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Desktop-as-a-Service a bright future ahead

I have seen the change in technology from physical to virtual, virtual desktop infrastructure has come a long way from when it began. So what is Desktop-as-a-Service or “DaaS” it is virtual desktops hosted by a “cloud” provider, which is based on VDI technology provided as Desktop-as-a-Service which provides a high level of automation and genuine Multitenancy reducing the cost further more. The “cloud” service provider takes full accountability for hosting and maintaining the physical compute, storage and network infrastructure, as well as software and software licenses needed to supply the desktop service at a fixed monthly fee.

Why is there a need for Desktop-as-a-Service, well the overwhelming capabilities that DaaS provides is second to none, let’s say you have a user that had his notebook stolen out of their car. All their data is lost no way of recovering it unless they are a diligent employee and saves their important work documents to a share that is provided which seldom happens.

Never mind the administrative headache of getting a new notebook etc. Well with Desktop-as-a-Service your problem is solved the users data is not on their actual notebook but in the hosted providers secure datacentre and with a checkout feature of the operating system it can be accessed by any smart device with minimal data loss if any, so they can continue working from any available physical desktop or smart mobile device where they left off.

Once you have sourced the employee a new notebook they just logon and are back up and running in minutes no installation of critical working applications and copying of critical work documents if any this could take days.

DaaS, is the best service offering ever introduced by all the big players in the “Cloud” hosting arena, They look after everything beneath the Operating System, all you as an I.T administrator need to do is look after patching and physical pc or notebook maintenance, how great is that……… As well as the great ROI that your CIO will see, you no longer have to replace desktops and laptops every 3 years, you can extend the life span of your desktops for another 2-3 years, or adopt a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy for employees and still keep your data secure at all times.

And when it comes to the TCO its ticks all the boxes, no outlaying of new expensive servers and network switches not to mention the storage that will be key to the success of that environment. Power and datacentre space.

The below snippet is from Tom’s IT Pro and gives you a good overview of the top 3 DaaS providers globally and a comparison, although there are great providers in South Africa:

Comparison of Industry DaaS Leaders-

When considering a DaaS solution, there are a couple of things you need to examine. First, is the hypervisor, which supplies the software platform that runs the virtual machines. The other is the cloud service provider that supplies and mans the cloud running said hypervisor. Hypervisors vary in their capabilities; cloud providers vary in their offerings. Currently, there are three major DaaS providers………

Link: http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/desktop-as-a-service-providers,2-838.html

In conclusion every Enterprise and SME organisation should look at investing in DaaS as this is the future of desktop computing. If you are on this journey your future is looking bright if not, you should get a strategy on how to tackle your desktop nightmare and move over to the bliss which is Desktop-as-a-service.

reactive-traits
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Reactive applications and an introduction to event driven architecture

The release of the Reactive Manifesto in 2013 has popularized the term “reactive applications”. The purpose of the manifesto is to describe a new approach to systems architecture and the key characteristics that these systems will need to implement.  Why would we need a new approach to systems? A few years ago a large application would typically consist of tens of servers, response times of a few seconds, gigabytes of data and downtime was a generally accepted norm. Today this has changed dramatically. Applications now span hundreds of servers, are dependent on many other systems, response times need to typically be sub second, terabytes of data and 100% up-time. This is further compounded by the fact that organisations are becoming more transparent by allowing customers direct views of internal processes via the web and mobile devices.  The organizations that can adapt to this new playing field are the ones that can set themselves up for success tomorrow.

The Reactive manifesto takes many patterns and concepts and packages them together to form a cohesive set of terms and concepts. These together are termed reactive applications. Version one of the reactive manifesto addresses four design characteristics of responsive applications.

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Computer internet cable and lock

Threat Defence of the Future

As with the rise of Virtualization, many organizations find themselves asking the question “How secure is my data?”

Each time we read a ZDNET Article or Gartner report, there are innovations in technology which expose endpoints in radical ways. Prominent players in the market are bringing forth innovative ways of securing information. But one must ask “How secure is the evident secure?”

I believe evolution in cloud technologies has developed a new market for both consumers and delinquents to share information. The real challenge is ensuring we identify, suspend and correct any malicious behaviours.

This has led me to one decision “Stop all Online Activity”…. No it’s not that scary.

It does mean that we need to be aware of how we transmit and store our data. Ever take the time to read the end user agreement, for that new Free Application you just have to have? Or scroll down and read the Terms and Conditions of the new Plugin on your favourite web browser? I haven’t, but today I find myself reading every piece of technology written, which may or may not directly affect my information and data, successfully affecting my online presence.

