Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Dichotomy of AJAX and RESTful API's

Had an interesting conversation the other day with Adam, our lead interface developer at Enomaly. He's been our key AJAX and API developer on the Enomaly ECP platform for several years. During our random afternoon chat he basically said that AJAX is quite possibly the worst way to consume a RESTful API. He pointed out the purpose of a RESTful approach to API development & implementation is in its similarities to HTTP and more generally uri/urls -- each of which is easily viewable both programmatic as well as visually. The problem is AJAX is kind of the opposite. Most of the things that make the web great, such as urls, hyperlinks and bookmarking are not easily done or seen in a AJAX application. All the benefits to a RESTful architecture are hidden by the AJAX itself making development longer, more difficult to debug and often harder to scale.

The conversation certainly got me thinking, not that I think we're going to abandon our AJAX interface and it could be worse, it could be flash based. I'm wondering what others think about the apparent dichotomy between AJAX and a RESTful API?
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Enomaly Customer CentriLogic Launches U.S. Cloud Service

Long time Enomaly customer CentriLogic has just announced they've launched another regional cloud. Following on the success of their previous Canadian focused cloud service this one is in the United States. They've also announced a major new customer as part of the launch. Cookie Jar Entertainment, one of the world's leading creators, producers and marketers of animated and live-action programming, is the first customer to "go live" on its newly launched U.S.-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud. Cookie Jar Entertainment recently successfully completed an initial pilot with CentriLogic, and is now in the process of making the final transition for its consumer websites to the on-demand cloud service.

Powered by Enomaly's Elastic Computing Platform (ECP) CentriLogic's new enterprise-class cloud solution is one of the first North America-wide (Cross Border) IaaS offerings that provides a secure and scalable on-demand computing infrastructure for organizations to efficiently deliver content and information services over the Web. It is also one of the only providers to enable geopolitical delineation of data resources through its own dedicated facilities in the U.S. and Canada. The new U.S. cloud enhances CentriLogic's suite of hosting and managed services including, co-location, private and managed hosting, data management, security, network and professional services.

"The issue of where data resides is growing in relevance as organizations move to the cloud but are expressing growing concern about the corresponding regulatory and compliance issues," said Antonio Piraino, Vice President and Research Director of Tier1 Research, a division of The 451 Group. "As a result, cloud infrastructure providers that have multiple nodes in different regulatory and legal jurisdictions have a value proposition that will draw wider and more diverse opportunities."

According to Jim Latimer, Vice President of Client Solutions for CentriLogic, Cookie Jar Entertainment's commitment to the cloud for the Web components of its shows represents a significant milestone in the transition to cloud services. "Cookie Jar Entertainment has broken through the hype and is proving that on-demand cloud services can offer a significant strategic opportunity to manage resources in a more flexible and dynamic environment. Cloud computing is an ideal approach for Web properties; training environments, quality assurance and testing; SaaS and software development; or any other infrastructure where demand is highly elastic or unpredictable."

According to Mike Haas, Director of IT for Cookie Jar Entertainment, "We were outgrowing our infrastructure, and we had added many new sites and systems to house our Web content in different locations. When CentriLogic announced a cloud option, we saw an opportunity to consolidate our external-facing properties in a more dynamic and scalable environment that allowed room for both planned and unexpected growth. We have worked with CentriLogic for three years, so we knew that they could offer a rock solid solution."

CentriLogic's new cloud service allows customers to access and manage any number of virtual servers running Microsoft Windows or Linux through a Web-based dashboard, as well as automatically scale up and down their use of cloud servers through a robust Web-based API. Unique Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud offerings are highly flexible, secure, and scalable and have been designed to comply with local information management and international data delineation requirements. The cloud can be used to host websites, power internal business applications, provide burst capacity to meet peak loads for existing systems, and provide a highly flexible, virtual element to an existing physical infrastructure.

For more information on services and pricing call 1-866-366-3678 or visit

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Top 10 Essential Truths of Cloud Computing

I admit I'm writing this post in a slightly sleep deprived state. (If this post makes no sense you've been warned) As I ponder the possibilities of endless diaper changes at 2am, I had a few insights about the shift currently underway in both business and computing.

One - I don't know about you, but if I have to install a piece of software on my desktop, I won't. My first essential Truth of Cloud Computing is any consumer software created today, not in the cloud (on the internet), should be in the cloud.

Two - the browser is the only desktop application requirement.

