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Dec 6, 2017

3 Signs Your Business Might Need Managed Storage

INAP

How to Win the Storage Wars

New technology is both a blessing and hindrance in the IT world.

Data is becoming more complex and businesses are demanding faster access to larger amounts of digital information. As a result, new equipment is constantly being developed which can accommodate more speed, storage and performance.

This new technology is great if you’re in the market for all new equipment; but let’s be honest, you’re probably not. And even if you are looking to do a full upgrade of your systems, investing in top-of-the-line equipment is likely a more expensive solution than most businesses are comfortable spending.

The result is a less than optimal solution which may not seamlessly integrate into your existing environment and cause more problems down the road. Plus, you risk untimely disruptions and downtime while deploying your new infrastructure. And we won’t even get into changing SLAs and business priorities.

Fortunately, there is a solution which can provide the options you need with the convenience of passing the grunt work to someone else: Managed storage.

Does Your Business Need Managed Storage

Managed storage is a service that allows all aspects of your data storage – from monitoring to maintenance – to be administrated and supervised within your environment. This reliable and high performing solution combines flexibility and scalability with the speed and efficiency you need to keep your applications running smoothly.

It doesn’t matter which industry your business occupies, you will likely have a need for managed storage. The bigger question isn’t if you need managed storage, rather when you will need it.

[Tweet “The bigger question isn’t if you need managed storage, rather when you will need it. #managedstorage”]

Here are three big signs your business might be ready for a managed storage solution today.

1. Your Current System is Outdated

Just like how a new car loses value the moment you drive it off the lot, your IT infrastructure can quickly become outdated after it’s deployed.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the innovation and speed at which new technology is unveiled. Just look each fall when the major cell phone companies release their latest and greatest devices.

It’s not feasible or practical to replace your storage system with each tech advancement, so some IT departments are getting by with patchwork improvements or continually adding capacity to legacy systems. This may temporarily solve the problem, but with limited flexibility, you will run into more problems when you inevitably need to scale up your storage capacity again.

2. You Are Constantly Playing Catch Up with Your Storage Plan

Did you know the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that enterprise data doubles every 18 months?

If you’re not adequately planning for this surge of digital information, you’ll soon be faced with a situation that involves investing more of your budget to storage instead of spending capital dollars elsewhere, which could negatively impact the overall performance of your business applications.

Even if you have a solution in place, are you proactively managing your storage capacity and performance? For instance, your environment should allow you the flexibility to seamlessly scale out when you reach your capacity limit. If you’re not planning with your current and future needs in mind, you’ll always be playing catch up when it comes to your storage solution.

3. You Don’t Have Time to Properly Manage Your Storage

It’s no secret that running an effective IT infrastructure takes time and hard work. In addition to maintaining the upkeep of your equipment, you are constantly monitoring performance and storage to ensure your website and applications are running optimally to provide the best experience for your end users.

And when you do need to evaluate your storage lifecycle, you may find the process is lengthy and complex ­– providing insufficient data that’s not conducive to making an informed decision.

If you’re looking for a solution that can streamline the storage management process by making proactive decisions using predictive analytics, and allowing you more time to focus on your core business, you might want to consider managed storage.

Why INAP’s Managed Storage Solution Makes Sense for You

INAP offers a storage solution that meets or exceeds all of the standards you’d expect and require from a managed hosting provider. Our service provides performance, reliability (99.9999% availability) and security, with proactive flexible and scalable options so you’re never caught off guard when you are running out of space. Plus, our team of experts provides all the maintenance to keep you operating 24x7x365, so you can focus your time and resources on more important business matters.

Contact us today to learn more about how our managed storage solution can improve your performance and efficiency.

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Sep 10, 2013

How to make IaaS work for your big data needs

INAP

How to make IaaS work for your big data needsIn our previous blog, we discussed two main classes of big data that we have observed in our customer base: “needle in the haystack” style data mining and mass-scale NoSQL style “big” database applications. In this blog, I wanted to talk about the importance of choosing the right infrastructure services for your needle in the haystack big data workloads and needs.

