Archive for January, 2011


If you are looking for a suitable platform for hosting your public, private, or hybrid cloud, then I recommend Windows Azure. There are several reasons why you might want to use Windows Azure for your cloud hosting platform. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider Windows Azure.

  1. Supports Multiple Languages – Windows Azure is flexible enough to be compatible with any Web language you program in, including PHP, .NET, Java, and Ruby.
  2. Integrates With Existing Environment – You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can integrate Windows Azure with whatever computing environment you are currently running.
  3. Scalable With Minimal Resources – You can scale up or down easily without depleting your own computing resources.
  4. Move Quickly, Save Money – Running an IT department has become very costly for many businesses. And with some companies there is so much red tape involved in the approval process that you can’t really distribute Web services very quickly or efficiently. Windows Azure changes all of that.
  5. Work On-Premises Or Off-Premises – The cloud is the cloud. You can operate an internal cloud, use external cloud resources, build a public or private cloud, or go the hybrid way. Any way you choose, you can integrate on-premise resources with off-premise resources easily and manage them all from one central location.

Windows Azure is one of the most powerful cloud hosting platforms on the market. Don’t deploy until you’ve examined this option.

In the beginning of any new thing, there are always pioneers who stretch out ahead of the crowd and pave the paths. Not all of those paths end up being well traveled. Some don’t get much traffic at all by those who follow. Others end up getting traveled more often than they should. And still others end up forking into different paths. In the end, a path is forged that becomes the “best” path for all, or maybe multiple paths take on equal authority.

This sketch of a lifeline is certainly relevant to cloud hosting. We are now in the early stages of a new thing. There are pioneers who are paving new paths for the rest to follow. Some of those have forked into new paths. Some of the paths are being followed and some abandoned. But I think the best paths are still yet to be found.

Cloud hosting is a relatively new business practice. There is still a lot of discovery to take place. As the business world, and IT departments around the world, stake out their claims in the cloud, certain best practices will develop. In the long run, some of them will win out over others. It’s just a matter of time.

If you are starting your journey into cloud hosting, talk to someone who has walked a few of the forged paths. You don’t have to walk them all yourself. Discovery is often made through the experience of others.

If you are new to the concept of cloud hosting, then you may be wondering just how many apps you can host in the cloud. The answer, of course, is there is no limit. You can have an unlimited number of apps if you have the budget for it.

Just like in traditional computing, the number of apps you can host depends on how much server space you have. The difference is going to be the cost and the maintenance.

For instance, suppose you spend $10,000 on computers for storage. And then suppose that you spend $2,000 per month on overhead costs associated with their upkeep. That includes warehouse space, electricity, and associated maintenance costs. You have two people working around the clock to manage those computing assets for a total personnel cost of $5,000 per month. Can you host the same apps in the cloud for less?

First, if you get rid of your warehouse space, then you’ll save yourself an immediate $2,000 per month. By having someone else manage your server space, you can save yourself $5,000 per month in personnel costs – that’s a total of $7,000 per month that you’ll save. And let’s say you can sell your hardware for a $5,000 loss. That still gives you $5,000 in your pocket today.

Your problem now is to rent the same amount of server space in the cloud that you purchased with your $10,000, and to do it less than $7,000 per month. Is that possible? Absolutely.

The great thing about hosting apps in the cloud is this: If you ever need to scale up or down, you can do it much more easily than you can when you own your own hardware and maintain it yourself. And you can often do it for less.

Cloud hosting is really about one thing: Running your business from a remote location. It’s that simple. The problem is, a remote location can be almost anywhere. It can be in another country. It can be on the other side of town. But it rarely is in the same building. That wouldn’t be very remote.

So what is meant by “running your business?” In short, it means that all of your computing needs are met through a virtual network of computers, servers, and other applications.

You may or may not need a data center. You could get by with a virtual network or virtual private server.

It matters very little what your system looks like. It can store your data just the same. Your business requires certain software packages, different types of apps, and other cloud-based programs to run smoothly. With cloud hosting, you can have all of those items you need to run your business just as if they were right there under your nose. That’s the beauty of cloud hosting.

The world is going virtual. We’re moving to the cloud. One little business at a time.

It started with enterprise applications, but cloud hosting doesn’t necessarily have to apply only to those enterprise businesses. Your small business can benefit as well. Just keep in mind that a virtual business is as real as any real business.

Free software is often called freeware. You download it and use it for your business or personal use and never have to pay for it. But can you host it in the cloud or on your website?

In most cases, yes. It’s free and once you download it you can do whatever you want with it. However, some free software might come with its own set of user permissions and restrictions. You’ll have to read the Readme file or other developer notes that come with the software to see what is allowed or not allowed.

Assuming that you have free reign with the use of free software you download for use with your business, can you host it on your website and share it with your website users? Absolutely – again, with the proviso that nothing in the developer notes prevents it. Usually, it doesn’t.

Free software is actually good for hosting in the cloud. If you have a website that allows people to download software or use that software while logged into your website, check with the software developer about rights and attribution. If you are allowed to host free software online and share it with others, you might have to tweak it to operate via website interaction. Be prepared to work out any bugs.

Where To Find SQL Tutorials

Where can a web developer go to find suitable SQL tutorials? I’m talking about quality tutorials that help the web developer improve his or her skills in SQL and employ those new skills in the building and developing of classy websites. I know of one place where you can go right now to dig deep into the area of SQL and take high quality tutorials on the subject.

