2013 PRIVATE CLOUD STORAGE ARRAY BUYER’S GUIDE

THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO EVALUATING PRIVATE CLOUD STORAGE ARRAYS
By Jerome Wendt and Ben Maas

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In October 2011 IDC estimated that the total amount that enterprises spent for on-premise storage in 2010 was around $30.8 billion. In that same interview IDC also forecast that expen- ditures on cloud storage solutions (both public and private) would explode to $11.7 billion by 2015. In other words, in just five (5) short years organizations would reallocate anywhere from 25 to 33 percent of their total storage budget and invest it in cloud storage technologies.1

While no one yet knows precisely what percentage that companies will spend on either public or private cloud storage solutions, DCIG anticipates that in the near term (0-5 years) organizations will invest the majority of this new line item in their storage budget in private cloud storage arrays.

ApplicationContinuity.org found in a survey of 3,300 midmarket companies that 90 percent of IT managers felt it was critical to keep their key applications and data in-house and out of the cloud.2 Yet these organizations still want the benefits that public storage clouds offer, they just do not want the inherent risks and uncertainties that they perceive public storage clouds still present.

This is where private cloud storage arrays enter the picture. They provide the key features that organizations need today more than ever as they enable organizations to:

•Achieve high levels of availability

•Easily configure and manage these systems so that as the private cloud storage array grows larger the management of it does not become more complex
•Non-disruptively perform routine maintenance and upgrades

•Perform reliably

•Scale predictably

•Start small with only the capacity and performance that they need with the flexibility to grow larger

The ability of private cloud storage arrays to deliver on all of these features is particularly important for those organizations that opt to implement private cloud storage arrays to host many or all of their production applications. When deployed into these environments, any planned or unplanned downtime or disruption in service at any time for any reason can have potentially catastrophic consequences for the entire business.

Even in situations where organizations deploy these private cloud storage arrays to support Big Data applications or specific applications such as archiving or backup where downtime may not have such dire consequences, these private cloud storage arrays features still come into play.

Video Conferencing Mandates: What your Agency needs to know……..

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In the past three years, federal leaders from agency chiefs to President Obama have mandated the use of video conferencing, citing the need to reduce travel spending, increase collaboration, and improve productivity in the federal government. As Congress and agencies look for ways to improve operations during the sequester, they may be able to look to enhance the use of video conferencing in order to reduce their spending on travel.

Approximately 43 percent of federal employees travel at least once a month, meaning efforts to use video conferencing could have big implications on lines of business, training, and other federal operations.1 Congress is already discussing a proposed bill to halve travel spending by 20172 and agencies are under executive order to utilize video conferencing as an alternative to travel.3 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has also issued a directive to agencies stipulating they cut 30 percent of travel expenditures, and utilize video conferencing to do so.

Under pressure from mandates and driven by the need to reduce spending, agencies will have to build comprehensive video collaboration strategies that rely on investments in technology infrastructure. When doing so, there are many things to consider, and federal employees will need to be informed on the mandates, benefits, and challenges they could experience when adopting video conferencing.

Cut the Waste, Stay in Place Act of 2013

The Cut the Waste, Stay in Place Act of 2013 plans to cut travel spending by 50 percent by 2017 (against a FY2013 baseline).5 Estimates suggest it will ultimately save approximately $15 billion. 6 However, cutting 50 percent of travel budgets is a steep request, especially when considered against cuts in previous years. For comparison, data from the General Services Administration’s SmartPay charge card shows agencies cut approximately six percent from travel budgets in FY2012 and 17 percent in FY2013.7 Thus, it is likely many agencies will struggle to cut 50 percent of costs against the 2013 spending levels (which already include previous cuts).

Promoting Efficient Spending – Executive Order 13589

In late 2011, President Obama issued Executive Order 13589 in order to promote efficient spending in federal agencies. The Executive Order required agencies to cut spending by 20 percent in areas including employee travel, IT devices, and others.8 Several federal departments had come under fire for high travel expenditures, and the Executive Order encouraged agencies “to devise strategic alternatives to government travel, including local or technological alternatives, such as teleconferencing and video conferencing” in order to cut spending by 20 percent.9 Thus far, President Obama’s Order has been successful in encouraging video conferencing adoption: a recent survey showed that 51 percent of federal respondents feel video conferencing use has increased since the release of Executive Order 13589.10

OMB’s 12-12-12 memo

OMB’s 12-12-12 memo stipulates that each agency should cut travel spending by 30 percent in FY2013 from the FY2010 baseline, using video conferencing to replace travel. “In addition, agencies shall include in their FY 2014 budget submission to OMB a description of how they will make these travel reductions sustainable including the specific process changes and technology investments necessary to reduce their reliance on travel.”

These mandates and legislation have made much of the conversation on video conferencing about cost cutting, though there are also benefits to productivity, collaboration, and training.
However, reaping these benefits requires implementing enterprise-wide visual collaboration strategies.

In order to comply with existing mandates and reap the benefits of visual collaboration, agencies will have to carefully manage current resources to create holistic communication strategies. As agencies move to implement technology tools that allow for visual collaboration, they will face issues in security, infrastructure, and interoperability between devices that may hamper video conferencing implementation efforts.

