August 28

Structured Cabling - Cloud1 Security

A structured cabling system is a complete system o [...]
August 28

Structured Cabling - Cloud1 Security

A structured cabling system is a complete system o [...]
April 30

World's Leading Cloud Deployment & Development Company

Way2Smile Solutions is a trusted Cloud Hosting Ser [...]

Way2Smile is a cloud service provider working towards branding companies and enable them in managing the cloud hosted platforms. Our cloud services have the ability to connect to a virtualized cloud and then provide uninterrupted cloud platforms for enterprises reliably.

November 28

Data Integration | Infront Systems

Migrate technology infrastructure to the public or [...]

Data Integration

Unify your corporate and cloud data through trusted and secure API connections.  Aggregate data from diverse sources on demand without duplication, to derive greater value from growing volumes of data, while reducing costs and risk, and improving compliance and overall agility.

By connecting your organisation's applications, data and devices you could innovate faster and create better customer experiences. Infront uses technology to connect applications across multiple cloud environments using an API-led approach. This allows Infront to re-architecture our customer's infrastructure from legacy systems, proprietary platforms, and custom integration code to create business agility. Our customers can migrate technology infrastructure to the public or private cloud and prioritize adoption of SaaS applications and other cloud technologies.

 

Why Infront?

Our Unity Reference Architecture was engineered for customer success, integrating best-in-class technologies to deliver Hybrid Cloud outcomes without compromising on security, governance or control. Infront delivers policy based control for cloud native services to deliver unprecedented control and agility.  

Infront’s team of engineers have the knowledge and experience to engineer and build an enterprise Hybrid Cloud environment to suit your needs without compromise. 

Infront’s hybrid cloud approach is backed by 18 years of data centre experience. With strong technical depth and alignment to industry trends Infront can unlock greater business value in placing your organisation on the path to modernisation and hybrid cloud.

November 28

Hybrid Cloud Architecture | Infront Systems

Transition to cloud technology smoothly with our e [...]

Transitioning to Hybrid Cloud

Transform the way your IT is built, consumed and managed.

Only Infront has developed the platform-centric approach needed to assist IT and business leaders alike to deliver a true transformation agenda, with lowered risk and increased agility. 

Working together, Infront’s team of dedicated consultants will eliminate the challenges of cloud by delivering the expertise and service integrations necessary to transition smoothly.

November 28

Infront's Innovation Exchange

The Innovation Exchange is an operational and arch [...]

Accelerating Digital Delivery

Create an integrated approach to Hybrid Cloud management.

Business demand for innovation has exceeded ITs ability to respond. To maintain relevancy in the digital age, IT organisations must close this innovation gap by becoming a broker of IT outcomes.

New architectures and strategic sourcing models must be adopted if IT is to re-establish themselves as the first choice for service delivery.

Developed over five years, the Innovation Exchange helps accelerate digital delivery while mitigating risk associated with the adoption of a hybrid cloud model.

From Cloud Support to complete Hybrid Cloud Management, our dedicated team of consultants work with you to mature your hybrid cloud delivery and help regain control of Shadow IT.

November 28

VDI | Infront Systems

Centralise your organisation's desktops and applic [...]

VDI (Citrix)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is becoming an increasingly popular way for organisations to promote business agility and productivity. Your organisations employees will lose productivity when they are away from the office and during PC updates and patches. To prevent this loss of productivity, Virtual Desktops centralise desktops and applications in a data centre, rather than on local devices, allowing employees to access their desktop from any location and device. 

By using Virtual Desktops, your employees can access their workplace desktops from virtually any device including laptops and smartphones. Desktop virtualisation allows organisations to reduce operating expense, improve efficiency, increase control and expand connectivity.    

 

Why Infront?

Our Unity Reference Architecture was engineered for customer success, integrating best-in-class technologies to deliver Hybrid Cloud outcomes without compromising on security, governance or control. Infront delivers policy based control for cloud native services to deliver unprecedented control and agility.  

Infront’s team of engineers have the knowledge and experience to engineer and build an enterprise Hybrid Cloud environment to suit your needs without compromise. 

Infront’s hybrid cloud approach is backed by 18 years of data centre experience. With strong technical depth and alignment to industry trends Infront can unlock greater business value in placing your organisation on the path to modernisation and hybrid cloud.

November 28

Microsoft 365 | Infront Systems

Easily collaborate, share files, and access applic [...]

