If you are reading this, chances are that your business has finally decided to shift to the cloud. We won’t say you are late because there are so many businesses out there still reluctant to migrate to possibly the only technology that can assuredly secure their future – the cloud.

Stats show that organizations that have already invested in the cloud is likely to increase their use of it in the next few years.

Last year, Forbes forecasted that 80% of all IT budget would be spent on cloud solutions by the summer of 2018.

Though the present stats aren’t out yet, we suppose it’s safe to assume that Forbes was right for such is the momentum of the cloud today.

Though companies have generally seen a lot of blog posts and articles about the benefits of the cloud, they still might find it challenging to determine what cloud service they should use in their organization. For many organizations, this choice comes down to three of the biggest cloud platforms in the world – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and the Google Cloud Platform.

Comparing the three to find the best of the bunch is rather pointless. All three are popular and widely adopted for more than one reason. They all have their fair share of pros and cons. The truth is that it’s the organization that needs to choose the right kind of cloud service that matches their business strategy and goals.

To make it easier for you, this blog will explore the characteristics of these 3 cloud platforms.

But before we begin, here are a few things to keep in mind.

The cloud provider should understand your business and its objectives – The cloud service provider that’s right for you should understand your business, its objectives, and what it aims to achieve with the cloud.

Your current architecture – Your business architecture should be compatible with your cloud provider’s. Their architecture needs to be integrated into your workflows. So compatibility should be given top priority. For instance, if your business already uses Microsoft tools, Microsoft Azure is the way to go. At the end of the day, you want seamless, hassle-free integration.

Data center locations – This factor is important if the app your business is going to host on the cloud is sensitive when it comes to data centers and their locations. For a great user experience, the geographical location of the data center hosting the app is pivotal especially if the business has branches across the globe. Your service provider should have data centers in various locations that are far from each other ideally.

With that, let’s get down to the main topic at hand starting with…

Compute services

Microsoft Azure – Azure is widely preferred for its ‘Virtual Machines’ service. Its key offers include excellent security, an array of hybrid cloud capabilities, and support for Windows Server, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Linux, and SQL Server. Azure also features instances optimized for AI & ML.

AWS – AWS’ main service is the Elastic Compute Cloud with a plethora of options including auto-scaling, Windows & Linux support, high-performance computing, bare metal instances etc. AWS’s container services support Docker and Kubernetes as well as the Fargate service.

Google Cloud – Though Google Cloud’s compute services don’t come close to its two biggest competitors, its Compute Engine is still turning heads with its support for Windows and Linux, pre-defined/custom machine types, and per-second billing. Google’s role in the Kubernetes project and considering the fact that Kubernetes adoption is increasing rapidly gives the Google Cloud an edge over others when it comes to container deployment.

Cloud tools

Microsoft Azure – Microsoft’s heavy investment in AI reflects on Azure as the platform provides impressive machine learning and bot services. Other major Azure cognitive services include Text Analytics API, Computer vision API, Face API, Custom vision API etc. Azure also offers various analytics and management services for IoT.

AWS – AWS competes with acclaimed services like the Lex conversational interface for Alexa, Greengrass IoT messaging service, SageMaker service for ML, Lambda serverless computing service etc. Amazon also unveiled AI-related services like DeepLens and Gluon.

Google Cloud – The services and tools for Google Cloud seem to mainly focus on AI and ML. We can also assume that since Google developed TensorFlow – a huge open source library to develop ML apps, the Google Cloud has a slight edge over its rivals when it comes to AI and ML. Other great features include natural-language APIs, translation APIs, speech APIs, IoT services etc.

Making the choice

Though all three are dominant in the cloud services industry, Google Cloud still seems to be trailing behind the other two. But the tech giant’s partnership with Cisco, the company’s hefty investment in cloud-computing services, and focus on machine learning may give the Google Cloud more traction very soon.

Microsoft Azure, on the other hand, initially lagged behind AWS but is now considered the most dominant cloud service provider in the world. If your business relies on Microsoft platforms and tools, it’s going to pair well with Azure. But Azure’s focus on Microsoft’s own Windows puts Linux on the backseat despite Azure’s compatibility with the open source OS. So if your business is associated with Linux, DevOps, or bare metal, Azure may not be a safe bet.

This leaves us with AWS. With its massive scale and a broad array of services and tools, AWS can easily give Azure a run for their money. Though Microsoft’s efforts are starting to pay off catapulting Azure to new heights, AWS is consistently growing every year. However, if your business is looking for a personal relationship with your cloud provider and expecting an attentive service, you may find AWS disappointing. Amazon’s massive size itself makes offering such a service practically impossible.

