Over the last few years we have focused on delivering hosting projects and grown organically through referrals and recommendations. We have been behind the scenes.
Now though, with our latest large hosting deployment, things have changed.
Have a look at our latest exposure in the press:
Leon Crisp (CTO) will be presenting at the London Technology Network event on Tuesday the 6th of July. The event is titled “Cloud Computing Implementing ‘Green’ Technologies for a more Sustainable Environment” and promises to be very interesting with some excellent speakers on the panel.
Leon has a passion for sustainability and a deep knowledge of the latest technologies that are helping the IT industry to become more ‘green’ – such as virtualisation, cloud computing and software efficiency. To find out more and register for the event please visit the LTN website and sign up for a different type of cloud computing event.
We hope to see you there. If you can’t make it, don’t worry. We will be posting the slideshow and session notes afterwards.
We are joining forces with 4Ps marketing to run a networking event aimed at helping people understand the Jargon in the IT industry.
The event will be held on the 21st of June at 6pm in Pall Mall, London. It’s open to anyone who wants to learn more about IT terms and those who just want to meet some new business contacts. Please comment on this post or send an email to marketing[at]securevirtual.com to register your interest.
Afterall, do you know how SEM, PPC, Virtualisation and Private Clouds can help your business.
We hope to see you there.
In our first ever knowledge sharing session a group of business Directors and IT professionals met up in London to discuss how the cloud was impacting them and sharing some knowledge around this huge subject. If you would like to attend one of our knowledge sharing sessions and can make it to London on a weekday evening – please get in touch.
“Cloud for Dummies” IoD Pall Mall – 19th May 2010.
(These notes are based on comments by sources external to secureVirtual and may not reflect secureVirtual’s opinion on the subject)
Rich Barnwell – CEO of secureVirtual
Leon Crisp – CTO of secureVirtual
Jon Baxter – Director of Smart Box of Tricks Ltd
Matt Phelan – Co-founder of 4ps Marketing
Barnaby Moffat – Director of Foresite Business Solutions
Daniel Lowe - MD of UKSolutions
Dennis Foley – ex MD of GMAC UK
Daniel McBrearty – MD of MAC Services Ltd
So, what is the “Cloud” then?
After opening the session trying to explore how Cloud computing was affecting the different people around the table it became clear there was a far bigger question – What is the ‘Cloud’?
After several suggestions there was no concrete agreement made. This therefore is surely highlighting a problem with the IT industry and media spin – if a group of company directors with an interest in the subject could not easily agree on a description that everyone easily understood. There is work to do.
Jon Baxter, who works with small businesses solving IT issues, raised the point of equipment location. The cloud is about where the hardware is located. You can have a huge cloud such as Amazon or a small private cloud in your office. It’s about the location of the hardware layer it runs on that helps to define the cloud. Daniel Lowe, whose company owns/runs multiple datacentres, raised the point about scalability. The ability for a customer to burst outside of its normal limits during its peak time and then settle back down to its normal usage is something large ecommerce businesses value highly. For example if a business sells Greetings Cards, during certain times of the year they will receive a huge increase of traffic (Christmas, Valentines) however on other days they will receive significantly less. Therefore instead of buying capacity to handle your peaks and then sitting idle for the majority of the year, the cloud allows you to pay for what you need, when you need.
After going around the following key areas were brought up as factors in describing what the cloud is:
Location of hardware:
With the Cloud your data sits on hardware that is not based in your comms room. Your data or application is stored/hosted in the cloud. The cloud hardware is situated in a Data Centre and connected to via the internet (Including ADSL, fibre, VPN etc). The ‘Business’ using cloud services therefore does not have the upkeep of physical hardware to worry about. The monthly cost for using cloud services provides enough resource to run their applications and they can just access them remotely. By using hardware stored in data centres you get a significantly increased level of resilience and security compared to the office comms room. But would the average company owner want their data stored externally instead of in the corner?
