Acryness Selects eGroup’s eCloud to Gain a Competitive Advantage
eCloud’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provides Acryness the latest in system and server infrastructure solutions
Mount Pleasant, SC (PRWEB) May 21, 2013 – eGroup, the Southeast’s leading provider of cloud, application and end-user computing services, today announced that Acryness, a document solutions company based in Mooresville, NC, has migrated its mission-critical systems and servers into the eCloud.
As a result, Acryness anticipates improvement in its competitive advantage through operational and efficiency savings. Working closely with eGroup engineers, Acryness quickly consolidated its FTP, Web, and Database servers along with its internal data processing systems into the eCloud.
Chris Jarjoura, IT Director, Acryness, said: “We were looking to upgrade our server environment as some of our systems were already in a cloud infrastructure. We took this opportunity to consolidate more of our infrastructure to a reputable cloud environment. We had an existing relationship with eGroup, but after looking at the market cloud providers, we selected eGroup’s eCloud as it offered the best set of functionality and reliability at a competitive price.”
“Acryness is a great example of a forward-thinking firm that truly believes by harnessing cloud computing it can not only improve customer delivery and service, but cut costs and reduce internal inefficiencies as well,” said Steve Rattacasa, Cloud Services Manager, eGroup. “In such a competitive market, Acryness turned to the eCloud so that it could focus on customers, solutions delivery and overall growth, not upgrading and maintaining technology.”
The eGroup eCloud is a hosted, high-performance computing infrastructure, purpose-built to efficiently maintain, protect, and deliver IT securely to businesses of all sizes. In the eCloud, customers enjoy easy and secure access to their mission-critical applications and data anytime, anywhere, on any device.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Microsoft’s Yung Chou on a few cloud computing and virtualization related topics. For those of you not familiar with Yung, he’s a Technology Evangelist on Microsoft’s US Developer and Platform Evangelism team. Prior to Microsoft, he had established capacities in system programming, application development, consulting services and IT management. His recent technical focuses have been in virtualization and cloud computing with strong interests in private cloud with service-based deployment, hybrid cloud, and emerging enterprise computing architectures.
We hope you you find this insight valuable. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below for Yung to answer!
And don’t forget to check out his blog: Yung Chou on Hybrid Cloud
eGroup: What is your definition of cloud computing? And why do you believe everyone has their own, distinct definition of cloud computing?
YC: I define cloud computing with the 5-3-2 Principle. Which specifies that to be qualified with the term, cloud, an object must:
- Exhibit the five essential characteristics, namely a self-serving model, providing ubiquitous access, employing resource pooling, offering elasticity, and including a consumption-based analytic model
- Be delivered in one of the three ways: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, or Infrastructure as a Service
- Be deployed to either public cloud or private cloud where I consider hybrid cloud is an extension of either of the two
Indeed, cloud computing means different things to different people. And the reason is that cloud computing encompasses the entire spectrum of IT lifecycle from hardware acquisition, infrastructure, networking, software development, production operations and maintenance, to decommission and disposing of resources. And, regardless what role and responsibilities an IT professional assumes, it is in the umbrella scope of cloud computing. In fact, I always say if you are an IT professional you do know something about cloud computing for sure. This issue, in my view, is not on understanding cloud computing from a particular point of view, the issue is the inability to connect the dots and articulate the overall vision of cloud computing relevant to a project’s priorities or an individual’s role and responsibilities due to a lack of clarity of what cloud computing is about.
Cloud computing, in layman’s terms, is a concept, an objective, a state, or a capability such that a business can be available on demand. In the context of IT, the concept, the objective, the state, or the capability is realized with digital computing. The key here is this idea of “on demand” which is an ambitious and lofty goal for IT. On-demand in cloud computing means anytime, anywhere, any device access, which is the spirit of consumerization of IT which embraces the device of a user’s choice for productivity. On-demand sets the focus on an intended user and whenever, wherever, and with whatever device the user needs to access an authorized resource, either an application, a run-time environment, or infrastructure, the resource will be there, not only accessible but also ready for consumption. On-demand also implies the ability to timely increase capacities as a target market moves upward and perhaps more importantly to decrease capacity when demands subside. On-demand is a result of combining standardization of deployment, automation of operations and processes, and optimization of resource utilization while all requires meticulous capacity planning with a comprehensive system management solution.
This always accessibility and readiness of a resource for an authorized user is the essence of cloud computing. This concept is largely embedded in the term, service. In other words, cloud computing is to enable a business available of demand, i.e. business as a service. Frequently in a cloud computing discussion we have heard people reference software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, IT as a service, and even everything as a service. They are essentially saying an application available on demand, a run-time environment available on demand, provisioning infrastructure on demand, IT functions available on demand, and a target delivery on demand, respectively.