Security

As with many technology policies in the federal government, security is the main concern for most agencies. Information Technology managers will need to ensure that departments have not only secure video connections, but also that they can securely store customer, call history, and signaling data. Further, agencies will have to contend with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements, as video conferencing communications may also be subject to FOIA requests. Agencies can ensure data and video security by employing some standardized encryption methods, such the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) developed by NIST in 2002. In addition, many video conferencing solutions are now built on cloud platforms, leaving security and infrastructure challenges to providers, not agencies.

Infrastructure

Video conferencing requires a large amount of bandwidth, and unregulated video conferencing can potentially cause issues in network usage and server traffic. Agencies will need to upgrade their IT infrastructures or move to a cloud service model to handle the increase in traffic. IT departments without adequately sized and structured infrastructure could face serious cost overruns if video conferencing is not carefully adopted.

Interoperability

Industry leaders also believe interoperability between devices is a challenge most agencies have yet to address. With the proliferation of Bring- Your-Own-Device policies, video conferencing will have to be device agnostic and managers will have to ensure that new devices are compatible with older video devices and software in order to be effective.

Federal leadership has latched on to video conferencing largely because of its ability to significantly rein in spending. The Cut the Waste, Stay in Place Act specifically notes that, “While the Administration has made efforts to utilize video conferencing and reduce travel expenses, such practices are still a largely untapped means of saving taxpayer dollars.”

With new advancements, such as moving from a hardware- based model to a browser-based model, video conferencing solutions still present a significant opportunity to reduce agency spending while improving collaboration capabilities for employees.

A majority of federal employees agree that greater adoption of video conferencing could save 30 percent of federal agencies’ travel budgets (approximately $5 billion a year.)13 NASA, for example, estimates it will save $21 million by limiting travel for FY2013, ending September 30th. It is for such reasons that in the spring of 2013, the US Chief Financial Officers Council outlined best practices for conference planning and suggested that agencies not meet in public unless first determining that in-person meetings are necessary and that more cost-effective means such as video conferencing have been explored.
Video conferencing solutions, if implemented properly, can save agencies money in other ways by improving employee productivity. A survey by the Telework Exchange found that just a 50 percent adoption rate of video conferencing by federal employees would save 3.5 hours a week in wasted time, improving productivity and generating about $8 billion per year in productivity savings . Federal employees are also optimistic about video conferencing’s ability to improve productivity, with 73 percent of federal employees believing it could help shorten project timelines.

Federal leaders acknowledge that even during times of sequestration and budget tightening, the ongoing training of federal employees remains vital to achieving agency missions. The previously noted Telework Exchange study found that 58 percent of federal employees would use video conferencing for remote training, while 53 percent would use it to collaborate with coworkers.As a result, agency leadership is looking to video conferencing to enable employees to receive training at a fraction of the cost.
Sequestration will force many difficult budgetary challenges on federal chief financial officers, managers, and federal employees. New investments will be limited, and should focus on technologies that enable the business of government to continue and even grow. Federal leaders have recognized the potential of visual collaboration technologies and now must create strategies that realize their full potential.

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.NET Technology Guide for Business Applications

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Overview
Today, technology use is in the midst of a shift toward multi-device experiences powered by services in the cloud. Usage patterns are increasingly dependent on local hardware capabilities such as touch, sensors, and mobility, combined with the power of web connectivity and back-end services such as data storage, media streaming, and social connectivity.

The devices-services nexus spans both business and consumer scenarios. In the consumer space, mobile computing initially created a wave of devices focused on consumption, which continues to grow as hardware capabilities and technologies advance. Within the enterprise, the twin phenomena of the consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) have created a dynamic in which consumer experiences are driving the future of business computing and line-of-business (LOB) applications.

The next generation of device- and service-dependent applications is not emerging in isolation. These applications have to work in an extremely well-integrated fashion with existing applications, unlocking their value to new audiences and new modes of interaction. This creates two different patterns that every application developer must now face:

• Established application patterns: These are applications developed using technology patterns such as client/server or web applications optimized for desktop browsers. They act as foundational applications and are heavily centered in existing business processes.
• Emerging application patterns: Patterns such as multi-devices and the cloud are emerging as technology enablers for new applications. They complement the established patterns by extending the applications to be centered on the end user.

This extension of established patterns to meet the end user is a key opportunity for developers to drive new innovation and differentiation vs. competitors. Retail, communications, finances, logistics, customer services— every company is a software company in today’s business world. Each company’s ability to fulfill customer needs and compete effectively is only as good as their ability to deliver software innovation.

However, extending existing applications to embrace these new needs is a challenging transformation process. Current development technologies are deeply rooted in the established pattern and are difficult to integrate with the emerging patterns needed for modern software. Existing tools do not provide an obvious path from the existing client/server world to the emerging device/cloud world.

