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General Microsoft

SolarWinds Survey: Cloud is Today’s Reality, Security – Top Concern

CloudWhether it is private or public, Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), an extension of the data center or just virtualization, conversations about the “cloud” are occurring in organizations of all sizes.  A recent survey by SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software to more than 97,000 customers worldwide, indicates that while IT professionals understand the need for and benefits of moving to the cloud, many continue to struggle  with the challenges of managing this next big wave of computing.

“As a company, we make it a priority to stay on top of the challenges that our customers face on a daily basis.  More and more, we are hearing about how cloud – and related trends such as data center consolidation, virtualization and SAAS – is driving IT organizations to re-think their IT management needs and priorities,” said Suku Krishnaraj, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy for SolarWinds.  “In the past, management of the IT environment was often an afterthought.  But, this survey indicates that more and more IT organizations are thinking about the need to manage the performance and availability of these cloud-based services as a part of their planning process.”

Survey Findings – SolarWinds recently conducted a survey in the fall of 2010 and received responses from nearly 100 IT professionals.* The IT professionals were either customers or prospective customers of SolarWinds.   As part of the survey, SolarWinds asked each IT Professional a series of questions related to their organizations’ plans to use cloud computing in their IT environment, the decision drivers for those plans, and the expected impacts of cloud deployments on their IT teams.  Survey findings include:

  • More than 60% of the respondents indicated their organizations are either evaluating cloud computing or already investing in the technology.
  • Respondents understood the benefits of a cloud-based approach, citing operational efficiency (28%), business flexibility (24%) and financial savings (19%) as the top three reasons for adopting cloud services.
  • The top cloud services that respondents were evaluating are Software-as-a-Service (40%) and Platform-as-a-Service (15%).

IT teams are the driving force behind the move to the cloud, but the responses showed that all the hype about the cloud is not outweighing pragmatism.

  • Nearly 40% are OK with a “slow but steady” approach to cloud computing.
  • Respondents were asked “When is your target time frame to begin implementation?” and (28%) responded that there was, “No target time set,” although 16% of those respondents are on track to begin within the next six months.

The need to acquire more skills and knowledge was another key theme of respondents. Among the findings in this area:

  • Among their list of top concerns: Security (cited by 73%); ability to resolve application issues (55%); being blamed when service is down or slow (42%).
  • 77% feel they either lack the proper training or expect to have to augment their skills and expertise to become proficient in the cloud and to manage the implementation.
  • Nearly one-third perceive that a move to the public cloud creates an increase in their responsibilities and opportunities.

While respondents generally recognize the value of cloud services for the efficiency, flexibility and financial benefits noted above, their concerns indicate that effectively monitoring the availability and performance of the workloads moved to public, private and hybrid cloud environments is critical.

  • With respect to public cloud deployments, it is important for IT organizations to not only have visibility into availability and performance of these workloads, but also similar visibility into the network and infrastructure that connects end-users to these public cloud services. IT teams must ensure that the latency, bandwidth, and traffic prioritization of their networks are proactively managed to ensure responsiveness of services.
  • For IT shops building private cloud services, effective monitoring and management systems are critical to delivering the “on demand” model that end-users expect – reliability is a critical expectation that can’t be overlooked.

“As a provider of (private) cloud services, IT orgs need to ensure not just the availability of the compute infrastructure or silo applications, but also optimal performance across the whole IT stack, including application, compute, storage and network,” continued Krishnaraj.

About SolarWinds – SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) provides powerful and affordable IT management software to more than 97,000 customers worldwide – from Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses. Focused on the real-world needs of IT professionals, SolarWinds products are downloadable, easy to use and maintain, and provide the power, scale, and flexibility needed to manage today’s complex IT environments. SolarWinds’ growing online community, thwack, is a gathering-place for problem-solving, technology-sharing, and participating in product development for all of SolarWinds’ products. Learn more today at http://www.solarwinds.com/.

The SolarWinds-sponsored survey was conducted September 28 – October 7, 2010, via an online survey service. The survey was sent to nearly 1000 IT professionals, resulting in 93 completed surveys.