The needle in the haystack approach to big data involves searching for relationships and patterns within a static or steadily growing mountain of information, hoping to find insights that will help you make better business decisions. These workloads can be highly variable with constant changes in scope and size, especially when you’re just starting out. These workloads normally require large, backend processing power to analyze the high volume of data (tweet this). To effectively crunch this type of data and find meaningful needles in your haystack, you need an infrastructure that can accommodate:

Dynamically changing, periodic usage – Most big data jobs are processed in batches, and require flexible infrastructure that can handle unpredictable, variable workloads.
Large computational needs – “Big” data requires serious processing power to get through your jobs in a reasonable amount of time and provide effective analysis.

So what kind of infrastructure options can support these requirements? While the multi-tenant virtual cloud platforms offer a great economic model and can handle the variable workloads, performance demands become extremely difficult to manage as your use cases evolve and grow. Big data mining technologies such as Hadoop may work at acceptable levels in virtual environments when you’re just starting out, but they tend to struggle at scale due to high storage I/O, network and computational demands. The virtual, shared and oversubscribed aspects of multi-tenant clouds can lead to problems with noisy neighbors. Big data jobs are some of the noisiest, and ultimately everyone in the same shared virtual environment will suffer, including your big data jobs. An alternative is to build out dedicated infrastructure to alleviate these problems.

This leaves you with two bad options: either deal with subpar performance of virtual pay-as-you-go cloud platforms, or start building your own “expensive” infrastructure. How do you get both the flexibility you need and the high level of performance required to efficiently process big data jobs?

Bare-metal cloud can provide the dedicated storage and compute that you need, along with flexibility for unpredictable workloads. In a bare-metal cloud platform, all compute and direct-attached storage are completely dedicated to your workloads. There are no neighbors, let alone noisy ones, to adversely impact your needs. Best of all, you can get and pay for what your workload specifically needs, and then spin down the whole thing. One caveat – even with dedicated servers and storage, the network layer is still shared among multiple tenants, which could be a limiting factor for some large-scale Hadoop jobs where wire-speed performance is a must. Even though bare metal is one of the best price for performance cloud options, your workload may not be able to tolerate such limitations as your big data needs grow. Managed hosting or private cloud to the rescue.

Managed hosting or private cloud is a better option in some cases, as the infrastructure is dedicated to you on a private network and can be customized to accommodate your specific needs. These options deliver wire-speed network performance along with dedicated compute, storage and reasonable agility. Of course, this won’t be the most economic option, but if your workload requirements demand this, the tradeoff is well worth it.

Whether you begin your big data endeavor with virtual cloud or bare-metal cloud, it’s important to recognize that your infrastructure needs will change over time. When starting out, a virtual cloud or a bare-metal cloud can suffice, with bare metal providing better performance and scale capabilities. But as your big data needs expand, a fully dedicated, managed private cloud may fit better, without the limitations of a shared network.

Given that change is the only constant in big data, choosing a provider that offers more options and allows you to adjust as your needs change is key. Talk to Internap about your “needle in the haystack” big data needs and we will help you find the right options now and for the future.

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Apr 30, 2013

Improve application security, compliance with Web Application Firewall (WAF)

INAP

Web Application Firewall (WAF)We recently added Web Application Firewall (WAF) to our portfolio of security technologies for our Custom and Agile Hosting platforms. A WAF is deployed to protect web-based applications or services from external malicious attacks. Unlike a network firewall which monitors general network activity, a WAF focuses on application-specific protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, XML and SOAP to prevent applications from attacks, including malicious inputs, cross-site scripting, website information scraping, path traversal, tampering of protocol or session data, business logic and injection attacks.

Compliance with industry or government security requirements is one of the most common reasons why organizations deploy security services such as the Web Application Firewall (WAF). Section 6.6 of the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) requires a WAF to protect applications that process credit card data.

WAFs have also been deployed if an organization is unable to directly secure application code. This can happen for legacy applications where either the source code is not available, or the knowledge of how the application works has left the organization. Since secure software development life cycle (SDLC) can’t fix such a problem, a bolt-on application security solution such as a WAF can provide the required protection.

WAFs should not be confused with network firewalls, although both are part of a comprehensive Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). Network firewalls are designed to protect against TCP/IP related network attacks, but are largely ineffective in protecting the application layer. Although all WAFs can be configured to monitor activity, most are used to block malicious requests before they reach the application; sometimes they are even used to return altered results to the requestor.