The Microsoft platform enables developers to address these challenges. It builds upon existing applications, extending them to emerging application patterns. It embraces multiple development technologies, so developers can choose the option that best fits their skills or the technologies used by their existing applications. For services development, Microsoft Windows Azure supports a multitude of technologies that any developer can use, such as Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby, and first-class support for .NET. Client development for the Microsoft platform also supports a broad range of technologies natively, such as .NET, HTML5/JavaScript, and C++.

This document focuses on .NET development, and specifically on business applications. It covers how to use.NET to develop for the established patterns that shape existing applications and also how to embrace the emerging patterns that are enabling the modern business applications of the future.

The .NET Framework and the future of development

The Microsoft .NET Framework was built to enable developers to create compelling applications on the Microsoft platform and, by all accounts, it has been a huge success in the market. Today, millions of developers across companies of all sizes and segments rely on .NET to create applications. It provides the core services required to build consumer applications, small business applications, and large mission-critical applications, all with unprecedented quality, performance, and productivity.

.NET was also built with these now-emerging patterns in mind. At Forum 2000, Bill Gates said that the goal for.NET was “to move beyond today’s world of stand-alone websites to an Internet of interchangeable components where devices and services can be assembled into cohesive, user-driven experiences.” The original vision for .NET is remarkably well aligned with today’s developer landscape including cross-device, service-powered experiences that are changing how the industry thinks about software development.

Enabling multi-device experiences empowered by services was a key attribute for .NET from the beginning. .NET has kept evolving since then, providing a first-class development experience for the new needs of applications:

•On the server side, .NET provides a common platform for developers to target services that run on- premises or in the cloud. Its close integration with Windows Server and Windows Azure allows applications to be gradually extended to the cloud, taking the best of each platform and enabling hybrid applications that sit between the two worlds. The fast delivery cadence in the .NET Framework libraries also provides continuous innovation that addresses the new needs of cloud-based applications in areas such as lightweight services, real-time communications, mobile web applications, and authentication.
•On the client side, .NET provides a consistent, first-class development experience across all Microsoft devices—desktop experiences, Windows Phone apps, and Windows Store apps. It allows .NET developers to keep developing foundational applications on the desktop and add exciting new experiences, all while using their existing skills and reusing code between devices. For scenarios where the reach goes beyond Microsoft devices, HTML5 browser-based solutions are the norm. .NET, in conjunction with Visual Studio, provides a modern solution for creating standard-based web applications that run across various devices. For developers looking to create more tailored, native experiences in any device, Visual Studio industry partners (VSIP) provide solutions that enable reusing C# skills and code with non-Windows devices.

This document addresses all these .NET development options, so you can make the right decision for your current skills and application requirements as you move your applications forward. It is structured to address the two application patterns:

•“Emerging application patterns” focuses on how to build applications using the emerging patterns that are shaping the new applications across devices and services.
•“Established application patterns” covers the technologies available for creating foundational business applications, as well as recommendations on how to modernize them.

Emerging application patterns
As introduced before, emerging application patterns are shaping the applications of the future. Customers and employees now demand applications that deliver a more personal experience. They want to stay continuously connected to the services they need.

This section is structured in the two main components that need to be addressed when developing this new breed of applications:

•Creating experiences across heterogeneous devices.
•Creating standard, lightweight services that extend through the cloud.

Devices
The ability to deliver new experiences tailored for devices is the key attribute for the emerging application patterns. Choosing the technology to create those applications can be difficult and involves many factors, including:

•Your previous skills and technology preference.
•The ability to create tailored experiences that integrate with local hardware capabilities.
•The diversity of devices your application will target.
•The technology used by your existing applications that need to be migrated or extended to devices. The two alternatives commonly established in the industry are based on very different approaches:
•Native applications, which can get the most from every device, but require unique skills and code for each platform.
•Web applications, which can be created with a common set of skills and code, but cannot provide a tailored experience for each device.

The Microsoft platform fully supports both approaches, but significantly reduces the disadvantages of each. First, Windows devices do not enforce a unique native development model. You can use the technology that makes the most sense for your skills and your existing applications. By bringing first-class device integration to .NET, HTML/JavaScript, and C++, you can make the decision that best fits your needs without compromising the experience. Second, .NET and Visual Studio greatly simplify creating web applications that can run across any device. ASP.NET fully embraces the modern standards and, in conjunction with the latest unique innovations in Visual Studio, enables a new breed of web applications that take full advantage of modern browsers across devices.

Native applications
A native application is an application that runs on the client device and takes full advantage of that device’s specific features in order to provide the most compelling experience for customers. As explained before, the Windows platform extends this concept to technologies beyond C++, which greatly expands the potential to reuse your code and skills to target new form factors.

The following list explains the differences between these technologies and when they are appropriate to use:
•.NET/XAML: Appropriate if you are already familiar with .NET and XAML, or when extending existing
.NET/XAML applications. It also allows you to share .NET Framework code and libraries between Windows Store apps, Windows Phone apps, Windows desktop apps, and other Microsoft platforms by using portable class libraries.
•JavaScript/HTML5: Appropriate if you are already familiar with HTML and JavaScript technologies or you are creating a Windows Store tailored experience for your existing web application. It allows you to reuse custom JavaScript or HTML/CSS assets from existing browser-based web applications and use the new WinJS library to get access to the native capabilities in the Windows Store apps API.
•C++: Appropriate if you are already familiar with C++. It lets you optimize and achieve the best performance for graphics-intensive apps or games. This option also allows you to share C++ code between Windows, Windows Phone, and other platforms, as well as target Direct3D for low-level graphics access.

