Development

Debunking Cloud Concerns

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Cloud computing models offer businesses a cost-effective way to outsource IT applications and infrastructure services to a third-party service provider. It allows them to use applications and store data hosted on servers and databases that are owned, managed and supported by the service provider. A company simply pays for the cost of using the on-demand service and leaves the management, upgrades, maintenance and support tasks to the cloud vendor.

Over the past few years, a growing number of large, medium and small companies have moved to the cloud to reduce the complexity and costs of their on-site IT infrastructure. Technology consulting firm Gartner Inc. expects that a majority of firms will have their IT applications delivered as a cloud service over the next few years. According to the International Data Corporation, spending on cloud computing in 2014 will be over $100 billion.

Popular Misconceptions

Despite the tangible benefits of the cloud, several misconceptions have persisted in the industry over the viability of cloud computing. One of the biggest concerns involves data security and data availability. Cloud vendors typically use a shared infrastructure to host and deliver their services. Applications and data from multiple companies are often hosted on the same server, prompting some to raise questions about data leakage, improper access, data theft and loss of confidentiality. Many also worry about catastrophic service disruptions as the result of cloud hardware and network failures.

Debunking Cloud Concerns

Another popular misconception involves data residency. Many organizations in regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare have strict requirements about how their data is handled and where it’s stored. Large cloud vendors typically have highly distributed architectures and many of them use servers located around the world to host customer applications and data. As a result, companies that have data residency requirements have been reluctant to use cloud services for fear of transgressing regulations.

Perhaps the biggest misconception involves a loss of control. Many believe that outsourcing to the cloud results in an automatic loss of control over IT functions. Since enterprise data is hosted on servers owned and managed by a third party, companies often fear they have less control, or even no control over their critical data assets.

Vendor Investments

Although such concerns may have been valid a few years ago, they certainly are not true these days. Cloud vendors are acutely aware of how such issues can affect adoption decisions. Most cloud providers offer secure access control, user authentication, intrusion detection and encryption tools for protecting information in hosted cloud databases. Many have highly redundant architectures for handling server and network failures. Though vendors may use a shared infrastructure to host data, most have technologies and procedures in place to ensure proper data segregation and access control. Many vendors also offer contractual guarantees and service level agreements to ensure that data residency requirements are met. Plus, a plethora of hosting options is available for companies concerned about a loss of control.

Planning for the Cloud

As a small business owner, you should certainly be aware of all these issues, but you shouldn’t let them deter you from taking advantage of the cloud. The best way to move to the cloud is to do it in small steps. Cloud vendors allow you to outsource as little or as much of your IT operations as you want. Many companies start by migrating common applications such as e-mail and office productivity to the cloud.

Most large cloud vendors also offer a choice between a hosted and a fully managed model. With a hosted model, the vendor will let you use its infrastructure to run your applications, but you’re ultimately responsible for managing the application. With a cloud-managed IT service, the vendor assumes full responsibility for hosting and managing your IT applications and services. If security is a primary concern, vendors offer a dedicated hosting model under which your applications and data will be hosted on a server reserved exclusively for your use.

The key to a successful cloud deployment lies in knowing what questions to ask. Before you embark on a journey to the cloud, ask why you are doing it. Is it for the cost savings, for the flexibility or the reduction in complexity? Make sure you have a realistic idea of the return on investment. If you already have a large IT infrastructure in place, your real ROI may lie in the reduced complexity and not necessarily in reduced costs. Make sure you understand the operational and technical issues you’ll need to overcome for cloud computing to work in your environment. Most importantly, vet your vendor thoroughly. Before you hand over your corporate jewels to a cloud vendor, make sure the company has the technical and professional resources to handle your data in a safe and responsible manner.

Cloud computing is here to stay. The benefits are real and tangible for companies that take the time to understand cloud computing and how to take advantage of its innovations.

Tips For Site Migration

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Site migration can be a difficult process on both a technical and marketing level, but it can sometimes be necessary to further grow your company and your brand. Site migration that isn’t handled in the right way can have devastating effects on a company’s online marketing and lasting effects on a company’s growth.