Three - I'm calling the DevOps Truth.
When it comes to infrastructure - Anything that can be automated, should be automated.

Four - Simplicity is always better than complixity.

Five - Open is better than closed.

Six - Value is money made or money saved.

Seven - My customers customer is my customer.

Eight -  Empower your customers to be successful and in return you will be.

Nine - The OS doesn't matter.

Ten - Information wants to be free.

I'm sure there's more, please add your own essential truths to the comments.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's a Boy! Finnegan Anthony Cohen

Brenda and I are pround to announce our latest addition to the Family. Finnegan Anthony Cohen, born June 11th @ 1:18pm Eastern. 9 pounds 7oz.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Enomaly & Ericom Deliver Cloud Desktop Infrastructure (CDI) for Managed Service Providers

Another day, another announcement, Today I'm happy to announce that Enomaly and Ericom have partnered to offer a complete turnkey cloud desktop infrastructure (CDI) platform for managed service providers. The solution combines Ericom’s PowerTerm® WebConnect with Enomaly's Elastic Computing Platform® (ECP) enabling web hosting firms, data center operators and managed service providers to offer revenue generating cloud desktop services. The joint solution combines broad industry expertise, with proven, reliable, scalable and adaptable technology, into an easy to manage and quick to deploy platform. The ECP desktop platform is designed to meet the needs of service providers who are looking for an effective way to generate new revenue opportunities.

Enomaly / Ericom CDI is an Internet-centric computing approach to desktop management, deployment and delivery that combines the traditional thin-client, utility hosting, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and cloud storage. It is designed to give system administrators and end-users the best of both worlds: the ability to host remotely managed virtual desktops in a data center while giving end users a portable self-service PC desktop experience regardless of location -- billed on per usage basis.

We are also very aware of the current realities limiting virtual desktop infrastructure deployments -- they typically require too much upfront capital and complicated integration to make it feasible for most organizations. We believe that the combined Enomaly / Ericom Cloud Desktop platform is an attractive concept because of its potential to streamline and simplify management and support, enhance security and – more importantly – reduce IT costs.

By leveraging a cloud-based architecture, enterprises can quickly ramp up to virtual desktops, add or remove desktop capacity on-the-fly, and immediately enjoy the benefits of CDI's centralization, security and ease of management. There's no need for building an infrastructure and no complexity. Enterprise IT and end-users simply access a service provider's infrastructure, which already has the capacity and connectivity assets needed to support a high-performing service desktop environment.

Key Benefits Include;

Anywhere, Anytime Access
Empowers users with on-demand access to their virtual desktops when they need it, where they need it - from the office, home, road, customer site, etc.

Expedite Desktop Deployments
Enables swift, centralized desktop deployments, updates and maintenance—eliminating the hassle of local PC installations

Better Management and Control
Increases administrator's control over desktop configurations – while enabling desktop customization based on user needs

Enhanced Security
Desktops with applications and data are hosted within the datacenter – protecting sensitive information that would be compromised with stolen laptops or PCs

Full PC Desktop Experience
Virtual desktops maintain the same look and feel of traditional PCs – enabling a quick end-use migration to virtual desktops

Rich Integration with Existing Infrastructure
Support for various hypervisors including Xen®, KVM and VMware®.

Monetization and Back office Integration
Powerful back-office facing administrative API, enabling simple integration with providers' provisioning and billing systems and supporting automation of all administrative tasks.

Learn more about Enomaly Desktops at >

Friday, June 4, 2010

Louisiana Gets Its Own Green Cloud Computing Infrastructure

Let's be honest, lately there hasn't been a lot of good news coming out of Louisiana, the gulf coast has taken quite the beating with the economic fallout from the BP oil spill. Finally we have some good news for the region. They now have their very own Cloud IaaS platform based in Lafayette, Louisiana -- a City that is quickly emerging as one of the best and most connected in the country.

Technology initiatives have helped fuel the region’s thriving business environment while building up a tech-savvy community. The City of Lafayette developed the nation’s largest and most robust municipally-owned fiber optic broadband infrastructure delivering 100 Megabit per second (Mbps) peer-to-peer broadband network within its city limits; another confirmation of lightening fast data connections and forward thinking.

Businesses in this creative environment are joining forces with worldwide service providers to create IT solutions with international applications. One such pairing is the Abacus Data Exchange (Lafayette, LA) and Enomaly. Together we have brought the concepts of “Cloud Computing” and “Elastic Platforms” into the local vocabulary. Picture a very green communications/data center with direct access to virtual dedicated servers for end-user applications, running on blazing fast fiber optic broadband network and connecting to anywhere on the planet.

