Top Three Pros & Cons of Azure

Cloud computing has completely changed the way the enterprise does its business. Agility and efficiency are now taken for granted as the cloud drives innovation at an extremely high rate. Creating and implementing a cloud strategy can help businesses accelerate their time to value.  Deciding what assets you want to migrate to the cloud should be your first step towards forming a cloud strategy. A common scenario is that of assessing a hybrid cloud strategy to make an informed decision regarding cloud migration.

Let’s take a look at some key benefits of Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure offers many benefits such as increased scalability, reduced costs, more flexibility and creativity, faster time to market, and the ability to leverage Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Azure is a development and hosting platform with on-demand computing & infinite scalability.

Now let’s take a look at the top three pros of Azure:

  1. Core functionality takes priority – Azure has created a robust ecosystem which provides economies of scale, flexibility and predictable payment structures. It allows development teams to worry only about application functionality, and not about the underlying scale, failover, deployment, and other similar issues.
  2. Simultaneous development and deployment – Azure provides a comprehensive application hosting environment, as well as a full-scale development platform with advanced tools which are integrated into MS Visual Studio. This enables effortless development and testing.
  3. Optimal usability of resources – Azure supports all the latest Microsoft technologies. This means that you can pretty much reuse the majority of your code base, as well as the developer skills & training investments.

Are there many cons to Azure? Well, here are the top 3 challenges you can expect to face while dealing with Azure and some tips on how you can overcome them:

  1. Local bandwidth considerations

While migrating to an IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) platform like Azure, an often overlooked issue is that of how much bandwidth provisioning is required. This becomes imperative when a hybrid cloud solution is in use. In such cases, there may be a high amount of traffic running between locally hosted systems and their remote cloud elements. This brings up an interesting problem, as traffic which previously ran over high-speed, low-latency LAN will now begin to run over the WAN. This can create tremendous pressure on local bandwidth, and bottlenecks may emerge. To overcome this challenge, it’s suggested to consult an experienced Azure architecture specialist, who can effectively calculate the cost-benefit impact these bandwidth changes can create.

  1. Database migration issues

Enterprise applications, which are in use these days, require external databases in order to complete their functions. There are two options available here, the first being to migrate applications to Azure while hosting the database on-premise, or moving the database itself to Azure, as it has many benefits. The biggest challenge while doing so is to predict compatibility issues between Azure storage and the existing application storage. Incompatibilities emerge if the source database was created with now obsolete versions of database software. To overcome these challenges the services of database specialists is required, to convert the database without loss of fidelity or functions and provide the required changes to applications.

  1. Application monitoring and management

Irrespective of where your applications are hosted, you need to prepare to have the right processes in place in order to manage them effectively. Clarity regarding service level agreements and capacity planning strategy is also required before deployment to a production environment in the cloud. Key questions to answer are: How will customer billing work? Where will the data for application monitoring go? This particular challenge can be overcome with the help of the Azure SDK, which includes a diagnostic API. This helps to expose issues with event logs, crash dumps, and trace failures. By leveraging this API, it becomes easy to set up monitoring rules that can make monitoring and planning simpler.

 

As always, for further help and expertise on Azure, talk to us, the Azure experts.

3 Azure Migration Tips

Microsoft Azure is the cloud computing platform and infrastructure for building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. It provides SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services and supports multiple programming languages, tools and frameworks and third-party software and systems.

NetEnrich Video Blog – 3 Azure Migration Tips

In our latest video blog we talk about 3 simple tips which can help businesses considering migrating workloads or applications to Azure. It’s imperative to have a detailed plan, consider the security and governance implications, and to partner with a trusted MSP.

Watch this video to learn more:

Back to basics: Cloud Security

Cyber attacks and cloud data breaches have become rampant in recent times. Service providers & businesses are evaluating their security posture and investing in ways to better secure their data, applications, and infrastructure. In seconds, sensitive corporate and customer data can be compromised, held for ransom or lost forever.

NetEnrich Video Blog – Back to basics: Cloud Security

In our latest video blog we speak about the importance of cloud security and how you can manage it effectively. The key to better security, is to understand how the cloud is utilized by various data and applications. By viewing and managing all the devices on a regular basis, you can eliminate shadow IT and improve your security posture.

Watch this video to learn more:

Why do your customers need Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft announced in March 2016 that its public cloud platform, Azure, was generating around 120,000 new customers every month. This creates a huge opportunity for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), to include Azure services in their portfolio and increase business.

NetEnrich Video Blog – Why do your customers need Microsoft Azure?

In this video blog, we speak about the main reasons your customers need Microsoft Azure, & how you can help them. Cost benefits associated with cloud, increased flexibility, & scalable computing environments are the biggest advantages of embracing Azure.

