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You have to manage your cloud

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Cloud technology is gaining traction as more Internet enabled devices become available. But the key to a successful cloud deployment is how it is managed and which processes are hosted in the cloud and which are kept locally, writes JOHAN SCHEEPERS of CommVault.

While cloud technology gains traction through the big data boom, IT leaders question how they can maximise value from cloud computing while still maintaining data security and control. The data growth we are experiencing continues to escalate in volume and complexity, particularly when data is streaming in from millions of new internet enabled devices, virtualised machines and cloud enabled business-critical applications.

Although the cloud has been around for a few years now, organisations are only recently starting to understand what level of cloud adoption makes sense for their business needs. The cloud has also gone through significant developments, with Hybrid models becoming the favoured approach to enable organisations to benefit from the agility offered from public clouds, while maintaining control of sensitive data on-premise.

A hybrid approach to cloud

Planning a journey to the cloud, whether private, public or both is daunting for all organisations. There is the promise of greater business agility and low upfront investment, however if not handled systematically and driven by insights gleaned from your data, it can actually increase cost and complexity. Some organisations are experiencing issues ranging from egress costs to wasteful utilisation, to complex and siloed management. By starting with insights from your data you can better understand which workloads and applications are most appropriate for a public or private cloud or on-premise hosting, and deploy a successful Hybrid model.

Having an on-premises, private infrastructure directly accessible means not having to go via the public internet for everything, which can greatly reduce access time and latency in comparison to public cloud services. The hybrid cloud model offers organisations on-premises computational and storage infrastructure for processing data that requires extra speed or high availability for your business. This is combined with the benefits of the public cloud where a workload may exceed the computational power of the private cloud component.

Expanding the private component of a hybrid cloud also allows for flexibility in virtual server design. Organisations can automate the entire virtual machine lifecycle to archiving older VM’s to the cloud.

Another benefit of the hybrid model is the increased connectivity and collaboration offered to employees – which can often be a challenge in today’s digital world. The ability for teams to easily and securely share files should be coupled with the integration of remote workers into core business processes, such as internal messaging, scheduling, edge protection (laptops, tablets, etc), business intelligence and analytics.

Although the benefits are clear for adopting a Hybrid approach it can still be difficult to know where to start. CIOs need to look at how they can introduce a Hybrid model that delivers deeply integrated cloud automation and orchestration tools, ensuring compatibility across cloud solutions and on-premise infrastructure. It is recommended that organisations look towards a low risk, high value first step to the cloud through disaster recovery. And particularly in India, our service provider partners are seeing strong demand for Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service and Backup-as-a-Service, as a clear entries into the cloud for businesses.

The hybrid environment is fast emerging as the norm for many CIOs. However the key to successfully deploying a hybrid cloud model is by understanding which workloads and applications are most appropriate for which hosting, and leveraging a single integrated console with an enterprise-wide view of data across these infrastructures. This will mean that IT leaders can better control where to process data and maximise cost savings by identifying reasonable spend in relation to the value that data offers to the business.

The spending shift – from Capex to Opex

While cloud computing offered promises of cost savings, increasingly we are seeing headlines like this from the Wall Street Journal: “The Hidden Waste and Expense of Cloud Computing“ or from CFO Mag: “Cloud Computing’s Wasteland“. So what’s actually happening?

Due to a lack of controls to help track and manage utilisation, businesses are being faced with unexpected costs, typically from an unusually large bill from their cloud provider after cloud instances are left running. In the traditional CapEx model, which we’re all used to, we invest heavily upfront in hardware and software. However with the cloud subscription model, we can build a datacenter with a credit card in a predictable Operational Expense (OpEx) model – which is wonderful in theory, until the bill shows up. As organisations mainstream public cloud, they are exposing holes in the maturity of their management processes and controls. This means that developers have been deploying VMs at will and not taking down workloads when they are finished.

To address this growing concern, IT leaders need to ensure they have a data and information management strategy which enables them to capture the workload at the point of creation and attach data management service at that point. To support Hybrid models, we need to be able to stay with the workload as it moves between on-premises to hosted private cloud to hybrid and public clouds.

Lastly, data is only useful when we are able to gain value from it, whether it be in the cloud or on-prem.  Starting with backup and recovery, organisations can then fast track into more advanced use cases like dev/test solutions and more. Here emerges the hybrid data analytics strategy. ‘Analytics with purpose’ will be a guiding principle for businesses moving forward. And regardless of whether it’s to introduce a business intelligence project or take an advanced analytics strategy to the next level, organisations leveraging a hybrid cloud model will have the opportunity to make more intelligent choices about structured and unstructured data in their environment. They will be able to quickly mitigate the risk of compliance related issues, and regain valuable storage space, freeing up budgets to pursue opportunities that can power business growth.

* Johan Scheepers, Principal Systems Engineer at CommVault

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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