Microsoft 365

Office 365 is an integrated solution, bringing together all work applications including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and many others. Team members can collaborate and share files while accessing their applications anywhere while online. The migration of email services to Office 365 will ensure your organisation can leverage the most up-to-date features whilst at the same time reducing maintenance and support requirements. 

Introducing Office 365 to your work environment doesn’t mean that you are introducing a whole new interface and way of working. Office 365 takes the familiar Outlook, Word, Excel, OneNote, Publisher, and PowerPoint features and boosts their power. Employees are also able to access their Office 365 tools online, simply by logging into Office 365 on the web.

Office 365 makes syncing workloads and calendars between mobile and desktop devices simpler, reducing confusion and improving accessibility. Users are able to install Office 365 on up to 5 different devices giving your employees increased productivity on the go.   

 

Why Infront?

Our Unity Reference Architecture was engineered for customer success, integrating best-in-class technologies to deliver Hybrid Cloud outcomes without compromising on security, governance or control. Infront delivers policy based control for cloud native services to deliver unprecedented control and agility.  

Infront’s team of engineers have the knowledge and experience to engineer and build an enterprise Hybrid Cloud environment to suit your needs without compromise. 

Infront’s hybrid cloud approach is backed by 18 years of data centre experience. With strong technical depth and alignment to industry trends Infront can unlock greater business value in placing your organisation on the path to modernisation and hybrid cloud.

November 28

The Tired Entrepreneur: The challenge | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

“Enduring success and growth for any business toda [...]

The Tired Entrepreneur: The challenges of rebuilding unstoppable momentum

23 May 2017 by Allan King

“Enduring success and growth for any business today is dependent on building and maintaining unstoppable momentum” Michael McQueen

I have owned and operated my own business for nearly 18 years. During this period, we have seen solid and extended growth. With this growth has come commensurate success. As a company, we were recognised by industry as a leader and acknowledged by our partners at a local, national and global level. We always operated under the mantra of ‘what we do, we do well. What we don’t do, we don’t do.’

Three years ago, things changed. I don’t mean the growth or the success. We continued to post results that defied market trends. It changed because I called the ball on our existing model. I came to realise that cloud represented the next big opportunity, but also a threat that had the potential to disrupt all that we had built.

So began the long hard road of change and all the challenges that came with trying to teach an old dog new tricks. I write this hoping that it may help others accelerate their own change agenda, and just maybe, side step a few of the more challenging issues I encountered along the way.

 

1. The Weight of Expectation

Boy, oh boy, did I underestimate the loneliness of the journey. I can honestly say I would prefer to spin-up another start-up before attempting to change the culture and direction of a mature, successful business. Why? Firstly, very few people understood the need for change. Remember, we were still growing our traditional lines of business. Cloud was viewed as ‘cool’ but not a strategy for the Enterprise.. Many felt that Government, our largest vertical, would never transition to cloud as they had ‘unique’ security requirements. If they did, it would be a slow laborious adoption. I was more aggressive in my assumptions. Turns out both sides were wrong. It was happening much quicker than anyone expected!

With the momentum of cloud building, and many of our customers actively pursuing a cloud first strategy, staff eventually turned their attention to our new and emerging strategy. What did it mean to them? How would we compete? Where we going to be able to differentiate as we had in the past? Would it effect my bonus? How can I achieve my OTE? Was it the right strategy? Why was it taking so long? The questions kept coming. The pressure to execute kept mounting. And the elephant in the room? How were we going to succeed when so many well-funded multinationals and vendors hadn’t?

The pressure of expectation was exhausting! Change is not for the faint of heart, but if you truly believe in your vision, you can prevail – in time ????

 

2. Make Change, Make Enemies

Woodrow Wilson once stated that “if you want to make enemies, try to change something.” We encountered this almost immediately. We have always been transparent with our partners. We have been loyal, focused and successful with some of the largest vendors in the industry. However, when we outlined our future direction, we had to face off against senior management whose attitudes ranged from passive aggressive to outright hostile. Why? Because we were no longer 100% aligned with their strategy, even though their strategy was unresolved and in most cases embryonic. There was an expectation that we would simply wait and align behind their vision ONCE it was better defined. To do otherwise was to be branded a disloyal partner.

