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Dec 21, 2017

5 Highlights from the Gartner IO Conference 2017

INAP

Insights and Advice from our Experts

INAP was fortunate to be a sponsor at Gartner’s annual IT Infrastructure, Operations Management & Data Center Conference 2017 in Las Vegas.

In addition to exhibiting our high-performance managed hosting and service solutions, our team of experts had the opportunity to attend some of the popular keynotes and sessions throughout the four-day event.

The conference included more than 150 sessions, so naturally we weren’t able to attend every one. We would have liked to, but since time travel is still unreliable at best, our experts picked the sessions they knew would be most relevant to the future of our business and our ever-evolving industry.

And they weren’t disappointed.

Here are five key industry insights and trends our experts brought home with them from the Gartner IO Conference.

1. Make Way for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

You probably already use some form of automation in your business. Chatbots and virtual assistants are increasing in popularity, but are you doing enough to improve the efficiency of your infrastructure?

During their opening keynote address, Gartner’s Milind Govekar and Dave Russell predicted that if you don’t effectively adapt artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into your environment and workloads by 2020, your infrastructure may not be operationally and economically viable.

As a result, they expect an increase in software-centric or programmable infrastructure to support advanced platform thinking and integration with minimal human intervention. If utilized correctly, this technology will enable your environment to process more data faster with less cost.

Stay tuned.

2. Living on the Edge

It was just a few years ago that the internet of things (IoT) took off as the next big advancement in digital technology.

Businesses now need to embrace the edge by blending physical and digital resources to create an experience that provides value and makes a difference.

It’s not about rolling out technology for the sake of doing it. In a session about top trends in 2018 and their impact on infrastructure and operations, Gartner VP David Cappuccio pointed out the necessity of creating an intelligent edge. This focuses on utilizing connected devices that provide a real-time reaction and allow for interaction between things and people to solve a critical business need.

3. Data is More Valuable Than Ever

In a digital world of AI, connected devices and intelligent edges, data is becoming even more important.

Machine learning and automated systems will require additional data to analyze trends and behaviors to make logical decisions to improve efficiency, especially when connected with multiple devices. To manage the influx of digital information, a greater priority will be placed on data storage and backup. (Shameless self-promotion: INAP launched a new managed storage offering during this conference.)

More data also means more opportunities for hackers, and businesses are being forced to take additional steps to combat this risk. In a session about the state of business continuity management, we learned that average disaster recovery budgets were expected to increase in 2017.

4. Cloud Reaches New Heights

One of the overwhelming themes that kept coming up during sessions and keynotes was a focus on the cloud.

You’re probably already familiar with some of the stats that predict massive increases in cloud computing over the next few years. Gartner’s Govekar and Russell doubled down on those forecasts, claiming that by 2021, 80 percent of organizations using DevOps will deploy new services in the public cloud.

It appears we can expect more businesses to transition to a cloud-only model, where before it was just cloud first. The impact remains to be seen.

5. Mind the Skills Gap

With technical innovation and the transition to a more cloud-focused infrastructure, IT teams are being driven to master additional skills.

Some employees may be fast learners, but the reality for most businesses is that they’ll likely experience disruptions due to infrastructure and operational skills gaps.

Rather than being specialists or generalists, IT talent should strive to become versatilists – meaning they are a specialist for a certain discipline, but can easily switch to another role. In the meantime, companies need to consider the experience level of their existing teams when rushing to adapt new technology.

Implementing New Trends

Your business may already be in the process of implementing changes based on these trends. Or perhaps you’re aware that you need to get the ball rolling, but you’re not ready just yet.

Regardless of where you currently sit, you should consider how these trends will impact your industry and business model or you risk being left in your competitors’ dust.

It may seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Consider a trusted partner who will be there every step of the way to provide guidance, support and the necessary services to help you achieve your business goals. That’s where INAP comes in. Our team of experts will assist you in preparing your organization and infrastructure for the technology of tomorrow. Contact us to learn how we can help you build a better IT infrastructure for today and the future.

