Posts Tagged ‘Cloud’

Microland bets on hybrid cloud to land large deals

August 27th, 2014

Bangalore-based Microland has embarked on a new strategy to get large outsourcing deals and has launched a new brand identity for itself.outsourcing18

This new strategy involves building on its capability of managing networks and other IT infrastructure of Fortune clients through a mix of private and public cloud, commonly known as hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud is a service that a combination of traditional IT, private, public and community cloud computing services, from different service providers such as Microsoft, Amazon and others. Companies like Microland take these offerings and integrate it with their existing business. Called version 4.0, Microland founder and MD Pradeep Kar told BusinessLine that it sees a multi-billion opportunity in this area, as companies are starting to consider vendors which have expertise in particular technologies.

In line with this, the company has come up with a new identity in its 25th year of operations. When asked about the impact of this new strategy on its business, Kar said the company will continue to grow three times faster than Nasscom’s projections for the 2015 fiscal. Nasscom estimates that the industry will grow 13-15 per cent. However, since it is a private company, Microland did not share revenue plans for the year.

Market for these services is growing, albeit not at a fast clip. The public cloud services market is expected to grow 17.8 per cent in 2014 to $153 billion, according to analysts. Forrester estimates peg the private cloud market at $15.9 billion, from $7.8 billion in 2011.

It has around 2,700 employees with 75 global clients and six global delivery centres – three in India and one each in the US, the UK and West Asia.


TCS, Cloudera tie up to provide analytics services

August 26th, 2014

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), India’s leading software services exporter, has tied-up with US-based Cloudera, an enterprise analytics data management provider, to offer Big Data and analytics services globally.

As part of the deal, TCS’s global team of Big Data experts will be certified through the Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP) programme, and its products will be validated through the Cloudera Certified Technology Programme (CCTP), TCS said on Monday.

While Satya Ramaswamy, global head for TCS Digital Enterprise said Big Data “is playing a central role in helping enterprises re-imagine their businesses”, Tom Reilly, chief executive officer of Cloudera, said the TCS’s investment in Cloudera has made it “the world’s largest group of Cloudera certified professionals”.

TCS is banking on revenue from emerging technologies such as social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) to stay ahead of the pack. In June 2013, it set up a separate digital enterprise unit in Silicon Valley to club its SMAC computing technology services under a single roof. outsourcing12

Last month, TCS said in a global trend report that digital spending by enterprises globally is expected to be a $113 million in 2014, as these organizations see digital initiatives, such as Big Data, analytics, cloud computing, mobile and pervasive computing, social media, robotics and artificial intelligence, as being crucial to their business success in this decade.

According to a February report by research firm Offshore Insights, Global 2000 firms will spend 15-16% of their information technology (IT) services and outsourcing budgets on SMAC and India will export $15 billion worth of SMAC software and services in fiscal 2017, despite SMAC currently accounting for less than 10% of the revenue of IT services firms.

According to global research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), Indian IT vendors will generate at least $225 billion in SMAC-related revenue in 2020. TCS made the announcement after market hours. On Monday, shares of TCS closed up 2.42% at Rs.2,521.15 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex index rose 0.07% to close at 26,437.02 points.


“India has become a preferred outsourcing destination for software testing”

August 20th, 2014

Software testing as a function until recently had not developed the level of maturity seen in the developed markets of US, EU, etc. The focus was mainly on functional testing with very limited attention given to other types-automation, performance and other Outsourcing48non-functional testing. This is all changing and we now see a lot more interest in testing and greater extent of automation due to increasing adoption of IT, growing importance of quality and awareness & focus on different types of testing. Dataquest spoke to Rajesh Sundararajan, Practice Head, Testing Services, Marlabs Software. Excerpts

Breif us about cloud based software testing.
As we all know, ‘cloud computing’ refers to the utility based model of consuming shared computing resources as a service over the Internet. Let’s see what it means in the context of software testing.
There are 2 primary categories of computing resources that can be accessed over the cloud:
Application Test Environments: The test environment infrastructure can be provisioned on the cloud with the appropriate configuration for the required timelines rather than have a dedicated infrastructure in-house. The application under test is then hosted on this cloud infrastructure and tested. This is an example of IaaS (infrastructure as a service) or PaaS (platform as a service).
The Testing Tool Rig: which includes the Testing tool (Automation, Performance etc.) software and/or infrastructure required to host the testing tools – can be provisioned and accessed from the cloud. This can be SaaS (Software as a service), PaaS or IaaS depending on the Test setup. This testing tool can test applications hosted on either cloud or dedicated in-house test environments.