Web applications
Microsoft provides best-of-breed tools and technologies for creating browser-based HTML5 applications that run across any device. Because Windows also supports HTML5 as a native technology, you can target multiple devices with HTML5 web apps, then reuse and optimize that code for a native Windows Store app. Here’s a list of Microsoft web technologies that are available:

•ASP.NET MVC with HTML5 support: Use for flexible modern and mobile web apps, cross-browser compatibility, mobile web clients that can run on any modern device, and to take advantage of the ASP.NET MVC mobile features (such as using different pages and rendering based on detection of the current browser user agent).
•ASP.NET Single Page Application (SPA): Use for highly interactive web applications and smooth UI updates (minimum server page reload and visible round trips) and when including significant client-side interactions using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. SPA is not a framework, but a design pattern that can be implemented by using ASP.NET MVC and JavaScript libraries like Knockout.
•HTML5 client for LightSwitch projects: Use if your web application or module is mostly data-driven (CRUD). The LightSwitch HTML5 client is the easiest way to create data-centric, cross-browser, and mobile web applications that can run on any modern device, take advantage of automatic HTML rendering, and adapt to different form factors.
• ASP.NET Web Pages: ASP.NET Web Pages and the Razor syntax provide a fast, approachable, and lightweight way to combine server code with HTML to create dynamic web content.

Services
The process of targeting multiple devices starts on the back end. Applications need to expose services that can be consumed on any device and scaled for the Internet. The following technologies cover the different approaches you can take to build services:

•ASP.NET Web API: It is the preferred technology for flexible service development with REST approaches, OData, or JSON requirements. Try to use Web API as your first choice when evaluating what technology to use. Use any of the other technologies if Web API does not meet your needs.
•Windows Communication Foundation (WCF): Use it when you need SOAP interoperability or you want to use a non-HTTP transport. WCF can use any protocol (such as HTTP, TCP, or named pipes), data formats (such as SOAP, binary, JSON, or others), and hosting processes. This technology works best for RPC-style (task/command-oriented) services and for enterprise inter-application communications.
•WCF Data Services: Use when your services are data/resource-oriented, as in small or medium data- driven applications. It only supports OData. It is straightforward to use, but offers less flexibility and control than using ASP.NET Web API.
•Workflow Services: Use if your service logic is internally Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). Externally, this is really a WCF service.
•ASP.NET SignalR: Use for real-time functionality on the client side. This approach enables your server- side code to push content to connected clients in real time and at high scale, even to millions of users.

Modern business applications typically support many Internet users (such as end customers and partners), so maintaining your back-end services within your company’s internal datacenters may not make sense. For this reason, services are likely to be deployed in the cloud. Services also benefit from the core capabilities of the cloud, such as elasticity and a quick and cost-efficient production setup.

In a diverse ecosystem where business applications live in different environments (both in the cloud and on- premises), there are many new needs to meet. Because you are also extending foundational applications that are currently on-premises, you need a link between private datacenters and the cloud, and you need to link those worlds in a secure way.

The Microsoft cloud platform offers symmetrical architecture, technologies, and products to support the cloud and on-premises infrastructures—and provides common services to manage applications that span across the two infrastructures in hybrid environments. This platform enables you to migrate and build your applications easily and gradually. Windows Azure supports multiple execution models that you can choose depending on your needs:

•Infrastructure Services (Infrastructure as a Service/IaaS): Use it when you need a traditional and flexible approach, where you are responsible for the internal Virtual machine infrastructure, software maintenance, and administration (operating system, services, etc.). It supports traditional installations of software, like full SQL Server.
•Websites (web hosting): Use it as an easy way to get started by simply deploying web applications on a managed IIS web site environment, and no infrastructure administration work is needed. It provides a low-cost, initially scalable, and broadly useful platform.
•Cloud Services or Platform as a Service (PaaS): It follows the same idea of the websites, but with a much more scalable and flexible platform suited for higher quality-of-service requirements and greater control. It also handles most of the work required for reliability and administration as PaaS.
•Windows Azure Mobile Services: It provides a scalable cloud back end, adding structured storage, user authentication, push notifications, and back-end jobs and services to your Windows Store, Windows Phone, Apple iOS, Android, and HTML/JavaScript applications.

When extending your application to the cloud, you will also be able to use additional services provided by Windows Azure:

•Data Management
–Windows Azure SQL Database for rich and relational database usage and a high parity with SQL Server on-premises, making it easy to move on-premises SQL Server databases to the cloud or to synchronize the different environments.
Windows Azure Tables based on simple unstructured data with a No-SQL approach, suitable for very highly scalable data source requirements.
Windows Azure Blobs, designed to store unstructured binary data, like video, files, or backup data or other binary information.