Cloud infrastructures have the benefit of being large and they may have spare capacity that can be used in bursts if required – for short term resource increase. However for the growing business the other advantage is that additional resources can be added to servers easily and quickly. For a server with 4GB of RAM the ability to increase this to 6GB at the press of a button can have a very positive impact. With scalability comes economies of scale and theoretically cost savings. We are seeing some of this with Amazon EC2 and S3 with storage reaching 10p per GB.
With your systems hosted in the cloud you can access them from anywhere via the internet. This introduces a lot of flexibility for staff and remote working. However it also introduces a significant risk that has to be managed – your business connectivity. If you are reliant on your internet connection to access all of your IT you can’t afford for it to fail. Therefore as a business this risk needs to be managed by having resilience. Through multiple internet connections, a fibre and a failover adsl line etc.
Understanding bandwidth needs. A common misconception is the amount of bandwidth needed to run a cloud hosting solution. Daniel McBrearty raised the point that when using a slower internet connection working on their current VPN solution it was almost unworkable. This is a common solution among businesses where a VPN gives remote access to servers. The difference with a cloud desktop solution such as Hosted Desktops is that the data remains in the central environment and only screenshots/mouseclicks/keyboard strokes are being sent to the user – not the entire document. As such a user can easily work remotely using a 3g connection or a low bandwidth adsl line.
The point was also raised that Fibre is getting significantly cheaper and in London the prices are starting to become very compeitive for the average business. Rich Barnwell added that he felt the cloud could be described as a “Central hosting environment accessed remotely via the internet/connectivity”
After covering what a Cloud could be described as the subject of Private Clouds came up. If a business is using cloud technology but has their own network where data/applications are not accessible by another party – then is that a Private Cloud?
For businesses who want to benefit from Cloud advantages while retaining control of their environment and meeting specific security standards a Private Cloud may be the best solution. From the people in the room a private cloud was described as a network that was for the client only. This could be spread across multiple Data centres, across an office and a data centre, actually it could be spread across any location. As long as the system is centralised and can be accessed by staff remotely via the internet.
Can you have a cloud in your own office? A question that we did not manage to answer but very interestingly raised. If a small business has one server in their office and it’s accessible remotely – is that a mini cloud?
Is the cloud secure?
A question that is being discussed at all levels of the industry. Does it actually matter where the data is stored? For certain businesses needing to conform to different compliance regulations their data has to be stored in a data centre they can get access to. Some regulations dictate that data must remain in the country. By putting your data in the cloud, and therefore into Data Centres you remove the risk of office fire and equipment theft. But – if you can’t see it is it safe?
After looking at lots of different points this question seems to boil down to choosing the right IT supplier – can you trust them with your sensitive data and information. Daniel McBrearty raised a very interesting point that his IT supplier could access his company data very easily. So can he trust them with that level of access?
So is choosing a cloud solution the same as any normal supplier selection – is it all about finding a supplier you can trust.
Leon Crisp predicted that the next stages of the cloud movement will be developing stronger encryption so that it would not matter if your data was located elsewhere, only the intended people could decrypt and read it.
Can cloud computing exist without virtualisation? Theoretically yes, but practically no. Virtualisation gives the ability to see individual physical resources as one pool of resources by using a piece of software (VMware, Hyper-V etc). The advantages are very significant. These include the significant resilience improvement – if a Physical server breaks in a physical environment it could take several hours to fix the server and get going again. Using a virtual environment if the physical server breaks the virtualisation layer realises the resources it was using has disappears and moves the virtual server across to another physical server that is working. This happens automatically within seconds.
By consolidating all of the resources together there is less waste, less power consumption and therefore virtualisation is much more green than the standard model.
Resources can be amended at a press of a button. So you can buy a server that meets your needs and then upgrade when you need to. Instead of the traditional model where you have to buy more than you need incase you need extra resources in the future. Virtualisation is a massive subject and more information can be found at the leading virtualisation software provider VMware.
PR Company anybody?
