We realize that we are not the only FileMaker-centric provide within the FileMaker community. These are just a few of the features which we offer which makes our services superior to our competitors.
Cloud technology is really a complex set of technologies which allows for ‘server resources’ to be much more scalable, portable, affordable, elastic, an
d secure. Many vendors focus on just one area of this technology and still claim to be a ‘cloud provider’. We have could in our DNA and in our name.
We don’t like to discuss failures; however, our equipment was built my human hands and runs 24 hours a day. Instead of hoping that things do not fail, we utilize a complex set of monitors to automatically reconfigure around equipment failures. We have no single point of failure, so at any time we can have a failure and not require immediate human intervention.
Most users are happy enough to have a failure addressed in a matter of minutes (twhich can not afford even a second of possible downtime, fault tolerant servers offer the highest level of protection available. Each time a bit of information is committed to memory, that same information is sent to a second machine, so it is having a backup every second or so. The beautiful thing about this system is that if the ‘master’ fails, the second machine can take over without the users even realizing there was a failure.he time required for a reboot); however, for those client
Recently we attended a conference with over 6,000 IT professionals- the Cloud Computing Expo. There was certainly a buzz with all sorts of professionals taunting new products and services. As we attended sessions, we found it interesting that most of the speakers took the time to ‘define’ what Cloud Computing is. There was some consistency, but with a number of standards and with no single, ‘over-seeing’ organization, the best way to define Cloud Computing is to say that Cloud Computing is the next generation of server and internet technologies being combined to offer superior services for far less money.
The reality is that most providers have not embraced what we feel are the most important cloud technologies.
When we claim to be a ‘cloud’ provider, we consider the following to be the foundation of a ‘legit’ cloud service. These ‘standards’ are taken for a white paper the Gartner Group published on could technologies. We have built our services on a ‘true’ cloud architecture and take the ‘cloud’ very serious.
Most professionals realize that if you have an old Mac mini hosting your database, and you choose to move to a brand new xServe or even an IBM BladeServer- you can just ‘copy’ the files and be done with it. Utilizing traditional technology, there are Operating System concerns, IP address, licenses, drivers, and a host of other issues that have to be addressed every time there is a hardware change. As a result, many client will ‘over-buy’ on their server purchases in an attempt to delay/reduce future changes.
Another scenario is that as a professional developer, you have a local ‘testing’ server and a ‘production’ server in a datacenter somewhere. In most cases, the exact versions of the Operating System (Windows Server 2008 Web Edition vs. Windows Server 2012 Standard) will be different, and even if they are the same one system will have different updates than the other and/or one system or the other will have unique software.
By using modern visualization techniques, we can make your server environment an ‘appliance’ that can run on most any hardware. Your test environment can be hosted on an old Mac mini and your production environment can be a modern 16 core Xeon BladeServer. This portability allows the same ‘virtual machine’ to be portable. This trend in the industry will going to permit hardware manufactures to offer new products and services at an even faster rate. This portability keeps you from being ‘locked-in’ to any specific service or hardware.
Now that we have established that a ‘Cloud’ service is portable, that becomes the foundation of the next criteria, scalability. We have a client which has a FileMaker Pro solution which is used for parent-teacher conferences for a large school system. Normally, the system sees very low volumes; however, after mid-term grades are released the system sees a huge spike for a week or two. Utilizing modern ‘Cloud’ technology, we can scale the servers to have up to 16 times their ‘normal’ CPU power for those two weeks. Another scenario is that if your company is hoping to grow, we can add ‘resources’ to you Cloud instance as you grow.
Companies like Eli Lilly are using these technologies for their drug trials. After data is collected, they need huge amounts of computing power for a week or two. The servers to compile this data would cost millions of dollars; however, for a few thousand dollars that can ‘scale’ their computing needs across a private cloud and only pay the resources they actually need.
We have the ability scale your network, CPU, and drive resources. We also have advanced options for load balancing and other tools to optimize your experience.
If there is one criteria for ‘Cloud Computing’ which is most common, this has to be it. Most people think of the internet as ‘in the cloud’ when in reality there are Private Clouds, Public Clouds, Hybrid Clouds, Composite Clouds, and Rogue Clouds. The reality is that you can utilize Cloud Computing principles without making your ‘cloud’ accessible beyond your own network. Although we support Private Clouds, most of our client will utilize a Public Cloud.
The reality is a common network between cloud resources is just one piece of the accessibility equation. In order to provide cloud services, multiple machines (both physical and virtual) most share common drive systems. At this time, this means expensive fibre channel drive systems which provide speeds which standard drives can not hope to achieve.
One of the problems with ‘traditional’ servers is that it anything goes wrong, the service is down. A cloud service is designed to be elastic in numerous ways. If you utilizing BladeServer A in one of our clusters and that machine fails for any reason. The controller will automatically move your service to BladeServer B. Since both BladeServers are connected to the same SAS Drive array, no data is lost and in most cases; you will never even realize that a server failure has occurred.
Similar controls are also in place on are redudant SAS Drive Array, if a drive or power fails; then an alert is triggered, but no the drive system remains ‘up’ and no data is lost. The same is true with our network connections, we have multiple trunk lines from different providers coming into our datacenters. Our datacenters have a GSA rating and are protected from fire, theft, power loss, or most any scenario. They are manned 24 hours a day by staff who monitor and service our ‘clouds’. In most cases, they are automatically notified before a user ever knows there was a problem.
The final part of elasticity is backup. Since we have all this technology, we can offer backup services to another ‘cloud’, so if an entire datacenter goes down; then your data can be synchronized with a redundant cloud, so will very little effort your services can move from one cloud to another in a matter of minutes. The reality is that we can offer you the same technology which are used by Google, Amazon, and many of the ‘huge’ web providers.
All this technology is no relevant if you have a to have a budget the size of NASA to purchase and maintain it. The promise of ‘Cloud’ services is that resources are ‘pooled’ in the cloud and you have the option to ‘rent’ a very small part of a larger cloud. We offer both fixed rate and metered plans. We also handle all the maintenance and licensing of your servers. The reality is that you can start moving towards the cloud for as little as $10/month.
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