So why go through the hassle of reading it all and setting every option set? I failed to read an end user license agreement from a random plugin placed forth by some web app. Suddenly on my smart device I find new pop-ups and requests coming through, my kid calls me and says “Dad there a piece of software popping up on the home laptop”. What I found is that through my Single Sign on and Sync Across all my devices app, is that I had not only exposed my business environment, but also my home environments through 1 Click! I quickly rectified my online-presence access, and proceeded on a quest to “Clear my Name”.

It is evident that the evolution of technology requires an equal and evolving threat defence capability. That which is able to scale, evolve, convert, elevate and expose any loops, and holes within my information stack.

There are service providers out there who offer data leak prevention solutions against web security techniques, and are indeed protecting the day-to-day service providers. There are developments in risk awareness and security which are pushing service providers to go beyond threat defence and look into advanced mechanisms to cope with evolution…

Stay tuned for more on Threat Defence and our views on Security, following into more tips and tools to enable you..

Disaster Recovery as a Service

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“Enabling Business Continuity by flipping a switch.”

During the time period preceding Y2K, many organizations realized the importance of having a ‘’backup plan’’. Most embarked on journeys to outline, articulate and invest in Business Continuity Plans. The Technically Inclined faculties, pursued research to uncover simpler, faster and better ways to enable BCP in the face of DISASTER.
So where are we today? How are we successfully securing our shared interests both internally and for our stakeholders?
Disaster Recovery Planning seems to be the answer. And with the rise of web socket technology enabling the internet of things, it seems that “Keeping the lights on” has become critical to most.
How do we keep the lights on, continue to grow our business and modernize our existing infrastructure?
We say, by utilizing service providers and technologies that encompass As a Service Offerings. We say Disaster Recovery as a Service.
To understand and enable Disaster Recovery as a Service, let’s step back in time to what legacy techniques were used…

I have a “Server Room” with 10 Physical Servers and should there be a man-made or natural disruption I will relocate to a geographically separate site (>150KM) from my Production site.
The pros of this approach:
1. All my servers were backed up from Production and Restores were taken to the Failover / Disaster Recovery Site
2. There is no performance degradation as I got 10 Servers in my failover site
The cons of this approach:
1. Going to take some time to conduct those restores, based on the amount of data I have probably around 24hours
2. The initial purchasing of all 10 Servers would be costly.

At the present time with the ever evolving enhancements in technology, we have simplified solutions. We still have our 10 Physical Servers and should there be a man-made or natural disruption I will relocate my servers to the “Cloud”, via my DR as a Service enabling Technology.
The pros of this approach:
1. All my servers are replicated from Production to the cloud
2. There is no performance degradation as I got 10 Instances which are scaled exactly as my servers are.
3. It’s only going to take roughly 1 hour to get my servers up and running as my data to a Point in Time (also known as RTO – Recovery Time Objective & RPO – Recovery Point Objectives ) is replicated asynchrously.
4. The initial cost will vary based on what the BCP of the Organization is.
The cons of this approach:
1. You as an organization need to trust that the Service Provider is able to meet your RPO and RTO Objectives.
DR as a Service surely brings a diverse approach of protection, no longer do small to mid-sized companies not have a model to protect their core systems. Larger companies now have a means to balance the cost between Physical Failover for Physically Bound Systems against other Virtualized Systems which can be failed over to the cloud.

So what can I do with this Cloud Computing POWER?

I am now able to recover from disaster faster and more accurately. I am able to save valuable pennies for my small to mid-sized companies which I support. I am able to utilize the strengths of cloud computing without the hassle of tiresome admin. I am able to extend my network from inside to out with all the security necessary. I am able to upscale and downscale as my business grows and shrinks. I am able to rest assured that within a fixed period of time, my service provider will get my business back online.

I choose Disaster Recovery as a Service for my Business, I choose to remain online in whatever event. I choose that should my dedicated Annual “Server Room” clean-up go pear shaped – I’ll failover to the cloud. More importantly I choose to be a part of a trend which is going to drive business continuity UP and reduction in revenue streams DOWN.

Watch this space for an outlook on Modernization, and how we see the End of Server 2003 amongst other Sun-Setting Technologies….

Agile
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Numbered List of Agile Challenges

In my previous post(Corporate Agile Challenges Demystified), I expressed challenges that large organizations face trying to get Agile Projects off the ground. I eluded to several scenarios based on repetitive patterns I have seen whilst consulting, collaborating and observing.  Below, I unpack the reason South African(not limited to) organizations struggle with Agile Projects in, no order of importance.

PS: Don’t even start a project if you have not even seen The Agile Maifesto(http://agilemanifesto.org/). You may not be able to tick all the boxes at inception but at least understand all of them, adopt most of them and have a plan to address all of them in the future.

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