Although we are not sure how it came about, we also had a brief discussion about PR and how it can help businesses. We agreed that PR can be very powerful if you find a good provider. A few additional points were mentioned, and names taken. Who knows our IT networking event may spin off to include many different subjects. However from a short delve into the subject there was a definite opinion that although PR is difficult to measure ROI it is beneficial and raises profiles effectively.
From the first knowledge sharing session it looks like more questions were generated than answered, but that’s to be expected and hopefully everyone took a little something away from the meeting. In the world of IT there are so many buzz words appearing and then changing. Is the Cloud just SaaS revamped? Should we call them Hosted Desktops, DaaS, Remote Desktops? Is this all just managed hosting on a larger scale?
The most interesting point from this get together was to listen a group of successful businessmen who are all facing IT challenges but are still not being sure if the Cloud can help them? It’s the IT industry’s responsibility to start simplifying the Cloud and clearly explaining how a non IT business can benefit from the latest innovations in IT.
Please add your comments, and if you would like to take part in our next gathering, please get in touch: marketing(at)securevirtual.com subject: Knowledge Sharing
Before you read this post please see an overview of Hosted Desktops on our website. Please also note that the information in this article is in relation to secureVirtual Hosted Desktops hosted on our SVi cloud hosting platform and as such will have a higher resilience and performance level than the industry standard. Please get in touch and we can happily explain the differences.
So, you have read about Hosted Desktops, you are starting to get a feel for what they might be able to do – but you still aren’t quite sure what they actually are or more importantly how they could help your business. That’s fine, because the truth is, most people don’t know what they are, or how powerful they can be. The aim of this post is to give you a little bit more information about Hosted Desktops and some of the main benefits. Of course, if you are interested in this subject, you can just give us a call and talk about them (UK only) – see our website.
What are they called?
In this article we are calling them Hosted Desktops. However you will often see them referred to as Remote Desktops, Virtual Desktops, Remote Virtual Desktops and DaaS (Desktops as a Service). These are all names for the same thing – a centralised desktop that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
How do they work?
This of course depends on the provider and the technology they have chosen. A very common method to follow is to use Microsoft Terminal Services (note: Other popular methods are available including Citrix) and connect to the desktop via a RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) on the client device (Client device could be a PC, Laptop, thin client etc) . So, as a business you have a server environment in a datacentre which has enough power to host multiple Windows desktops, then you have client devices in your office which have nothing on them and is connected to the internet. The user then uses the internet to connect to the server and login to their desktop. The user can now work as normal but instead of using a PC to run the applications (Word, Excel etc) they are being run by the server in the datacentre and just sending screen images and mouseclicks/keyboard presses back and forth.
What are the benefits of a Hosted Desktop solution?
Work from anywhere:
By having the desktop hosted centrally it does not matter where the user is located they will always login into the same desktop. So whether a user is in the office, at home, on a train or in another country. They always access the same desktop, see the same programmes and work on the same documents. This means you get true remote working. It also means that there is no need to transfer documents around the place as you always login to the same desktop. Using Hosted Desktop solutions can therefore introduce a better working environment for employee’s at the same time as improving security.
The speed of the system is dependent on the internet connectivity available to the user. However on a standard broadband connection the user will work seamlessly. Plus with the advances with wireless internet technology (3g) users are now able to work remotely using wireless 3g cards.
By being centralised the desktops avoid the usual problems faced by the traditional PC model. If there is a power cut in your office only the client device is affected – your desktop (And therefore your work) is happily sitting in the datacentre unaffected. You just reconnect when the power is back/you get home and carry on. This is also the case if a client device fails – just replace it/move desk and log back in. Hosted Desktops introduce a supperior level of resilience for businesses who can’t afford to be offline.