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Nov 14, 2017

Choosing a Public Cloud: Avoiding Noisy Neighbors

Paul Painter, Director, Solutions Engineering

I frequently hear people asking how to choose from among so many potential cloud options. The answer, I’m afraid, is “It depends.” Some cloud providers may over-provision their resources, causing your traffic to slow down. This drop in service is often called the “noisy neighbor” syndrome, but how can you avoid this?

Location, Location, Location

Just like choosing a house, it’s important to get a comfort level with the neighborhood. To evaluate cloud provider environments, you need to ask a few questions:

1.) What is the underlying hardware in the cloud environment?

For performance issues, you first want to confirm that the processor is equal or greater in horsepower than your computing needs. It is also important to know if hyper-threading is activated on the processor. For example, our AgileCLOUD is built using Intel e5-2650v3 processors, which have 10 cores running at 3.0 GHz per core and hyper-threading enabled, effectively doubling the processing power.

2.) What is the vCPU ratio?

In a virtual cloud environment, the hypervisor will divide the CPU cores into smaller mini-CPUs or virtual CPUs (vCPUs). Many providers will oversubscribe the available vCPUs; in other words, they will assign more vCPUs than physically available. This assumes that running virtual servers requires all the CPU cycles assigned. Cloud environments that oversubscribe are often cheaper and are ideal for workloads that are typically idle most of the time.

When a guest operating system is installed on the hypervisor, the guest instance is assigned a pool of vCPUs, as well as virtual RAM (vRAM) and disk storage to be used. The hypervisor manages the time a vCPU has access to the physical CPU in a round-robin manner, thus creating vCPU queues.

3.) What are the underlying disk configuration and network speeds?

The local disk type (SSD or HDD), number of disks and the RAID configuration will affect the performance of an I/O intensive application. AgileCLOUD uses SSD disks with RAID10, providing the fastest local disk performance possible.

Hypervisors and the Noisy Neighbor Syndrome

Just like large lots make for quiet neighborhoods, a low physical to virtual ratio makes for good computing. A cloud with a low ratio will have more access to the physical hardware, like a house with a large yard keeps noisy neighbors’ music from disturbing your dinner. A higher ratio of resources means you have less access to the actual physical hardware, which would be like your townhouse neighbor’s rock band practicing next door.

Understanding a cloud provider’s performance is more complicated than vCPU price performance.

  • Compare the processor speeds: some cloud providers have different generations on hardware with different clock speeds (and cores).
  • What is the oversubscription ration?
  • Available Disk I/O, both read/write capacity of the drive and network access if attaching to a block storage device are critical to server performance.
  • Finally, understand the physical network capacity of the server to move both LAN/WAN data and any storage access.

INAP Provides You Options

Our AgileCLOUD for example, comes in two flavors and, depending on your workload, one may be better than the other. Our Series A is specifically suited for web, application and light I/O workloads. Our Series B is better suited for applications that have higher CPU and memory demands.

Answering which of these two options is better for you depends on the workload you have, and the answer may even be both!  Let me break down the differences for you. The obvious differentiator between the two options is the hypervisor on the AgileCLOUD lineup.

To keep it simple, our AgileCLOUD offers two series of cloud compute (see table below).

Our A Series, good for small databases, websites and content management systems that require moderate CPU utilization has a 3:1 vCPU to CPU ratio.

Our B Series, better for medium databases, complex websites and scheduled batch processing tasks requiring heavy memory and CPU utilization has a one to one (1:1) ratio.

In other words, we don’t overprovision on the B series, so there is no chance of CPU contention and little chance of that noisy neighbor.

Armed with this knowledge, we believe that you will be in a better position to understand the vast array of available cloud options. If you are interested in learning more about cloud solutions that can fit into your unique cloud strategy, contact us today to speak with one of our cloud professionals or deploy your instances right away in our cloud portal.

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Paul Painter

Director, Solutions Engineering

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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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Nov 21, 2013

Next-generation AgileCLOUD is now available!

INAP

Our next generation AgileCLOUD goes into public beta today, and we’re really excited about the launch. Huge strides have been made in the areas of both scalability and performance.

Next generation AgileCLOUD is 100% OpenStack underneath the hood. We’re consuming the latest version of OpenStack, Havana, soon to be Icehouse, and we expose the full OpenStack API to our customers. It’s open, interoperable and helps eliminate vendor lock in.