So my terse description of cloud computing is simply a capability to deliver business as a service or make business available on demand.
eGroup: Can you explain the 5-3-2 Principle and what it means to IT and business executives?
YC: The 5-3-2 Principle outlines the requirements, the deliveries, and the deployments of cloud computing. For IT decision makers, a clear understanding with set priorities of these requirements relevant to the core business is imperative. The question is really not if but how much and to what extent a business needs cloud computing in various shapes and forms. All business should and will benefit from being available on demand which is the state for cloud computing to achieve. The strategies and decisions are, in principle, based on where your business is now and where it needs to be, what capabilities are in place today and what else to be acquired, what the cash flow looks like and when it can break even, etc. The cost model will be most appropriately developed by IT professionals who know not just how to run IT but to estimate the cost of the operations and processes in a traditional on-premise deployment and a target cloud computing environment.
The 5-3-2 Principle is a modified version of NIST SP 800-145 which officially defines cloud computing and is a good model to start. However, in my view, SP 800-145 misses addressing an important concept, service, which is critical for clarifying what cloud computing is about. SP 800-145 also applies inconsistent criteria in defining some of its cloud computing deployment models as I have described in my post, An Inconvenience Truth of NIST Cloud Computing Definition, SP 800-145.
eGroup: Is there a difference between virtualization and cloud computing? If so, what is that difference?
YC: Virtualization is not cloud computing and cloud computing goes far beyond virtualization. Fundamentally, virtualization is not required to abide by the 5-3-2 Principle while cloud computing is. In many occasion, I ask IT professionals what virtualization means to them. And the frequent answers I have been getting are various forms of describing running multiple OS instances with the same hardware which is basically server consolidation. Few mentioned anything about a self-serving model, universal accessibility, or embedded analytics while either is an essential characteristic of cloud computing. When planning a virtualization solution, the main focus for many has been on configuring and delivering virtual machines, and not about the accessibility and readiness of a service which is the application running in and delivered by a set of deployed virtual machines. Further, cloud computing is to ultimately shorten go-to-market which is why there is such a strong emphasis on the accessibility and the readiness of a target resource. While virtualization is much on the technical integrity of infrastructure which operates under the hood of cloud computing.
eGroup: Gartner recently said in its Hype Cycle report that cloud computing has become muddled in the market as vendors are “cloud washing” and such miscommunication could ultimately detract end users from the efficiencies cloud computing can bring. Would you agree or disagree with Gartner and why?
YC: I agree and again, in my view, this is largely due to a lack of clarity in understanding what cloud computing is. If not knowing what it is, I can’t imagine how one can effectively articulate why and how it is. Cloud computing is not a product or a particular technology. It is a set of capabilies with which a business can be available on demand, whatever the business is from deploying a server, to developing an application or delivering flowers. Lately it is getting even more confusing when people start using the term, cloud, interchangeably with remote access, equating virtualization to private cloud, and employing private cloud, hybrid cloud, and enterprise infrastructure as synonyms, while these terms, each represents a specific set of requirements and objectives, targets various business scenarios, and addresses different business challenges. They are simply not the same.
eGroup: Switching gears to SharePoint, can you briefly discuss how business professionals can use SharePoint for their business intelligence needs/projects?
YC: SharePoint, to the information worker, is just like Active Directory is to system administrators. In Windows infrastructure, Active Directory is the one version of truth and the ultimate authority of all objects managed in the associated domain. Eventually anything happens in a domain, starts and ends with Active Directory since in a distributed system as most what we have today in enterprise IT, authentication, authorization, and accounting are the core services IT provides.
Similarly, SharePoint is the repository and the one version of truth of information based on documents and data stored, derived, and delivered in a corporation. When architecting Windows infrastructure, IT professionals start with a Windows domain. When architecting a BI solution, an information architect should start with a SharePoint infrastructure when there is an opportunity. BI has much to do with data warehousing and mining. At the same time, BI is also about data gathering, portability, presentation, accessibility, taxonomy, workflow, extensibility, rights management, HR/CRM/ERP integration, etc. so what to get, how to get it, validated by what, who owns it, who can process it and to be consumed by whom, what is significant and in what way, and on and on, are all in a way contributed to the realization of BI. All the above mentioned are what ultimately SharePoint is designed to deliver.
So rather than trying to fit SharePoint into a business process, developing a business process with SharePoint is the fundamental concept we must appreciate. This becomes very obvious when trying to build Windows infrastructure without first planning Active Directory. It just does not work that way. SharePoint needs to be considered with the same level of respect when it comes to information management. Consolidate existing business processes and data and convert them into SharePoint, subsequently run your business and develop BI capabilities with SharePoint to maximize business values and accelerate ROI.