Watch this video to learn more:

Partner for Success with NetEnrich

NetEnrich launched our partner program earlier this year, and already we have 100 partners in North America. These companies range from VARs and systems integrators to MSPs and cloud service providers (CSPs), serving small to enterprise customers. Partners are core to our future: we are forecasting two times growth in our partner base in 2017 – a conservative estimate.

Partners work with us because we are experts at delivering value through a highly-efficient, industrialized service factory approach to IT management. Our focus on automation in IT management cuts costs for everyone, and delivers more foolproof monitoring and management of critical IT infrastructure. Partners can grow margins by up to 40%, by working with NetEnrich.

We are experts in network operations management and cloud computing – especially Microsoft Azure. Last spring, we established a strategic partnership with Microsoft. We are helping Microsoft partners ramp up their cloud business for those customers which want to take the next step in IT innovation, but don’t know how to get started. Our white-labeled services help those partners migrate more customers faster to the cloud, while optimizing outcomes for the customer as well.

Security is another core focus for NetEnrich, and delivers unlimited upside potential for partners. The recent shocking revelations from Yahoo underscore, yet again, the criticality of protecting networks and databases from malicious hackers. Small and midsize businesses in particular incur a high risk of failure after a breach. Partners can grow their business and marketplace credibility by offering a suite of proven managed security services, as follows:

  • NetEnrich remotely assesses and monitors the customer’s security environment.
  • We provide automated application controls to protect data and systems.
  • Our monitoring and management platform works on top of the customer’s security infrastructure, with no need to replace tools which are already working well.
  • It’s about providing an extra layer defense, with minimal disruption at the customer site.

For any partner interested in working with us, we have one message: NetEnrich can be your wingman. You can be the hero with your customers, while we do all the work behind the scenes, thanks to the help of our 500 and growing expert engineers around the world. Our services can help a partner scale dramatically, delivering for example, three times the number of cloud migration assessments as they could do on their own.

But it doesn’t stop there. We want to help partners not only acquire, but retain customers. That is only possible through a continuing pipeline of training and education on new technologies and practices. Partner support will be a seminal focus for us next year: look for a January launch of a new online education tool. This tool, free for all NetEnrich partners, will help service providers understand how our solutions work and how to best communicate that value to customers with compelling marketing content. We also aim to deliver partners knowledge on how to maximize revenues from our offerings.

We go an extra step by offering each new partner company a Partner Success Manager. This NetEnrich employee will be dedicated to the partner’s business: always available for questions, concerns or guidelines for the duration of the relationship. Look for information in January on this revamped partner program, which includes the above benefits and more. We can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Learn more about our partner program here.

– Raju Chekuri , President and CEO of NetEnrich.

NetEnrich recognized as MSP differentiator in Gartner’s Market Guide for Managed Internet of Things (IOT) Services

Gartner recently released a market guide on Managed Internet of Things (IoT) services. This report establishes the emergence of Managed IoT services, lists a representative sample of vendors that are providing them and discusses how they present their capabilities in the market. Gartner mentioned NetEnrich as a cloud-native differentiator MSP in this report.

Gartner recommends that CIOs responsible for IoT solutions, should build an IoT roadmap that includes Internet of Things (IoT) services as a way to optimize, improve and extend POCs and existing IoT investments. They should focus on business process acumen, instrumented and automated platforms, and IoT ecosystems as critical success factors when conducting provider due diligence for managed IoT services. CIOs should investigate the sourcing agility and DevOps approaches of managed IoT service providers as high-order attributes when considering vendors.

NetEnrich has been mentioned as a legacy and cloud-native MSP differentiator in the market, for providing a combination of cloud management services, IoT development and IoT management services.

A differentiating MSP has certain attributes and capabilities necessary and desirable for providing IoT managed services. They are:

  • Ability to map and align IoT technologies and services to key business processes
  • Experience in Bimodal IT, which involves DevOps and agile sourcing culture and capabilities, when required
  • Business consulting relating to IoT solutions to support business strategies (Business model reinvention, extension or innovation)
  • Ability to apply continual service improvement processes and practices to the underlying IoT solution and associated business processes
  • Advanced cognitive and analytics services
  • Feasibility analysis and systems to monetize IoT data

The market guide states that, planning, deploying and managing IoT solutions is a challenge for most enterprises. The key to leveraging external resources is finding providers that have proven solutions and that deploy IoT solutions faster, with guaranteed outcomes at reduced operational, and opportunity, costs to the enterprise.

 

Sources:

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Managed IoT services” report, published: 12 September 2016, listing NetEnrich as a differentiator MSP.

 

Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Cyber security professionals wary of increasing Ransomware attacks

Increasing cyber attacks on large and midsize companies are causing sleepless nights for cyber security professionals. Sensitive corporate and customer data should never be compromised and leads to irreparable damage to organizations.