•Networking

Windows Azure Virtual Network to connect your own on-premises local network to a defined set of Windows Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)?a similar approach to VPNs, but oriented to servers and sub-networks.
If your Windows Azure application is running in multiple datacenters, you can use Windows Azure Traffic Manager to intelligently route requests from users across multiple instances of the application.
Windows Azure Connect lets you configure IPsec-protected connections (1:1 relationships) between certain computers or VMs in your organization’s network and roles running in Windows Azure.

Business Analytics
–SQL Reporting for functions similar to SQL Reporting Services, when you need a platform to create reports.
–Hadoop on Windows Azure, which enables Big Data to be hosted as PaaS within Windows Azure.

•Messaging
–Queues, suitable for asynchronous communication between different applications or processes, accessing the same persistent queues.
–Service Bus supports persistent messaging too, but it is suitable for more advanced scenarios like event-driven applications and integrations, publish/subscription patterns, and to easily access on- premises datacenters from the cloud through the relay feature in Service Bus (which is also useful for peer-to-peer applications with firewalls in between).

•Caching
indows Azure Cache is an in-memory distributed cache. It can be used as an external service or sharing a deployment between your own virtual machines.
–Windows Azure CDN is an “Internet cache” capable of caching HTTP-accessed data, like video, files, etc.

•Identity
–Windows Azure Active Directory (AD) integrates your on-premises identity-management services for a single sign-on across your cloud applications.

–Windows Azure AD Access Control provides an easy way to authenticate users who need to access your web applications and services without having to factor complex authentication logic into your code.

•High-Performance Computing (HPC): It allows you to run many VMs simultaneously, all working in parallel on certain tasks. Windows Azure provides the HPC Scheduler in order to distribute the work across these instances. This component can work with HPC applications built to use the industry- standard Message Passing Interface (MPI). The goal is to make it easier to build HPC applications running in the cloud.
•Media: Windows Azure Media Services provides a set of cloud components for media ingest, encoding, content protection, ad insertion, streaming, etc. that greatly simplify the process of creating and running applications using video and other media.

Established application patterns
Building modern business applications is not only about creating new mobile applications. The new experiences demanded by users have to be extremely well integrated with the business processes so they can unlock the value already provided by the core applications of any enterprise.

This section will cover the technologies commonly used for those established patterns, as well as the recommended approaches for extending these applications to embrace the concepts of modern business applications. It is structured by the two main categories of applications found in any company: small and medium applications or large, mission-critical applications.

Small and medium business applications

Business applications usually follow an established approach when supporting controlled environments such as employees and company departments. This section focuses on small- and medium-sized business applications that have a relatively short, evolving lifespan. These applications also primarily support data-centric or data- driven scenarios, often referred to as CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) scenarios. In many cases, the applications also have collaboration and document-management requirements, and they also need to integrate with collaboration products such as Microsoft SharePoint, business marketing products such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP, or custom front-end applications, on top of SAP. However, in many cases, this category represents standalone departmental applications that cover very specific custom scenarios.

Data-centric business applications on the web

The majority of these applications cover CRUD operations, including master-detail scenarios. Smaller subsets of these applications need to implement business logic, but not extensively. Business web applications generally aren’t large applications with complex domains and a high volume of business rules; instead, they are usually straightforward, simple, and heavily data-driven. The most important priorities for these applications are productivity, cost, and value. Their goal is to achieve short development lifecycles at the lowest cost possible, while providing value to the business in an agile manner.

The key technologies to consider for these applications are:

•HTML5 client for LightSwitch projects: This is the easiest way to create data-centric, cross-browser, mobile web clients that can run on any modern device, take advantage of automatic HTML rendering, and adapt to different form factors.
•ASP.NET Web Forms with HTML5 support: For developers who are familiar with Web Forms, this approach provides an easy way to start development while maintaining full control over the code.
•ASP.NET Web Pages: ASP.NET Web Pages and the Razor syntax provide a fast, approachable, and lightweight way to combine server code with HTML to create dynamic web content.
•ASP.NET MVC with HTML5 support: This is the most flexible and powerful option, with full HTML rendering control, strong unit testing support, and faking capabilities.

Data-centric business applications on the desktop

You might prefer to build desktop applications more than web applications because your application involves heavy-duty data entry; because you have complex offline scenarios that involve local storage, COM interoperability, and automation; or perhaps because your end users prefer desktop applications based on their work needs and skillsets.

Here are the key technologies for data-centric desktop applications:

•.NET Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF): This is the preferred technology for Windows-based desktop applications that require UI complexity, styles customization, and graphics-intensive scenarios for the desktop. WPF also takes advantage of XAML views. And WPF development skills are similar to Windows Store development skills, so migration from WPF to Windows Store apps is easier than migration from Windows Forms.
•.NET Windows Forms: This was the first available UI technology in the .NET Framework for building desktop applications. It is still a good fit for many business desktop applications. Windows Forms is easier to use and lighter than WPF for simple scenarios where you don’t need UI styles customization.
•Desktop client for LightSwitch projects: If you have already adopted the LightSwitch middle-tier and HTML5 solutions, you can use the desktop experience that LightSwitch supports out of the box.