Internap’s WAF service includes Alert Logic’s Web Security ManagerTM, a dedicated physical appliance with a service component. Pricing is based on the amount of application traffic experienced, and current rate bands include 100, 250, 500 and 1,000 Mbps.

In addition to WAF, Internap provides a wide range of security and compliancy services, including:

  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Managed network firewalls
  • Anti-virus protection
  • SSL certificates
  • Log management
  • Patch Management
  • SOC 2 compliant data centers

Learn more about protecting your applications with Web App Firewall (WAF).

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Apr 17, 2013

Managed hosting can solve healthcare patient engagement problems

Ansley Kilgore

Managed hosting can solve healthcare patient engagement problemsIf you’ve spent any time interacting with the healthcare industry in the past couple of years, whether as an employee or a patient, you’ve probably noticed that IT systems are a much bigger part of the healthcare experience. The rise of EHRs (Electronic Healthcare Records) and other IT solutions have created a major opportunity for patient engagement in the sector. However, developing patient engagement models and finding the right technology to accommodate them can be difficult, making managed hosting services important in the sector.

The rise of patient engagement strategies
EHRs create an opportunity for hospital CIOs to increase patient engagement by making more data available. By giving patients access to information about their health and treatment options, they can be more engaged with their care and have a greater understanding of how to get the help they need.

In most current care models, primary care physicians will advise patients through various chains of care, which is sometimes as simple as collecting a prescription at the pharmacy. In other instances, it can involve visiting a test lab or seeing a specialist to get additional care that the primary care doctor can’t provide.

Traditionally, patients have not had much say in how this chain of care progresses. Furthermore, the complex nature of treatment strategies and medical processes has created an environment in which physicians tend to keep patients in the dark because they cannot always provide definitive answers.

Challenges in patient engagement
While hospital CIOs can use patient engagement plans to improve patient care, doing so requires a strategic IT infrastructure to handle the large amounts of data needed. However, the solution has to be simple from an end user perspective, despite the complex web of interdependent technologies. Managed hosting makes this possible by giving CIOs a secure and cost-effective way to host patient engagement applications and data. This operational model allows hospitals to connect meaningfully with patients and provide access to data without making costly internal IT upgrades.

Learn more about managed hosting plans and how they can benefit your business by downloading our white paper, Ten Considerations When Choosing a Managed Hosting Provider.

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Mar 19, 2013

Managed hosting helps businesses handle mobile device challenges

Ansley Kilgore

Managed hosting handle mobile device challengesMobile device ecosystems are contributing to major changes in how businesses get the job done. If you look around your office, you’ll probably notice that most people are still at their desk like always, but many of them may be using their personal mobile devices on the side. Smartphones will often be pulled out at meetings to clarify data. The rise of “bring your own device” is changing the enterprise IT landscape, and companies have to adjust accordingly.

Considering the implications of BYOD
When employees are allowed to use their personal mobile devices in the workplace, almost every facet of IT has to change. Instead of handling technology from a perspective where it is tightly controlled by IT and given to users based on their needs, workers are bringing the technological tools they want into the workplace and expecting IT to adjust to them.
This creates an operational climate that is, in many ways, beyond what most IT departments are equipped to handle. Mobile devices demand flexible, integrated, scalable and almost universally accessible application access. Unless you have a private cloud that is orchestrated to support scalable mobile use, you probably need some third-party help.

Taking advantage of managed hosting
Managed hosting providers can take on your mobile application architecture and ensure end-users have access to what they need at any time. To a great extent, this means the managed hosting solution is used to establish a solid foundation for mobility and the connectivity infrastructure needed to ensure that critical applications and data are delivered to users effectively. Managed hosting offers improved performance, flexibility and support, along with on-demand scalable storage and managed data protection.

If you want to control how users access apps and data, you can deploy governance systems within your managed hosting plan to get more control over what employees can access. While managed hosting is traditionally used for web hosting, you can use the technology to support web-based apps and services and deliver them to end users efficiently.

Is your business ready to take on the challenge of mobile devices in the workplace? Learn more about the benefits of incorporating managed hosting into your organization’s mobile strategy.