By putting all of your data in a centralised environment you eliminate a huge number of risks. With the data stored in a datacentre you are protected against office fire, flood or theft. If your office does suffer a loss you have only lost the client devices. The Hosted Desktops (And therefore the data is still sitting in the datacentre). Plus with the data kept off of the client devices you don’t have to worry about employee’s losing their laptop or USB sticks. You can of course even control the files that are allowed to be removed from the environment. All files that get removed from the environment can therefore be forced to go through scanning processes to ensure that your environment stays completely virus free – and create an audit trail if you are worried about sensitive data being leaked.
One of the biggest risks with the ’standard’ IT approach is the risk if you have an office failure. For example if you have an office fire, all of your PC’s and comms room is destroyed – what would you do? Using a Hosted Desktop solution would take care of this by default. If you use Hosted Desktops and you have an office fire you just need to find another location, client devices and an internet connection.
There are many savings to be made. Firstly from using a predictable per user per month model for the desktops, having no CapEx, as you are not buying the hosting equipment, and because you are benefiting from the economies of scale achieved in a large infrastructure. Secondly because your client devices (thin clients) can use a fraction of the electricity needed by large power hungry PC’s. Although completely business dependent, it’s possible for Hosted Desktops to achieve a 40% saving. You also benefit from not having to depreciate hardware and prepare for the 3 yearly hardware replacement cycle. Your monthly fee covers hardware upgrades.
Another big feature is the ability to scale up and down by users each month. You can add accounts easily to your network. This means for fast growing businesses there is a simple and cost predictable process to follow. It also applies when shrinking.
If you need more power for your applications – it’s just a press of a button. The same applies to data storage. As a company you only pay for what you need. So if you have 100GB of document storage – just pay for 100GB and then add more when you need it. There is no need to buy 500GB and leave 400 of it empty for a year.
Disadvantages of Hosted Desktops:
To connect to a hosted desktop you need access to the internet. Therefore you need good quality connectivity and you need resilient connectivity. Businesses should always ensure they have a secondary line in case of a primary line failure. This is a very important aspect of moving to Hosted Desktops. Check what connectivity you have and can get in your offices. Give us a call for more info. secureVirtual are an ISP (Internet Service Provider) for this reason. It allows us to provide a range of internet services in partnership with BT, Tiscali and others.
As Hosted Desktops work by sending screenshots from the server to the thin client they are not ideal for graphically intensive programs. The client device receives the screenshot and then draws it. Therefore they are not suitable for video editing, advance graphics programs or rich media streaming.
secureVirtual SVi Guarantee
securVirtual Hosted Desktops are hosted on our SVi platform. By using our VMware based virtualised platform we can offer a 100% uptime guarantee and ensure that a business using our Hosted Desktop services don’t suffer downtime due to hardware failure. As mentioned we are also an ISP and have a range of connectivity solutions to offer.
Today we launched the latest secureVirtual.com website. So please visit securevirtual.com and read about us, our services and how we help a variety of different businesses solve their IT headaches and save money. As with everything we do, your feedback would be greatly appreciated. So if you have any opinions on our website or the information we present – please let us know. Send us a message or comment on this blog post. We want our website to be a really easy to navigate site with useful information.
We also launched a blog, a linkedin group and a twitter account. All in the aim of sharing knowledge about us and encouraging people to talk about the IT problems they are facing in their business. So if you are interested in cloud hosting, SaaS, Application hosting or anything related to IT in business please bookmark our blog, join our linkedin group and follow our twitter.
Welcome to the secureVirtual network of professionals.
secureVirtual’s VMware Cloud Hosting Platform is Now Available to IT Consultants
secureVirtual has long had a reputation of delivering enterprise class hosting for large corporates. Now they are looking to partner with IT consultancy’s to provide cloud hosting services to the SME market.
For years we have focused on working directly with clients. It’s great to now be at a stage where we can work with partners and host services for a wider audience.
(PRWeb UK) 23 February 2010 — secureVirtual’s latest venture enables IT consultancy’s to partner with them and use their VMware Virtual Hosting Platform (SVi) as their own. Consultants can provide their clients with enterprise class hosting, save them money, increase their IT resilience and still remain in complete control. Plus with a competitive reseller agreement, consultants can benefit financially from the latest outsourcing model.