In addition to general openness, performance is also a key message of our next generation AgileCLOUD.
We offer both virtualized instances as well as bare-metal instances with no hypervisor, all over the same OpenStack API.

In addition to the OpenStack API, our customers can still use hAPI, the hosting API as well as our portal to manage their complete environment.

Next generation AgileCLOUD is flexible. Not only do you have the option get the exact amount of CPU and RAM that you need for your instances, we’ve made great strides in the types of disks we offer. Disk I/O is traditionally a big pain point in the cloud, and we think we’ve got a really appealing solution for you. Not only do we have local ephemeral storage that is 100% SSD-backed, we also offer external network-attached block storage with finely grained quality of service.

For the first time, you can be guaranteed that noisy neighbors do not affect your disk I/O performance. Instead, you can dial up or dial down the exact amount of IOPS and bandwidth that you need. Pay for only what you use and get the performance that you expect.

You can sign up for the beta of next generation AgileCLOUD at https://www.inap.com/agilecloudbeta/.

In addition, as a gesture of our gratitude, we’ll provide you with a $1000 credit for use on our generally available next generation AgileCLOUD.

We encourage you to sign up for the beta. Kick the tires, spin the wheels. We’re eager for your feedback.

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Aug 20, 2013

Is your cloud noisy and slow?

Ansley Kilgore

Is your cloud noisy and slowNow that most IT organizations have transitioned some of their infrastructure to the cloud, the game has changed yet again. While you may have already moved your email applications, disaster recovery, ERP or CRM systems to the cloud, now your CEO wants to incorporate big data, business intelligence and predictive analytics into the corporate strategy. But these large enterprise applications require more computing power than your current cloud architecture can support. How can you accommodate the CEO’s requests without sacrificing performance and inviting problems from noisy neighbors?

In an effort to not throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water, IT is faced with the challenge of using the current cloud infrastructure to meet the requirements of these new systems. A one-size-fits-all cloud solution doesn’t work for most enterprises, and few businesses can afford to sacrifice the automation and flexibility of the cloud and start manually provisioning physical servers again. Diversifying your infrastructure to include bare-metal cloud can help fill this gap. Bare metal provides the high performance processing capabilities of a dedicated environment, with the service delivery model of the cloud.

Establishing a mixed cloud environment
Understanding the requirements of your use case will help determine which mix of cloud is right for you. Workloads that require high disk I/O are usually better suited for physical, dedicated servers. Bare-metal cloud provides a new way to leverage cloud technology for high-performance, data-intensive workloads, such as big data applications and media encoding. Since bare-metal servers do not run a hypervisor, are not virtualized and are completely dedicated, including storage, you don’t have to worry about noisy neighbors or overhead delays.

Bare-metal cloud can be used in conjunction with virtualized cloud infrastructure to meet a wider range of business requirements. IT managers can balance the capabilities of various cloud models to create a cost-effective operating environment. This reduces capital costs, is operationally efficient and establishes a foundation for agility through adaptable hosting models. At the same time, businesses investigating virtualized clouds as their only hosting solution often prefer to host many of their high-performance, and most complex, applications internally. The bare-metal cloud offers an alternative to virtualized clouds and in-house environments, positioning IT managers to maximize the value of their application and service architectures.

The value of diversity
The ability to create a mixed cloud environment means cloud computing now offers more options than traditional virtualization, while still providing flexibility, scalability and utility-based pricing models. Using different types of cloud together provides organizations with exponentially more opportunities for cost-effective infrastructure.

As the cloud has evolved to include public, private, hybrid and now bare-metal options, IT now has more opportunities to create the right cloud mix to meet the needs of the enterprise. Taking a workload-centric approach can help establish a more strategic, cost-effective cloud solution. The bare-metal cloud is an integral part of an agile infrastructure that allows IT to efficiently meet the demands of business-critical applications.

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Jul 3, 2013

Choose your own cloud adventure: the SaaS alternate ending

Ansley Kilgore

In our previous post, we described IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service). Today we’ll discuss how Software as a Service (SaaS) fits into the stack and explore which type of infrastructure makes sense in different scenarios. Various combinations of these services can help meet your needs for flexibility and resource control so you can manage and create applications as desired.

