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Robert Sheldon

Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics

Azure Stream Analytics aims to extract knowledge structures from continuous ordered streams of data by real-time analysis. These streams might include computer network traffic, social network data, phone conversations, sensor readings, ATM transactions or web searches. It provides a ready-made solution to the business requirement to react very quickly to changes in data and handle large volumes of information. Robert Sheldon explains its significance. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Cybercrime - the Dark Edges of the Internet

Criminal activity is a growing menace on the internet. This inevitably means more diligence is required by legitimate users in the face of an increasingly sophisticated criminal threat. Robert Sheldon describes some of the emerging threats and risks. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Microservices in Promise and Practice

Are microservices the cure for the ague of monolithic applications, or do they bring their own problems with them that monolithic architectures have circumvented? Are they capable of delivering applications that are easier to maintain and develop? How can they avoid the failings of service-oriented architectures? Once more, Robert Sheldon gets to the heart of the technical issues. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

The Internet of Things: A New World Order?

Was the marketing hook 'The Internet of Things' conjured up before the technical definition? Are we being persuaded to spend money on fending off yet another fantasy tsunami of data? Already, we have televisions that listen to, and report, your conversations; so are we facing the Science Fiction future of gadgets that report where you go, who you visit and what medications you take? As Robert Sheldon says; "It's big, almost too big to get your arms around" Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Application Containers For Cloud Computing

Containers promise to make applications more portable and efficient. The technology, originally based on Linux's cgroups, provides a way of running several applications as modular, platform-agnostic packages in isolation on the same server. Docker's open-source approach to containers has dominated the market, and Microsoft is producing its own equivalent Windows system. What next? Will Containers replace VMS? Robert Sheldon investigates. Read more...

Mike Wood

Cloud Storage Replication Is Not Backup

The options that you need to select when setting up an Azure Storage service account allow you to specify the durability and high-availability of your data, but they don't provide for data recovery to a point-in-time. In fact, it means that some of the bad things that can happen to data are more efficiently replicated to all copies. Backup is quite a separate issue. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Amazon's Aurora: A Distributed SQL Database Alternative For MySQL Applications

SQL-based distributed Cloud Relational databases aren't new, but Amazon's Aurora offers an alternative to SQL Azure, and, being MySQL-compatible, provides the obvious route to the cloud for hosted LAMP web applications. Is this of interest to the rest of us? Rob Sheldon investigates. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Salesforce: A Very Straightforward Cloud Development Platform

Force.com is an enigma; a Platform-as-a-Service that is designed to appeal to a broad church of developers, to make it quick and easy to write simple cloud-based applications. Robert Sheldon explains, as simply as possible, why this unusual data-centric, and metadata-driven platform is attracting so much interest in the industry. Read more...

Jaap Wesselius

Cloud Identities versus Federated Identities in Office 365

Identities, the 'accounts' by which Cloud and Web users identify themselves, are tricky to manage, and tiresome for the users. Cloud services such as Office 365 have their main use in large organisations and so there have to be easy ways for system administrators to maintain them. Microsoft provide three alternative strategies; Cloud identities, Synced identities and federated identities. What is the differences between them, and which should you choose? Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Data as a Service: The Next “As a Service” Wave?

There was a time that data seemed part of the application that maintained and used it. Now, there is increasing demand to deliver data through platform-agnostic open-standard APIs so it can be consumed in a variety of ways, whether refined, aggregated, or combined with additional information. Are we heading towards a shared understanding of applications as data-providers, feeding other services such as BI, or even in the right circumstances, publishing it? Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Stop Relying on Cloud File Stores as a Backup Strategy

There is a growing assumption that Cloud file-storage services represent an ideal way of backing up files. It seems a compelling idea because it is so easy and seems secure. The truth is, as always, more complicated. There is more to any backup strategy than just cloud storage Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Deleting Files in the Cloud

The public perception is that, when something is deleted, it no longer exists. IT in general prefers the fuzzier idea of the trashcan, where the deleted compromising documents can blow around a digital landfill site for years. The Cloud takes this further, and so the data you serve up to the cloud can be stored out there indefinitely, no matter how hard to try to delete it. Rob Sheldon investigates, and finds the cloud a worryingly public place. Read more...

