Tag : IT

Establish Standards for Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the latest hot trend in the IT world and among technology consulting companies.  To a point where almost every meeting I go on talks about this subject matter and does so in a very misinformed way.  The perception out in the marketplace is that the cloud is cheaper, more reliable, and secure.  That is simply just not the case unless the proper steps and procedures are followed.  When will we see cloud standards?  That is a really great question because the security questions of encryption and penetration capability still have not been addressed.  How reliable is the data in the cloud?

The protocol, data format and program-interface standards for using cloud services are mostly in place, which is why the market has been able to grow so fast. But standards for configuration and management of cloud services are not here yet. The crucial  standards for practices, methods and conceptual architecture are still evolving and we are nowhere close.  Cloud computing will not reach its full potential until the management and architectural standards are fully developed and stable. Until these standards are formalized and agreed upon there will be pitfalls and mishaps, which cannot take place.

The main premise of Cloud protocol is  TCP/IP.  The cloud usually uses established standard Web and Web Service data formats and protocols. When it comes to configuration and management, the lack of effective, widely accepted standards is beginning to be felt and I have seen the negative results.  There are several agencies and organizations working on cloud configuration and management standards, including the Distributed Management Task Force (www.dmtf.org), the Open Grid Forum (www.ogf.org), and the Storage Networking Industry Association (www.snia.org).

Currently there are, as of yet, no widely accepted frameworks to assist the integration of cloud services into enterprise architectures.   An area of concern is the possibility of changing cloud suppliers. You should have an exit strategy before finding a provider and signing a cloud contract. There’s no point in insisting that you own the data and can remove it from the provider’s systems at any time if you have nowhere else to store the data, and no other systems to support your business.

When selecting an enterprise cloud computing provider, its architecture should have the following:

• the cloud services form a stable, reliable component of the architecture for the long term;
• they are integrated with each other and with the IT systems operated by the enterprise; and
• they support the business operations effectively and efficiently.

Other groups that are looking to establish industry standards include the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (http://csrc.nist.gov), the Object Management Group (www.omg.org) and the Organization for Advancement of Structured Information Systems (www.oasis-open.org).

Microsoft Lync Review – Analysis of Microsoft Lync – Is Microsoft Lync Viable | BVA IT Consulting Blog

BVA has reviewed and looked at the new Microsoft Lync.  The new name for the next generation of our real-time communications products, known until today as Communications Server and Communicator. Over the last five years Microsoft has been on a journey to transform communications with the power of software.  Lync delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web, audio and video conferencing into a new, connected communications experience.  A key part of the release is the re-branding to Microsoft Lync.  Lync, a combination of “link” and “sync”, is about connecting people in new ways anytime, anywhere.  Beyond simplifying and shortening the current branding, customer research found that the name Lync appeals to end users and IT pros, even more than descriptive options like Communicator. This could seriously be an alternative to an on-site VOIP phone system via reliability, feature set, integration with Microsoft technologies, as well as cost.

The feedback on Lync 2010 has been pretty good from initial testers.  Here is a sample of the types of comments that Microsoft got from the TAP programs and internal beta:

  • “Just love, love, love the new UI.”
  • “An incredibly comprehensive set of tools, including integration into workflow with SharePoint”
  • “Everything I’ve tried to do, I’ve been successful so far.”
  • “[OCS 14] looks more user-friendly and visually it’s like, ‘wow’. It looks better and aesthetics are a lot better, especially when you are using an application nine hours a day.”
  • “The overall user experience is more engaging, convenient, and social-oriented, when compared to 2007 or 2007 R2. Thank you! :-)”

I’ve been using Lync – and as my only ‘phone’ – for the past month and the experience has been pretty solid.  A few of my favorite features:
1.       Switch between your head-set and phone in the middle of a call with device switching.
2.       Gotta run? Leave the office and take your call with you on your mobile phone.
3.       Select multiple people and click to make a group call, and then drag-and-drop someone into the conference from Outlook.
4.       Connect with family while you’re travelling – start a high-definition voice and video conversation with a Windows Live Messenger user.
5.       Hush that annoying meeting participant.   When someone is causing bad audio on the conference call, Lync will identify which phone to mute to improve quality – and productivity.

Something to consider moving forward when looking at different communication methods.  Is VOIP the way to go?