But we couldn’t afford to wait. Right or wrong we needed to move quickly. We needed to embrace emerging markets with the same energy and focus that had served us so well in the past. We had spent over nine months researching cloud and engaging customers to understand their needs for the new era. We knew we had to forge new partnerships. Even though it caused us a lot of pain in the process, but it was the right thing to do.

As the market started to shake out, and the emerging vendors began to assume an indomitable position, attitudes started to soften. Many even grudgingly acknowledged our strategy as ‘insightful’ and ‘compelling’ – but we had inevitably lost ground with our traditional vendor base that would never be reclaimed.

 

3. Organisational Whiplash

Communication is the cornerstone of a transformation agenda. But be very aware of organisational whiplash. If I learned one lesson over the past three years, it would be to over communicate the ‘Why’ and not the ‘What’.

We defined early in the process the Why. It was the foundation of everything we did. Every investment we made. We had a singular focus with the drive to execute. But along the way I assumed too much. I assumed everyone was on board with the vision. They weren’t. I had presented it many times, but it just didn’t stick the way I had expected.

When building and executing a new strategy, you ultimately discard more than you retain. We were operating in a nascent market trying to determine the best approach to deliver the outcomes as defined by our customers. We had also mapped a number of technical and operational challenges that we knew we had to solve. This resulted in a lot of water cooler type conversations. A lot of R&D was expended testing and often discarding ideas and partner products. It was inevitable as the market (the so called API economy) we were engaged with was very immature.

What we didn’t foresee was the effect this had on the periphery. We operate in a large open plan office. The relentless ‘fail fast’ process was viewed as ‘lurching’ from one idea to the next. The perception was we didn’t have a strategy, when quite the opposite was the case. We knew exactly what we wanted to achieve but we needed to test the veracity of the marketing as many products over promised and under delivered.

 

4. The ‘Glory’ Hires

Don’t confuse the term ‘Glory’ with your top performers. I use it to differentiate between those that helped you build the business and those that joined you in the Glory Days – when your brand is strong and momentum fills your sails. During this period, morale is at its highest and everyone feels empowered.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these hires are a natural and critical part of business growth, but you must be aware that their motivations for joining you may differ from your long term hires. They may not be interested in getting dirty with ‘what’s next’ just because you ask. They joined to be part of something great, not build it. So when your core offering is being disrupted and you need to aggressively change direction, don’t be surprised when a few of these late hires leave. It’s inevitable, but not personal. You can’t afford to view it as such and just remember that everyone contributes in their own way. Not everyone is motivated by the need to rebuild, which can often be difficult and frustrating with less visible and immediate benefits.

 

5. Gamification

The prospect of change is confronting, in particular to engineers who have dedicated their entire working career developing niche skills. Why? Because many of these skills are being commoditised or moved to cloud. Take O365 as a great example. This transition to an online service can quickly render over 20 years’ experience in Microsoft Exchange obsolete. The need to stay in school, to reinvent oneself had never been greater and yet many of my best engineers continued as if it was business as usual, seemingly waiting for change to overtake them.

This was the most frustrating part of the journey. But one we had to address with singular focus. We had to find a way to engage with our best people or wither and die due to a lack of relevant skills. To combat this, we Gamified the learning process.

We Gamified the learning process by developing a series of challenges that ran over a 10-week period. Each week the challenge (kept small to encourage participation) was evaluated and a small cash prize was awarded (first and second). To ensure ongoing commitment, we used the previous week’s output as the foundation for the coming weeks challenge. It was a great way to get the competitive juices flowing, but also encourage participation and knowledge sharing. The ultimate winner was gifted something notable, something worth the time and effort required to complete all ten weeks.

As a side note, we didn’t limit these events to purely technical topics. We wanted to engage and encourage non-technical staff as well. In fact, our fitness challenge, run initially over 12 weeks, is still running today (without the incentives) nearly three years later.

 

6. New Blood. New thoughts. New Opportunities.

If you ask any avid gardener, they will tell you the most daunting part of maintaining a beautiful garden is to know when to hack-into (a term borrowed from my father, whom, by the way, was not an avid gardener) a tree, bush or plant in full bloom. It is always tempting to wait a little longer and avoid cutting something back. But without the right care, which can often leave your favourite tree in an unsightly state, it will fail to bloom in the coming seasons.

