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Jan 30, 2014

Survey reveals demand for high-performance cloud solutions

Ansley Kilgore

Cloud Survey Infographic_350x236

It’s no secret that public cloud solutions can’t always provide the level of performance required by real-time, data-intensive applications. A recent survey of Internet infrastructure decision makers highlighted the growing demand for high-performance, non-virtualized cloud solutions, such as bare-metal cloud.

Price Performance
The survey revealed that organizations commonly evaluate public cloud providers based on price and performance, yet these two factors remain top challenges even after cloud adoption. As more servers are added to accommodate business growth and scale, the price performance ratio becomes less favorable, resulting in higher volatility and inconsistent throughput. Dedicated bare-metal servers provide an alternative to virtualized public cloud, and can help establish a high-performance cloud environment using fewer servers than would be required in a virtual cloud environment.

The virtualization myth
The survey also highlights the widespread misperception that virtualization is a defining characteristic of public cloud. Organizations hosting big data applications in the cloud are showing interest in non-virtualized IaaS alternatives, such as bare-metal public cloud, which offers dedicated resources and eliminates problems with “noisy neighbors”.

For full survey results, download the report here.

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Jan 22, 2014

Webinar recap: Go beyond virtualization with bare-metal cloud

Ansley Kilgore

iStock_whiteboard_BMC_300x150The ongoing cloud migration has created a new set of challenges for organizations with data-intensive applications. Workloads that require greater processing power often find that traditional, virtual clouds can’t provide an acceptable level of performance and throughput. So how can organizations continue to benefit from cloud infrastructure while still meeting the needs of data-intensive applications?

Bare-metal cloud offers physical servers that can be deployed on-demand and billed hourly, providing an alternative to IaaS virtual servers. Clouds don’t have to be virtual – bare-metal servers don’t run a hypervisor and aren’t virtualized, which allows the operating system and applications to use physical resources more efficiently.

Watch the webinar recording to learn more about bare metal:

  • What are bare-metal clouds and how do they work?
  • What are the main advantages of using bare-metal clouds?
  • What are some typical use cases for bare-metal clouds?
  • How can you leverage bare-metal cloud to accelerate big data performance?

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Jan 17, 2014

What’s the Deal with Capex vs. Opex?

INAP

If you’re a business that wants to improve or expand your IT infrastructure, you may be faced with financial management decisions revolving around Capex and Opex.

First of all, what do those terms mean?

Capex, or capital expenditures, are those paid upfront as a long-term investment that will provide future benefits, such as purchasing a heavy-duty printer. Opex, or operating expenditures, are those incurred on a monthly basis in the course of ordinary business, such as going to Kinko’s to print your documents. A shorthand way to remember this is to ask yourself: do you want to capitalize it or expense it? Whatever “it” may be.

So, how do you choose which is the right option for your growing business?

When beefing up your IT infrastructure, buying and owning your own server may seem like a great idea, but servers are expensive. You’ll have to put all that cash upfront to purchase it or get a loan. And that’s all you’ll get: a server. You still need an IT person or team to manage the servers and you need a secure space to house the server(s), which may involve paying rent and utilities. Also, depending on what you want to purchase, you may need to go through several approval layers in your business just to get the purchase approved.

But if you choose to lease a server from a managed hosting company like INAP, you’ll have a much more flexible cost structure and monthly expense. Instead of paying a ton upfront and then incurring all these extra monthly payments for upkeep on your server, you will have one payment with all the services included.

In most cases, choosing between Capex and Opex is all about cash flow. How long are you planning on using the equipment? How fast is your business growing? Where will your business be in five years? If you want to buy a server, you have to keep in mind that technology is always changing and advancing. Purchasing something that may be out-of-date in 24 months may not be the best option.

Choosing to lease your server carries lower risk. With a managed server, you can change your server setup at any time, add more servers to your infrastructure in a matter of minutes, or you can completely walk away if you’re not happy. But if you invested in a server that may not ultimately work for your business, you’re stuck with it.

Look at it this way: you could spend several thousands of dollars on a server that may only be good for a couple of years, or you could make a much smaller monthly payment without having to risk a bad investment. Also, as I mentioned before, you need to keep in mind all the additional costs you will incur if you buy a server: storage, utilities, IT staff (this being frequently overlooked and/or underestimated), and more.

Given all of these factors, I think you should consider leasing a managed server from INAP. It’s cheaper, less risky, and includes all the necessary services; plus you get the expertise of our IT staff included.

Updated: January 2019

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Jan 16, 2014

Distil Networks expands service offerings with consolidated infrastructure from Internap

Ansley Kilgore

Distil NetworksThe number of malicious bots trolling the Internet is increasing every year, wreaking havoc on defenseless websites and slowing down online applications. To stop this madness, Distil Networks has developed technology to help enterprises block automated non-human visitors, providing protection from content theft, data mining, web scraping and fraud. Founded in 2011, Distil Networks boasts a 99.9% effectiveness rate along with a quick setup process, and most recently, a new private cloud deployment offering for customers that prefer an on-premise solution.