What is Site Migration?

Site migration occurs any time a website is moved from one URL to another or from one host to another. It’s important to understand that site migration could occur on either a user level or a server level. A URL can change from one URL or another without any physical change to the location of the website’s files. At the same time, the physical location of the website’s files could also change without a change to the URL. Before committing to a site migration, you should properly understand the type of migration you require.

Tips For Site Migration

Why would you need to Migrate your Site?

Site migration can become necessary for a few reasons. You may be changing your company’s branding or you could be merging with another company. Both could necessitate the adoption of different domain names and a change in the structure of your website.

If you’re not changing the URL of your website, you may simply be changing hosts. Changing hosts can become necessary if your prior host no longer suits your needs. When changing hosts, many will offer seamless transitions that occur during your website’s slowest hours and do not affect your users at all.

How does Site Migration Affect your Company?

If you are abandoning your old domain, you may find that much of your search engine optimization will be lost. This can be extraordinarily detrimental to your online marketing strategy. To minimize this loss, ensure that all of your URLs from your old website redirect appropriately and make sure that everything on your website is functioning as it should.

When keeping your domain and simply migrating your files, your task is much easier. You simply need to ensure that you transfer your files correctly. If you don’t test your new website thoroughly, you could find unexpected issues that could cost you customers. You might even lose some data permanently if you didn’t backup your data from your old host properly.

The DNS transition from your old server to your new server may take as much as 72 hours, so you shouldn’t take down your old site immediately. Instead, you should transfer your old site to your new server and then thoroughly test the site on the new server. Once you are certain that all of the data transferred correctly, you can start the process that will send users to your new site.

How can you make your Site Migration Easier?

External hosting services can make the entire process of site migration much easier. External hosting services often offer features that will automatically transfer your website from host to host. This takes the burden off of you and your IT department and ensures that everything will transfer correctly, no data will be lost and your users may never even realize that there was a change. An external hosting service will be able to mirror your website from server to server, eliminating the potential for costly mistakes.

If you’re transitioning to a cloud server, make life easier for you and your IT team by switching to the same or similar operating system. For instance, if your servers all run Windows right now, find a Windows cloud host that has baked-in support for your platform so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Site migration is best done early on in a company’s online development. Once you begin to feel that you are outgrowing your current host or that you will eventually need more than your host can give, you should begin your migration. A preemptive migration will save you from larger costs down the line.

What’s The Difference Between VPS and The Cloud?

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Private clouds, virtual private servers and other forms of hosting have become very important in the business world today. Those who are not in the know may think virtual private servers and private clouds are the same thing. While they are similar services, there are differences and the terms are not interchangeable. Understanding what each of these products actually is and the differences between them can help a company decide what would be the best hosting solution for them.

What's The Difference Between VPS and The Cloud?

Private Clouds

Private clouds are a scalable and secure type of server ideal for larger firms. Unlike a VPS, there is some set-up and maintenance required — since the server is generally located in a firm’s data center or other private location. As such, a private cloud is within a company’s personal firewall which makes it extremely secure. Choosing a private cloud is a big decision. However, since it does have future scalability options, it can serve a firm well for the long term.

There are cloud hosts that provide private cloud hosting. In that case, the company using the servers doesn’t physically maintain anything, the host does. The client’s servers are kept separate from other clients’ servers, often requiring different security credentials to access physically. This type of private cloud hosting is nearly as secure as in-house private cloud hosting, but it requires no direct investment in server hardware.

Virtual Private Servers

This type of server offers much flexibility in terms of hosting at a lower price point than a private cloud. One physical server is divided among several users. This gives virtual private server hosting the benefits of a private server, but does cuts down on maintenance, tech-support and up-front costs. While security is a concern, there is no overlap of data from one firm to another — even if the data is stored on the same server. The Green House Data website notes that a VPS operates very similar to a virtual server environment at a price that is much less expensive than other private options.