What are the benefits of testing and running enterprise software in the cloud?
The benefits if planned well are significant.
Cost is a primary factor:
I.Large upfront costs of capex like servers & other hardware, testing tools are replaced by opex which are spread out over a period of time.
II.With cloud, there is value for money as we pay only for the resources that we consume. The testing life-cycle is often intermittent and is a good candidate for utilizing the cloud. At the end of testing, the cloud based resources can be stopped and restarted when testing resumes to avoid accumulating higher costs.
III.Some activities like performance testing require large production-like configurations for short cycles. Creating this environment on the cloud is an attractive proposition for IT organizations which otherwise often avoid performance testing due to prohibitive investments.

Dedicated physical infrastructure requires a lot of time to procure & setup. That is where the cloud provides an option of – quick provision of the required environment, a set configuration which can be recorded and applied at short notice. It is also very easy to scale up the environment and provision additional resources whenever required.
There are other interesting possibilities. The global distribution of the cloud enables us to run ‘distributed’ performance tests and generate load from multiple regions across the globe to simulate live usage patterns

What are the risks or downsides?
The cloud comes with its fair share of risks and users need to comprehensively evaluate the relative benefits it offers.
First of all, Organizations face a risk in giving control of their assets to an external entity
a)The data and resources are not in your physical control. The responsibility for the data and its safety is with someone else.
b)Business continuity and disaster recovery are completely in the hands of the cloud provider.
c)There is a dependency on the cloud provider for SLAs and other support activities.

But there is another side to it- many organizations especially those lacking in technical expertise and dealing with less critical data may actually be more comfortable with leaving security and infrastructure challenges to the expertise of Amazon EC2, Microsoft azure, Google, etc.
Compared to the live production, the test environment is a less risky option when testing the waters with a movement to the cloud. So, organizations are more open to moving test environments to the cloud

A very well know issue is that of security. The cloud brings in additional dimensions which impact security:
a)Multi-tenancy: the cloud is a shared resource and there are risks, known/unknown of data leakage to other users sharing CPU, Memory, and Servers etc.
b)Virtualization-While the vulnerabilities to the underlying physical resources remain, the additional vulnerabilities of the virtualized environment pose an added layer of risk.
c)Data stored on the internet especially in large volumes on the cloud are prone to cyber-attacks, having said that most cloud providers do have stringent security measures in place.

How does a company pick a strong test tool?
There are tools for a range of testing activities. For each type of testing, there are many tool vendors who have come out with products. Many of the vendors provide tools for end-to-end test activities. Choosing a tool or tool platform is very much context driven depending on:
Application technology: Web applications are supported by most tool vendors. Applications based on niche technologies have limited tool options for testing.
Cost of the tools- This is relative and depends on the size of business, application criticality, company policy, etc.
Availability of skill set , ease of use, learning curve of the tool.
Extent and quality of support provided by the tool vendor.
Alignment with existing tools and technologies. An organization using UFT from HP may prefer to extend their partnership and select load runner performance testing tool from HP itself.

Two strong trends in recent years are:
The growing maturity and adoption of open source tools for a wide range of testing activities. Though these tools require skilled resources to use, their cost advantages make them a very good option for companies to choose.

Many of the tools are now being delivered in SaaS model over the cloud. This is increasingly becoming a criterion for companies to choose a testing tool for to gain the benefits of cloud.

What is the role of APM (Application Performance Monitoring) in cloud testing?
APM tools find usage in- test and live environments, in-house as well as cloud deployments. Major vendors like – Compuware and CA to name a couple have come out with products to address these use cases.

During performance testing, the APM tools provide a complete and in-depth view of system and application performance including:
Resource utilization at the level of server, application, user, transaction to help in better analysis, performance troubleshooting and capacity planning.
Analyze performance down to the method level, break-down performance bottlenecks and pin-point latencies at each layer of the architecture from the UI to the back-end database and service components.