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Mar 6, 2013

Customer Spotlight: YouSendIt talks cloud, mobile, performance and team leadership

Ansley Kilgore


YouSendIt is a leading cloud file collaboration service that gives users anytime, anywhere access to content via web, mobile and desktop applications. In this customer spotlight, Sumeet Rohatgi, Sr. Director of Engineering at YouSendIt, shares his vision on current technology trends, cloud security, performance and building a successful team. To stay successful and meet the demand for comprehensive content collaboration in the cloud, YouSendIt relies on Internap’s Managed Hosting services, scalable storage solution and global Performance IP connectivity.

Q. What are the biggest technology trends that will affect your business in the near future?

A. The current phase of technology is marked with a rapid expansion of mobile computing capabilities and applications, which are increasingly dependent on the cloud to provide rich content and functionality. Along with the rise of these productivity applications, users’ content is getting fractured and spread over multiple cloud repositories (sometimes referred to as the ‘personal cloud’).

YouSendIt provides cloud content collaboration governance tools for enterprise IT, such as remote wipe, centralized policy management, compliance reporting and encryption. To help end-users search, use and control content spread across their personal cloud, YouSendIt is rapidly incorporating cloudnostic search technology gained from a recent acquisition, Found. Cloudnostic is the idea that anyone can access their content no matter where it is hosted.

Q. How do the growing concerns about online privacy and internet security affect your business strategy?

A. The astonishing influx of new mobile devices in the market brings new capabilities and applications that pose security threats. To secure IP, especially as it relates to enterprise content, some CIOs resort to draconian measures, and limit content collaboration capabilities like MDM (Mobile Device Management), MCM (Mobile Content Management), and even block access to entire sites within their internal organization networks. However, these devices can and often do connect to multiple networks, and IP (content) easily leaks out.

As a result of these concerns, we offer a toolset to build a secure and safe environment for content collaboration. Our solutions put control of shared content in the hands of professional users with features like password protection and file expiration. Our enterprise offering complements this toolset with a single sign-on for enterprise users, both from within the enterprise network and outside. Additionally, governance features like whitelist/blacklist enterprise domains provide a safe and trusted environment for collaboration. We encrypt all content at rest and perform virus scanning on files before downloading. Our cloud operations are PCI compliant and our processes are SOC 2/3 compliant. All communications to user devices and our cloud are encrypted and secure.

Q. Tell us why performance is important to your business.

A. The ability to access your cloud content anywhere, anytime and the fact that we have over 40 million users puts an enormous performance requirement on our infrastructure. Downtime or inability to access content even for a brief period is an immediate loss of trust, and at times a loss of business. Our applications (web, desktop and mobile) use Internap’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) to ensure content is delivered rapidly. We also have storage servers in multiple locations to help make content transfer faster to our users no matter where they are globally.

Q. Your CEO has discussed the importance of building a great team. What do you think is the most essential ingredient for successful technology teams?

A. Successful technology teams start off by having a set of shared foundational values — namely, respecting and trusting the judgment of every team member. In today’s cloud technology environment, a broad range of skills needs to be present on the team: setting up/maintaining cloud servers, being polyglot in writing platform specific applications and architecting solutions that can scale and be flexible at the same time. To counter a rapidly changing environment, being agile is another necessary ingredient. The team as a whole needs to be able to quickly understand and take advantage of features being added by the platform manufacturers. If you do not have respect and trust in your team, none of the above can happen.

From the rest of the organization, the team demands a high level of support and trust in their decision making. Technology teams should be empowered to make and conversely be held accountable for their decisions. The organization needs to be tolerant of risk and comfortable with the possibility of failure, as this creates a culture of innovation which can lead to subsequent higher returns.

Watch the video to learn more about how YouSendIt controls their IT Infrastructure.

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Feb 27, 2013

PS4 event showcases importance of managed hosting in video gaming

Ansley Kilgore

managed hosting in video gamingLast week, executives from Sony Computer Entertainment and many video game industry leaders spent just more than two hours introducing the PlayStation 4. On top of all of the hardware and game-specific content displayed, much of the conference focused on how Sony is planning to drive social and intuitive video game mechanics in the next-generation system. This type of functionality has become a staple of the video game industry, and showcases how important managed hosting could be moving forward.