Apps for Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint

Office 2013 introduced the cloud app model for extending Office and SharePoint through lightweight apps. This delivers the value of your business applications through the Office productivity applications your customers already use. The cloud app model is built on standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, REST, OData, and OAuth on the client, along with any server technology, including ASP.NET, on the server. If you’re a web developer, you can use your existing skills to build apps and take advantage of familiar tools, languages, and hosting services. You can deploy, update, and maintain your apps faster in the cloud, then publish and sell your apps in the Office Store, or distribute IT-approved apps within your organization by using an internal app catalog.

The unified app model applies to the following types of applications:

•Apps for Office (applies to Office 2013, Office 365, Project Professional 2013, Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Outlook 2013, Outlook Web App, Excel Web App, and Exchange Server 2013)
•Apps for SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online in Office 365

Here are the key tools and technologies you can use to develop apps for Office and SharePoint:

•“Napa” Office 365 Development Tools (lightweight IDE, coding in the browser): This is the easiest way to get started developing apps for Office and SharePoint without Visual Studio.
•Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio (full power): Use these when you need full power and flexibility to build your Office and SharePoint applications. The tools are available to Visual Studio Professional, Premium, and Ultimate customers.
•LightSwitch for Visual Studio: This tool supports apps for SharePoint on premises and in the cloud. Use this tool when creating data-driven (CRUD) apps either consuming SharePoint resources (lists and services) or non-SharePoint services and data sources. This is the easiest way to create flexible forms and data-centric applications integrated with SharePoint.

Modernizing desktop business applications

Experiences running on the desktop should also be built considering the new customer’s expectations. .NET provides multiple innovations for desktop applications to better address these expectations, as well as capabilities that allow your application to be extended to new platforms without changes in the architecture and you can even reuse code. Building your desktop applications with these recommendations in mind will extend their lifespans and make it easier for you to extend to new devices—or even migrate the entire application in the future.

•Use the Model-View-ViewModel design pattern (MVVM): Microsoft client platforms (including WPF) make it easy to build applications using the MVVM pattern. With this pattern you will get a strong separation of display from state and behavior, which will help you to create clean and maintainable code that can be easily shared between multiple devices.
•Use portable class libraries for the client logic: .NET portable libraries allow binaries to be shared between multiple platforms such as the desktop, Windows Store apps, Windows Phone apps, and others. Implementing your client logic with .NET portable libraries will greatly simplify the creation of multiple experiences on multiple platforms.
•Modernize your user experience: Concepts that are demanded by today’s users can be implemented with the latest innovations on .NET for the desktop. Design principles such as “fast and fluid,” “authentically digital,” or “do more with less” can be applied to your existing desktop application by employing a modern UI for your XAML design, carefully using animations, and implementing .NET asynchronous programming extensively.
•Move the business logic to the server: Two-tier applications (client/server) are significantly harder to extend to new devices. The recommended approach is to clearly separate the business logic into services that can be reused later on other devices and form factors.
•Extend to the cloud: Once separated from the client, Windows Azure provides multiple solutions to move the business logic to the cloud. Transforming that logic into cloud services greatly improves the elasticity and scalability of existing solutions, making them ready to embrace multi-device approaches.

Visual Studio partners provide an extensive set of tools and technologies that will also help you modernize your existing .NET applications.

•Citrix Mobile SDK for Windows Applications provides a rich tool kit for developers to mobilize LOB Windows applications or write new touch-friendly applications executing on central servers (Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop) and accessed fro m any mobile device with Citrix Receiver. .
•Xamarin provides a means to share C# code between applications targeting Windows or Windows Phone with iOS and Android devices. It provides access to the specific underlying APIs to create tailored views while reusing the client logic code between devices.
•ITR Mobility offers a solution for building enterprise mobile applications in C# for delivery on the major mobile platforms. It provides services such as Abstract UI and Enterprise Data Synchronization to enable business applications across a range of devices.
•Mobilize.Net provides solutions and services for migrating legacy applications to modern platforms— including the web, mobile, and the cloud—by transforming the existing source code into new code without runtimes for the output application.

Modernizing applications based on RIA containers

A few years ago, when Rich Internet Application (RIA) containers and plug-ins were popular, the context in IT was quite different from today. Five years ago, RIAs covered most deployment needs by just targeting Windows- based PCs and Mac computers. After the “device revolution” in 2010, you now have different devices (tablets, smartphones, and computers) with different operating systems (Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS)—and many of them don’t support RIA plug-ins.

At the same time, HTML5 has been evolving to support richer scenarios that previously required plug-ins. Currently, HTML5 is broadly supported across all devices and offers a better alternative for cross-platform client development than traditional plug-ins.

Native applications are also becoming more popular in the market, as they take full advantage of each device’s specific features to provide the most compelling experience for customers.

The Microsoft platform supports all three approaches for user interfaces (web, native, and RIA), but it also takes into account that modern experiences across devices are primarily developed with web and native technologies. Deciding when to make that transition will ultimately depend on your requirements and needs. Microsoft is committed to supporting your choice and helping you throughout the process:

•If you are transitioning to native applications, you can leverage your existing skills and even code by targeting XAML/.NET natively on any Windows device. Portable libraries will also allow you to share your binaries between different platforms, including Silverlight.
•For browser-based HTML5 apps, Microsoft provides leading tools and frameworks to help you create applications for any device based on the latest standards. Silverlight’s interoperability with HTML also enables a gradual transition through hybrid applications.