SaaS
Most SaaS providers deliver end-user applications on-demand, as a service, over the Internet. Salesforce.com and Google Apps are two common examples of this. However, many SaaS applications can provide services to other applications, usually via a SOAP or RESTful API over the Internet. A good example of this is how Yelp integrates Google Maps into its mobile application – Google is the SaaS provider, and the Yelp application becomes the consumer of the software service.

A SaaS provider may use a PaaS provider or an IaaS provider, depending on the level of development and operational efforts they need to balance out.

Here’s an illustration of how an application may interact with another SaaS provider:
SaaS alternate ending

As you can see, the application now interacts with other applications for complete functionality. Just as a developer can increase speed-to-launch by using a PaaS provider (at the expense of flexibility and customization), this developer can use existing third-party SaaS applications without having to recreate each piece of functionality desired.

Ultimately, the more you move your application “up the stack”, the fewer resources you are required to manage. Integrating an application with SaaS providers allows a developer to consume SaaS services as components and building blocks without having to reinvent the wheel (e.g., using Google Maps for location services, using RSS aggregators for content/news services, etc.).

Using a PaaS provider will provide a framework for you to develop your own application without having to manage an infrastructure. And if the PaaS is too limiting – say, you want to use certain web server features not provided by the platform, or you want to use a preferred development framework – then IaaS may make more sense.

As indicated in the final illustration below, the further down the stack, the more lower-level components a developer will need to recreate and maintain.
SaaS alternate ending

There is plenty of opportunity for “mix and match”. No one service is correct for all use cases, and I can certainly see distributed applications consuming one or more portions of the stack on multiple cloud service providers.

The decision to go with one or another ultimately comes down to a few considerations:

  • The resources the team wants to manage.
  • The capabilities of the development (and operations) teams building and supporting the application.
  • How quickly the team needs to deploy production software with the resources available.

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Jun 12, 2013

Cloud trends: Bare-metal cloud maximizes security and performance

Ansley Kilgore

Bare-metal cloud maximizes securityAs cloud solutions have evolved from physical servers and virtualized environments to SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and even IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), companies today must navigate through a sea of different cloud options. While cloud computing provides organizations with increased flexibility and cost-effective IT Infrastructure solutions, some workloads and applications demand higher performance than the virtualization layer allows. This has led to the next step in cloud evolution: bare metal cloud, which removes the hypervisor and the performance impact created by virtualization.

In a recent edition of Tech Talk with Craig Peterson, Internap’s Director of Cloud Services, Adam Weissmuller, discussed the benefits of bare metal cloud and how it can maximize server efficiency and improve performance.

Bare metal cloud gives physical servers the same flexibility and benefits as highly virtualized cloud environments. From another perspective, bare metal cloud is giving automation and self-service some cloud capabilities, such as massive scaling, hourly billing and the ability to pay only for what you use.

Security – With no shared tenancy, you are able to use the entire server at the bare metal itself. There is minimal risk that someone else will get access to your server resources or your data since the bare metal servers are dedicated to a single customer. For many customers, multi-tenancy presents risks and in some cases is not compliant with industry or security regulations.

Performance – Bare metal servers will perform better simply because there are fewer things going on between the application and the hardware beneath it. Also, the single tenant environment allows for better performance because no one else is using it, as opposed to multi-tenant environments where others may be using some or all of the resources and slowing down your processes.

100 percent uptimeManaged Internet Route OptimizerTM (MIRO) allows Internap to optimize the network connections across multiple different providers. Meaning that, if there’s an issue somewhere out on the Internet, we can reroute and pick a better route for traffic based on where it’s starting from, and where it’s going. That allows us to provide 100 percent up time and the lowest latency connection at any given point for all of our customers’ traffic.

Whether you’re looking for a cloud environment or a bare metal server, choose the right platform based on your workload needs and application use case. With different types of cloud to choose from, it’s important to understand which one aligns best with your business goals.

Listen to the full Tech Talk with Craig Peterson interview to learn more about the benefits of bare metal cloud.

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May 29, 2013

Industry news: colocation, cloud and managed hosting services create strategic IT opportunities

Ansley Kilgore

What are the latest cloud-related trends in the information technology space? The impact of cloud computing on the IT industry has changed the way that CIOs and IT leaders think about business operations.

