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A view into Hybrid Cloud and Hybrid IT

Infrastructure service and Management is one of the major functions in any IT Industry. Over the years IT Services has evolved from physical to virtual to cloud. Lately companies are either moving to the cloud or thinking about it. Most companies are still experimenting on what will work best for them. Major attraction for many IT services to the cloud is undoubtedly the cost factor and management itself. The current market shifts include the increasing virtualization of technology, acceptance of service-based management methodologies and Cloud computing as a new delivery model for IT functions and services.

So what are the types of Clouds and which best is suited for an organization?

Mainly there are 4 Types of clouds which are Public, Private, Community and Hybrid Clouds. An Organization has to decide which best suits their requirements, which again depends on many factors. Let’s look into each of them in brief.

  • Private Cloud – Infrastructure which is operated and maintained solely for an organization.
  • Public Cloud - Infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large group; this will be mainly owned by a cloud provider. One major player is Amazon.
  • Community Cloud—Infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns.
  • Hybrid Cloud—A hybrid cloud service is a combination of a public cloud and a private cloud. A hybrid cloud can improve resilience and provides Disaster recovery.

Majority of the Hybrid vendors provides IaaS services today. Some of them are VMWare, Rackspace, HP, IBM etc.

There are advantages and disadvantages of each one of them.  Cost and Security are a major factor. We are not going in-depth on this topic.

 

Below Diagram shows a Hybrid Cloud. (Note- Not including the Community cloud).

Hybrid Cloud

 

According to the Gartner report Majority of the private and community cloud services will evolve to Hybrid cloud by 2017.

Hybrid IT

Hybrid IT is the mission and the operational model for IT infrastructure and operations in a cloud computing world.

So what is Hybrid IT?

Hybrid IT is an approach to enterprise computing in which an organization provides and manages some information technology (IT) resources in-house but uses cloud-based services for others. In short it is a mixture of IT resources from in-house and also services from the Cloud.

http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/hybrid-IT )

Hybrid IT is transforming IT architectures and the role of IT itself, according to Gartner, Inc. Hybrid IT is the result of combining internal and external services, usually from a combination of internal and public clouds, in support of a business outcome. Hybrid IT relies on new technologies to connect clouds, sophisticated approaches to data classification and identity, and service-oriented architecture, and heralds significant change for IT practitioners. Workloads will move around in hybrid internal/external IT environments.

For critical applications and data, IT organizations have not adopted public cloud computing as quickly. Many IT organizations discover that public cloud service providers cannot meet the security requirements, integrate with enterprise management, or guarantee availability necessary to host critical applications. Therefore, organizations continue to own and operate internal IT services that house critical applications and data.

But Cloud is a means to improved efficiency, not an end in itself, and companies should not overlook the need to connect business goals and priorities. Now, IT has an opportunity to capitalize on its hard work in domain management, service Management and virtualization to leverage Cloud services for increased resiliency and efficiency.

 

There are many providers for Hybrid IT service management and one such provider is the HEAT Hybrid IT Service Management Solutions by Front Range. [ With  this Hybrid IT Service Management solutions, organizations can easily Request a service or change, automatically approve and authorize the request,  plan for appropriate remediation measures, automatically deploy the changes to the end users, monitor compliance and service level agreements and control their services portfolio on an ongoing basis to ensure enhanced service quality and customer satisfaction. ]

 

Without the need to deliver services rapidly and efficiently to the business, there would be no requirement for elastic and flexible computing environments. IT needs to be able to determine those services that will return the highest value to the business, and needs to be able to demonstrate the relative value propositions of in-house versus outsourced and Cloud versus traditional approaches.

Sources –

Tags: 
Hybrid Cloud, Hybrid IT

Mobile BI Strategy – Key Elements to Consider

Mobile BI has come a long way. From the time of receiving automated text messages that signal failure of a batch process or breach of a critical threshold, today we have arrived in the age of interactive BI content delivered via mobile devices.

Most organizations today are either planning for a mobile BI strategy or have already framed one. The mobile BI strategy could either be a subset of the overall mobile strategy for the organization or an independent piece.

Forrester claims that mobile BI is "no longer a nice-to-have" and BI will soon fully catch up with mobility. Gartner predicts that by 2015, 50% of BI functionality will be consumed via hand-held devices.

What are the elements that need to be considered when drawing up your mobile BI strategy? How important are they?

Use Cases for your Organization

What are the use cases for your organization to adopt a mobile BI strategy? Most of the current usage of traditional BI is for strategic purposes by people residing in the upper echelons of the pyramid. Mobile BI to perform strategic analysis does not really make sense, unless there is a reason why your C-level executive cannot open his/her laptop. The real use cases for mobile BI lie in operational decision making. Gartner believes that "The biggest value is in operational BI — information in the context of applications — not in pushing lots of data to somebody's phone". For example, a sales person on the road may want to know the “Next Best Product” to be sold to a customer. A valid use case could also be in integrating device specific features in BI. For example, a door-to-door service agent may be advised on the order in which to make the house visits based on multiple parameters including proximity (GPS!), criticality, aging etc. Irrespective of the use case, it is important to be clear on it and set expectations appropriately.