This was, perhaps, the most difficult lesson I learnt during the transition. I realised that we needed new skills and new thinking if we were to rebuild the unstoppable momentum we had enjoyed in the past. This wasn’t a conscious process. It was very much an organic result. The team was struggling to build momentum, and I fretted. I gave authority and responsibility but the past was holding us back. It wasn’t until we lost a few senior members and introduced a new crop of leaders that I realised what was missing – a passion for ‘what could be’ versus ‘what was’. A complete and unbiased approach to building something great again!

 

I hope that you found this article useful, but, if not, at least a little bit thought provoking. I don’t know why I felt compelled to write it. Perhaps, I hoped it would be cathartic? Perhaps it was. Time will tell.

Post by Allan King

Allan King is the Founder and Managing Director of Buttonwood, an Australian startup that wants to transform the way enterprises build and secure hybrid cloud services without unnecessary cost or complexity.

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November 28

My Journey to the Cloud as a Novice Cloud Hero | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

I joined Buttonwood three months ago as the market [...]

My Journey to the Cloud as a Novice Cloud Hero

01 June 2017 by Annika Scott

I joined Buttonwood three months ago as the marketing coordinator, in charge of taking a complex concept and simplifying it. I started at Buttonwood with nearly no knowledge of cloud computing, let alone hybrid cloud. As I started telling people that I was working at a cloud company, I realised that the majority of people I spoke to had even less knowledge about cloud than I did. I have had an interesting and eye opening journey to the cloud over the last three months.

Before I started at Buttonwood I honestly didn’t even realise that things that I use everyday (my phone) are basically run in the cloud. Without cloud computing there would be no mobile applications and no smartphones. I knew I had a lot to learn.

Luckily, I am surrounded by cloud experts who are extremely passionate about cloud computing, and they are more than willing to help me understand all things cloud. It has been an exciting three months. I have learned many new concepts, and I thought I would share what I’ve learnt with you. But we do need to start at the beginning, and get down to the essence of hybrid cloud.

What is Hybrid Cloud?

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90% of enterprises will have transitioned to a hybrid cloud solution. However, like me, many enterprises are utterly confused about what true hybrid cloud is. A quick ask around the office, and I’ve got my answer. A hybrid cloud solution consists of integrating at least one private cloud platform with at least one public cloud platform.

By implementing a hybrid cloud solution, enterprises can optimise the benefits of both public and private cloud environments, as well as integrate on-premise systems with cloud-based technologies, ensuring legacy systems are not lost in the transition to cloud.

However, guaranteeing success with your hybrid cloud solution involves more than just using a mix of private and public cloud environments and hoping for the best. To be truly successful you must implement common management, security and orchestration across all your environments, ensuring you can easily move applications and data between private and public clouds.

Why take a journey to the Cloud?

Whether enterprises know it or not, hybrid cloud is a critical component of IT. The future of IT lies with hybrid cloud, to drive innovation, agility and change. Business demand for innovation is growing, while traditional IT platforms are struggling to innovate, leading to an innovation gap.

A hybrid cloud model offers a high level of security, performance, control and compliance, while continuing to offer flexibility. Private and public cloud capabilities are being optimised to deliver the same features that are expected from on-premise services. Businesses are getting a self-service infrastructure that enables agility, scalability, and cost optimisation. Hybrid cloud infrastructure ensures the security and predictability demanded by business leaders, while giving IT the flexibility and scalability offered by a cloud solution.

I have done a lot of research on hybrid clouds in my short three months at Buttonwood. I have concluded that hybrid cloud is an exceedingly beneficial solution to drive digital innovation in enterprises.

Here’s my take on the five biggest benefits of a hybrid cloud solution:

1.   Increased Flexibility

A hybrid cloud solution enables you to maximise choice and broker scalable IT solutions, improving flexibility ensuring enterprises can achieve business goals and digital innovation.

2.   Complete choice

Hybrid cloud ensures no vendor lock-in, giving you the opportunity to change cloud vendors or solutions, as needed, to suit your current workloads and applications.

3.   Unlimited resources

With a hybrid cloud solution, your enterprise will have access to unlimited resources. Your enterprise can facilitate on-demand service expansion and contraction based on current business requirements.

4.   Lowered capital expenditure

On average, businesses have reduced IT costs by 24 percent, through adopting a hybrid cloud model. The pay-as-you go model of hybrid cloud lowers capital expenditure, freeing up budget to ensure businesses can focus their investments on innovation and digital transformation initiatives.