With so much information available on the topic, here are four articles that provide a glimpse into the current industry trends for cloud hosting services, colocation and managed hosting.

Gartner: Cloud computing makes IT strategically valuable
The rise of cloud computing has created opportunities for IT to become more strategically valuable to the organization. Businesses that depend heavily on the cloud become more reliant on IT to provide oversight and governance for their cloud strategies.

Colocation, managed and cloud hosting can pay off as companies focus on IT
The prevalence of cloud computing and virtualization have pushed IT leaders into a more strategic role, but these technologies have also put more stress on the network. As web systems and data protection become business-critical, IT and business leaders have an opportunity to benefit from colocation, managed hosting and cloud hosting services.

Cloud hosting offers scalability and cost efficiency that can be tough to match
Scalability is a major challenge for companies maintaining websites. The ability to scale up and down based on demand creates an environment in which organizations never waste money. Cloud hosting offers the ability to pay as you go, whereas with traditional hosting solutions, companies pay for resources regardless of usage.

Colocation hosting can help companies handle common data center problems
Colocation hosting gives organizations the freedom to develop scalable, adaptable data center configurations. In the event of a disaster, a third-party facility helps safeguard personnel by providing a backup instance of the data center, making disaster recovery efforts easier and allowing companies to focus on taking care of their employees.

For up-to-date information on IT industry news and trends, check out Internap’s Industry News section.

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Apr 16, 2013

Cloud and CDN: Friends or Foes?

Ansley Kilgore

Cloud and CDNToday’s online users expect high-quality, ‘anytime, anywhere’ access from a multitude of devices. This presents a challenge for content providers to deliver multiple types of large files, including streaming media, Video on Demand (VOD) and other large files to tablets and smartphones, all while maintaining the high-quality online experience that users have come to expect. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are often used as an efficient way to distribute large amounts of content in this manner.

But with the growth of cloud computing, companies have embraced new, cost-effective approaches to IT Infrastructure. The challenge of scaling is no longer prohibitively expensive, and the ability to scale virtually, on-demand has leveled the playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses to compete with large enterprises for market share. With the substantial performance and cost improvements provided by the cloud, this often leads to the misconception that the cloud alone can maintain the high-quality online experience that consumers demand.

In reality, the cloud and CDNs have specific purposes that make them well-suited to work together.

The cloud is a utility computing platform that consists of large physical stacks of computational resources, or, multi-tenant slices of a pre-built mass computational array. This type of dynamic computing power is ideal for processing big data and business intelligence problems, and evolved from the concept of mainframes in a past decade.

CDNs are utility delivery platforms that specialize in one-to-many distribution as opposed to the two-way interactive exchange performed by utility computing platforms. In contrast to the cloud, CDNs are designed specifically to deliver content from servers to the end-users as part of a repeatable process.

High-performance content delivery is a must for websites or online applications serving geographically-dispersed end users. Using the cloud and a CDN together creates a holistic system that meets the demands for content delivery as well as economical computing power. This best-of-both-worlds combination results in an optimal online user experience when incorporated into your IT Infrastructure strategy.

To learn more about the specific purposes and benefits of CDNs and the cloud and how these two platforms work together to meet the content delivery needs of today’s online users, download our white paper, CDN: A Cloud Accelerant.

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Apr 3, 2013

Internap to present at Cloud Connect event

Ansley Kilgore

Cloudonomics: achieving cost-efficiency and agility through hybridization – Part 3This week, the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley becomes the hub for all things cloud. The annual Cloud Connect event brings together technology experts and cloud computing leaders to discuss the evolution of the cloud. The conference will cover mobile application deployment, big data and the variety of public, private and hybrid cloud options available today.

Join Internap’s VP of hosting services, Gopala Tumuluri, on Friday as he participates in a panel discussion about the pros and cons of different cloud infrastructure types and how to evaluate them based on performance, privacy and control requirements. With so many cloud options available, from public cloud to bare metal servers, the ability to determine the best approach for your unique business needs is critical for success.

Learn more about Internap’s cloud offerings in our Cloud Hosting Buyer’s Guide.

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