The other important factor that helps finalize the use cases is by tracking the RoI. Mobile BI investments span the cost of devices as well as software, security, development and maintenance costs. So it is important to ensure that your use cases provide tangible returns. The RoI can be quantified as Revenue Enhancement, Margin Enhancement, Cost Reduction, Cost Avoidance or Capital Cost Avoidance. For example, an iPad containing drug performance comparison across patient profile can help increase quality face time for a medical representative with a physician by x%, your sales head would surely be comfortable promising a x/5% increase in sales. That, by itself, could fund your entire project.

Target Audience

Typically, the 70% of users who don’t access traditional BI are the representative audience for mobile BI. Hence it is important to tailor your strategy to the new cross-section of people who will be your consumers. They may be less techno-savvy, more impatient to see results and have narrower but very specific needs. The real value of mobile BI is when users can fully interact with BI content delivered to mobile devices – there needs to be a distinction from informative email or text messages.

Mobile BI should complement your existing BI solution – it need not cover all the bases. A desktop dashboard is meant for deep analysis while a mobile BI is designed for quick and easy consumption. A mobile BI solution is meant for the “mobile” folks in your organization: executives, sales personnel, line managers on the shop-floor etc. Tailor your mobile BI solutions to suit the needs of these people (not those of your research analyst and financial accountant).

Standards

Don’t ignore existing devices when framing the mobile BI strategy and attempting to arrive at organization standards. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)/heterogeneous systems have their drawbacks especially in terms of consistency, but the task of converting iOS fanatics to Android (and vice-versa) is not a battle worth getting into. There might also be a challenge in utilizing device specific capabilities and this is another negative that needs to be considered. HTML5 is helping us bridge the divide between browser specific and device specific strategies.

Prioritize

There is a tendency in BI projects to say “we are just doing some reports on the mobile; let us roll it out in a couple of weeks”. Beware! Mobile BI projects are governed by the same fundamentals that traditional BI projects are - just even more stringent. Garbage in is still garbage out. Visualizations that don’t make sense will kill adoption. Security is even more critical. User Types are a lot more critical. The mobile BI strategy should therefore be planned and executed in a well-thought out manner and not rushed into. Ensure it doesn’t get fast tracked.

Expectations

A critical part of the mobile BI strategy is managing expectations. No one should expect feature parity with a traditional BI solution (drag and drop etc.) but there are some cool new things that can be integrated (GPS, gyroscope, touch screen etc.). Telling people what they can get and what they cannot is an integral part of the strategy via trainings etc.

Security

Security architecture needs to be revisited for mobile BI implementations and should be a critical part (if not the most critical part) of the strategy. Key business information needs to be delivered via mobile devices; else the utility of the BI project is compromised; however this carries security considerations that need to be carefully handled. All mobile BI projects transmit data from an internal firewall through a DMZ and via an external firewall before hitting the end device. It is critical that the mobile BI strategy lays out the approach for handling a whole gamut of security considerations including:

  • Transmission Security
  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Access
  • Device Security

 

Miscellaneous – Bandwidth, UX and Design Considerations

Some other factors that need to be kept in consideration when framing your mobile BI strategy include bandwidth (system and resource), mobile UX and design considerations (templates, interactivity, device features), ability to reuse existing investments, strategy to reuse design for both traditional and mobile BI etc.

Mobile BI is something that can only be ignored at your own peril; but don’t just jump into the waters without some thorough preparation. 

 

Source : Article published by the Marlabs BI Team

Tags: 
Mobile BI Strategy, Business Intelligence Challenges, Marlabs, Marlabs Inc, Marlabs Software, Data Warehousing, Mobile BI, Marlabs BI, BI strategy, Mobile Strategy, BI Solutions, Mobile BI Implementation

Mobile Business Application Testing: Challenges and Strategy

Ravindra Pilli, Test Architect at Marlabs, wrote an article in Tools Journal about testing mobile business applications. There's an excerpt below and you can read the full article on the Tools Journal website at the link below. 

Excerpt from an article on Tools Journal

"The phenomenal growth of mobile devices has opened up avenues for organizations to integrate them into the mainstream computing environment. Today’s mobile applications deliver Major functionality on platforms that have limited resources for computing. Yet, unlike the desktop -based environment, the mobile environment comprises excess of devices with diverse hardware and software configurations and communication intricacies. - See more at: http://www.toolsjournal.com/testing-articles/item/2268-mobile-business-a... "

Ravindra Pilli is currently the  Mobile Test Architect at MARLABS and has more than 8 years of experience as a Test Engineer, Senior Test Engineer, Testing TL, and Mobile Test Architect. Ravindra is part of the Testing CoE  which works on Functional, Automation, compatibility, Performance, Network, & Field testing. 

Tags: 
Mobile Testing, Marlabs, Marlabs Testing, Ravindra Pilli, mobile business application testing, mobile testing strategy

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