Conclusion

These providers can help your business with pretty much every type of digital service it needs to stay ahead of the curve in today’s dynamic market conditions. If you think these providers don’t match your business objectives, you can still seek assistance from smaller boutique cloud providers. The bottom-line is that modern businesses are going to need the cloud backing them to efficiently adapt to a technologically advanced future.  If you require assistance regarding cloud adoption and migration, the experts here at AOT can help make it easier for you. Give us a ring to learn more.

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In order to ascend in today’s world where technologies are capable of making and breaking businesses, organizations are required to migrate their enterprise applications to the cloud. This amplifies the usefulness of enterprise applications manyfold. For example, an enterprise app that supports 100 internal users may support 100x more users on the cloud. Such features are a standard nowadays for enterprise-grade apps that are accessible to a wider value chain-facing user base.

Because traditional enterprise applications and their data are open to a larger audience now, they are expected to deliver the best user experience which is where technologies like AI and Machine Learning come in. Modern enterprise applications are expected to deliver smart, contextual experiences to customers and stakeholders. The cloud serves as the best platform for cutting-edge technologies like AI to augment a traditional enterprise application without hassle.

As a matter of fact, once on the cloud, the apps get even more benefits in the form of an improved cost structure, great scalability and flexibility, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing business needs. But all of these achievements that organizations expect can only be obtained after successful migration to the cloud. It’s seen by many organizations as a particularly complicated procedure.

But cloud migration doesn’t have to be that complicated and difficult. With the right kind of planning and good execution, cloud migration can be successful.

That said, here are the steps every enterprise should take before proceeding with executing their cloud migration strategy.

Application Inventory Assessment

Before migration begins, it’s a good approach to have an application portfolio inventory. The inventory will have the enterprise’s applications categorized. It’s important to assess this inventory and the applications’ dependencies including their physical and virtual server configurations, network topology, compliance requirements, security mechanisms, data dependencies etc.

Such an assessment would enable enterprises to determine an approach to get the best results from the migration. For instance, the ‘Modern Apps’ category in the portfolio inventory might already be on the cloud platform or can be easily migrated there. The ‘Legacy Apps’ category in the portfolio could present a big challenge when it comes to cloud migration. The risks may be too big. Then there are other enterprise-grade applications like web applications and Java applications. The enterprise would know which category they should begin with for the best results.

Complementing this approach, modern IT services also grant enterprises with the option of choosing the degree of cloud services for each of their applications while assessing the benefits of migration and estimating the cost of it. This doesn’t apply to legacy apps however. But cloud service providers can still provision servers and storage for such applications to run like they used to, without compromising the reliability users expect from them.

The most valuable opportunity, on the other hand, is associated with the migration of the ‘other’ kind of apps in the enterprise – the third category which includes enterprise-grade Java apps, web applications, and the likes. Migrating such apps to the right kind of public or private cloud results in a lot of cost savings.

Creating a Plan

Migrating and modernizing that third category of apps mentioned above requires careful planning so as not to add complexity, challenges or costs. The plan should take into account a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • The architecture of the application to be migrated and its dependency on its infrastructure.
  • The application’s security policies and tools involved that enforce these policies.
  • The tools that manage the accessibility to the systems on which the application runs.
  • Tools used by the team to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot the application
  • Application’s unique performance characteristics
  • Application’s awareness when it comes to the underlying network & hardware topology

Provided that the cloud service provider is experienced, the aforementioned factors can help your enterprise execute a migration strategy that appropriately prioritizes app migrations.

Applications that are already on the cloud with no dependencies apart from the immediate application stack can be managed with a managed public cloud service. Other enterprise apps that have multiple dependencies and relationships in the data center ecosystem should be quickly migrated to a managed private cloud.

Quick Migration for Cost Savings

Many enterprises prefer migrating with the help of their in-house team and choose a conservative approach to migration to cut costs. However, this approach too often ends up increasing costs in the long run; one major reason for this being the fact that the enterprise is essentially running two infrastructures during the migration incurring costs on both.

The best approach to mitigate risks while realizing cost savings is a quick migration. It’s possible to do this without assistance provided the enterprise invests a lot in rigorous planning. However, a more feasible and risk-free way is to enlist a cloud partner with expertise in public, private, and hybrid cloud.

The right cloud service expert can, within the budget, recommend the necessary services needed for successful migration based on the application portfolio inventory and the enterprise’s specific preferences. With their help, enterprises can get applications shifted to the cloud quickly and economically without being concerned about risks.

