Cloud WE ARE NOT A CLOUD PROVIDER

Since the beginning our focus is building solutions for our clients. It's not going to change in the future.

We used to deploy applications mostly on-premise and to support our clients from architectural design to user acceptance test. We used to support them in production help clients' support teams in operating systems too.

Today our involvement is increasingly changing. More and more clients involve us from the service creation of new solutions for their customers and keep us involved through the build, the deploy and the operations of that service on a cloud platform of their choice. Operating services is not only about performance monitoring but is about making available data analytics of the business and managing proactively the changes to adapt the service to the market.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

We believe in open standards, best practice solutions and Open Source. We constantly investment in the monitoring the technological evolution, to anticipates market trends, acquires knowledge on new enterprise-ready products and solutions, and supports customers in adopting them.

The traditional approach for on-premise application running in a confined environment does not work with an application accessed by an unpredictable numbers of users through an unknown numbers of different devices and running on shared resources managed by the cloud provider with its own policies and priorities. Such a combination of the infrastructure capabilities of cloud environments and next-generation service requirements are radically changing how to design and to operate an application. With this in mind there a few assumptions to consider when developing new services:
- assume a dynamic application topology: virtual machines will be joining and leaving the application pool frequently, so the application has to gracefully accept and release resources;
- separate code and state: use sticky state settings in the load balancer to direct all session interactions to a single server can cause unbalanced server loads and, if a server crashes, user state can be lost. The best option is to use a data store with built-in redundancy and can allow any server to pick up state and continue session interaction;
- elastic resource management: manage application as a coordinated set of resources that react to workload adding and removing dynamically (and automatically) resources, ensuring there are always enough resources available and that resources cost matches user load (allowing for a better cost/value balancing).

The selection of the cloud partner is an important part of the new design process. We used to work with certified cloud business partners but the final decision of the cloud partner is up to you. We are ready to start a certification process of any cloud provider of your choice.
We can guide you through the selection of the best option with regards with the new service' business model, the business constraints (e.g. regulatory o privacy constraints), the cloud architecture (public, private or hybrid), the type of cloud infrastructure (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS or even a combination) and the pricing model of our certified cloud partners.

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Our preferred cloud partners are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure but, due to business restrictions, we selected a few others whose data centres are located only in USA, Europe or Italy.

The entire life-cycle of the application (including the automation of the process itself) has to be designed minimising the vendor lock-in (if not possible to completely remove it) that in cloud computing can occur at:
- the platform layer: cloud services tend to be built on one of several possible virtualization platforms. Migrating from a cloud provider using one platform to a cloud provider using a different platform could be very complicated;
- the data layer: there is a lack of standards of ownership, i.e. who actually owns the data once it lives on a cloud platform, which could make it complicated if cloud computing users ever decide to move data off of a cloud vendor's platform;
- the tools layer: if tools built to manage a cloud environment are not compatible with different kinds of both virtual and physical infrastructure, those tools will only be able to manage data or apps that live in the vendor's particular cloud environment.

We increasingly support clients in the development of their customer-driven services using Open Source building blocks on Cloud infrastructures with a DevOps approach to achieve business agility from service creation to service operation in a SaaS fashion.
  WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT MATTERS

Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT is delivered as a service using Internet technologies. It is transforming the way organisations consume computer services. Where in the past companies had to have local systems and servers to run various applications, in the cloud they are managed by an external provider that charges them for the use.
Cloud computing takes the focus of the companies away from having to manage, maintain and support all of the local servers and appliances and direct the attention to the service for their customers.

What the biggest drivers for Cloud adoption?
According to North Bridge Partner’s annual survey, the top drivers to adopt Cloud in enterprises include:
- scalability: cloud computing means company no longer need to worry about having to upgrade systems but literally just need to click a button to increase their server capacity (when it not automatic);
- agility: cloud computing enable organisations to respond rapidly to changes and Devops is the bridge to achieve it;
- cost savings: it’s quite expensive to run, manage and deploy local systems and in most cases involve very technical people to maintain all the platforms;
- keep up with the latest technology: with cloud computing, organisations never have to worry about upgrading and updating. The cloud makes sure you are getting the latest servers and are always upgraded with the next version;

while the top inhibitors include:
- data security: although established, reliable cloud computing vendors will have the latest, most sophisticated data security systems available on the market, there is a still a concern that sensitive information might be at risk because data is not hosted locally;
- regulatory: compliance issues with regulations, including SOX in the United States, the Data Protection Directive in the EU and the credit card industry's PCI DSS, is about how to ensure that data remains compliant with laws and industry regulations when it is stored in the cloud, what data should be move to the cloud and what should be kept in-house, what questions do organisations need to ask the cloud provider and what terms should be written into SLAs to maintain compliance.
- privacy: cloud computing poses privacy concerns because the service provider can access the data that is on the cloud at any time. It could accidentally or deliberately alter or even delete information. This becomes a major concern as these service providers, who employ administrators which can leave room for potential unwanted disclosure of information on the cloud;
- lock-in: because cloud computing is still relatively new, standards are still being developed and widely adopted. Many cloud platforms and services are proprietary, meaning that they are built on the specific standards, tools and protocols developed by a particular vendor for its particular cloud offering. This can make migrating off a proprietary cloud platform prohibitively complicated and expensive.
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