Why The Transportation and Warehousing Industries Should Look Towards The Cloud

Written by Kristina Sink on Wednesday, October 15th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting

Virtually every business, government, and consumer is dependent on the transportation industry. The shipping branch of the transportation industry is in turn reliant on warehousing, and in terms of logistics services, warehousing relies on transportation for the delivering of their stored goods. These two very different industries have to work together to achieve their ultimate goal of customer satisfaction, and cloud computing can make it easier to collaborate while solving common IT problems for logistics companies.

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Prepare for Windows Server 2003 End of Life

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, October 2nd 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation , Microsoft, Security

Less than a year remains until Microsoft halts support for Windows Server 2003. Just check the ominous countdown clock on their official migration website. With many systems still running Server 2003, including a plethora of 32-bit applications, now is the time to start a migration plan, if you haven't already.

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Set Up and Configure vSphere Alarms for Resource Use, Suspicious Activity, and More

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, September 17th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Security, VMware

As you build out your cloud resources, you may begin to feel overwhelmed with the different elements that need your attention. Even if you have smaller environments, notifications are essential in case something is about to break or has already gone wrong.

VMware vSphere includes default alarms as well as the ability to add custom alarms that can notify admins for various events, conditions, or states. You can set up and configure alarms from the vSphere web client or native application.

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Cost-Effective Uses for HIPAA Cloud: Vendor Neutral Archiving and Enterprise Content Management

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, September 9th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, HIPAA Compliance

Healthcare providers who are researching and implementing new digital tools and electronic health records (EHRs) realize that infrastructure costs can increase quickly, especially for large file sets like medical imagery.

Some organizations may find that cloud and colocation may not be cost effective as they still have in-house infrastructure; others may be looking for a disaster recovery solution or new systems or software that must work together with the current Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) or EHR environment.

By combining existing patient record systems with Vendor Neutral Archiving (VNA) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tools hosted with a compliant cloud vendor, providers can enable a central repository of patient information in an economical and powerful manner.

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Docker Containers + VMware VMs: A Match Made in the Cloud?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 27th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, VMware

Docker is making waves. The company’s container technology, based on an old open source model, has raised them millions in just 18 months and is causing some to call virtual machines outdated and ineffective. But just what are containers? With VMware professing its support and intent to integrate Docker with VMware management tools, we interviewed CTO Cortney Thompson to get the lowdown on this hot cloud technology and how it compares to virtual machines.

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Patching Best Practices for Virtual Machines and Servers

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 13th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation , Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Security, VMware

Patching is necessary to keep servers secure from attackers and viruses as well as free from bugs, which can sap productivity. Designing your server and virtual machine infrastructure to suit service levels and future change management will save you time and potential outages when the time comes to patch—and when it does, these simple best practices will help smooth the process.

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4 Questions to Ask When Preparing for Disaster Recovery as a Service

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, July 9th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Disaster Recovery

One of the easiest ways to get into the cloud—and one of the best, most essential uses of cloud infrastructure in general—is disaster recovery. This can be a low-cost method that will give you peace of mind and keep your business technology afloat if you lose primary hosting.

Depending on the recovery service level, you can prop up anywhere from 25% to 100% of your infrastructure to keep business continuity without a second location or colocation. Before you start implementing a disaster recovery plan, here are the essential questions you need to ask yourself and your IT team.

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How to Reduce Your VMware Disk Storage Use

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, June 25th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, VMware, FAQs

As you grow more comfortable in the cloud, you’ll likely find more and more of your applications making the transition to your VMware environment even as your existing virtual apps continue to grow. Add backups or DR to the list and your storage use might start to get a little out of control, especially with linked clone virtual desktops or snapshot trees that save multiple VM states.

Storage costs can add up, so you’ll want to stay proactive in maximizing disk usage and eliminating inefficiencies. There are a few ways to maximize storage and reduce disk sizes depending on the VMware product and deployment:

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vCloud Director v5.1 Console Viewer Incompatible with Firefox v30

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, June 24th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, VMware

Update: vCloud 5.5 (which the gBlock Cloud was recently updated to) will work with Firefox.

As of June 2014, the newest release of Mozilla Firefox (30) is not compatible with the console viewer of the vCloud Environment. Firefox v30 can be used to navigate the environment itself, but when attempting to console into VMs, the browser experiences hang-ups and is ultimately unable to connect.

VMware is aware of this issue, which is caused by a code update with Firefox 30 that is not supported by vCloud Director 5.1. Unfortunately the latest VMware vCloud Director version is v5.5, so we do not expect support patches for minor issues in v5.1. Currently, Internet Explorer 11 (with compatibility mode ON, and Enhanced Security Configuration OFF) works when attempting to use the console from the vCloud Environment.

The current workaround for the Firefox issue is rolling back to a release before v30 (preferably v29, as it contains many of the same features and look as the newer version). To rollback Firefox to a previously compatible version, follow these steps:

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Plumbing Cloud Depths: Best Practices for Cloud Penetration Testing

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, June 18th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Security

With more and more companies taking advantage of cloud computing for on-demand infrastructure and additional resources, penetration testers are being called upon to perform more security testing on virtualized environments. Clients may require testing for compliance standards like PCI DSS, or they may be evaluating multiple cloud providers for the most secure option. The cloud brings with it a new set of considerations for testers, as a virtual environment could house multiple tenants on the same architecture.

The first thing to decide is whether you are outsourcing pen testing to a third party or keeping it in-house with your security team. With a third party you will only need to mitigate any contract and SLA problems. Be sure to vet a third party thoroughly, asking exactly what they will test, what tools they will use, scan policies, whether they used white-box or black-box testing (in black box, the tester infiltrates without any previous knowledge of the environment, while white box is the opposite).

Either way you’ll need to know exactly what will be tested including which applications, database servers, devices including storage, and devices.

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