To ensure reliable, high quality protection for their customers’ websites, Distil Networks has established an effective IT infrastructure foundation which includes Internap’s bare-metal cloud and managed hosting services.

Prior to transitioning their services to Internap, Distil Networks provisioned cloud servers from multiple providers – including Internap – to spin up compute power as needed, load software and manage it in different locations. But as their business grew, Distil Networks required a more automated deployment process, which led them to integrate each provider’s API into the Distil Networks infrastructure. But the unique rules of so many individual providers actually complicated matters, and Distil Networks struggled to create an automated, uniform deployment process. As a result, deployments took longer, the likelihood of mistakes increased and extra development time was often needed.

No more ‘scattered deployments’
Distil Networks required an IT infrastructure that could provide the necessary integration to streamline deployments, along with the scalability to meet growing demands for their solution.

Of the many providers that Distil Networks used at the time, only one was able to meet their requirements. Internap had facilities in the right locations, along with IP and colocation services that gave Distil Networks the ability to integrate, even in colos. Initially, Distil Networks only utilized Internap’s bare-metal cloud in New York, but they soon transitioned services from their other providers to Internap. Today, Distil Networks uses Internap’s bare-metal cloud in five locations around the globe, plus Internap managed hosting service in London, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Enhanced performance
Distil Networks was concerned that transitioning to one provider would have an impact on network performance, but Internap exceeded their expectations. According to Rami Essaid, Co-Founder & CEO of Distil Networks, “We ended up doing performance tests, and Internap came out really strong, beating out the performance of our existing infrastructure. It wasn’t just a check mark; it became something to convince us even further that we should move.”

Automated deployment
Through Internap’s integrated services, Distil Networks successfully established a uniform deployment process. No longer did they have to work around the restrictions of many different providers, and as a result, new customer deployments now take place quickly and efficiently.

Improved customer experience
In addition to a speedy deployment, Distil Networks customers benefit from faster network connectivity and better redundancy thanks to the speed of Internap’s Performance IPTM service. Customers receive even better protection and security from Distil Networks technology due to performance gains.

Expanded service portfolio
As a result of consolidating their services with Internap, Distil Networks was able to spend more time innovating instead of troubleshooting. Their latest initiative is a new private cloud deployment option that gives customers the ability to install the Distil Networks software on-premise. Customers no longer need to route through the Distil Networks infrastructure; the software can be deployed on the customers’ own servers or in the data center of their choosing.

For Distil Networks, improving their performance and operational efficiencies didn’t require an overhaul of their architecture. Distil Networks has successfully transitioned from a scattered deployment to an automated, integrated process by using Internap solutions. As a result of consolidating their services under one provider, Distil Networks can focus on scaling out their business and creating new product offerings with the IT infrastructure foundation provided by Internap.

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Jan 14, 2014

Choosing a hosting location – where to host a server?

Paul Painter, Director, Solutions Engineering

When considering where to locate your server, the best location will depend on the quality of the hosting providers available, their connection to the global communications network and the proximity to your target markets. Here’s an overview of server location factors to consider when deciding where to host your website.

Web infrastructure

When a user requests information from your server, the information has to travel from your server to your hosting provider’s network, then between several other networks, via some exchanges and switches. Make sure you choose a country with a reliable local network (local to the hosting provider) and a fast, close connection to internet exchanges that serve your target market(s).

Hosting providers’ infrastructure

Server hosting requires highly-developed technology and expertise, as well as long-term investment in power, cooling and network infrastructure. Check the hosting provider’s website closely for details of their infrastructure, data centers, the efficiency and performance of their technology, and the level of expertise in the organization.

Look out for redundancy in the network – that is to say, if one element fails can the rest of the network continue unaffected – as well as the number and reputation of upstream suppliers that connect them to the wider web.

Energy supply

One of the most expensive factors in running a data center is power. The price of electricity varies by location, and the cost of service in a particular area will reflect the cost of power.

Network infrastructure

New York has the highest electricity rates in North America, but some of the most important data centers are still located there. As a major communications hub, many companies choose to situate their hosting or data centers in this area.

Exchange risk

Your server or hosting package can be affected by exchange rate fluctuations. Consider the currency in which you are billed and how volatile that currency is in relation to your own.

Proximity to market

The distance that data has to travel between your server and the user and the number of ‘hops’ between networks will affect the speed of your website. But if your hosting provider has a well-connected, reliable network that uses high-quality switches and hardware, the difference in speed will be a matter of tens of milliseconds. A global Content Delivery Network (CDN) can eliminate latency issues around server location and geographically dispersed end users. For people with international websites, this is not enough reason to host sites in different geographic locations. Moving to a better hosting company that is further away could actually save you time if their network and hardware is much better.

