Posted by: Greg Ness | August 5, 2015

Is IT Really Anti-Cloud?


Shocking July 2015 Survey Results

Not Really… if you accept the results of a recent survey.

We just finished compiling the results of a disaster recovery best practices survey of more than 300 IT pros (read about the most notable findings).  Besides discovering that most firms are not following disaster recovery best practices, one particular finding stood out like a bolt of lightning: 55% of those IT pros surveyed said that they would adopt the cloud for disaster recovery if they could address security and networking requirements.


That bodes well for the cloud providers as they continue to deliver more robust security and network functionality.  Many will say that they are already on par or better than most firms when it comes to security.

Other findings included infrequent testing of DR environments by most firms and the causes, which include insufficient internal resources and complex processes.  You can read about the survey at DR is Broken but Don’t Blame IT.

Read more about this the cloud and IT at: Will the Cloud Destroy IT Careers?

Posted by: Greg Ness | June 18, 2015

Is Your Disaster Recovery Strategy Obsolete?

After talking to VMblog and InformationWeek I’ve come to the conclusion that most companies are suffering through obsolete approaches to disaster recovery.  I’ve gone so far as to explain Why the Cloud will Crush Traditional Disaster Recovery in a recent CloudVelox blog.

Is Your DR Strategy Obsolete?

Following are two recent interviews where I discuss cloud DR more specifically (as a hybrid cloud use case) as well as how CloudVelox addresses the demands of complex legacy app environments with both physical and virtual workloads better than manually intensive, first gen cloud migration tools..

The level of automation for these mixed environments is what sets CloudVelox apart from the first generation tools developed for app environments already (100%) virtualized.

Interview with David Marshall at VMblog

From the interview: “For most organizations the traditional disaster recovery model is broken: the DR environment is expensive and cumbersome, and infrequently tested.  That means should an actual outage or disaster happen, a recovery could take days or even weeks, since the DR site needs to be a close match to the protected site, and for most environments that requires extensive and complex manual processes.  In between (infrequent) tests or dry runs these steps can be inadvertently missed. A duplicate site is equipped, powered and operated for the prospect of use less than 5% of the time, if at all.  That is incredibly wasteful. Cloud DR is a superior operating model to backup and traditional warm or cold standby models: it offers better protection and often much lower costs.”

InformationWeek News Desk at Interop

“Secondary data centers are unwieldy, costly and difficult to test.”

Posted by: Greg Ness | April 24, 2015

Hybrid Cloud Coming of Age for Disaster Recovery

2015 should prove to be a pivotal year for enterprise cloud adoption, thanks to a series of critical developments, including accelerating interest in the hybrid cloud.


Numerous reports and surveys (previously reported in Archimedius) predict high growth for the hybrid cloud market:

  • Research and Markets just published a report predicting that “the hybrid cloud market is expected to grow from $25.28 billion in 2014 to $84.67 billion by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.3% from 2014 to 2019.”
  • A recent study by Peer 1 Hosting has hybrid cloud adoption tripling by 2018.
  • In a Computerworld article by Sharon Gaudin late last year IDC analyst Frank Gens predicted an increasing “hybrid movement” in 2015, that would be enough to boost the entire cloud market. In the same article Technology Business Research predicted 50 percent growth in hybrid cloud for 2015.

Industry experts also predict that the trend to hybrid will be significant enough to manifest itself in other ways; for example, the hybrid cloud will impact traditional colocation services, including private cloud deployment.

“Use of on-premises hosting is expected to fall from 31 percent to 17 percent in the next three years,” Peer 1 Hosting said, “while private cloud hosting could decline from 52 percent to 41 percent during that time frame.”

– Talkin’ Cloud, citing Peer 1 Research

Yet this high growth in the hybrid cloud, thus far at least, has been enabled by a low initial revenue base.  Enterprises appear to have just started to deploy hybrid clouds in meaningful numbers and sizes.  The barriers to hybrid cloud adoption have been related to the processes, risks and costs to extend security and compliance-related controls and services into the cloud.


