It then tracks the actual scenario versus the predicted one to understand the difference and therefore allow managers to identify the people who are using more resources than they should be.

Dell Cloud Manager v11

Dell Cloud Manager v11 is an effective tool that enables the authority to monitor and manage usage of cloud resources and spending. It offers great freedom to choose from a wide variety of cloud platforms as it supports various private, hybrid and public clouds including  Digital Ocean, Google Compute Engine, Apache CloudStack Joyent Cloud, etc.. Therefore, you are free to design and build an infrastructure that will suit your specific needs.

This tool also has unique features that include specific user access control to make sure every user gets access to as many resources as they are entitled to, encryption services, details about cloud expenditure to smoothly manage the budget, integration of other tools for monitoring purposes etc.. More importantly, it has even cooler functions such as self-servicing, auto-scaling and auto-healing of applications.

RightScale Cloud Management

RightScale Cloud Management gives you the facility to use one console to plan, install and manage your cloud infrastructure and applications even if they are in multiple private, hybrid or public clouds. Like Dell cloud manager, Rightscale’s one also supports many public clouds.

This platform provides service catalogues and server templates so that you can easily deploy machines; integrate with other tools including Chef, Ansible, Bash, Powershell etc. and manage several cloud resources such as databases, storage, firewalls and many others. It’s unique features consist of automated backups, disaster recovery services, assisted failover to efficiently lower downtime.

HP Hybrid Cloud Management

HP Hybrid Cloud Management is a cloud management tool that will assist you in planning, building, and operating cloud services. It provides centralized management facilities to allocate resources throughout the infrastructure. It also supports various cloud platforms.

It has been created to be primarily used with HP Cloud Service Automation, which is a business-oriented solution for cloud services. The platform offers centralized control to monitor operations and also generates reports to track performance and utilization of resources.

IBM Cloud Management

IBM Cloud Management is a tool that will let you allocate resources, maintain regular patch cycles, and get full accounts of costs and usage of cloud resources. It supports multiple cloud platforms including PowerVM, Amazon EC2, OpenStack etc.

The IBM Cloud Management platform also includes other useful products including IBM Cloud Orchestrator, IBM SmartCloud Cost Management, and IBM SmartCloud Patch Management.It has cloud showback and chargeback processes to enable metering, and it has all the features you need to have complete visibility and control over your resources and budget.

Microsoft Operations Management Suite

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) is a tool that will allow you to have full control over your hybrid cloud. It gives you a centralized view of all your IT assets used in the infrastructure. OMS also supports various cloud platforms and includes Operational Insights, Automation, site recovery and backup.

Unique features of this tool include automation of repeated or manual tasks via runbooks and graphical workflow-authoring tools, security of users and servers by conducting regular audits, breach analysis, malware detection, and system update assessments. It also has some great backup and recovery features that are really beneficial.

CloudMatrix

CloudMatrix is a useful software that not only helps in managing the cloud services but contributes to multiple tasks in the whole cloud-based infrastructure. It is a cloud brokering and management software that helps you to analyze, compare, plan, deploy, allocate, manage, and control your cloud infrastructure. It helps in centralizing management of resources and budgets while supporting various cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure IaaS, VMware vCD 1.5 and 5.1, Verizon Terremark, VMware vCHS, and OpenStack.

The main features of CloudMatrix are centralized reporting for controlling the budget, detailed reports of resource consumption, what-if analysis and predicted scenarios, an app store, predefined policies to track over-consumption, and integration of third-party applications.

 

The main purpose of cloud management tools is to enable you to monitor your cloud infrastructure thoroughly. You can only plan your budget properly when you know the exact amount of resources that you need, and then you can also monitor which users are using more than they should be. Monitoring user consumption can be tedious when done manually, moreover, it will waste the valuable time of your employees that they can better use elsewhere.

If you want to know more about these tools that can help you run your clouds smoothly, check out the Cloud management services of Flint Tech Solutions. They have an expert and reliable team to guide you through every step of the way.

Why Secure Your Phone

Why Secure Your Phone

When it comes to cybercrimes, most people have become pretty aware these days. If you were to conduct a simple research, you’ll see that almost everyone has an anti-virus installed on their computers and some might even have more than one. Enterprises and businesses are even more cautious as alongside having a dedicated IT team, they have special software installed on ALL of their computers to make sure no one gets unauthorized access and no malware can ruin their precious files.

However, if you have paid attention to our choice of words, you will have noticed that we have mentioned the term “computer” in both cases. This is because awareness against cybercrime is mostly limited to computers only. So does it mean that your desktops and laptops the most frequently used devices in your life?

The answer is probably a no. Today mobile phones are rapidly replacing computers. Smartphones are being used to do tasks that were previously done on computers, which is why people are continuously becoming more dependent on their phones. But unfortunately, they do not give the same level of importance to their phones’ security.