The Differences

An interesting article by Club Cloud Computing names four distinct differences between private clouds and virtual private servers. These differences include:

· Setup:

In general, clouds use many servers to divide storage and computing tasks. A VPS is one physical server that’s split among several virtual servers, but all of one client’s information is kept together — giving the user more flexibility with how the space is used.

· Location:

A VPS is hosted off-site at a third party provider. A private cloud is situated either in a data center that you own or in a host’s data enter; either way, the physical machines are separate from other companies’.

· Scalability:

Both solutions are scalable; however, there is a bit more effort involved with scaling a VPS. In this respect a private cloud may be easier, but as infrequently as upgrades may occur it shouldn’t be a major factor.

· Cost:

An in-house private cloud does have a higher upfront cost as a firm shoulders the cost of installation, set-up and maintenance. A VPS generally has a monthly or yearly fee. If cost is the main issue, VPS normally wins every time.

As you can see, there are distinct, if small, differences between a private cloud and a virtual private server. Both types of servers are useful and can help with the growth of a firm. A company should evaluate its needs to determine which of these will work best for both current needs and those that may occur in the future.

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What is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)?

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A MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) is an individual who has formally validated their Microsoft technology skill set by taking Microsoft’s certifications in one or more technology specialization. This will make them a Microsoft Certified Professional and means that they meet Microsoft’s levels of competency, expertise and knowledge in their specialization.

 Why take the MCTS?

Taking the MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) qualification will validate your Microsoft skill-set, experience and knowledge. Having a recognized MCP qualification will mean that potential employers can instantly see your expertise and as a result may hire you for appropriate projects.  When searching CV databases, many employers and recruitment consultants actually look for specific Microsoft qualifications as keywords, so by having a MCTS qualification on your CV you will increase your visibility and the number of times your CV appears in searches, making you more hire-able and desirable to potential hiring managers.

 

What MCTS exams are available?

You need to pass one to four exams to become a MCTS depending on the technology you are specializing in. Currently the following MCTS exams are available:

 

Exchange and Lync Server

  • Microsoft Exchange Server Configuration (2007 and 2010)
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Configuration

 

Project and Project Server

  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Configuration
  • Microsoft Project Server 2010, Configuration
  • Microsoft Project 2010, Managing Projects
  • Microsoft Office Project 2007, Managing Projects
  • Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007
  • Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Configuration

Sharepoint

  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuration
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuration
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Application Development

 

SQL Server

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance

System Centre

  • Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager 2007, Configuration
  • Microsoft System Centre Operations Manager 2007, Configuration
  • Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Configuration
  • System Centre Data Protection Manager 2007, Configuration

 Server 2008

  • Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization

 

Microsoft Development

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Windows Applications Development
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Web Applications Development
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Windows Communication Foundation Development
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Data Access
  • Microsoft Silverlight 4, Development
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 ADO.NET Applications
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 ASP.NET, Applications
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Communication Foundation Applications
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Forms Applications
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Presentation Foundation Applications
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Workflow Foundation Applications

 Windows

  • Windows 7, Configuration
  • Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, Deployment
  • Windows Vista, Configuration
  • Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0, Development
  • Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009, Development
  • Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7, Development
  • Windows Embedded Compact 7

 

Mobile Development

  • Windows Mobile 6.5, Application Development
  • Windows Mobile 6.5, Configuration

 Server 2008

  • Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuration
  • Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuration
  • Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuration
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard, Configuration
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuration
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008, Configuration
  • Windows Internals
  • Windows HPC Server 2008, Development

 

Other Technology

  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010
  • Volume Licensing Specialist, Large Organizations
  • Volume Licensing Specialist, Small and Medium Organizations
  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Configuration
  • Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring
  • Microsoft Forefront Endpoint and Application Protection, Configuration
  • Microsoft Office Visio 2007, Application Development

What is the best way to train for my MCTS exams?