Concerns about security and compliance have topped most lists as the biggest barriers to hybrid cloud adoption.  Yet even these concerns are easing as a result of ongoing cloud provider investments and new offerings aimed at enterprises.  The security and compliance gap between private cloud and public cloud capabilities has been shrinking, per recent research.  In fact, the public cloud is already superior to many existing data center environments, and clearly most expect the gap between the two to dissolve as billions more are invested in advanced cloud infrastructure in coming years.

“It’s not that CIOs and CEOs are less concerned about security, especially when it comes to the cloud. It’s just that cloud vendors are coming up with better security answers, according to Allan Krans, an analyst with Technology Business Research.”

–  Computerworld, Dec 18, 2014

Last year I spoke to a CIO at an organization that deployed hybrid cloud disaster recovery (DR) ahead of the pack.  When he brought up the idea initially, he faced some early resistance related to cloud security.  So the team hired a security auditor to test the organization’s environment in the cloud. A few weeks later the consultant started the meeting with “I have some good news and some bad news.”  The bad news was that there were some security vulnerabilities.

“What could possibly be the good news?” the CIO asked.

“There are fewer vulnerabilities in the cloud than in your native environment,” the consultant answered.

Even if cloud providers offer better security and compliance, the migration path, especially for larger enterprise environments, can be treacherous.  Complex network, security and management controls need to be extended into the cloud.  These processes have traditionally been expensive, time consuming and risky.  That reality takes us to the automation barrier: while clouds have matured to enable enterprise-equivalent controls, the cost of extending those controls from the premise into the cloud has often been prohibitive.

Hybrid cloud automation then emerges as a critical capability.


A recent survey published in “found that 41 percent felt that migrating complex apps to the cloud is ‘more trouble than it’s worth.’”  There is good reason for the findings: the traditional body shops and the various tools created to run on virtualized environments, including IaaS regions, typically do not automate the vast number of processes involved with extending the critical network, security and management services from the premise into the cloud.

Most were designed with agility or DR within a virtualized environment (e.g. v-motion), not between a traditional mixed (virtual and physical workload) environment.  This lack of automation has left plenty of costs and risks on the table, especially for larger enterprise cloud environments.

While public clouds have a well-worn path to automation once you are in the cloud, the lack of implementation when it comes to hybrid clouds is primarily due to customers and service providers building islands of automation (private clouds with platform lock-in).

The lack of use or adoption of available APIs leads to inefficiencies in process and a reduced TCO benefit to users and service providers alike.  That will change in coming years.


Hybrid cloud automation software has matured and is now more capable of extending critical network and security services needed to address security and compliance requirements.  Automation has spread from mere image conversion or server-level blueprinting tools to platforms that automate the discovery, blueprinting, provisioning and synchronization of entire app stacks, services and databases for migration to the cloud or cloud DR.

Late last year I spoke with one of the leading disaster recovery analysts; he said the average cloud DR deployment was fewer than 20 servers, and few deployments were for apps supporting 30 or more workloads.  This year, environments looking for hybrid cloud deployment are many times larger.  For example, late last year MyPoints shuttered its western regional colocation facility and moved its 100-plus legacy server environment into AWS using hybrid cloud automation software for Pilot Light DR.

The MyPoints team had spent a year evaluating various options.  They finally found software that tackled the issue of extending networking security into the cloud.  Critical processes were automated, saving time and money while reducing risk.  Suddenly the cloud DR payoff was more than in sight: MyPoints reduced its TCO by 50 percent while establishing its first quarterly DR test plan.  The automated hybrid cloud allowed MyPoints to save money and increase trust in its DR environment.


Hybrid Cloud Automation Gears


Discovery: Discovery of hosts (physical or VMs) in the application and mapping of dependencies (services, configurations, settings, etc.)