5.   Constant productivity

As hybrid cloud solutions are often delivered ready to go, there is no loss of productivity even when scaling up and down. Employees are also able to be productive even when they are out of the office.

What about the risks?

I am a millennial and as a result I think I am naturally more trusting of hybrid cloud computing, because I don’t know really anything different. In fact, is has been reported that my whole generation is more trusting of technology then they are of banks.

But in the workforce, millennials, are still less influential than their more experienced co-workers, and older generations are much less trusting of cloud computing then us millennials. And they can be, they knew a life before cloud computing.

A hybrid cloud solution can solve many current IT challenges, and it brings greater opportunity and value to enterprises. However, a hybrid cloud solution presents unique risks to the enterprise. Hybrid clouds are not necessarily less secure than traditional IT infrastructure, but proper precautions must still be implemented to ensure business critical data is protected.

The complexity of hybrid cloud infrastructure can also put your IT strategy at risk. Without sophisticated IT staff to manage your infrastructure, you risk losing control, and disrupting your end to end business process.

These risks are not new, and they should not prevent you from transitioning to a hybrid cloud solution. I think it will take time for you to get used to using a hybrid cloud solution. Once you have figured out the best security and governance practices, the risks of implementing cloud solutions will go down, and the value and opportunities will continue to increase.

Achieving Digital Transformation

I am a strong believer in digital transformation. It brings so many benefits to your enterprise, and encourages a better work life balance (a bonus for all the millennials out there). For enterprises to achieve digital transformation, they must move away from traditional IT platforms and leverage new business technologies. This will disrupt business and markets, and increase performance and growth.

Hybrid cloud is fundamental in digital transformation, providing enterprises with a service orientated approach, ensuring they can focus on meeting their business needs. To successfully drive change in your enterprise, you need to embrace the risk of transitioning to hybrid cloud. By creating business-centric strategies that offer the flexibility, choice and resources needed all your business demands will be met.

Now I’ve told you about my journey to the cloud. It is only just the beginning, and I want to hear about your experience too. Get in touch and let us know your journey to the cloud.

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November 28

The Art of Exploratory Testing | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

As a software tester, I am always looking for new [...]

The Art of Exploratory Testing

08 September 2017 by Monisha Sabharwal

As a software tester, I am always looking for new ways to improve my testing capabilities. After starting at Buttonwood, I came across an approach called Exploratory Testing, which involves simultaneous learning, test design, and test execution. The term Exploratory Testing was first coined by Cem Kaner and was common practice in Silicon Valley during the 1980’s. It has since evolved to assist agility within program and application testing.

We are living in a world where technology is constantly changing. Exploratory testing is the best way to keep up with those changes. I enjoy the freedom of being able to test as I go, without needing to plan every step in advance. With exploratory testing, I am able to use the application as if I was an end user, and take the same journey that they would take, to discover bugs and other defects.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, we need to understand what exploratory testing is.

What is Exploratory testing?

Exploratory testing comes from the word “explore”, which is defined as travelling through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. As its name implies, an exploratory tester discovers a new system with minimum planning and maximum test execution. This type of testing is very different to formal testing, as the tester does not rely on documentation, but rather their own knowledge and experience. The tester can explore the application from various perspectives, to expose defects that are often missed through automated testing. As the tester starts exploring the application, new test design ideas begin to form, which they can execute them immediately.

The Benefits

For many testers, exploratory testing is more beneficial than formal testing. There is no doubt that it is an excellent way of testing software. Testers are free to utilize their skills and knowledge while gaining a deeper understanding of the product.

It exposes bugs missed by formal testing:

As I mentioned before, exploratory testing exposes more bugs and defects that might have been missed by automated and manual testing. The human knowledge that is involved in exploratory testing gives a broader view of the application than what automated testing does.

It promotes agility:

Exploratory testing is an agile method used to keep up with evolving technologies. I know that in the Buttonwood offices, our app development moves fast. Our developers are constantly evolving functionalities, and the only way I keep up with testing these functionalities is through exploratory testing. As soon as they develop a new functionality, I can test it straight away, without any documentation.

The Challenges

Of course, as with any testing, exploratory testing is not without its challenges. There is a chance with exploratory testing that the tester may miss even the simplest defect.

It is dependent on testers capabilities:

This testing doesn’t depend upon scripted documentation, it relies purely on the tester’s skills, which are limited by the knowledge and experience of the tester. The level of competency shown by the tester can impact the results of the test. A simple human error can result in not finding all the bugs within the application.