We recently sat down with Allen Rittscher, President of Virtual C-I-O, to chat about cloud computing’s opportunity for the enterprise, advantages over alternative computing methods and how C-level executives view “the promise of the cloud.”
The following is the result of our conversation with Allen.
A future post will discuss the trend of end-user computing and how easier access to corporate information, anytime, anywhere and on any device is creating a more productive and efficient workforce.
eGroup: A company executive’s objective is to “do more with less”; how can this be achieved when collaboration and productivity requires the latest technology and applications? For example, incorporating cloud computing, which some believe is hype.
AR: This is an area in which the CEO, CFO and IT management must be in agreement and have a level of trust in each other’s role. Given the CEO’s vision for the organization, IT management will design an effective technology environment to support all staff members in achieving that vision. When this IT design has been created in proper alignment with the business vision / mission, it will be very cost-effective in addition to being a performance and cost-reduction catalyst. “Doing more with less” is the natural by-product of a strategic business-aligned IT environment design.
Cloud computing has grown past the hype phase and is now a maturing option for businesses of all sizes to significantly reduce operating costs. It can also reduce capital requirements for key IT commodities such as email, document management, customer relationship management systems and collaboration technologies.
eGroup: When it comes to enterprise / business goals, what challenges do C-level executives face today?
AR: Today’s C-level executives face the challenge of accomplishing much-needed goals of the enterprise within the confines of annual budgets and resource allocations. Most CEOs, though, are becoming aware of modern approaches to delivering IT services via cloud computing and through the use of global resources. They are increasingly pushing their agendas through means that do not require the same level of investment as in years past.
These modern approaches free up dollars for core technology investments by reducing annual operating costs of non-core technologies. At Virtual C-I-O, for example, we’re helping both small and large enterprises to leverage these approaches to deliver technology based services that are helping control – and in most cases reduce – the operating costs to further generate competitive benefits.
eGroup: What indicators should be recognized by a CEO to prompt a company’s complete IT assessment? How can the CEO and CFO generate a clear picture of total IT expenses?
AR: Understanding all IT costs, including the “hidden costs” of acquiring and maintaining IT assets, can help reduce unnecessary expenses and move funds to other key areas. The old adage “until you measure, you can’t control” applies here. Inaccurate IT spending analysis leads to waste, improper budgeting and low cost efficiency. Always include direct and indirect costs in IT analysis. As part of a comprehensive IT assessment, technology actual costs as well as planned costs need C-level visibility.
eGroup: How should we define “cloud computing”? Do you believe that company top management has other definitions?
“Cloud computing” has many different definitions in today’s market. For the small to medium sized business owner, they should view the “cloud” as an avenue by which they acquire key IT systems for email, document management, customer relationship management, accounting, etc. On a per-employee basis, where a monthly fee is paid to acquire the technology, cloud computing can keep the technology current. For key functions like backups, accessibility and mobile enablement are built-in benefits.
In larger enterprises, “cloud computing” takes on many different meanings and is generally viewed as a means to deliver systems to employees and clients over the internet, buy processing and data storage on an “as needed” basis and a means for acquiring non-core technology like email and document management.
eGroup: What are the primary concerns, objections or misunderstandings that C-level executives have about the cloud?
AR: The primary concerns among C-level executives are cost, reliability and security. These concerns generally stem from a misunderstanding of what the cloud actually is. Most misunderstandings are around what is known as the “public” cloud and that is generally associated to services such as Gmail. An executive’s worry usually comes from news reports regarding security breaches or system wide outages.
What most C-level executives fail to think about is that those same instances can and do happen in their own company. In many cases, the measured SLA is actually less on internal systems than a service provided by companies like Google or Microsoft. Today, cloud providers are delivering services in a capacity which typically offers greater service levels than internal resources and generally do so at a lower operating cost. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “What Every CEO Should Know about the Cloud”, addresses these topics as well.
eGroup: How can we effectively educate top management on the cost, security and efficiency advantages of “the cloud”?
AR: Educating top management is happening in many different forms today. Company IT executives have gained a better understanding of cloud services as they struggle with the relentless imperative “do more with less.” Many reputable technology research sources like Gartner and Forrester have expanded their coverage of topics regarding the cloud and not to mention articles from the Harvard Business Review, Forbes and other management publications.