Blueprinting: Mapping static and dynamic workload characterization

Provisioning: Static and dynamic workload characterization

Synchronization: Continuous replication and synchronization of all hosts (OS, app, data, etc.)

Initiation: Igniting into production for testing, outage or migration


Migrating an image of a server or a VM onto a cloud is perhaps the most trivial part of hybrid cloud automation.  The most challenging and yet vital processes to automate relate to the network, security and management services, i.e., those that often address security and compliance requirements. From discovery to provisioning, missteps in this area can add massive costs and risks to any project, especially for large environments.  Databases also have specialized needs for integration, often requiring third-party tools.

MyPoints relied on software that was powerful enough to address its demanding network and security requirements, so they would no longer be a barrier to hybrid cloud adoption.  In that respect the deployment is a model for future hybrid cloud DR deployments.


Hybrid cloud automation software requires a new level of sophistication compared to the tools developed for traditional virtualization platforms or existing IaaS architectures.  Because traditional tools weren’t architected for key premises requirements, especially for physical systems, which are still commonplace, they require a great deal of manual support, which leads to increased costs, longer time to deployment and greater risk.

So as enhanced security and compliance make the cloud more enterprise-friendly, the key migration and deployment processes for extending security and networking services into the cloud are becoming increasingly automated.  As that happens, hybrid cloud deployments will become even larger and adoption will increase at a faster rate.

The missing link for the hybrid cloud for those still waiting for the hybrid cloud DR payoff?  Robust software that automates otherwise manual processes required to bridge the premises and the cloud.  This software will allow the enterprise cloud, and especially cloud DR, to come of age, as recently proven by MyPoints.

Posted by: Greg Ness | April 21, 2015

Recent Surveys Point to Hybrid Cloud Traction


  • Research and Markets just published a report predicting that “the hybrid cloud market is expected to grow from $25.28 billion in 2014 to $84.67 billion by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.3% from 2014 to 2019.”
  • A recent study by Peer 1 Hosting has hybrid cloud adoption tripling by 2018.
  • In a Computerworld article by Sharon Gaudin late last year IDC analyst Frank Gens predicted an increasing “hybrid movement” in 2015, that would be enough to boost the entire cloud market. In the same article Technology Business Research predicted 50 percent growth in hybrid cloud for 2015.
Posted by: Greg Ness | March 22, 2015

Cloud Costs Dropping, Data Centers Closing

A couple items grabbed my attention recently, including the recent Synergy report on the growing share of IT infrastructure spending going to the cloud.  It surprised me. I had nothing to say, for once.

Then the answer hit me.

While cloud costs are declining slightly, the costs for cloud migration and deployment are dropping aggressively.  A first effect is the shuttering of secondary data centers and the deployment of more apps and services in the cloud. Then consider that the cloud leaders are becoming more enterprise-friendly.

Cloudy Days Ahead for IT as Usual

Cloudy Days Ahead for IT as Usual

Shuttering data centers for the cloud you ask?  Check out the case study from an upcoming webinar with Gartner on how a San Francisco-based company saved 50% by replacing its secondary data center with the cloud, and reduced costs by 50% while increasing agility. (Yes you can get the MyPoints slides after registering.)

Certainly the MyPoints team is ahead of the curve and most companies are still using DRaaS or secondary data centers, despite the costs, inconveniences and challenges. Yet they’ve proven how transformative the cloud can be for a large server environment. A 50% cost reduction for retiring a data center into the cloud is beyond noteworthy.

The secondary data center business (based on IT as usual) has been sizzling thanks to the innovations introduced by VMware and innovations in data center electrical and mechanical design.  Plus the shifts of the web giants into leased space. Their cloud migration costs were not trivial, yet they moved.  It was all about predictable workloads and lease versus own. It seems likely, however, that the cloud has already started crowding out the traditional data centers, hence the Synergy stats on infrastructure spending shifting to the cloud.