It is not suitable for long execution:

This testing is more suitable when there are incomplete requirements and a shorter timeframe. With exploratory testing, testers put less time for planning and preparation of test cases which allows more time for design and execution. The tester will often focus solely on identifying defects and bugs that are normally missed by the other testing techniques.

Reproducing bugs becomes more difficult with exploratory testing:

With exploratory testing, it can be very difficult, but not impossible, to keep track of what has been tested. In general, the testing team should work together to be able to reproduce bugs. However, when exploratory testing is performed by the testers, there are no documented test cases to refer to. This makes it more difficult to reproduce the steps that led to an error, and determine whether the bug has been fixed.

How to be a Successful Exploratory Tester

Testing is not as easy as you may think. With so many new updates and technologies, it can be difficult to keep up with all the testing that needs to be done. As exploratory testing doesn’t rely on documentation, the tester must stay organised. A test is not successful until the application is defect free.

There are many things that a good exploratory tester needs to keep in mind while testing. Probably the biggest thing to remember is the importance of note taking. Your team cannot read your mind. The easiest way to share important information with them is by writing it down. My Buttonwood testing team is very small. When I come across bugs, I always make a note of it to pass on to the developers at a later stage. Generally, when testing I don’t have time to stop and talk to the rest of my team about bugs.

Taking notes while exploratory testing also helps me stay organised. As I do not have any documentation to go off when running testing, I make notes of techniques and identify risks, that will ensure a successful test.

 

While it is not that answer to all your testing needs, agile teams should embrace exploratory testing to complement both automated and manual testing practices. It is the perfect method for performing a quick check on new functionality, and you can easily correlate exploratory testing results with automated test results.

Remember there is no right or wrong answer as to which method is more effective in the testing world. It depends on each organisations’ needs and their suitability.

Post by Monisha Sabharwal

Monisha is Buttonwood's Quality Assurance Tester, responsible for making sure all of Buttonwood's products are of the highest quality, ready for our clients.

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November 28

Cloud Computing is like Eating at a | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cloud c [...]

Cloud Computing is like Eating at a Restaurant

04 August 2017 by Annika Scott

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cloud computing can be a difficult topic to get your head around. As I’m still new to the world of cloud, I’m always on the lookout for simpler ways to understand the cloud. I recently came across a post where the writer compared cloud computing to eating at a restaurant where you only order what you need and someone else takes care of the setup, cooking and cleaning. This really struck a chord with me. The simple comparison explained cloud in a whole new way. I felt like I’d just cracked the code of cloud. I hadn’t, but I knew that this was a comparison that most people could relate to. Here’s my interpretation of the comparison:

Consider cloud computing is similar to having a meal at a restaurant and the traditional data centre is like eating at home. Cloud vendors, like restaurants, take care of everything. All your storage, development and software needs are managed by the vendors, just like all the preparing, cooking, and cleaning is done by the restaurant. As a cloud consumer, all you have to do is focus on how you’ll use the cloud solution and achieve your desired outcome. As a restaurant customer, all you have to focus on is eating the food put in front of you.

As simple as eating at a restaurant

This comparison makes cloud computing seem so easy. But what I liked the most about it is how well it fits into the culture here at Buttonwood. Everyone at Buttonwood loves food, especially burgers. We even have a tradition known as “Burger Friday”, where every Friday the Buttonwood team goes out for burgers at one of Canberra’s many burger joints. It was Buttonwood Burger Friday’s that inspired me to write this post.

The above comparison is simple enough for people to understand, but I don’t just want to leave it there… I want to dive into the core principles of cloud computing to understand just how deep the comparison goes.

Principle 1: Get what you need, when you need it

Cloud computing, like eating in a restaurant, is all about having the on-demand service, getting the resources you want, when you want them. When you go to a restaurant you get the one thing you want – food! You don’t have to worry about how it’s going to get there, you just know that very soon you will be eating a delicious burger. While you probably won’t get the burger immediately, you will get it faster than if you were going to make it at home. To me, that seems like the benefit of eating out.

Cloud computing is also available on demand. The IT department can spin up new environments and resources as they are needed, without having to worry about waiting too long. It usually takes a few minutes, or maybe even a few hours for the cloud environment to be set up, it is much quicker than setting up an on-premise data centre. And once it has been spun up, the end user only has to worry about consuming the cloud resources.