There are many ways to train for your MCTS exams depending on the amount of time and money you want to commit. Microsoft provides their own learning materials online and you can also buy various books and e-books on the subject. You could take a traditional classroom based course or self-study with a Microsoft Approved provider. One of the best, most efficient ways to train is to download exam questions and answers from an online provider, these ensure you give the exact answer to the questions and are quick and easy to read and digest then test yourself.

 

Robert is writing for ExamKill which is known for affordable Microsoft Certification PDF material provider such as MCTS, MCSE, MCTIP,MCTS and many more.

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Voting Technology to Help the Disabled

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Cities in the United States often use various methods to assist the disabled on voting day. This typically consists of transporting the handicapped to voting sites in a wheelchair van and ensuring the disabled have access to voting sites. Legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures that polling places accommodate disabled voters.

Now, voting machines have the capability to accommodate people with a range of disabilities. This technology ensures that the disabled voters truly do have equal access to polling places.

Long Beach, California plans to use voting machines for visually impaired individuals during the April 2012 primary elections, according to Gazettes.com. These machines are able to issue audio commands to users, allowing them to vote without assistance, even if they are completely blind. This will mark the first use of these voting machines in Los Angeles County and is an important step in providing independent voting for the disabled.

Dolores Nason, executive director of the Disabled Resources Center, was nearly brought to tears when she saw some of her volunteers, workers and clients using these machines during a demonstration. “People who have disabilities, they still want to be independent and they want to keep their dignity,” she told Gazettes.com, “and being able to vote can be a big part of that.”

Los Angeles County has 88 cities, 60 of which have municipal elections. Long Beach used an independent contractor to conduct its elections until 2006, and this city has been improving its voting facilities in-house ever since. In 2006, Orange County began using the e-slate voting machines, electronic machines that directly record voting machines. Anyone can use these machines, but they are especially useful for people with disabilities.

E-slate machines issue voice commands through headphones for the visually impaired. The large buttons are easy for people with motor disabilities to control, and those without any use of their hands can control these machines with a sip and puff device. An e-slate machine displays the entire ballot as if it was a paper ballot and also allows the user to modify previous choices before submitting the ballot.

Long Beach officials will install four e-slate machines at City Hall for the 2012 elections, which run from March 12 to April 3. The city decided to buy these $24,000 machines instead of electronic poll books, which allows voting officials to review voter information. Officials plan to install e-slate machines at all 270 polling locations, although this will require several years to fully implement.

Voting machines allow the disabled to maintain their independence and keep their dignity while voting, in addition to increasing the number of people who vote. These machines also allow the handicapped to vote independently, thus ensuring privacy for all voters.

In order to ensure equality at the voting booth, this technology should be widespread, rather than contained in such a limited area. With technological advancements being made every day, it is feasible that, assuming everything goes as planned in California this year, this technology can be available nationwide by the next presidential election.

Advantages Of Using PHP In Web Development

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PHP is one of the most popular web development tools in use today, It is an open source and web scripting language that forms part of the LAMP web programming stack – LAMP is an acronym that represent Linux, Apache, MySQL and of course PHP. The current edition of PHP is the PHP 5. This development comes with some clear advantages over for users. Some of these benefits are discussed below.

    1. Code samples – one important feature of PHP is the availability of code samples, which is just as well for users not versed with coding. You will have free and readily available code samples that will make your work quite easy.
    2. Function diversity – One good point about this web development program is that it is easy for developers to embed various code libraries into their project(s). The merit of all this is that you will be able to do a massive range of activities like generating bar codes, creating PDFs documents drawing graphs and retrieving content from other sites with relative ease. It also makes it relatively easy to perform swaps between database engines by a simple act of modifying one parameter.
    3. Its popular – PHP web development program is quite popular with the masses. The upside of this popularity is that it transforms into a big catalogues of web applications from phpBB to WordPress – which is the largest blogging engine in the world.
    4. Open source – the fact that PHP is an open source program plays into its hands as it is able to integrate your projects into your website or intranet. A closed source program would make it difficult to achieve this. It also fits in seamlessly with other web programming tools.
    5. Availability – another positive vibe about this web development tool -just like the others- is that it is free to use, on top of that it can be said to be easy to use with basic training and skills. Even though not everything in PHP is easy to do, you can master it by engaging some expert training.
    6. Complex tasks – Another point in favor of PHP application program is its ability to handle mind boggling chores with relative ease. Most programs –or even some of PHP’s previous editions – suffer in hard labor, but not PHP. This point is further reinforced by its ability to shift gears between different tasks without affecting quality.