In addition to falling cloud migration costs some of the cloud leaders have caught up with even primary data centers when it comes to security and compliance issues which had been troublesome in the early cloud days when it started as a Dev/Test environment ala VMware’s early days.  Specialized partners and SLAs can be created to address requirements once in the exclusive domain of traditional IT experts.

Traditional IT will certainly be around for many years, yet the ever lower costs of the API-driven cloud and the billions in investments made by the leaders (in security, compliance, and infrastructure) are already being felt by the “private cloud” huggers still willing to pay the vendor lock-in tolls. The agility, however, may be the biggest factor; from migration into a cloud to migration between clouds.

Stay Tuned.

Posted by: Greg Ness | March 19, 2015

Using IaaS to Slash DR Costs and Increase Testing and Trust

We decided to bring together experts from Gartner, AWS, CloudVelox and cloud DR leader MyPoints for an in-depth and highly informative webinar that would give its viewers a competitive advantage when it comes to disaster recovery and IaaS.

The result is one of the most informative webinars you might ever view on any IT topic. It combines big picture DR business impacts with key operating realities and proven results. And you get the information directly from some of the world’s leading experts.

Check it out.

MyPoints Webinar Final


MyPoints Exec Summary Slide

Exec Summary Slide for MyPoints Case Study


Synergy Research reports that cloud infrastructure spending has been growing rapidly:

“Cloud infrastructure is a fast-growing market and now accounts for almost half of all data center infrastructure shipments,” says Jeremy Duke, founder and Chief Analyst, Synergy Research.

“We are seeing strong growth across private, public and hybrid cloud deployments and across all geographic regions.

Pretty amazing…

Posted by: Greg Ness | March 11, 2015

Execs Report Surprising Cloud Benefits: Forbes

Guy Looking at Clouds 4 blog

A recent article from Forbes reports surprising benefits of cloud computing based on a survey of execs conducted by Tata Communications.

One in Four Enterprises See ‘Surprise’ Cloud Benefits, Survey Finds

In total, 83 percent of executives report benefits they did not expect to see. This recent research out of Tata Communications has found that 85 percent say cloud had “lived up to industry hype.”

I’m not surprised.  I was converted from cloud denial by my interviews with execs who had levered the cloud for operating advantage. Still it is great to see the momentum building.

Posted by: Greg Ness | March 6, 2015

Cloud DR Leaders: Lunch With Impinj

I was in Seattle for a couple days this week for meetings and had a chance to catch lunch at Agrodolce (a great local restaurant in Fremont) with Impinj IT leader Morgan Van Wely.

Lunch with Morgan

As I enjoyed fresh olives from Sicily Morgan talked about the Cloud DR payoff, which was primarily trust and cost savings.  The Impinj secondary data center was in another state (great for locality) and very hard for their team to manage and test as needed.

So they started their cloud DR program with a key, mission-critical app, including a new 3 month regular DR test plan.  Yes, the up-front cost savings were substantial. The real payoff, however, was a higher level of trust in a new, regularly-tested DR environment.

Impinj is the leading provider of UHF RFID solutions.  Very cool, timely technology.

Stay tuned for more on Impinj…

Thanks Morgan!

Posted by: Greg Ness | February 27, 2015

Cloud Migration Getting Automated

Consistent with multiple predictions about cloud migration getting easier I present a case study for a financial services company in Florida.  The case study was done last year, but it demonstrates the power of automation over manual processes and early tools: case study.

“In 2013 we evaluated a variety of cloud migration tools,” commented Flamingo Software’s IT Manager Christophe Loisey. ”They were too hard to use, very hands-on and not reliable,” he lamented. “Over the course of two weekends, we accomplished with CloudVelox what we thought was impossible: we migrated our entire environment of virtual workloads as well as a physical server into AWS.”


FlamingoSoft Case Study

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