Principle 2: Be prepared for unexpected additions

Have you ever had an unexpected guest for dinner, and not had enough food for them? You could always go to the supermarket to get more ingredients, or even buy more ingredients to start with. However, buying more than you need can lead to wasting resources, and taking a second trip to the grocery store is not time effective. On the other hand, having an extra person show up in a restaurant would not cost you extra time or money, and they can easily be catered for.

Eating at home is comparable to having an on-premise data centre, where you lack agility and scalability. It is impossible to add new resources when they are needed because you have to build the new infrastructure which could take days or weeks. Cloud computing offers almost unlimited scalability capabilities. You can add and remove resources as you need them, reducing waste and ensuring your IT environment is cost effective. And the best part is that adding and removing infrastructure as necessary does not affect the rest of the cloud environment.

Principle 3: Choose what’s right for you

When eating at a restaurant there are always many options on the menu. And if you don’t like anything on the menu there are other restaurants to choose from. You decide what to eat based on your needs and requirements, as well as your budget. With a large range of restaurants, there will almost always be at least one that caters to your needs. After you have decided on your restaurant, you have another choice to make… what meal you are going to eat. After choosing your meal all you have to do is sit back and wait.

The process of migrating to the cloud is much the same. There are many cloud providers to choose from including AWS, Azure and Google. Each of these providers will suit different needs, requirements and budgets. The cloud consumers get to decide what resources to consume from a where and for how long. You get to choose the one that’s best suited to your needs, and with so many options you will always find at least one that suits your needs and requirements. You wouldn’t keep eating at the same restaurant if the stopped meeting your needs, so why keep using the same cloud provider? With solutions like Buttonwood, you avoid vendor lock-in and can change your provider as your needs change.

Principle 4: Sit back and relax

How many times have you gone to a restaurant and had to prepare your own food? None, I hope. When you go out to eat, you are paying somebody else to prepare and cook the food you want to consume. You don’t have to worry about doing any of the preparation, and someone else is there to clean up. If there is a problem there is someone else there to fix it for you.

That same principle applies to cloud. When you migrate to cloud computing you are paying someone else to look after your data. You are giving someone else the responsibility to prepare and manage your IT environment, and if something goes wrong, the cloud provider will be there to fix it for you.

I’m sure there are many comparisons you can make for cloud computing. I really liked this one because I, and I’m sure many others, can relate to it. With comparisons like this cloud is not as daunting as it may seem. Now I have a better understanding of cloud computing, and I hope that you do too. If you have any cool cloud comparisons, send them through, I would love to hear them.

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November 27

Making the switch from web based test | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

After a successful career in web based testing, it [...]

Making the switch from web based testing to cloud application testing

23 June 2017 by Monisha Sabharwal

After a successful career in web based testing, it was time for a change. While feeling nervous and hesitant to work in the complex world of cloud, I took the plunge and joined the Buttonwood team as a Quality Assurance Tester one year ago. I am responsible for ensuring our products meets the established standards of quality including reliability, usability and performance, as well as cloud application testing. Over the year, I have found myself in several discussions about “cloud”. What it is, what it isn’t and what it means for testing and QA professionals. The major source of confusion in my mind usually revolves around the definition of “cloud” itself. If you try to search cloud computing on the internet, you will find it hard to get a proper definition.

What I understood so far is that cloud computing remains a hot topic in the IT industry, as a model that provides computing resources on demand with reduced administration costs. The main service layers are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Cloud computing supports an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) delivery model, providing internet services ranging from security and databases to storage and integration.
Since my primary goal is to talk about cloud applications and testing those applications, I found that the “cloud” itself comes down to being the infrastructure that hosts a “cloud application”. It is usually either public (AWS, Microsoft Azure etc.), private, or a combination of two and can offer many different levels of service (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS etc.)

Public Cloud Computing

Public clouds, hosted through providers such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure, have a number of benefits for the enterprise.

1. Utility Model

Public clouds typically deliver a pay-as-you go model, where you pay by the hour for the compute resources you use. This is an economical way to go if you are spinning up and tearing down development servers on a regular basis.

2. No Contracts

Along with the utility model, you are only paying by the hour- if you want to shut down your server after only 2 hours of use, there is no contract requiring your ongoing use of the server.
Shared Hardware – Because the public cloud is by definition a multi-tenant environment, your server shares the same hardware, storage and network devices as the other tenants in the cloud.