This advanced analysis is especially helpful in the cloud context because of the dynamic, complex and multiple components involved in cloud architecture. This analysis is also very helpful in defining auto-scaling strategies for cloud hosting.

How do you see India as a market for software testing?
There are 2 parts to this. One is the software testing services market. The Indian IT services industry is expected to see about 14% growth to reach a market size of about $16 bn by 2016, according to a report brought out by BCG (Boston Consulting Group) & CII. This is mainly due to increasing adoption of IT by companies, more outsourcing- reflected by many of the recent big ticket IT deals e.g. indiaPost, Bharti Airtel and growth of new technologies like mobile, cloud, big data. So, the software testing market can be expected to grow on similar lines and the growth will be more in testing related to these new technologies.

The other component is the market for software testing products (tools). Apart from the above reasons, the fact that India has become a preferred outsourcing destination for software testing along with a large pool of technical resources has led to sustained demand for software testing tools. The visible presence of the large Product companies- HP, IBM as well as many of the niche players- Neotys, PerfectoMobile etc. at various forums is a testimony to the importance of India as a market for testing products.

Do you think adoption of this is still less in India as compared to other countries?
IT & software adoption has been lagging in India compared to some of the developed markets. For this reason, until a few years back the India market was not the focus for most of the software service vendors and the Indian market still forms a small component of India’s more than $100 bn software industry. Software testing as a function until recently had not developed the level of maturity seen in the developed markets of US, EU, etc. The focus was mainly on functional testing with very limited attention given to other types- automation, performance and other non-functional testing. This is all changing and we now see a lot more interest in testing and greater extent of automation due to increasing adoption of IT, growing importance of quality and awareness & focus on different types of testing.


Wyoming to close data centers in cloud shift

August 15th, 2014

The state of Wyoming is planning to discontinue most of its data center operations and move its physical equipment to commercial colocation facilities.

It will continue to manage its own physical servers at these colocation centers, but this outsourcing step is part of a broader plan to move the state’s computing resources to cloud services.

State governments have been outsourcing various parts of their infrastructures for years, but how they outsource is changing. What’s now driving government IT decision-making in Wyoming and other states is a desire to move resources to dynamic cloud-based services, both public and private.

Why pay attention to Wyoming? It’s a small state, in terms of population, with less than 600,000 residents, and it’s more known for farming than for tech. But sometimes big things happen in little places.

In 2011, Wyoming became the first state to implement Google Apps for Government statewide. In doing so, it consolidated 13 separate email systems. It also brought in Google docs and collaboration tools.

Gmail use is now mandatory, but state agencies can decide for themselves whether to use Microsoft Office or Google productivity apps. Since the Google implementation, the state only buys about 25% of the Microsoft licenses it once did, said Wyoming CIO Flint Waters.

Waters sees the data center move as part of an evolutionary process that leads in one direction: “I really need to get out of the business of buying computers, and start buying computing,” he said.

Wyoming now runs two data centers. It plans to close one in the next six months and shift the bulk of its remaining IT infrastructure operations to a colocation facility by 2016. It will continue to operate a small data center to support its networking equipment and a mainframe.

State governments are clearly moving to cloud-based services, but there’s no single approach. For example, IBM just announced plans to build a private cloud for the California state government. The operation will have the potential to deliver about 80% of the state’s IT services. But it will run in state-owned data centers, and IBM is required to train state IT workers so they can take over.

In contrast, Pennsylvania recently announced a plan to turn over its data center operations to Unisys, which will work to shift operations to a cloud-based delivery system.

Wyoming’s plan represents yet another option. Waters cites multiple reasons for this move.

For one thing, there’s an ever-increasing amount of data to manage. The state is deploying, via a private-public partnership, a 100-gigabit backbone to reach all of its school districts, for which it will be collecting and managing more and more data. Water says other services that could impose major data demands include the development of fracking operations for energy production. State rules require the production of data-intensive 3D maps as part of environmental assessments for hydraulic fracturing sites.

The growth of data collection in all areas of government is difficult to forecast, and the 18-month state budget cycle makes it even more challenging to plan for this growth, Waters said.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is not to have a scenario where the tech you have in place dictates how innovative you can be,” he said.