The latest victim to face such a debilitating attack is San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which was hit by a ransomware attack recently, causing fare station terminals to carry the message, “You are hacked. ALL Data Encrypted.” The San Francisco Examiner reported that riders of SFMTA’s Municipal Rail or “Muni” system were greeted with handmade “Out of Service” and “Metro Free” signs on station ticket machines. The computer terminals at all Muni locations carried the “hacked” message: “Contact for key (cryptom27@yandex.com).”

It was found that the attacker had compromised thousands of computers at the SFMTA, by scrambling the files on those systems with encryption. The hacker claimed that only a special digital key would decrypt the files and would cost 100 Bitcoins, or approximately USD $73,000.

In an interesting turn of events, Krebs on Security reported that the hacker behind the extortion attempt on SFMTA was also subjected to an attack, revealing details about other victims as well as hints about his identity and location. A security researcher hacked the cryptom27@yandex.com inbox after reading a news article about the SFMTA incident. Evidence later emerged that the hacker had successfully extorted 63 bitcoins (~$45,000) from a U.S.-based manufacturing firm. The attack servers were equipped with several open-source tools to help find and infect new victims. The list of victims shows that the vast majority of organizations victimized by the attacker were manufacturing and construction firms. The attacker has successfully extorted at least $140,000 in Bitcoin from organizations.

This information shows how lucrative ransomware attacks can be, and how often victims are willing to pay, and defend themselves. The SFMTA however never considered paying the ransom. Their existing backup systems allowed them to get most of the affected computers up and running. So having proper and regular backups of your data can save you a lot of money. It’s important to remember that, unsecured backups can also be encrypted by ransomware. So it’s critical to ensure that backups are not connected to the computers and networks they are supporting.

NetEnrich Setup and Management Services for Backup are state-of-the-art setup, monitoring, management, optimization and analytics services. For more information about how DR and backup strategies should be critical part of your operation and how the cloud fits in, contact your cloud service provider. Contact us to find out about local or regional service providers in your area.

Cybersecurity Services: A Framework You Can Count On [Infographic]

Rampant cyber attacks on large and midsize companies are a huge concern. They’re destructive, pervasive and expensive. We’ve come to see that Ecommerce, telco and financial services organizations are the common industry targets, but they’re definitely not alone. It’s important for value-added resellers to invest in the right kind of cybersecurity tools and services, in order to help their clients protect their most important information.

NetEnrich can help companies manage complicated security strategies with our subscription-based cybersecurity offerings. Our cybersecurity framework is comprehensive and includes critical activities like testing complete IT environment with security assessments, detecting challenges and opportunities to deploy managed security services, and strategic consulting to help clients secure their sensitive data and information systems.

The ‘Cybersecurity Services from NetEnrich: A Framework You Can Count On’ infographic below, gives you the highlights.

Cyber Security
At NetEnrich, our cybersecurity services are the cream of the crop. We help enterprise and mid-market companies improve their security posture and implement automated application controls so that data and applications remain secure. Our single-pane-of-glass monitoring and management services can improve your security strategy and put your mind at ease.

For more information about how cybersecurity strategies should be critical part of your operation and how the cloud fits in, contact your cloud service provider. Contact us to find out about local or regional service providers in your area.

NetEnrich featured for providing transformational benefits with outcome-based services in Gartner 2016 Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Services

NetEnrich has been featured alongside BT Global Services, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy Services for providing transformational benefits, with outcome-based services in the recent Gartner Report on Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Services.

The 2016 Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Services provides businesses with a comprehensive time horizon of how infrastructure services are positioned in market hype, service maturity and market penetration, enabling them to review the benefits and opportunities infrastructure services offer against the risks they pose.

This Hype Cycle highlights few critical themes for organizations:

  • Outcome-based service contracting is becoming the expectation — End-user organizations are demanding more business value from service providers.
  • Hybrid architectures will be the primary mode of service delivery — Services such as Hybrid Cloud Computing and Cloud Service Brokerage will become increasingly important to enable buyers to migrate workloads and transform their infrastructure.
  • Smart services will be transformational in nature — Almost all of the Innovation Triggers in the infrastructure service market are related to smart machines and the IoT.
  • Cloud infrastructure services are rapidly maturing — Services such as Cloud Service Brokerage, Hybrid Cloud Computing, Private Cloud Computing and Public Cloud Storage are gaining traction.

“We are witnessing very strong traction in the market for outcome-based services contracting, which meet the increasing needs of our channel partners and their end-clients,” states NetEnrich VP for Product Management and Marketing, Chris Joseph, “With increased costs and complexity, companies are looking for ways to improve effectiveness and be more productive.”

Outcome-based service contracting is defined as contracts based on clearly defined scope and where commercial terms are tethered to user-prescribed outcomes that extend beyond the realm of IT availability and performance. Consequently, when users set the expected outcomes, service providers can go the extra mile to deliver and create value. The contract focuses on the desired outcome of the work to be performed, rather than the manner in which it is done. Service providers decide how they will deliver on customer requirements and so both control and risk shifts towards the service provider.