•If your application’s targeted scenario is still only supported by Silverlight (for example, video content protection) or emerging patterns are not a requirement for your applications yet, you can continue to use Silverlight. Silverlight is a mature and stable technology, and its latest version (Silverlight 5) was released with extended support for 10 years to ensure you get the most from existing investments and to allow you to gradually transition to HTML5 or native solutions.

Large, mission-critical business applications

A mission-critical business application can be defined as any business application that is critical to the proper running of mainstream business operations. If an application of this nature fails for any length of time, you may be out of business.

Mission-critical and core-business applications have additional goals and specific priorities. Long-term sustainability and maintainability are crucial for large, ever-evolving applications.

If you’re working with large, mission-critical applications, you have to deal with two main concerns:

•Tackling complexity in the core domain
–This involves complex domain expertise and business rules, and how to effectively project these into the software.
–This concern must drive architecture, design, and implementation decisions (such as monolithic versus structured/layered approaches) and best patterns and practices, depending on the context (such as Domain-Driven Design architectural approaches, loosely coupled architectures based on dependency injection techniques and containers, and so on). The application design must take the future evolution and maintainability of the application into consideration.

•Ensuring enough Quality of Service (QoS)
–This involves availability, scalability, security, and similar subjects.
–This concern must drive the way cross-cutting measures (security, operations, instrumentation, and so on) are designed and implemented.
–Infrastructure architecture is also closely linked to QoS. For instance, you must consider infrastructure architecture on-premises or in the cloud depending on required scalability and elasticity, type of users, and go-to-production agility needs.

Microsoft development technologies for large, mission-critical applications
Microsoft development technologies for large, mission-critical applications fall into three categories: middle-tier technologies, infrastructure technologies, and UI technologies.

•Middle-tier technologies
–Services: Continuous services are fundamental for distributed enterprise applications. The priorities are performance and support of light interoperable HTTP services, standards (REST, OData, SOAP, WS-*), and enterprise service requirements. Microsoft provides a broad range of technologies based on ASP.NET Web API, WCF, and ASP.NET SignalR.

–Domain model (entities, aggregates, domain-model logic): The domain model is the core of the application, where the priorities include tackling complexity in large domains, creating the right design for long-term maintenance, and isolating the domain code (POCO entities) from infrastructure technologies. Microsoft provides mature domain-model and data-access technologies including Entity Framework, LINQ, and ADO.NET, which can be used when applying Domain-Driven-Design patterns.

–Composition, integration, business processes, and workflow: Every enterprise application needs a backbone that addresses scenarios typically found in these large applications such as loosely coupled architecture design based on dependency injection and IoC containers, long-running processes and workflows, event-driven subsystems integration, modern decoupled claim-based security, and transactions implementation. Microsoft provides proven technologies that cover those areas, such as inversion of control (IoC) containers (Unity and MEF), Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), Windows Identity Foundation (WIF), and .NET Framework System.Transactions APIs.

•Infrastructure technologies

–Messaging, security, and cache: Composition and integration approaches using APIs (as explained above) need a solid foundation infrastructure in order to scale. The assets needed are related to asynchronous messaging infrastructure, message queuing infrastructure, and distributed cache and security/identity infrastructure. Microsoft provides mature, solid infrastructure technologies such as Active Directory, AD-FS, Windows Azure Active Directory, Service Bus (for Windows Azure and Windows Server), Windows Azure Queues, Message Queuing (MSMQ), Windows Azure Caching, and Biztalk Server/Services.

–Data sources: Almost any kind of business application needs data sources in which to persist business data. Depending on the application’s context and priorities, different data-source types should be used. The priorities revolve around relational data richness and transactional capabilities, data availability and scalability, and massive unstructured data approaches. Microsoft provides technologies that cover these priorities, such as SQL Server, Windows Azure SQL Database, Windows Azure NoSQL tables and blobs, and HDInsight (Big-Data, Hadoop).

–Services deployment infrastructure: Finally, all enterprise applications need a reliable infrastructure that ensures application availability, no matter how the context changes in the future. The priorities include consistent alternatives for on-premises or cloud choice, reliability, performance, availability, scalability, elasticity, hybrid IT, operations, and monitoring. Microsoft has the best-of-breed solutions for these requirements with infrastructure provided by Windows Server, Windows Azure, and Microsoft System Center.

•UI technologies

–Web technologies (fine-grained and full-control): The web development for mission-critical business applications must offer full-control and fine-grained technologies, so they can support loosely coupled architectures and create the best web UX. For that purpose, Microsoft provides ASP.NET MVC (full control in the server) and ASP.NET SPA (Single Page Application) templates, which makes heavy use of JavaScript libraries like Knockout to support the MVVM pattern within JavaScript. There’s also the Breeze library for advanced data management handling.