Considering where video gaming is going
If you watched the conference, you may have noticed a few quirks in the presentation style. In short, certain terms and hype-focused phrases garnered a lot of attention. “Ecosystem” was one such term. The full scope of this oft-repeated word is put in focus by an introductory phrase from Sony’s Andrew House who said Sony is aiming to create an environment in which “the living room is no longer the center of the PlayStation ecosystem, the gamer is.”

In the case of Sony, the idea of building an ecosystem for video gaming is centered around the idea of making content available on any Sony device and through the cloud. Downloads are designed to be almost instantaneous, and can happen in the background during gameplay. Sharing screenshots and video is intuitive and encouraged.
These kinds of functions provide a glimpse into the future of gaming that you will be able to experience sometime during the 2013 holiday season when the PlayStation 4 and, in all likelihood, the new Xbox are released.

Keeping up with industry changes
Developers and publishers have their work cut out for them if they want to integrate with console-based game stores that offer such efficient downloads. They also have to be ready to support the kind of social functionality emphasized by console manufacturers. While some of the network functions will be handled by the OEMs, game makers have to consider how they can engage in this increasingly social and constantly connected world.

Give the industry changes ahead, managed hosting services will be essential to the future of online gaming. Such services provide developers and publishers with the tools they need to cost-effectively create web and social content that encourages sharing. Moving forward, video game ecosystems will push for holistic web, mobile, cloud and console functionality, making managed hosting a key part of the sector.

To learn more about the benefits of managed hosting for online game developers, watch our video.

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Oct 26, 2012

Business planning, as we know it, is finished

INAP

Business planning, as we know it, is finishedThe age of business planning is finished? What? That’s what Forbes’s contributing author Dov Seidman recently suggested, stating that “What business needs now is to journey, to embark on a curvilinear path that eschews quarterly reports and gives room to explore new initiatives… Companies need to compete against former partners, partner with former competitors and thrive amid rapidly changing conditions and intense uncertainty… Business leaders must actively care for a broader set of priorities, understanding that we are creating our own ecosystems of suppliers, consumers, employees and so many other stakeholders.” It is a fascinating read.

Speaking of creating an ecosystem of suppliers, if you are already deep into planning for 2013, one thing you may be considering is who will provide your mission-critical IT Infrastructure. Now, I could tell you how Internap is one of the leading IT Infrastructure providers and espouse on our award-winning support, patented route optimization technology, etc., but wouldn’t you rather hear it from the customer’s point of view? I think our customers tell how we helped them better than we ever could. So, for this week’s mashup, I am sharing with you some customer success stories in video format across various industries – gaming, F1, media & entertainment, e-commerce, technology and more.

  • Hi-Rez Studios (Gaming): Managed Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Performance IP™ service and Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Sahara Force India (Formula One): Managed Hosting, Performance IP and Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Vermont Teddy Bear (e-Commerce): Content Delivery Network (CDN), Performance IP and Colocation
  • YouSendIt (Cloud-based collaboration services): Managed Hosting, Storage and Performance IP

If you are interested in learning more about how Internap can help with your IT Infrastructure plan, there are other customer success stories in our eBook. Good luck with your 2013 planning!

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Sep 20, 2012

Online gaming continues to explode — and not because of a grenade

INAP

Online gamingNot surprisingly, there continues to be a growing library of online games. What may be surprising, however, is the rate of its growth — how quickly and how much. According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, the global gaming market was worth $70.5 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $117.9 billion by 2015. Market research firm eMarketer, recently reported that there will be approximately 76.5 million social gamers in the U.S. by the end of 2012, of which 48% will be social network users.

In the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) category, even with limited amounts of time, many U.S. gamers migrate from one new MMOG to the next, although Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft has managed to keep 10.5 million subscribers and a top spot in the U.S. for years. In fact, there is much hype about the company’s highly-anticipated fourth expansion of the world’s most popular subscription-based MMO role-playing game. The release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is scheduled for next week – with official launch parties planned, literally, all around the world. Here are some other articles containing staggering stats about the gaming industry:

Looking for an IT Infrastructure to support your worlds or realms? Check out the instant replay of our recent webinar: Online Gaming Infrastructure Trends — Capitalizing on a growing industry. Or read the Online Gaming Industry Handbook Online Gaming Industry Handbook for an in-depth look at this market today.

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