Gartner states that, regardless of where a particular service resides on the Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Services, organizations must carefully match their IT and operational requirements against the characteristics, benefits and availability of the various service offerings to ensure that, ultimately, their individual business needs are met.

 

Sources:

(1) Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Services 2016” report, published: 22 July 2016, listing NetEnrich as a sample vendor for outcome-based service contracting.

Disclaimer:

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Top 4 benefits of the Enterprise Command Center

IT managers have a lot on their hands. From managing network performance to keeping tabs on shadow IT, the work of the enterprise engineer is never complete. There are disparate tools that managers can use to see into their organization’s IT infrastructure, but there is such a thing as too many tools.

How do your IT managers deal with network incidents?
How do your IT managers deal with network incidents?

This is where investing in an Enterprise Command Center can be a great way for IT managers to stay on top of their operations. Let’s take a look at the top five benefits of partnering with an ECC:

1. Cut out all the noise

Alert noise within the IT environment is a constant. Network management and performance indicators are important to be aware of, but how much is too much? Organizations receive thousands of alerts every day from a wide range of monitoring tools. Most data center incidents are instigated by human and machine errors, 88 percent of them in fact, according to a survey published by Emerson.

The ECC provides a way to automate alert management. When alert noise is minimized and IT managers can have visibility over their entire environments without distractions, operations teams can work more quickly to resolve any issues that may arise.

Enterprise Command CenterThere are a lot of blinking lights and alert noises in the data center – but are they doing your team any good?

2. Manage shadow IT

Shadow IT is becoming a serious issue within environments across the board. Sometimes, business employees don’t want to wait for tech teams to vet and then deploy the solutions they need. Marketing teams, customer service employees and even top-level executives might search for and start using technologies while the IT department remains unaware, which can lead to security issues and critical flaws in network strength.

For instance, since it’s becoming easy to spin up an instance of the public cloud on the Amazon Cloud Services platform, non-IT employees can simply put in their credit card information and quickly deploy applications, leading to Amazon creep if they don’t decommission the clouds once they’re finished.

With the ECC, teams can more effectively manage shadow IT. This tool gives managers complete visibility into their operations from a single interface, providing them with critical insights into the kinds of unauthorized technologies running on their networks.

3. Improve productivity and cost savings

Network monitoring tools provide the organization with the opportunity to maximize cost savings and increase revenue. According to TechTarget, when teams have advance warning about network incidents, they can increase business value because they can proactively plan for repairing systems before problems turn into downtime.

“A good [network monitoring system] should accelerate incident turnaround and mean time to repair,” the TechTarget article stated. “Suppose […] that a failed hard drive causes your mail server to crash. Without a NMS, you must diagnose the network, check the server’s health and investigate the email application. With an NMS, you could pinpoint the problem in minutes without disrupting email and the network administrator’s workflow.”

Gartner estimated in 2010 that the cost of unplanned network downtime was $5,600 per minute. In 2013, the Ponemon Institute found that this number had risen dramatically to $7,900 per minute, according to Data Center Knowledge. Now, three years later, it’s safe to assume that the cost of unplanned outages has only continued to increase. Having the tools on hand to negate these events will save businesses in the long and the short term.

4. Foster relationships between IT and business

Aligning the “business” side with the “IT” side of a company can seem like a struggle. Organizations use many different kinds of technology, like cloud-based tools and hyperconverged appliances. But getting IT and business teams to work together to optimize their disparate values can sometimes be difficult.

By taking the entire IT infrastructure and putting it behind one unified single-pane-of-glass monitoring tool, ECC services can complement IT, cloud, DevOps and security teams. This takes some of the burden from these groups and gives them more leeway to perform other critical functions of their jobs – like serving as a strategic partner to the business in question.

“Aligning the ‘business’ side with the ‘IT’ side of a company can seem like a struggle.”

Seeing the ECC in action

Deploying Enterprise Command Center capabilities can bring all these benefits and more to organizations. For instance, the ECC engineers of NetEnrich recently partnered with KAR Auction Services, a $2.7 billion auto auction company that boasts, among all of its services, a comprehensive online business.

By teaming up with NetEnrich and the IT operations management platform provided by Vistara, KAR was able to reduce mean time to resolution by more than 75 percent and decrease staff time by 145 hours per week – meaning their IT engineers were able to fix network issues in record time. Now, instead of spending those 145 hours reacting to infrastructure incidents, these employees can contribute to business growth and revenue opportunities.

Contact the ECC engineers at NetEnrich today for more information about how we can help your IT management team become a trusted partner and active member of the business – not just a back-end operation that reacts to the organization’s needs.

 

 

SOURCE

Uptime Institute, Data Center Knowledge, Gartner