Mike Wood

Azure Diagnostics for Virtual Machines

Hosting a scalable application in Azure seems ideal, but what happens when things go wrong? Azure Cloud Services provide extensive disgnostics, and this feature has now been extended to Azure web sites and Azure Virtual Machines. You need to set up diagnostics on the VM, but once this is done, all your logs, traces and performance counters can be collected from many VMs in one place for easy management. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

The Community Cloud

The 'Community Cloud' sounds, on first impression, like marketing-speak for some untried novelty, but in fact it is already around, and working well for governments and healthcare in particular. Bob Sheldon investigates, and is encouraged to find groups of organisations who have cooperated to create secure and resilient cloud-based services. Read more...

Jaap Wesselius

Office 365 Essentials - Subscriptions and Licenses

Should you be planning to move from Exchange to Office 365? If so, why? What sort of license should you get, and should you use cloud identities or federated identities for your users? Jaap starts a series of articles with an overview of the advantages, and a simple explanation of the options in subscriptions and licenses for Office 365. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

The Hybrid Cloud: Having your Cake

Although the Cloud gives us the freedom of using, and paying for, computing resources only when we need them, the public cloud isn't a universal panacea. Private clouds can harness all that cloud technology whilst avoiding those security and bandwidth issues, but at a cost and commitment. Can one therefore get the best of both worlds with a Hybrid Cloud? Robert Sheldon explains all the ins and outs. Read more...

Buck Woody

Practically Cloudy: SQL Server Disaster Recovery to Microsoft Azure - Backups

In the first in a series on the practicalities of using the Microsoft Azure Platform for the SQL Server professional, Buck Woody shows that, whatever your version of SQL Server, there is a way of storing offsite backups in the cloud. Read more...

Robert Sheldon

Version Control as a Cloud Service

Source control is a conservative technology. Even so, there has been a general willingness to use internet-based servers for the task for a long time, especially for open-source projects. Will the trend toward cloud-based services for version control continue, or is the question made irrelevant with the growing acceptance of distributed source control? Is Cloud-based version control still too risky for a service that must be secure, and almost risk-free? Read more...

Buck Woody

Data Science Laboratory System - Distributed File Databases

Distributed File Databases manage large amounts of unstructured or semi-structured data. They are designed on the principle of splitting up the data into multiple locations, and then placing the code that processes each fragment close, or directly on, that location. Buck Woody shows how to install Hadoop in your Data Science lab to experiment with an example of the breed. Read more...

Jaap Wesselius

Private Cloud, What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Even where organisations cannot make full use of public cloud for reasons of security or because of bandwidth limitations, many of the advantages of flexibility and rapid deployment can be made by providing a private cloud where the IT department manages the service but allows users to use the resources as their requirements change. Could Private Clouds provide a new paradigm for enterprises, irrespective of the public cloud? Read more...

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Windows Azure Virtual Machine: A look at Windows Azure IaaS Offerings (Part 2)
 We continue our introduction of the Azure IaaS by discussing how images and disks are used in the Azure... Read more...

An Introduction to Windows Azure BLOB Storage
 Azure BLOB storage is persistent Cloud data storage that serves a variety of purposes. Mike Wood shows... Read more...

An Introduction to Windows Azure Table Storage
 Windows Azure Tables are intended for the storage of large amounts of schemaless data. Tables are just... Read more...

Managing session state in Windows Azure: What are the options?
 Because you can't maintain session state for ASP.NET applications in Azure using the default in-process... Read more...

Creating a custom Login page for federated authentication with Windows Azure ACS
 Windows Azure Acess Control Service (ACS) provides a way of authenticating users who need to access web... Read more...