Server location & SEO

Server location is one of the many factors Google considers when attempting to ascertain if your website is relevant for a particular country or language market.

Many SEO professionals believe that server location has become relatively unimportant in SEO geo-targeting, and Google states that they do not count this as a definitive signal. It is not always practical to host an international website in several locations and it would be wrong for Google to penalize this.

iWeb believes that the benefits of using a single domain with language or country sub-folders (yourbrand.com/de/ rather than yourbrand.de) more than compensate for having a single server location rather than one in each market. Other simple geo-targeting techniques can improve your targeting further. These include:

  • ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) – buy your brand’s domain with the country extensions that you are targeting. For example buy yourbrand.de and use a 301 redirect to send traffic and search engines to yourbrand.com/de/
  • Local link-building – By being present in a country market, and building client, business and influencer relationships, you will naturally earn local links, a very strong indication that your website is relevant to a particular country market
  • Use the geotargeting tool in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools to tell the search engines for which countries your content is intended (this only works if you have separate domains or subdomains for country-specific content).
  • If you have physical business locations in different country markets, create local business listings (linking to the relevant ccTLD or a localized page on your website), generate address citations (in business directories for example) and leverage address and telephone numbers on your website by using microformat markup to explicitly tell search engines that this information relates to an address or location.
  • Use hreflang tags to state the intended language or country market for a page and its alternatives. This may have additional ‘clustering’ benefits, where search engines apply all rank signals (like inbound links) for pages within the cluster.

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Paul Painter

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Jan 9, 2014

Talent: Inspired by Internap

Ansley Kilgore

As I approached the task of creating a video for Internap’s Talent Acquisition team, I wanted to shoot an inspiring piece that not only highlighted our company, but the culture as well. The employees in the video were excited to display their passion for such a great company.

After spending time with each individual and hearing their story about why they chose to work for Internap, I soon realized that we all had something in common. We all are passionate about our roles here, and we feel inspired by a company culture that fosters success.

It’s a great feeling to want to go to work each morning. It’s an even better feeling when the people around you feel the exact same way.

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Jan 7, 2014

Three ways financial firms can benefit from data center services

Ansley Kilgore

Companies in the financial services sector seeking to benefit from data center services typically have trouble finding IT Infrastructure that fits their needs. Strict regulations and compliance rules within the finance industry make it difficult to address security, business continuity and customization concerns, and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to cloud offerings. Is it possible to move data and applications into the cloud or to a third-party facility while still meeting the compliance requirements of the finance industry?

Security
Financial firms demand airtight security, compliance and efficiency. These organizations must be able to protect customers’ sensitive data and proprietary company information. To address these concerns, data center providers offer enhanced security measures, including vulnerability scanning, network and web application firewalls, log management and threat detection, anti-virus and anti-DDoS services among others. Firms can also protect customer data with comprehensive security measures, including 24/7 on-site personnel, lockable cages and cabinets and closed-circuit television systems. Other advanced security and protection features include biometric scanners and sophisticated threat monitoring systems to ensure that sensitive data is secure 100% of the time.

Data centers that conform to SOC2 standards ensure that security and operational procedures are regularly reviewed and tested. Facilities must be reviewed by an independent certified auditor to validate that their controls and processes meet stringent criteria regarding security, availability, process integrity, privacy and confidentiality. Additionally, some data centers undergo annual audits by a Payment Card Industry (PCI) Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to ensure that they meet PCI Data Security Standards (DSS). This can reduce compliance costs, increase security and decrease the time it takes firms that outsource to these facilities to obtain their own Reports on Compliance (ROC).

Business Continuity
Financial services firms require fast and reliable connectivity and to support latency-sensitive applications for activities such as payment processing, market data delivery and online trading. Latent connectivity can be problematic for firms located in major financial centers such as the New York Metro area, and this increases the importance of route optimization technologies such as Managed Internet Route OptimizerTM (MIRO) and content delivery services. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) that clearly outlines provider responsibilities regarding guaranteed uptime is essential for financial services firms that can’t afford any downtime. Data centers designed with concurrent maintainability provide complete infrastructure redundancy, which allows scheduled and emergency maintenance to take place without affecting the entire system.

For high performance applications, provisioning speed and billing flexibility are critical. Data center providers that offer seamless and secure networking to dedicated bare-metal servers are well-suited to meet agility and cost-efficiency requirements.

Customization
Financial services firms require significant control and customization of their IT infrastructure to comply with industry regulations. This can require firms to maintain more direct control over their infrastructure by using a hybrid cloud approach. Public, private or hybrid cloud solutions allow you to choose the right infrastructure for your workload, providing increased flexibility to grow and scale. Data centers with hybrid capabilities offer seamless integration between physical and virtual clouds, while providing visibility and control over your environment.

Financial institutions should select a data center provider with the ability to support a wide range of options – from colocation and managed hosting to public or private cloud, as well as managed security services to meet the strictest security and compliance requirements.

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