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post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraiche View Post
We're actually looking into Rackspace currently. Any experience with them? Also, what niche is Opsource targeting? Thanks again for the insight.
I had a few clients move over to rackspace because of the support services, which is very good for companies that have fairly standard software and not much in-house expertise. They were mostly happy with the service. This is now a few years old but they offer the same level of support to their cloud customers which is why I thought they may be good for your client. opsource was one of the first companies to get into Saas, focused on providing a platform to software companies so they could offer their software as a service.
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatlas View Post
I'm a little stale on my competitive intel, but I don't think that RAX ha a public cloud solution along the lines of an Amazon EC2 or OpSource Cloud Infrastructure. Both of these are for general IT outsourcing as much as for SaaS ISV's. On the other hand, from a Colo or managed services perspective you're dead on.
I think you are right that they all have general offering (rackspace has added a public cloud), but their strength is usually defined by their roots. The OP would be miserable in amazon given the lack of support services despite AWS being one of the strongest cloud offering technically. Similarly no one can provide the level of service to ISVs that opsource can, given where they come from.
post #33 of 43
Some thoughts/experience... The cloud is like any new product, in a way. It's being marketed like crazy right now. Datacenters are pushing it hard. Really though, you have to look at it on an individual basis. It will never be a solution for everybody. I think it's best as a solution for particular applications, not an entire infrastructure. When I was doing upgrades/redesign for a company recently, I had to talk to a datacenter that they were using as a colocation facility and they were like OMG you have to move to the cloud (and pushing hard)!! Telus was saying the same thing, when they only thing I was asking them for were quotes on fiber-based MPLS and internet. It pissed me off, actually because they weren't listening to what i needed, they were just trying to sell me shit i didn't want. In this case, moving the entire company's infrastructure, which was what they suggested, would not only have been stupidly expensive, but completely idiotic, because if you really want to do cloud for everything, you need 2 bulletbroof internet connections imo, and in this case, there was one fiber provider, and to get another would have incurred hundreds of K in build costs. Copper wouldn't have been reliable enough or fast enough, or for a copper service that was fast enough, it was too expensive. Even that aside, sticking dozens of servers into a cloud environment isn't cheap. We replaced all the servers and storage and it cost 8x the monthly recurring a cloud would have been, so within less than a year, the cloud would have been costing us more, not accounting for staffing costs (which wouldn't have changed). For a medium to large company, it's probably not any cheaper in most cases, and it can also be more expensive. What it does is shift expenses from CapEx to OpEx, which some people like for various reasons, but if you've got a medium to large environment, i don't see how it can save you much money, but it really depends. Some apps lend themselves very well to a cloud environment. Any app where most of your users are external are best there imo, especially if you don't have multiple sites interconnected via mpls or some other private network tech, and with bgp running on your internet routers. Websites/ecommerce are the obvious ones. Salesforce is a great example. Payroll works well in the cloud since a medium-sized company might have one or two payroll guys so if they lose internet for a hour or two it's not the end of the world. Losing an ERP system because of downed internet would be a huge disaster though. And speaking of ERP, many are heavily customized, so even if you were sticking it in a cloud, you'd still need staff to support it. Salesforce is basically the same for everyone that uses it, so it's easy for them to provide the support as well. Many apps/services that businesses use are not like that though, so it's harder to realize economies of scale. Many companies have stringent security requirements that can't be met in the cloud. huntsman touched on compliance issues that are very real. What happens if you lose your internet? Do hundreds of people lose their ability to do work? Onsite inspections are often impossible, so you could never achieve Level 1 PCI compliance if you were in the cloud, from my understanding. The way I'm looking at the costs is that no matter whether you store data in house or in a cloud somewhere, you need to purchase storage and processing and you need the same amount of processing/storage whether you're in the cloud or not. A datacenter will get things for cheaper on a per ghz/gb basis because they are buying so much of it, but not that much cheaper. When you stack up cloud-based costs vs. the old model of physical servers with a mix of san or local storage, the cloud looks really good. When you stack it up against a fully virtualized solution, which get MUCH better resource utilization, is a lot easier to maintain, makes high-availability easy, makes replication between sites easy, and makes failover between sites easy, the cloud doesn't look nearly as attractive, and advanced SAN/virtualization technology has come down a LOT in price recently. In the cases I've looked at, cloud has been more expensive, actually. And why wouldn't it be? Cloud providers do need to make their margins every month, after all. I also don't think that the OpEx savings on IT staff ever materialize to the degree cloud vendors claim they will, for a variety of reasons. Also, what are support costs going to be? How quick will you get support? If you have dedicated IT staff, you can say "hey this is broken, fix it NOW," and someone will be on it. It doesn't work like that if you're calling into support for some huge vendor. I know. I've done it. Now, there are always different tiers of support, but the best support is always pretty expensive. For a lot of smaller companies that don't have dedicated IT staff, putting as much on there as possible makes a lot of sense. Email would definitely make sense to host there if your users weren't heavy outlook users. Hosting your be/ecommerce there is almost a no-brainer. Bulk storage is cheap on amazon, etc. Btw Douglas, there's also something called MS Small business server, which could make sense for a small operation. It's a domain controller and exchange in one, which keeps costs down. You really have to decide whether you need the features and feel of outlook+exchange. I know that my users wouldn't be happy with gmail as their only client.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraiche View Post
Small growing to midsize national retail company. Would you happen to have any whitepaper literature from OpSource similar to what Amazon AWS has in pdf? What you're talking about seems to be very close to what we're looking for.
Make sure you look into any PCI compliance issues. If you're a mid-size you're probably ok, but level 1 compliance (over a million transactions/mo or /yr... can't remember) requires on-site visits, which most cloud providers can't accommodate, and i'm not sure if there are other issues. I'll be getting my hands dirty with Amazon's full suite of offerings soon. Looking at moving a fairly high-volume/high ticket retail website on to it...
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Make sure you look into any PCI compliance issues. If you're a mid-size you're probably ok, but level 1 compliance (over a million transactions/mo or /yr... can't remember) requires on-site visits, which most cloud providers can't accommodate, and i'm not sure if there are other issues.