A rapidly growing web development company, Zend with its innumerable services including PHP training, certification, consulting services, has become a popular choice of a large number of clients. Users can benefit from its products and save money at the same time by suing Zend coupons.

Key Features Of Web Development

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Some of the most prominent and instructive traits of web development are outlined below.

 

Originality

One of web development’s most vital ingredients is the need to nature originality. You should endeavor to develop your own unique website other than striving to duplicate another website, no matter how popular it is. Indeed lack of originality is one of the biggest putdown and client traffic repellents. If they feel your website is a mere copycat of another, they are most definitely not going to visit again.

 

Site Validation

This is another important feature of web development, what it means is that you have to check your website with a valid HTML validator so as to pick out any errors your developer might have missed. The World Wide Web Consortium has come up with a standard validation mechanism and it is important that you adhere to it so as to ensure your website abides by the benchmarks. On top of that it is also crucial that you validate if your web site is compatible with the major browsers, if it is not you should contact your web developer.

 

Page Indexing

Page indexing is another key feature of web development, especially when you are adding your website to prominent search engines. One particular point to note about page indexing is that it is better done manually other than using automatic facilities. This is because automated additions are susceptible to search engine tracking.

 

Banner and Online Advertisements

Banners and adverts are very good revenue earners, but they should be positioned well so as not do destruct the main agenda of your website. An effective web development should be able to come up with a professional way of placing these banners, such that they will earn revenue as well as maintain your website’s posture.

 

Color Combination

This is another vital web development trait as the color rendition you choose can make or break your site. No web development is complete without an effective choice of color. The website color has to be compatible with the background; otherwise it will be a problem for your visitors to read your content.

 

HTML and CSS

One key point you should keep in mind during web development is to limit the number of errors you make as it is quite taxing to redress them later. It is advisable that you use CSS and HTML sheets as they make editing quite easy.

Basic Information On Web Development

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Definition:

The term web development is used to describe formation of web site for internet use – World Wide Web – and also private network (intranet). The main components of web development include; web content development, web design, scripting, network security, e-commerce, web server amongst others. According to web experts, the term web development also entails mostly non design factors of web site building like coding and writing mark up. Web development can be a simple activity like coming up with a single web page comprising of a single page with only plain text. Alternatively it can be a complex affair where it involves mega internet applications, social network activities as well as e-business.

Origins of web development:

Web development took off from around the mid 1990’s as a small industry, but it has now grown to become one of the fastest growing in the world. As of 1995 there were less than one thousand web development firms in the United States but a decade later (2005) the figure numbered well over thirty thousands and is still growing. This growth has been necessitated by some factors, some of which are outlined below;

  • The reduction in the overall cost of web development, while in the past it could have cost you an arm and a leg to develop a website, this cost has come down. Today you can even own a simple web site for free.
  • The cost of web hosting has also gone down which means more companies and people are now able to afford maintain a web site.
  • Web development has also benefited from the dramatic automation of business and other activity. The “online revolution” that has taken over the world has made it a boon for this industry.
  • There are also quality systems and tools that aid in web development, these are; PHP, Linux, MySQL and Apache. The good news is that these tools are at your disposal free of charge.
  • Another prominent contributor to its popularity is the web development software, the most known being; Adobe, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Studio, WebDev, Netbeans and Adobe Flex. These software have the advantage of being user friendly and with their help you can develop a web site in a matter of minutes.
  • Web development has also been propelled by the availability of quality training in the business. Unlike in the recent past when there was lack of specialized training, today most universities and other institutions take the subject seriously.