3. Self-Managed

With the pay-as- you- go utility model, self-managed systems are required for this business model to make sense. There is an advantage here for the technical buyers that like to setup and manage the details of their servers, but a disadvantage for those that want a fully managed solution.

Most public cloud deployments are used for web servers or development systems where security and compliance requirements are less of an issues for larger organisations and their customers.

Private Cloud Computing

Private cloud hosting is a single-tenant environment where the hardware, storage and network are dedicated to a single client or company. A more common type of a private cloud computing solution is a multiple-tenant environment where companies achieve networking isolation while keeping costs down, by buying hardware slices with other tenants and creating private subnets.

Private Cloud computing also has a number of benefits:

1. Security

Because private clouds are dedicated to a single organisation, the hardware, data storage and network can be designed to assure a high level of security that cannot be accessed by the other clients in the same data centre.

2. Customisation

Hardware performance, network performance and storage performance can be specified and customized in the private cloud.

3. Hybrid Deployments

If a dedicated server is required to run a high speed database application, that hardware can be integrated into a private cloud, in effect, hybridizing the solution between virtual servers and dedicated servers. This can’t be achieved solely in a public cloud.

As opposed to public clouds, fully private clouds are not derived through a utility model or pay-as-you-go basis because the hardware is dedicated. However, Virtual Private Clouds offers the same pay-as-you-go model as public clouds, with the added bonus of specifically provisioned hardware, network and storage configurations. Private clouds, including Virtual Private Clouds are generally preferred by mid and large size enterprises because they meet the security and compliance requirements of these larger organisations and their customers.

There are many benefits of moving an enterprise to the Cloud. Namely, higher efficiency, flexibility, disaster management / recovery, easy updates/upgrades, better collaboration, anywhere/anytime access giving a competitive edge. Additionally, it also makes the work environment eco-friendlier.

So, based on these basic characteristics, what should I (the tester) be thinking of when tasked with testing a “cloud application” or a web application that is running “in the cloud “? Are there any specific ways of testing cloud applications, which needs extra consideration? My immediate answer to this question used to be “no”. A web application needs to be tested in the same way no matter how it is deployed. It still has to work and perform as required and testing is no different for different deployment scenarios.

Cloud Application Testing Challenges

The rest of this article intends to deliberate on the testing challenges in the Cloud Computing environment, as it is imperative to get a quick grab on the challenges that the Cloud poses to successfully test applications.

Below are some highlights:

1. Performance

Applications in the cloud run on hardware that you might not have any control over, and that is shared with other applications. Therefore, ensuring both performance and, if required, scalability, is extremely important. If you know that your application shares resources with other applications under your control, run load tests on both, at the same time, to see if they affect each other.

2. Security

Since cloud applications usually share resources and infrastructure with others, you have to give extra consideration to data privacy and access control issues. Is sensitive data encrypted when stored? Are access control mechanisms in place in all possible situations and at all levels? This is just as valid for applications hosted in a private cloud; data intrusion and “theft” could even happen “by accident” if, for example, a backup for one cloud application happens to access resources or data related to another application.

3. Third-party dependencies

Cloud applications are likely to consume external APIs and services for providing some of their functionality. You should consider testing and monitoring these as if they were part of your own solution (since that’s what they are from your users’ point of view). You want to make sure they work as you need them to and you want to be the first to know when they don’t.

Should I have been nervous and hesitant to move to working in cloud? No! I do agree that there are things I needed to be aware of when testing an application in the cloud, but I now believe that “cloud testing” isn’t separate to regular performance, integration or security testing.

In Cloud based development and testing we follow an agile approach, which lets organisations address customer needs faster. Because we do not need to set up huge environments, we are able to go and say, OK, these are the requirements, let’s build it, and after one or two weeks, let’s look at it. What do you like about it? What don’t you like? Make changes, and agree, Ok, the product fits the need.

This summarises what I understand about “the cloud” and testing the “Cloud Application”. I do not know if this blog has helped you understand cloud testing, but please don’t hesitate to share your experience with cloud application testing.

Post by Monisha Sabharwal

Monisha is Buttonwood's Quality Assurance Tester, responsible for making sure all of Buttonwood's products are of the highest quality, ready for our clients.

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