I'll be getting my hands dirty with Amazon's full suite of offerings soon. Looking at moving a fairly high-volume/high ticket retail website on to it...

Thanks a bunch for the info, GQ.

PCI compliance for virtualization definitely won't work so it'll end up being a dedicated solution. I see the true cost savings is really on the staffing side, not equipment.


Btw, how is OpSource different from RackSpace/AWS?
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraiche View Post
Thanks a bunch for the info, GQ. PCI compliance for virtualization definitely won't work so it'll end up being a dedicated solution. I see the true cost savings is really on the staffing side, not equipment. Btw, how is OpSource different from RackSpace/AWS?
You CAN make the pci compliance work with virtualization, you just have to design properly, put proper access control, change management, logging, etc in place. PCI is really all about scoping your project and limiting compliance to what HAS to be in scope, and it becomes more manageable and affordable. btw: http://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/what...-1-compliance/
Quote:
Thank you for contacting Amazon Web Services. Our payment system is PCI\tcompliant and it is an “alternative payment processing service” meaning\tyour users re-direct to our platform to conduct the payment event using\ttheir credit cards or bank accounts. The benefit for you is that we\thandle all the sensitive customer data so you don’t have to. If you\thaven’t looked at it, I highly suggest you check out the features and\tfunctions of our Flexible Payment Service and our Payment Widgets (http://aws.amazon.com/fps). As for PCI level 2 compliance, that requires external scanning via a\t3rd party, PCI-approved vendor. It is possible for you to build a PCI\tlevel 2 compliant app in our AWS cloud using EC2 and S3, but you cannot achieve level 1 compliance. And you have to provide the appropriate\tencryption mechanisms and key management processes. If you have a data\tbreach, you automatically need to become level 1 compliant which\trequires on-site auditing; that is something we cannot extend to our\tcustomers. This seems like a risk that could challenge your business;\tas a best practice, I recommend businesses always plan for level 1 compliance. So, from a compliance and risk management perspective, we\trecommend that you do not store sensitive credit card payment\tinformation in our EC2/S3 system because it is not inherently PCI level\t1 compliant. It is quite feasible for you to run your entire app in our\tcloud but keep the credit card data stored on your own local servers\twhich are available for auditing, scanning, and on-site review at any\ttime.
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
You CAN make the pci compliance work with virtualization, you just have to design properly, put proper access control, change management, logging, etc in place.

PCI is really all about scoping your project and limiting compliance to what HAS to be in scope, and it becomes more manageable and affordable.

btw:

http://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/what...-1-compliance/

For the environment I am evaluating, it would require re-engineering the application and database architecture to separate the data and then also build an encrypted interface for it to communicate/reconcile.

That itself is another project so that wouldn't be feasible. Dedicated solution is probably the best bet.
post #38 of 43
K. was just tossing it out there.
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
K. was just tossing it out there.

No problem. Thanks for the thought.

I am not to familiar with SalesForce.

I had thought they do SaaS type for CRM/ERP but it seems like they also offer cloud as well? Is that accurate or am I totally off?
post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraiche View Post
No problem. Thanks for the thought.

I am not to familiar with SalesForce.

I had thought they do SaaS type for CRM/ERP but it seems like they also offer cloud as well? Is that accurate or am I totally off?

have no idea... I was under same impression that they were mainly CRM SaaS.
post #41 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
have no idea... I was under same impression that they were mainly CRM SaaS.

Salesforce has a cloud based development platform based on their architecture called Force.com, and they claim close to 200,000 separate apps run on it.
post #42 of 43
I'm looking for experienced user feedback about Salesforce. My company is doing an internal discovery process as we finally move to investing in CRM. We're very early in the process, no platforms/solutions are being considered yet.

We have very different needs across departments.

I'm particularly interested in Chatter, Service Cloud etc... and facilitating project collaboration. If anybody has real hands on experience, would love to here it- PM me if you'd like.
post #43 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post
I'm looking for experienced user feedback about Salesforce. My company is doing an internal discovery process as we finally move to investing in CRM. We're very early in the process, no platforms/solutions are being considered yet.

We have very different needs across departments.

I'm particularly interested in Chatter, Service Cloud etc... and facilitating project collaboration. If anybody has real hands on experience, would love to here it- PM me if you'd like.

I've used it. We have the CRM solution cross linked to provide service provisioning and various other things. We looked at Chatter band although it's a good product it isn't pervasive enough - if you want to just use it within your organisation that's fine though.

The downsides are regulated data, and application tie in. Their infrastructure is not audited to the level necessary for things like HIPAA or PCI and they will be the first to tell you that. The other issue is moving away from them in the future. A lot of what you build is highly specific to the infrastructure and this is true of most SaaS vendor so you need to be really happy with your selection.

On balance though we are happy with them which is just as well because they are deeply embedded in our workflow process now.
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