Day by day, crooks are turning more of their focus to targeting cell phones. The reasons are obvious: they are easier to hack and contain much more personal information in limited space.

Think about it. You probably have hundreds of personal pictures on your phone which people might want to use against you. And even if they are not targeting you personally, criminals can get their hands on your browsing history, cookies, credit card details and other important personal identification numbers that might put your identity in jeopardy. Not only can they sell this information to advertising agencies or even the dark web, you might eventually become a victim of identity theft.

Many people think having a password on their phones is all the defense they need against perpetrators, but they fail to realize that passwords can be easily guessed by brute force attacks or keyloggers. What’s more, passwords play no role if the phone is hacked remotely.

Our phones are so greatly intertwined with our emails and other accounts that it further increases their risk of being hacked. Phones are often used for two-factor authentication in which they are sent codes to verify that the actual owner is trying to access his account, but if anyone manages to hack the phone, the hacker can change redirect the authentication codes to be sent his own phone. If this happens to you, you might eventually lose total control of your own account.

One of the main ways that hackers gain access to cell phones is via the apps installed on those phones. Apps can contain various types of malware, including spyware and ransomware. Many apps pretend to be useful for you and demand money for services, such as fake anti-virus apps, and when you do not pay, they can make your phone completely unusable until you decide to surrender and pay up.

Therefore, securing your phone is as important, if not more, as securing your computers. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Never keep the passwords your phone came with by default. These are usually known combinations, such as 0000 or 1234, hence they are very easily guessable and the ones that hackers use in the first attempts. Do not use codes that are obvious, such as your birthday or anniversary or even your wife’s/husband’s birthday. These types of information are usually known by many people.
  • Try to use a different and dedicated email address just for authentication or password resets. Our usual email addresses are public as we provide them anywhere, so they are prone to be hacked as hackers will know the inbox and outbox of these email addresses will have useful information. It is best to keep your dedicated email a secret.
  • Do not download apps from an unknown source. The official app sources such Google Play store and Apple’s App store are always scanning the apps that are available and removing ones that seem suspicious. They are also regularly scanned for malware. Although some apps might still contain hidden malicious objects even if it was downloaded from an official site, the chances of that are much smaller compared to an app that you downloaded from some random website.
  • Sometimes it may not seem very obvious that an app might be dangerous for your phone, so make sure you are being always careful while downloading any app. Be very skeptical especially when downloading free versions of paid apps, and make sure you read reviews before downloading.
  • Use a VPN on your phone as it establishes a more secure connection between your smartphone and the internet. A VPN protects your location from becoming discovered by anyone who might intercept the data packets while they were being transmitted and even reduces the risks of the data being exploited.
  • While customizing the lock screen settings of your phone, make sure that it is set to lock itself as soon as it is not in use anymore. Many people leave their phone unlocked in public places such as their office rooms or classrooms, and this might tempt someone to install a keylogger on your phone.
  • For more protection, make sure it erases all data on the phone after a predefined number of failed attempts. This number should not exceed 10, since this might lead someone to eventually guess your right password. In addition, make sure you back up your phone regularly so that you do not end up losing all your data if your phone has to force-erase.
  • If your phone has a locator option, such as “Find my phone” or “Find my iPhone”, use it. This will help you find your phone even if you end up losing it, and will also help you find the culprit if it was stolen. Remember to keep your GPS option turned on all the time as otherwise your phone will not be found.
  • Even though it might prove to be a hard thing to do, avoid keeping as much of personal data on your phone as possible. Try to move personal or sensitive pictures, videos and documents to more secured devices on a regular basis, such as every two months or so. Decluttering your phone will secure your information alongside increasing its efficiency and performance.
  • Update your apps and operating systems as soon as updates become available. Manufacturers are always working on their software to improve its performance and make it more secure, hence delaying updates will only make you vulnerable to more risks.
  • Many people make the mistake of accessing their bank accounts using public Wi-Fi. This can prove to be really dangerous as these networks are not secure, hence there might be people who are spying on the data that is transmitted over the network. Be aware of fake networks which promise to be “free Wi-Fi” in busy places like airports or cafes. These will directly deliver your credentials and login details to the criminal who created the fake network.
  • Use a screen protector. Even though many people do not acknowledge the usefulness of these covers, they prevent people standing around or behind you from seeing what is being done on your phone. Many people can guess your password or pin code simply by staring at your phone screen from a distance, a simple yet useful precaution.

 

These were just a few precautions that you could take, but there is so much more than you can do to secure your phone. If you want to know more details and have the strongest defense system for your phone, you should contact the experts of Flint tech solutions. Their Data Security Management services have everything that you might need to protect your data.