Conclusion

Moving applications to a managed public and private cloud properly ensures significant operational cost savings (of up to 60%) owing to the cloud’s optimized hardware utilization and the availability of efficient administration tools. But the pivotal component that influences the success of a cloud migration procedure is the expertise and experience of the party performing the migration.

If you are looking for a partner with the required expertise to make the migration happen without issues, you are at the right place. AOT Technologies, over the years, have been building our reputation as a reliable IT service provider specializing in software solutions and cloud computing technologies.

We have a team of qualified cloud experts who know their way around the most widely used cloud services and widely adopted cloud migration strategies. AOT is also fully capable of devising a migration strategy to deliver the outcome and benefits you desire cost effectively. Get in touch with us today.

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As experts predicted back in 2017, the cloud did dominate 2018 and that’s just the beginning. As a matter of fact, it is now the top IT budget priority in 2019 for organizations. There used to be cloud security concerns due to which many organizations were reluctant to shift their workloads off-premises. But today most companies realized that cloud is relatively safe to move data, applications, and infrastructure to.

The surprising fact is that many organizations have started moving to the cloud just for better security. Cloud-based security solutions are widely available now that offer not just enhanced security for employees and staff working remotely but also greater scalability and flexibility. Reduced complexity is an added bonus.

A report from Forcepoint also noted these facts and also pointed out that the overall ease and speed of deployment, lower hardware and support costs, and great technical support keep enticing more organizations to migrate to the cloud offered popular cloud service providers.

Speaking of, the key to leveraging the cloud effectively lies mostly on the cloud service provider. And finding the right one is a challenge in itself. Apart from this, there are several misconceptions that still surround the cloud deterring organizations who are considering the option.

This blog explores a few major cloud security myths which should give your business an idea of how your ideal cloud solution should be.

Security certifications matter only for compliance teams

That’s now how it is. Companies preparing to move to the cloud should ensure that their cloud-based security providers have the requisite certifications before signing the contract. If the cloud provider doesn’t show certificates, you can’t be sure that they are complying with industry and government security standards.

For instance, the cloud provider should have controls implemented for PII data. This is a GDPR compliance requirement. If they don’t have the certifications to assure you, it’s better to seek service from a company with all the required certifications.

Cloud-provider data centers have better security than private data centers

Many cloud-service providers claim to have a more secure infrastructure compared to private data centers. But this isn’t necessarily the case for every cloud-service provider out there. Ultimately it all comes down to their data center security practices. Security managers should have tight security protocols in place including encryption and data loss prevention.

Last year, we saw a number of companies submitting themselves for audit from reputed cyber-security auditors as a means to assure potential customers of their robust security standards and policies.

More data centers = More service performance

On the contrary, the number of data centers doesn’t directly impact the cloud service performance. It is simply seen as a great approach to safeguard data during any kind of failures or outages. Microsoft Azure serves as a great example here. Azure has 30 data centers across the globe. There are smaller cloud services that have even more data centers but still cannot match the performance offered by Azure.

Cloud service security doesn’t impact cyber-insurance

Cyber-insurance is a big deal now as more companies have started investing in it. Forcepoint’s report found that, last year, US insurers earned an estimated $1 billion in cyber premiums. If your cloud service provider can show certifications to assure their robust security standards and data protection policies, you won’t be paying high cyber-insurance premium. This point also emphasizes the value of the cloud in today’s tech market.

You won’t know how your data are being used

This depends on the cloud service provider and their reputation when it comes to upholding data privacy. Your company has no other option but to trust your cloud service provider and the people they have employed to manage your service. It’s not that hard to track what the in-house staff are doing with the data. But you can’t be sure how the service provider is using the data.

Nevertheless, you can still get an idea of how the data are being accessed by asking the provider to furnish audit logs. You will know who accessed your data. Providers can also show you proof that they perform the necessary background checks and have suitable clearance.

The cloud demands too much resources

This myth is what deters startups and SMBs from migrating to the cloud. For such businesses, data management is quite hassle-free from the operational point of view considering the fact that their office management solutions and data are all managed by an on-premises server. However, when it’s time to update the server, the server administrator of the business will have to take the server down, perform the update, edit configurations, and leave room to add more servers as the business grows.

A cloud service virtually eliminates the need for in-house server management and maintenance. This leaves a good chunk of the organization’s resources intact so they can be utilized for other critical tasks. To conclude, cloud services typically require fewer resources. But this also means the in-house IT team will mostly be unaware of how the service is being managed and monitored.