SQL Atoms is a high class, high quality SQL tutorial website.

At this high quality tutorial website you’ll find articles on SQL, tutorials, and tips for working with SQL Server.

Microsoft SQL Server is an application that allows you to create desktop, enterprise, and web-based data systems. It’s easy to work with, fun, and highly intuitive. From SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 7.0, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of working with this Microsoft product to create and manage databases for a variety of uses.

Beginners and advanced SQL database programmers are welcome to use the tutorials at SQL Atoms. The website makes SQL simple and easy to learn for everyone.

While not as comprehensive, an alternative to SQL Atoms is ProgrammingHelp, which offers tutorials on SQL among other programming and database technologies including SQL Server..

This might seem like a silly question to some of you, but it gets asked by people who aren’t as familiar with cloud computing as your enterprise-level IT guru. Do all the standard web languages work in the cloud? The answer is a clear and simple “yes.”

There is no such thing as a cloud-based language. All the standard computing languages work just as well in the cloud as they do in traditional computing. That includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, C#, C++, and we could go on. But I think you get the idea.

What is cloud computing if it isn’t an extension of your mainframe? Think of it as a loose network of mainframe computers connected by a series of fiber optic cables over a long distance. The cloud then becomes an extension of each of those mainframes, so in a sense it is nothing more than a traditional computer with extended memory and functionality.

That’s a simplification, but it does illustrate the simple notion of what the cloud actually is. Therefore, because the cloud – or “a cloud” – is nothing more than an extension of a traditional computer with additional functionality, all the same languages can be used. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just put it on another vehicle.

One question that every web designer has to come to grips with sooner or later is the relationship between CSS and HTML. You can’t really be a web designer, or even a web developer, without at some point asking this question of yourself and the broader world. So let’s talk about it.

CSS is an acronym for Cascading Style Sheets. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. In basic terminology, HTML is the language of the Web. One couldn’t build a web page without some knowledge of HTML.

In a word, HTML is the language that styles the content on a web page. Text, videos, graphics, images, and anything that can be considered content can be styled to a certain degree using HTML code. However, HTML may not necessarily be the best way to work with certain content.

CSS is the code that manipulates the way your content is presented on the web page. In other words, CSS defines your fonts, colors, background design, margins, and other design elements on the page.

As a web designer you’ll need to learn to work with both HTML and CSS. In the early days of the web, web designers worked strictly with HTML. Some still do. But your web pages will be much more robust in terms of design if you learn to use CSS. Here are some tutorial websites to get you going.

Hosting A Private Cloud

When it comes to setting up a private cloud, what kind of options do you have available to you? It might surprise you, but there’s not just one right way to do it. You can host your private cloud any number of ways, to include:

  • A dedicated server at your own location
  • A dedicated server at a remote location
  • On a managed server
  • On a co-hosted server
  • Using a virtual server

Each of these options, of course, comes with its own list of pros and cons. Having your server at your own location, for instance, means you have greater control and security, but it also means you’ll have overhead expenses and the ongoing cost of server maintenance.

In order to cut down on maintenance and operation costs, you can move your dedicated server off premise and pay someone else to manage the server. If you own the server at a remote location, it is called a co-hosted server. If you lease the server, then it’s a dedicated server.

Another option for your private cloud is through a service that is becoming more popular and is known as a virtual dedicated server. With this type of hosting option you get a partitioned off partial server loaded with independent software, which acts as if it were its own machine. It’s a powerful option because it allows you to have a dedicated server without having to pay for a full server and the ongoing maintenance of a full server.

Your options for a private cloud are broad, but which option best works for you can best be determined by a consultation with an expert on cloud development. Don’t wait too long. Get the benefits of cloud computing that you are looking for today.

Cloud computing has hit the business world like a tsunami. It’s big. And it’s so big in fact that many companies can’t see it because they’re looking at the forest instead of the trees. If you believe the time has come to start operating in the cloud, go into it with your head on straight and avoid these 6 common mistakes:

  1. Mistaking the hosting platform for the architecture – Many businesses see the move from traditional computing to cloud computing as simply a move from on-premises to off-premises. Big mistake. There are so many nuances in service options to consider. You have to think about security, integration, service management, etc. Don’t go into it blind.
  2. Thinking it’s an all or nothing deal – The hype around cloud computing has risen to a fevered pitch. So much so that many business executives think that they must move every piece of data in their companies to the cloud. Not true. The key to a successful transition is knowing what to move, and when.
  3. Failing to define “success” – Too many companies see cloud computing as the way to fix all problems. But they don’t count the cost and don’t set clearly defined goals.
  4. Failing to do due diligence – Don’t go with the lowest price service provider you find. Many traditional hosting companies are rebranding themselves as cloud hosting providers, but do they really have the experience and skill to pull it off? Do your due diligence.
  5. Not having a real picture of the costs – Cloud computing has been billed as cheaper than running a full IT department. For many companies, that’s true. But many companies, once they make the move, think they are paying more. What they don’t understand is the true value of each piece that they are paying for. Be sure you have a good understanding of the real costs involved.
  6. Failing to do anything at all – Many companies are talking about it and even go through the trouble of “investigating” cloud computing, but they haven’t acted yet. You’ll never reap the benefits of cloud computing if you don’t get started.