Courtesy: Jacqueline Lafosse from Hoffman Agency

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Google How-to

How to Create a Contact Page or a Survey Feedback Form using Google Docs

Does you job involve collecting surveys and feedbacks? How do you do that? Do you send emails to your team, asking for reviews and manually enter into a sheet? or have a centralized excel sheet and ask everyone to update? – Now let me tell you, thats one sad way of doing., and I reckon.. even you will agree on that!

Now lets come to bloggers/Authors – Most of us have blogs and we all need our readers to connect with us, either for Questions or comments (compliments too..!). For this purpose we use plugins and embed it in our WordPress/Blogspot blogs. Most of the times, you need to create an account in the plugin site and you really are not sure, if the same plugin will work, when you do a blog update. (WordPress has frequent updates!!). Thats the compatiblity crisis!

This is where exactly, Google Docs can help you! Docs is a free service from Google, which provides you the same functionalities of Word, Excel and PowerPoint online. This means, you dont need Office to be installed on your machine. All you need is Internet and just your gmail id (I guess, everyone has it by now.!)

Ten Simple Steps to Create a  Contact Page or a Survey Feedback form

Step 1: Login with your gmail id, at http://docs.google.com/

Google Docs - Login

Step 2: Once you login, you will have a workspace area to work with your documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Just below the logo, you will find the “Create New” button, when you click on that, you will have all the available options. Select Form there.

Google Docs - Select Form

Step 3: This will create a new clean Form Wizard for you. Using this window, you can name your survey/contact page name, quote a description for it. and Start writing questions. You also have a Help text option, here to make your user understand what this field in this form is all about. For eg: Question Title – “Enter Emp id:” , The help text can be – “Enter the number, which you have on your badge :”

Google Docs - Creating a Form

Step 4: The beauty of this forms is that, you have options to choose what type of answer are you expecting from the user. So its not just mere Text boxes. You can have Multiple Choice, Checkboxes, Choosing from list, Scale option, Grid etc.. Once you complete the Question number 1. You can click on the add question box, which you see on the form below to add one more question. A nice cool thing is that, you can make some questions mandatory too.!

Google Docs - Form- Types of Answers Supported

Step 5: Once you have completed all the questions, you can also edit the confirmation message. This is the text which the end user will see after taking the survey. You can add your custom text and company details here!

Google Docs - Form - Modify the Confirmation message

Step 6: You can also choose, how do you want the responses to be shown. whether as a Summary graph or a SpreadSheet. It depends on what your need is! For eg: If you are writing a survey to ask, how many is fine to attend a function? – The summary response works. But, if your questions are more user centric and you need individual thoughts and opinions, Spreadsheet is a better option.

Google Docs - Form - Types of Responses

Step 7: Now, this completes the phase 1 of Designing Form. Now lets drill onto doing some backend activities. A place where you set, a notification alert.. when someone completes a survey (or) when someone asks you something in your Contact page. For this, get back to Workspace, and click open the SpreadSheet which is present in your workarea (This will be of the same name of the Survey form). Goto, Tools  -> Notification Rules

Google Docs - Notification Rules

Step 8: This below dialog gets displayed when you select that. Here you have options to choose whether you wanna’ have a notification rule or not. Select Edit here

Google Docs - Form - Set Notification Rules

Step 9: This is the place where you will setting your notification rules. For example, I have selected for a notification, when someone makes any change to this sheet (which is caused, when he submits the survey). You can choose, whether do you want an instant email or a summary – Daily digest email (not Instant).  I have choosen, right away here.

Google Docs - Notification Rules Options

Step 10: Now you are all set to distribute this survey/contact page form. Click on Email this form, if you want to send this form as an email to all yourt team members. Bloggers and Authors, can select the Embed option. This will give you a HTML script tag, which you need to add it to your contact me page.

Google Docs - Form - Embed in a Website

That’s it..You are all done.! Once when people do submit the comments/surveys/questions, you can see it in the SpreadSheet from the WorkArea. For eg: I have attached my spreadsheet which I get from my Contact Me page. Its Slick..!

Google Docs - Result Page

Well, I am no different!! Even I have used Google Docs for my Contact Me page –  You will know how have I implemented it…., May be you can do it much better way than what I did.!