To give you a little background on Lafayette, according to several studies naming “best” locations in the United States, Lafayette, Louisiana is a top choice as a place to live, to start a business, to enjoy the creative class and be happy. Relocate America lists Lafayette, Louisiana as one of the "Top 100 Places to Live". For this year's list, the editorial team focused on communities poised for recovery and future growth. They discovered that this mid-sized Louisiana city showed strong local leadership, employment opportunities, thriving community commitment, improving real estate markets, growing green initiatives, plentiful recreational options and overall high quality of life. Lafayette has a population of fewer than 200,000 and is located near the Gulf Coast, halfway between New Orleans and Houston.

Fortune Small Business ranked Lafayette as the #2 mid-sized city in the nation for small business startups. Lafayette was also named by Southern Business & Development Magazine as one of the top cities in the South for the "Creative Class". This designation is based on the community's commitment to technology, forward thinking and cultural diversity. And the list goes on... Louisiana ranks #1 in happiness according to Science Magazine's survey of 1.3 million people across the USA.

So why does Louisiana need it's own Cloud?

When the Abacus research team set out to design a next-generation cloud computing solution, it found a partner in Enomaly and its Elastic Computing Platform. By combining Abacus's expertise in managing green fiber optic broadband datacenters and Enomaly's cutting edge cloud computing technology, the Abacus Data Cloud offers direct access to variably sized on-demand virtual servers for end-user applications. Customers can easily provision their own virtual, high-performance, green-friendly on-line datacenter services within a matter of hours not days, using only the resources they need for the duration that they need them. The clean and simple Customer User Interface allows customers to tailor their cloud environment by provisioning virtual machines with specific application stacks and resource capacity. Built-in resource and usage monitoring provides real-time integrated billing and network reporting.

Customers are using the cloud platform to quickly and easily create virtual servers to host web sites, run internal business applications and provide burst capacity to meet peak loads when working on data-intensive operations.

“Working with Enomaly's ECP- SPE solution to provide our customers a cloud solution has been surprisingly easy. I've never felt more confident in the stability, user-friendliness and over all personalization of a publicly accessible interface as I do with Enomaly. Knowing that we have created a superior product benefits everyone” said Bryan Fuselier, CIO, Abacus Data Exchange

In addition to accessing virtual cloud resources, through the Abacus Data Cloud anyone, anywhere can replicate (take a virtual snapshot) their existing servers to prevent data and configuration loses, or plan for server replacement and upgrades on their own schedule.. Replica servers are activated when needed and turned off when tasks are finished. Additionally, everyone reduces server/IT infrastructure cost by moving towards a ‘green’ solution that cuts down on high utility use, cooling needs and hardware server support . The end-user’s ability to test new applications or engage in Web 2.0 development allows them to gain more effectiveness in critical in day-to-day operations. Cost savings kick in when businesses build extremely flexible server resources through leasing shared infrastructure. Businesses can create, access and manage these servers from any Internet connection through a personalized web-based dashboard that scales server resources up and down dynamically based on demand.

The Abacus Data Cloud delivers some of the world's fastest cloud computing, and people are is taking notice. “We are excited to include Abacus as a customer and we will be following their growing venture opportunities closely”, stated Dr. Richard Reiner, CEO of Enomaly. “We see great potential for a customizable, scalable and reliable high-speed virtual provisioning service using the Service Provider Edition of our Elastic Computing Platform in conjunction with a proven combination of a low-footprint data center and a high-speed fiber network solution.”

Customers can set up individual servers on their own within minutes, and entire datacenters can be virtualized within a matter of days. And because of Enomaly's integrated billing and network usage monitoring along with their clean user interface and clustering support, the Abacus Data Cloud offers the most cost-effective and customer-friendly cloud computing solution on the market today.

"The implications and potential are absolutely enormous" says Abigail Ransonet, CVO of Abacus. "The Abacus Data Cloud on a unified elastic computing platform running Enomaly's ECP SPE is a replicable business model that has a world wide customer-base. We create super-fast, easy-to-use virtual computing environments that businesses can scale up and down as needed. Our model exemplifies the dynamics of fiber optic broadband and innovative solutions. Building and managing on-line unified server technology just got very personal! We all have a sense of pride that we live and work in Lafayette, Louisiana, while we offer the entire world innovative technology solutions."