There’s also an economic development angle at work here. The state, which has low energy costs and is making increasing use of wind power, is working to attract data center developers. One of the companies building data centers in Wyoming is Microsoft, which recently announced that it is expanding its data center operations in the state, bringing its total investment to $500 million.

With state officials working to encourage companies from other parts of the country to use data centers in Wyoming, Waters noted that it might look somewhat paradoxical if the state government continued to run its own computing operations. “To say that it’s great for everyone else to store their data in Wyoming, but we want to build our own [data centers], seems a bit counterintuitive,” he said.

The state’s two data centers have about 150 racks overall. A planned renovation of one of the buildings housing a data center is one of the reasons the state is making its move now.

While the IT equipment will be moved to colocation facilities, another effort is underway to shift other services to the cloud. The state is investigating possible approaches. One possible technology is Microsoft’s StorSimple cloud storage.

StorSimple, which Microsoft acquired in 2012, makes an appliance that replicates data to a cloud environment and dynamically calculates storage, keeping the files most accessed in the fastest memory or in a cloud environment, said Waters. Today, agencies try to calculate how much Tier 1 and Tier 2 storage they may need while setting their budgets, he said.

Shawn McCarthy, an analyst at IDC, said it may cost states more to totally outsource than to keep IT in-house, and it’s difficult to move everything because so many state systems are customized.

Nonetheless, he noted, there is a definite trend among states toward shared services, consolidation and moving some operations to the cloud.


Annual CSI Survey Highlights Expansion of Cloud Technology Adoption and IT Outsourcing Trends

August 7th, 2014

As technology capabilities continue to advance, financial institutions must manage the intricacies of implementing a strategic, all-encompassing IT infrastructure to meet their unique needs. In order to provide banks and credit unions with deeper insight into how the industry is addressing the latest cloud and managed services offerings, Computer Services, Inc., a provider of end-to-end technology solutions that empower financial institutions to remain competitive, compliant and profitable, has published the results of its third annual survey in its Executive Report: Cloud Technology and IT Outsourcing Trends.

“A successful transition to the cloud requires financial institutions to first understand the available technology offerings and how they will affect their overall IT strategy”

This year’s report points to several key trends in the use of cloud technology and IT outsourcing, as well as a continued increase from respondents in the value and benefits hosted solutions provide today’s financial institutions.

Offering data from more than 140 respondents nationwide, the results of CSI’s 2014 cloud technology and IT outsourcing survey provide current insight on the use of these services from executives and senior IT management at various financial institutions. Responses were collected across such key areas as IT services currently outsourced, percentage of IT assets targeted for cloud migration, greatest concerns regarding cloud computing in banking and more.

“A successful transition to the cloud requires financial institutions to first understand the available technology offerings and how they will affect their overall IT strategy,” says Steve Powless, chief executive officer of CSI. “By consistently surveying the industry to uncover the latest trends and concerns, we aim to assist banks and credit unions in making the right choice to fulfill their unique business goals.”

Key report highlights include:

Based on their current use of financial cloud technology and services, respondents reported increases in all areas of recognized benefits, with percentage gains ranging from 20 percent to 203 percent in comparison to 2013 ratings.

For the third consecutive year, the number of financial institutions fully outsourcing IT has increased, reaching 16.1 percent for 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, organizations that reported no outsourced IT services dropped from 14.9 percent to 10.2 percent between 2013 and 2014.

While respondents indicated lower levels of concern in regard to cloud migration as a whole, security and compliance remain the top concerns, although they dropped from 75.2 percent in 2013 to 58.1 percent in 2014.

“With so many new technologies available to today’s financial industry, institutions are now turning to technology partners that can both provide and manage these increasingly complex infrastructures through their skilled resources and support systems,” Powless says. “Our goal as an organization is to simplify cloud and bank IT outsourcing through our suite of managed service offerings and knowledge of the current industry trends gathered from our annual survey.”


‘State of IT’ report shows companies more concerned with cloud than adding new staff

July 29th, 2014

2015 might not be a big hiring year for IT as more companies focus resources on the cloud. But there is also some good news, including the latest on IT spending, according to a new report.Outsourcing3

The IT industry is showing signs of stability according to The State of IT, an annual report from Spiceworks, covering tech adoption trends.