To gain a better understanding on cost, organizations will need to learn more about their own IT spend and ultimately get their IT costs down to an employee. In having information about cost of IT by employee, a company can effectively analyze the cost on a per user basis which most cloud providers charge by user. Security, on the other hand, is something that needs to be researched and compared against internal capabilities. Cloud providers such as Microsoft and Google are housing their cloud based infrastructure in Tier-3 data centers, similar to that of the banking industry. So, in many cases, an effective cloud strategy can not only create greater cost savings, but greater efficiencies and greater security as well.
Allen Rittscher serves as President of Virtual C-I-O, a Jacksonville, FL-based IT strategy consulting company, since its founding in 2012. Previously he served as Chief Information Officer for Volt Information Sciences, Inc., a Fortune 500 HR services company, and President of ProcureStaff Technologies, a software development company. Prior to that, Mr. Rittscher held information technology management positions with MPS Group and Barnett Bank. He earned his BS degree from the University of North Florida and MBA degree from Jacksonville University. For more information on Virtual C-I-O, visit www.virtual-c-i-o.com.
ROK Global Applications Group, LLC selects eGroup to Deliver Reliable and Secure Data Visualizations to Esri Users
eGroup’s eCloud infrastructure to allow users to easily view, understand and interpret geographically referenced data right from the desktop
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – September 20, 2012 – eGroup, the Southeast’s leading provider of cloud, application and end-user computing services, today announced that ROK Technologies will deliver the Esri ArcGIS product line via eGroup’s eCloud.
As a result of the partnership, commercial enterprises and governmental organizations will be better prepared to make data driven decisions, at a fraction of the cost. As these groups strive to improve efficiencies, deliver superior customer service and a better informed constituency, commercial enterprises and governmental organizations are increasingly turning to geographic information system (GIS). Historically, these entities have been challenged with rolling out GIS given the high cost and complex technical specifications, despite the significant business benefits.
ROK’s managed ArcGIS Server cloud hosting, powered by eGroup’s eCloud, offers a solution that is cost effective while allowing enterprises and public organizations to integrate their enterprise software with ROK GIS solutions, products and services. Additional benefits include:
- Hosted Computing Infrastructure
- State-of-the-art 24×7 Data Center
- Dedicated Virtual Servers: Scale resources as-needed
- Consolidated Storage: Readily Available
- Highest Levels of Business Continuity
- Scalable Network and Internet Bandwidth
- Dedicated, best in class ArcGIS Server Specialists
Utilizing ROK ‘s ArcGIS Server cloud hosting service offers users several benefits when compared to other cloud based server configurations. For example, ROK maintains the ArcGIS Server license while managing both the hardware and bandwidth provisioning. In addition, ROK maintains the personnel to provide all the expertise and advice to keep users’ map services running at optimal speed.
“At eGroup, we understand not only the importance of data driven decisions but the business criticality of ensuring that the data is available at all times, anywhere and on any device,” said Steve Rattacasa, Cloud Services Manager, eGroup. “ROK selected eGroup’s eCloud because they, too, understand how important GIS is for running any business or government organization and being down is not an option for ROK, nor its customer base.”
“Reliability and performance in an on-demand solution are key criteria for ROK’s cloud initiative. In-depth knowledge of the technical components required to deliver cloud-based applications and a thorough understanding of ROK’s leading edge offerings make eGroup the natural partner of choice for ROK,” Mike Murphy, president at ROK Technologies.
eGroup’s solutions drive customers’ cost containment, revenue growth, and service objectives by addressing challenges associated with mobility, access to critical applications and data, and security. eGroup’s expertise and core competence is focused in three distinct areas: Cloud Services (public and private), Application Services, and End-User Computing.
Headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., eGroup provides innovative cloud, application and end-user computing services to businesses across the Southeast. One of the region’s fastest growing companies and winner of the 2012 CRN “Tech Elite 250”, eGroup’s solutions drive customer revenue while reducing cost to maintain IT infrastructures. Visit www.eGroup-us.com or call 1.877.eGROUP.1 (1.877.347.6871) for more information.
ROK Technologies and its affiliate ROK Global Applications Group, based in Charleston, South Carolina, serve clients in many industries and governments globally. As an Esri Silver business partner and ArcGIS Server Application Service Provider licensee, ROK is able to leverage the ArcGIS platform and their cutting edge core competencies to provide Cloud based ArcGIS application development, hosting, and cache management solutions. Visit www.roktech.net or call 1.888.898.3404 for more information.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, we rarely beat our chest, but when it comes to our customers, we have no problem in sharing their successes. And so is the case with Williams & Fudge, Inc., who received EMC’s Journey to the Cloud Award at VMworld 2012.
Phillip Reynolds (pictured above), Director of Data Center Operations, accepted the award for demonstrating excellence in driving innovation, performance and creating business value through the use of virtualization.
Well done, Phillip and team!
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