Staying on Top of Resource Commitment with VMware High Availability

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, October 12th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, VMware, Documentation

It’s easy to provision additional VMs and increase resource commitment from your overall resource pool using the vSphere web portal. Maybe too easy. If you overstretch your resources, some features like High Availability failover may not function as planned. HA keeps your VMs from failing by pooling VMs and hosts in a cluster, relaunching failed VMs on alternate hosts.

Overcommitting resources can also lead to general performance problems, so it is in your best interest to use Admission Control to keep a close watch on overall capacity. Another reason? You might be trying to power on new VMs, only to run into errors as you exceed your Admission Control rules. Tweaking them can save you from buying additional host resources.

This post will introduce the concepts of slot sizes and configuration of Admission Control to allow more VMs to move between hosts when you have turned on High Availability in vSphere/vCenter.

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Know Your Storage Constraints: IOPS and Throughput

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, September 28th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Data Center Design

Application performance can often hinge on how well your storage can serve data to end clients. For this reason you must correctly design or choose your storage tier speed in terms of both IOPS and throughput, which rate the speed and bandwidth of the storage respectively.

It is vital to plan according to manufacturer and developer recommendations as well as real-world benchmarks to maximize your storage (and subsequently application) performance. Take a look at peak IOPS and throughput ratings, read/write ratios, RAID penalties, and physical latency.

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What to Know About IP Addresses Before Your Cloud Migration

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 18th 2017 — Categories: Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Networking and Fiber

When planning a cloud migration, don’t forget to plan ahead for IP address changes that could affect your workloads and the way they interact with internal and external network traffic.

Cloud providers and data centers have a limited pool of IP addresses that they own, and they often re-use previously assigned IPs in order to maximize them. You can’t simply move your existing IP addresses along with your services. Rather, you’ll receive a dynamically assigned internal and external IP address.

To complicate matters, you could lose those dynamically assigned IPs if you stop your cloud instance (but usually only if you stop and deallocate the VM resources — most providers will keep your IP assigned to you if your machine is paused/stopped but still reserved within the overall resource pool). Luckily, there are a few ways to keep IPs relatively static in the cloud.

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Getting Started with Cloud User Identity (Active Directory) for Office 365

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 4th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Moving to Office 365? The user experience is bound to shift, with one of the biggest changes coming to the login process.

Each workstation might previously have had Office software installed locally, so once users signed in, they were free to launch and work on Word or answer e-mails in Outlook. With Office 365, you’ll have to configure user identity settings in a specific way to replicate this — or you can go the cloud-only route and have them sign-in again online in order to access these programs.

Here are some of the factors you’ll have to consider when setting up user identity management in Office 365.

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Introducing the gBlock™ Cloud 2.0: What’s Improved in the Green House Data Cloud

Written by Josh Larsen on Friday, July 28th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, VMware, Product Information

We’ve been cloud-native since the beginning, offering VMware-powered virtual hosting for almost ten years. In fact, our very first EMC backend storage array is now sitting in the lobby of our Cheyenne headquarters.

Of course, we couldn’t stay stagnant with our cloud offerings (you’d notice if that old storage array was still powering your cloud, trust us). The hardware, software, and facilities powering the gBlock cloud have undergone a variety of upgrades over the past decade, and the latest set is big enough for us to dub it officially the gBlock Cloud 2.0.

So what’s new in the Green House Data cloud? Let’s dive into the benefits customers can receive when the migrate to this new and improved platform.

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Moving to Cloud? Know Which of These Four Categories Your Applications Fall Under

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 20th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting

While designing a new application may be the hot development path right now, enterprise organizations have a multitude of legacy applications that should not be ignored when undertaking a cloud initiative.

If you’re preparing to migrate some or all of your applications to a cloud environment, you’ll need to examine them and determine which of these four categories they fall under. With careful planning and perhaps some investment in development, your applications will work just as well in the cloud as they did on-premise. 

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2017 Changes to SSAE and SOC Accreditations for Data Centers and Cloud Providers

Written by Art Salazar on Thursday, June 29th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Security

Two of the most common audit standards for data center and cloud service providers are SOC 1 and SOC 2, with the SSAE 16 Type II control containing both of them. These standards are created by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of CPAs in order to assure the customers of service providers that controls around services are operating securely and effectively.

Every so often, ASB revises these standards. In 2017, the SSAE 16 (which stands for Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements — yes, these audits are frequently a mouthful) has been replaced by SSAE 18 for all audits dated May 1st and later.

Let’s take a look at why data centers and cloud providers certify under SOC 1, SOC 2, and SSAE — and see how the SSAE 18 changes might impact them in 2017.

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The Ten Zones of Enterprise Cloud Security

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 15th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Security

Juggling security in the cloud can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when hybrid cloud and multicloud environments come into play. While your cloud service provider (CSP) can help manage some layers of cloud security, you’ll still be left with management of at least your users and data, if not your application layer.

One way to help keep track of all the security vectors within your organization is to divide them into these ten zones of enterprise cloud security. Any cloud security policy should cover each of these areas. You can also assign a single engineer or administrator to have ownership over each zone.

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Is Cloud Computing More About Business than Technology?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 8th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting

Focusing on cloud initiatives as a technology problem rather than business realignment can be a major mistake. Success in the cloud comes from more than just telling your CTO that you want your systems on a cloud platform. It requires a shift in overall business strategy and clear messaging from leadership on down.

You need to identify your business goals and work backwards from there to figure out how specific cloud technologies can help solve them. This may involve the creation of a cloud team or adjusting your organization to be an agile, “DevOps” style operation.

Ultimately the core technologies your team will use in the cloud aren’t much different than the old model of IT (at least if you were already virtualized), but they do require a shift in your business model to better use the flexible resources available from cloud computing, or the development of a plan that boosts efficiency, reduces costs, and thereby improves your bottom line.

Here are a few tips to keep cloud strategy front of mind.

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Three Ways for MSPs to Find Cloud Opportunities

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, May 17th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting

Cloud opportunities are multiplying, and if your MSP organization doesn’t make moves to introduce your customer base to the cloud, they’re going to find someone else to do it. That doesn’t necessarily mean all cloud, all the time. Instead, focus on finding the right services to fit your client needs.

E-mail, productivity apps, and server resources are already reaching a cloud-first mentality even among SMBs, while the migration of CRM, ERP, and retail applications to the cloud is increasing in popularity. Cloud disaster recovery also remains a great first step into the cloud.

Here are three strategic ways to focus your cloud efforts and start selling more managed cloud services.

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