There are many benefits for IT consultancy’s who partner with secureVirtual and use their SVi hosting platform including:
- Access to the technology normally only available to the corporate companies with large budgets.
- Consultants can focus on managing the client and end user support. secureVirtual will focus on keeping the services available and providing a 100% SLA.
- Consultants can design their own environments, administer their own servers and ask for our help when it’s needed.
- Consultants get access to the secureVirtual team of experienced hosting and virtualisation experts. Further adding benefits to the consultants clients.
- Using an enterprise class platform allows numerous disaster recovery options, high availability configurations and gives customers complete confidence in where their data is being stored.
A partner consultant can also use any of secureVirtual’s solutions, tools or services as their own. This could include Vmware Virtual Servers, Hosted Desktops, Application Hosting, VMware consultancy and many more. They can also choose to white label the platform or present secureVirtual as a partner to add weight to the consultants own proposals.
secureVirtual are focused on working with corporate internal IT teams and IT consultants to deliver enterprise class hosting services.
Why not meet them for a no obligation coffee and find out more.
What is the SVi platform:
SVi (secureVirtual infrastructure) was one of the first cloud hosting platforms born. Initially built in 2005 to host mission critical services for corporate clients. It has since gone through 5 years of heavy investment and evolved into the no single point of failure platform presented today.
More information about SVi can be found on the secureVitrual website. Information can also be found on how secureVirtual use VMware, multiple data centres, numerous fibres and internet connections and exactly how they achieve the highest resilience levels and reliable DR solutions.
Hello and welcome to our first blog post.
Over the coming months/years we are going to be posting regularly about the subjects that mean most to us and our clients. Cloud hosting/SaaS is still a very new technology and as such we get lots of questions about different services we provide and technologies we work with. So I am going to use this post to introduce us and what we do and then future posts will be more subject specific.
Who are secureVirtual?
We are a UK company with our main office in London who specialise in hosting business applications and systems using our cloud hosting platform (SVi). We were initially formed as a spin off from a Software Development house back in 2005. While developing software it became apparent that businesses were lacking an option to outsource their critical applications to someone who could provide the reliability they needed. As such we started investing into our own hosting platform in 2003, testing the virtualisation technologies and then after two years of research – launched secureVirtual in 05.
Nowadays we are a highly experienced VMware cloud hosting company with some big success stories under our belt. We offer a range of hosting and consultancy services and work with Businesses who have an internal IT team and our Channel Partners. As one of the first companies to create a cloud hosting platform we have become a leader in VMware hosting and infrastructure design and are very proud of our 100% uptime hosting platform – SVi.
Find out more on our About Us page
What do secureVirtual do?
To put simply we are a Cloud Hosting company. The term Cloud is still not that well defined, but for us we see it as the ability to make things available via the internet. We offer a wide range of hosting and consultancy services. Including Hosted Desktops, Application Hosting, Dedicated CRM, VMware Virtual servers and the wide array of consultancy skills you need to be able to make the most of these services in business. For the enterprise class business (By enterprise I mean businesses that need 100% available IT and have an internal IT team) we focus on creating highly secure private networks and provide mission critical hosting. For other businesses that don’t have internal IT teams we use our Channel Partner network to help – providing the enterprise class technology of SVi with the first line support of an expert partner.
We also help software developers put their software in the cloud and offer the SaaS model to their customers.
Find out more?
One of our biggest values is to ensure we stay a technical company. It’s why over 80% of our team are technical. As such we like to meet people for a coffee and just discuss their technical problems. We then give free advice and a no stings attached opinion. Sometimes we can’t help, sometimes we can. But so far we have not had anyone who has not taken at least a little bit of useful knowledge away.
So, if this subject interests you and you work in the UK, why not arrange to meet one of us for a coffee?
I hope our blog posts are useful to you and please if you have any feedback – send us a message.
Thanks for reading.
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