Learn more at

HP, Intel and Enomaly Collaborate to Deliver End-to-End Cloud Platform for Service Providers

I'm happy to announce today that Enomaly has collaborated with HP and Intel to offer a complete end-to-end cloud IaaS platform for cloud service providers, hosting firms and Internet Data Center (IDC) providers. The solution is built on an optimized stack of HP products including HP ProLiant® servers, HP StorageWorks® storage system, ProCurve® Networking solution (3Com) powered by advanced Intel Xeon® processors. Essentially, everything you need to deploy a complete revenue focused cloud service.

HP/Enomaly hosting solutions enable you to offer timely, comprehensive services to your customers—whether you provide shared hosting, dedicated hosting, virtual/ cloud hosting or managed services. HP’s flexible, energy-efficient Intel Xeon® processor- based server, storage and networking solutions—coupled with Enomaly software solutions—help you overcome your primary business challenges:

• Lower costs by increasing the density of sites per server
• Increase average revenue per user by offering more hosting services and/or up-sell the customer to purchase additional services
• Increase predictability of capacity planning for the Service and understand the relationship of capacity to service level performance
• Automate the user experience and empower the end-user

Another exciting aspect of our collaboration with HP is with HP Financial Services. Our relationship provides a complete one stop shop for our customers. The collaboration enables Enomaly to offer a flexible purchase and lease program covering the complete ECP IaaS cloud stack (hardware and software).

Contact us for more information.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cloud Pricing & Sales Models

Ask anyone involved in standing up a public cloud service and you'll hear the same story. The technology is relatively the easy part. The hard part is defining the business model aspects of your cloud service offering, more specifically defining sales models and pricing that works.

Often you'll hear a variety of buzz words thrown around like econmies of scale or low margin / high volume business when talking about Cloud Computing, but for the most part competing based on capital expense and volume isn't a reasonable approach. (We'll just out spend our competitors, ie. Microsoft spending billions on new data centers) Most revenue models break down into two basic groups, technical value (features) and cost (price / margin). As I've written before, value is about solving problems, but competitive pricing is also important.

Starting at bottom you have the freemium model, arguably one of the most useful approaches. This a model where you give away your service in hopes of monetizing at some later point or possibly selling ad space. I'd classify this as a high volume approach. Lots of users, some may pay -- maybe. The Free approach to service generates lots of users as well as lots of up front operational costs. So you'll need to consider your cost per sale ratio (CPS) closely. How much does it cost me to convert a free user into a paying customer? This converstion concept was made popular in the SEO realm where sites would calculate their ad prices based on the number of sales transactions an ad could potentially generate. Basically it was ROI based pricing. It's also the main driver behind the commerical open source movement. But today we're not talking about selling traditional software, but instead selling cloud services (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, etc,).

Another freemium approach is the free introductory service or a loss leader where a service is sold at a low price (at cost or below cost or free) to stimulate other profitable sales. If you've ever been to a retail store, you'll recognize this sales promotion tactic. Free ballons for the kids, cheap beer for Dad etc. What's interesting from my vantage point is a number of Enomaly ECP service providers have used this approach with great success. One of the more successful created a free "Beta" period which generated hundreds of user signups. This both helped test the cloud IaaS service & platform as well as provided a large pool of interested, and more importantly targeted customers to convert. And convert they did -- with more than 70% of the free customers ending up paying for the service after the beta phase was complete. I jokingly refer to this approach as the crack dealer sales approach. Get them hooked early and quickly.

Other approaches could include deferred payments, (we won't charge you unless you use it, or won't charge you for the first 90 days). You need to realize that users like free. But customers are willing to pay for something they like or see value in.

Which brings us to how much should you charge for your cloud service? Assuming you have competitors, (if you don't than you probably don't have any market for your service either) you'll want to likely be in the same ball part for the same basic service as your competitors. This will probably be an entry level service with little differentiation. The important aspect to pricing will be in the areas where you're different. Maybe you offer a premium storage or load balancer, or advanced security or something I haven't even thought of. The more value you provide the more you can charge for your services. Also the key metric is ROI and making sure you can easily demonstrate it, hopefully without a sales person - low or no touch sales are always better. These are areas that you can charge significantly more for because, you're costs are 'obviously' higher, and hopefully it's a better value than your customer attempting to create the service themselves or to buy from someone else.

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