The results of the survey were compiled from the answers of 1,100 IT professionals, drawn from the professional networking site’s roughly 5 million users, according to Spiceworks’ content marketing manager, Peter Tsai.

About 60% of respondents in the US and abroad, reported that their companies do not plan to add additional IT staff within the year. Only 4% plan to reduce staff, meaning the majority of companies polled will either stay the same or add staff.

“We view this is a net positive thing,” Tsai said. He also explained that since many of the companies included skew on the smaller side, many of them do not have the budget to hire new employees.

Though these businesses aren’t necessarily bringing on new staff, they are reporting (42%) plans to increase IT budgets. Tsai said that the added budget, for many, will likely go toward the continuing adoption of cloud services.

“When you’re purchasing the use of a cloud service, you’re in effect, outsourcing some of the maintenance that an IT [professional] would do internally,” he said. For a smaller company that may be strapped for both cash and knowledge, cloud services allows them to grow their business without growing their head count.

Nigel Hickey, an infrastructure administrator at National Specialty Alloys, said his budget next year will in part go toward investing in cloud services and virtualization.

“We virtualize now, and I’m hoping to use virtualization as a stepping stone to disaster recovery at a second failover site that either I manage or a software as a service provider manages,” he said.

As far as staffing, he also said he’s like to add a desktop support person, but the job wouldn’t be full time.

“I need another set of hands to do helpdesk and desktop support so I can focus on my higher level projects. I don’t think I can ask management for another 40 hour a week person, but there’s days where I wish I had somebody so I could work on other things,” he said.

Looking broadly, Tsai said there does seem to be a sense of optimism in increase of IT budgets for 2015. He cited a few external sources – Gartner’s projection that worldwide IT spending would hit $3.8 trillion in 2014, up 3.1% from the year before, and data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting growth in the industry through 2020.

Other trends Tsai marked as important included the inverse relationship between the size of a company and the cost of IT support per employee (see chart below), and the slightly higher IT budgets in North America versus Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, possibly due to tendencies toward early adoption and a less concerned attitude toward privacy.


Cloud, outsourcing and m2m driving european data center growth

July 18th, 2014

As companies look for easier ways to process a growing volume of data, without the problems associated with in-house data centers, the uptake of data center services will continue to rise says a new survey.Outsourcing27

The market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 16 per cent up to 2018 despite several restraints. The United Kingdom, Germany, France and Benelux are predicted to be the largest markets in the region.

The cost advantage of outsourcing as well the growth in cloud, machine-to-machine connectivity and content-heavy applications is lending momentum to the European data center services market.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Data Centre Services Market, which covers the retail colocation and managed hosting segments, finds that retail colocation will witness lower growth rates than managed hosting due to its market maturity.

The retail colocation segment generated revenues of $2.83bn in 2013 and is estimated to reach $5.27bn in 2018; managed hosting revenues will increase from $2.01bn to $4.90bn over the same period.

“The pressing need to focus internal resources on innovative IT tasks and capitalise on economical IT management services compel enterprises to turn to managed hosting providers for data centre services,” says Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Research Analyst Shuba Ramkumar. “The growth of cloud services will also drive the colocation services market in the short term.”

In the long term, however, increasing efficiency and security of the cloud will challenge the growth of the retail colocation market.

An additional problem is that organisations across Europe are bound by regional data laws that complicate outsourcing buying decisions. The location of data centers, therefore, becomes an important consideration for users when choosing a provider.

The regional nature of European organisations also means that many of them are wary of foreign companies and prefer local providers. These cultural and language barriers are especially strong in countries such as France, Spain, and Italy says Ramkumar.

“In order to widen their customer base across Europe, it is important for providers to offer services from a data center located within a region,” advises Ramkumar. “At the same time, they must provide efficient IT support as well as ensure data confidentiality and security to win the trust of potential customers.”

Due to the need to implement different infrastructure frameworks based on application type, enterprises will use traditional data center services alongside the adoption of cloud services. As a result, the European data center services market is focussing on more hybrid data centre services that combine colocation, managed hosting and cloud solutions.


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