No data breaches if the cloud provider ensures the best security

Cloud service providers will have their own team of security experts who will manage and implement data security controls. But it doesn’t mean your organization shouldn’t invest in a solid security strategy and policy. The cloud service provider is responsible for keeping the cloud infrastructure secure and safe. But it’s your organization’s responsibility to secure the data while they are being transferred to and from the cloud.

Conclusion

The rapid growth of the cloud over the past couple of years also painted a big crosshair on it for cyber-criminals. The cloud is seen as a challenge by them now which means cloud providers have to double the effort to improve security in the coming times. The cloud does come with a multitude of benefits but your organization is still not completely safe from data breaches. Cloud security is a responsibility that falls on both your organization’s and the cloud provider’s shoulders.

As for cloud solutions that can augment your organization from the inside out, AOT is here to help. Talk to our experts to learn how our cloud expertise can help your organization leverage the cloud for faster growth and better security.

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Due to the dynamic technological advances in today’s digital age, the software development and QA team face continual pressure to deliver top notch quality software in a short delivery time. In such scenarios, the QA team can leverage automation technologies to get things done faster and more effectively. However, test automation itself is fraught with many challenges. And this is where the cloud makes a difference today.

The proliferation of the cloud and the increased adoption of Agile workflows by organizations subsequently increased the demand for solid test automation strategies by QA professionals.

If Forrester’s prediction becomes true, the total global public cloud market will cross $175 billion this year. The cloud testing market on the other hand is project to cross $10 billion alone by 2022 according to the forecast by marketsandmarkets.com

With the cloud offering more flexibility than ever in addition to unique services that in fact accelerate digital transformation in an enterprise, it is no surprise that cloud test automation is gaining momentum each day.

Let’s explore the benefits of cloud test automation in enterprises.

Supports pretty much ‘everything’

This ‘everything’ includes platforms, devices, and even browsers. Essentially, cloud test automation facilitates testing on multiple platforms in parallel unlike traditional testing where they are done one after the other. As a matter of fact, parallel testing is one of the most important features of cloud test automation helping the QA team cover many devices, versions, and platforms at the same time, thus saving a lot of time for the entire testing process.

Additional benefits include quicker turnaround when it comes to deployments, and overall much faster and effective testing ideal for an Agile ecosystem. Many cloud automation providers also offer access to a plethora of virtualized testing resources.

Redefines real-time collaboration

Cloud test automation also facilitates effective real-time collaboration. One great example to this is the popular cloud-based test automation tool, Selenium. In addition to great flexibility, one of the main features of Selenium is that it provides real-time collaboration for enterprises with teams scattered across different parts of the globe.

Most cloud test automation services ensures easier collaboration for the testers while providing greater accessibility to testing tools, reports, and suites. The practice complements the DevOps culture so well that the delivery pipeline would be seamlessly automated leading to increased productivity as well as reusability of test components.

Cost-effective testing

Back in the days, cloud technologies did not have a reasonable price tag for many businesses, and proved affordable only for big companies. This is not the case now, as the comparatively lower cost of cloud is now one of the most compelling factors contributing to its increasing adoption. This also applies to cloud test automation today.

A good portion of defects in testing can be attributed to a poor configuration of test environments. This is not a concern if it’s cloud-based testing, which is why it’s safe to say that cloud testing can indeed reduce operational and capital costs. However, services differ depending on the service providers. It’s obviously a good idea to rely on reputed cloud service providers that can responsibly build, execute, configure, and update the environment as required.

Quicker and more efficient

In addition to the natural benefits of the cloud, cloud-based automation itself considerably improves accuracy and efficiency of the testing process, and ensures great quality and high efficacy of the software application. Cloud test automation further augments itself in an Agile ecosystem by facilitating extensive customization so as to improve user experience.

Even if the components in the cloud are distributed across the globe, they can all be automatically updated. The resulting seamless data access and automated actions significantly improves the test cycle.

Faster deployment

With cloud test automation effectively facilitating real-time collaboration, the cloud’s inherent flexibility, and the transparency with various teams (both QA and development), it becomes easier to fix anomalies. Developers would be able to mitigate tasks efficiently, and fix identified issues right in the early stages within the cloud itself. The QA team would know what’s going on. Cycle time is essentially reduced which translates to faster application deployment.

Conclusion

Cloud-powered testing tools have already gone mainstream, and are now commonly used for performance and load testing. The scaling capacity, pay-as-you-go pricing model, and the overall speed boost granted by the cloud makes it a feasible option for businesses competing to deliver desired results in the shortest time.

Experienced cloud platform managers can help integrate cloud test automation to your business environment effectively. It’s safe to say that cloud testing is in fact the testing approach of the future for enterprises.

If you want to leverage cloud automation capabilities with solutions personalized for your business, AoT technologies is the right place to be. We have the team, resources, and raw potential to digitally mold the cloud to fit right in with your business driven by innovative AI-powered digital solutions. Feel free to contact us to understand how we can change your business.

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The cloud kept evolving over the years, and ‘Multi Cloud’ is widely anticipated to be its next evolution. Public and hybrid clouds have become much more important in modern IT infrastructure owing to the rising prominence of Software-as-a-service (SaaS). Multi cloud is expected to fill more gaps in the coming years.

Multi cloud

It’s not to be confused with hybrid cloud, and is basically a combination of a number of cloud technologies from multiple public clouds to meet the changing needs of businesses in the modern age. Multi cloud typically is not specific to a single vendor. Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, is a cloud architecture that blends public and private clouds.

The rise of multi cloud began when enterprises tried to avoid dependence on a single public cloud provider, and instead choosing specific services from each public cloud provider.

Last year IDC predicted that over 85% of IT organizations will adopt multi-cloud architectures by 2018.

One of the biggest benefits of adopting a multi cloud approach is that it boosts innovation. The right combination of cloud technologies enable different departments in an IT organization to adopt cutting-edge applications both to balance workloads and to accelerate digital transformation. The cloud is known for the flexibility it grants an enterprise. When multiple cloud technologies are combined, the same flexibility would be present while offering optimal conditions for the best performance.

If it’s an eCommerce business, there can be a highly scalable cloud platform and a different cloud technology to balance as well as meet the large storage demands of a data-intensive workload.

Behind the multi cloud trend

Cloud computing, with each evolution, became more sophisticated as well. Back when it began, the vision for the technology was to place workloads on a single cloud be it private or public. Times have changed. Today, hybrid cloud architecture grants more flexibility and benefits to businesses in addition to many choices that augment how the business digitally operates in more ways than one.

There are many viable public cloud options now including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Tech corporates like Google and Oracle have joined the fray, presenting enterprises with many options. With so many options available, many enterprises started experimenting by combining various cloud technologies either through architectural processes or through ‘shadow IT’ where groups in an enterprise used public cloud services without explicit organizational approval. Regardless of the method adopted, many organizations today use multi cloud infrastructures.

However, managing multi cloud environments presents a lot of challenges and complexity that many organizations may struggle to tackle. With help from cloud service brokers or using cloud management tools, they can somewhat reduce the complexity though they will only be able to use a subset of features from each cloud instead.

Multi cloud management and deployment

Though multi cloud provides more flexibility, control, and security, the downside is that there would more to manage as well. The cloud may have grown out of its infancy, but multi-cloud is still relatively new. There’s so much more to explore which makes the management and deployment of multi-cloud environments a hassle despite its benefits.

Here are a few expert tips to keep in mind when adopting a multi cloud strategy for your enterprise.

  • Map the network to see where the multi cloud can fit – Different lines of businesses are best served by different cloud vendors. So it’s important to have a clear picture of your overall system and its management to figure out where the cloud can fit in and make things better.
  • Devise a flexible purchase process – To avoid cost impediments to using different cloud services from different vendors, it’s wise to come up with a purchase process that’s flexible as the cloud services that would be used. It’s also important to analyze whether each service is delivering value that’s worth its cost.
  • Use cloud management tools to keep track of costs – Cost optimization should have top priority when leveraging multi cloud for the enterprise. There are tools available that can perform accurate cost analysis of workloads when placed in different clouds.
  • Automate policy across your multi cloud ecosystem – When using multiple cloud services, especially from different vendors, an efficient approach is to have a single standard of policies. They should be applied automatically to each environment covering various areas including virtual servers, workloads, data storage, traffic etc. Such a configuration also makes it easier to apply updates so that they propagate seamlessly across the environments.

Conclusion

Public, private, hybrid, multi, pragmatic hybrid: the cloud comes in many forms today. And it’s not their names you should be focused on. The key is to understand what each offers, and learn how each benefits your enterprise. If you require help implementing the right kind of cloud strategy to your business, AoT offers our vast expertise. We can help your business get the best out of cloud computing with innovative, custom cloud solutions. Want to learn more? Give us a call.

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