–Windows Store business applications: Modern touch-oriented applications (Windows Store applications for Windows 8 or Windows Phone) require innovative and compelling UX experiences, but the enterprise also requires that the UX support and align with their teams’ preferences and skills. Microsoft offers a broad array of technologies and languages to create native Windows Store applications that support your development team’s skills, including .NET/XAML, WinJS/HTML5, and C++/XAML.
–Desktop application technologies: Desktop applications are used often in large business applications, especially for heavy data-entry systems within existing systems. The recommended technologies for such applications are WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), which provides a migration path to Windows Store business applications, and Windows Forms, which provides an easier to use and lighter solution than WPF for simple scenarios where you don’t need UI styles customization.
In summary, enterprise application development makes use of a large number of fine-grained and low-level Microsoft technologies. When building large, long-term business applications, selecting the right approaches, design, architecture, and technologies is critical for long-term success.

Modernizing mission-critical enterprise applications

When creating new, large mission-critical applications, current scalable and elastic approaches should be applied. However, most existing enterprise applications were not built with asynchronous engines and event- driven approaches, and they don’t support scale-out and elastic architectures. In many cases, it is better to treat these applications as legacy systems to be integrated into updated (web-based or service-based) façades.

This integration should be done while building a new asynchronous message-oriented integration system as a cross-channel organizer. The changes and updates to the established applications should focus on areas related to innovation (as in modern applications) or areas related to scalability and performance. However, when dealing with legacy systems, scalability can be achieved more easily by building front-end services and caches in the cloud (those previously mentioned façades) instead of rebuilding the whole mission-critical application from scratch. Then, in parallel, you can re-architect the internal systems behind the façades as budget and time allow.

More information
Business applications are diverse, and they require different approaches and technologies depending on your customer needs, your existing skills, and your application requirements. This document provides an overview of the different options you have as a .NET developer, based on a segmentation of the application you are targeting. For additional information and detailed guidance, please download the complete .NET Technology Guide for Business Applications document.

Cisco/Insieme Ushering in Hardware-defined Networks

Oct 03, 2013 08:34 am | Network World by Jim Duffy

Cisco is adamant that its upcoming Application Centric Infrastructure launch is not about SDNs.
Rather, call it Hardware-Defined Networking. And who can blame Cisco for proposing HDNs while dismissing the industry momentum towards software-defined networks — Cisco owns better than 65% of the enterprise hardware infrastructure out there, and SDNs present a threat to its dominance and profits.
ACI, which is being developed and productized by Cisco spin-in Insieme Networks, focuses on programming the physical infrastructure-based service as well as the hypervisor-based virtual environment, said Frank D’Agostino, senior director of technical marketing and solutions engineering at Insieme.

D’Agostino delivered a vendor technical presentation at this week’s Interop conference and exhibition in New York, and Cisco is expected to launch Insieme’s Nexus 9000 line in about a month.
“We want to program the physical service the same as a virtual service,” D’Agostino said, in explaining ACI’s focus on applications in data centers, and applications and tenants hosted by cloud providers.
With that, D’Agostino reiterated all the reasons Cisco and its 80%-owned subsidiary believe SDNs and “software-only overlays,” an apparent reference to partner-turned-rival VMware, fall woefully short in virtualizing the network:

•Loss of visibility between the application service and the network;
•Lack of scalability;
•Hypervisor-dependent;
•Focusing on a “small subset” of programmability applicable only to “one-eighth” of the data center;
•Pricing on a per-VM basis.

“If you’re paying per VM for network virtualization, you’re wasting your company’s money,” D’Agostino said. ACI blends software with merchant silicon and custom ASICs in physical hardware that’s optimized for availability of service, be it virtual or bare metal, he said. It provides an automated common operational model through a “unified” northbound/southbound RESTful API based on XML/JSON languages.
APIs will be published and will not require an SDK, an apparent dig at rival HP, which this week unveiled an SDN SDK and App Store.

“There’s no ‘closedness’ in how you access the system,” D’Agostino said.
Application connectivity requirement policies and data models in ACI are not tied to a physical device, but are logical; they can be dynamically provisioned and directly mapped to the infrastructure, D’Agostino said. Servers and top-of-rack switches can be changed without requiring associated re-definition of those models, he said.

In short, ACI supports any application, hypervisor and physical edge with the visibility of hardware and no per-VM tax, D’Agostino claims. “We don’t want the application to be network aware; we want the network to be application aware,” he said. “Every application will be fully-audited from Day 1.” And this, he said, is why ACI is not SDN. “We’re not a software overlay on a shim trying to solve a problem that’s three years old,” D’Agostino said, cautioning customers who are considering the myriad SDN techniques for network programmability and virtualization: “You’ll have to support all SDN models if you go that route.”

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.
See more at: http://www.itnews.com/lan/68143/ciscoinsieme-ushering-hardware-defined-networks?page=0,1#sthash.v8U3tYN4.dpuf

HPC Solutions Managed Services

CiscoTP

Government agencies now more than ever need to optimize their resources, improve efficiencies and do more with less. Outsourcing the management of a videoconferencing environment offers globally dispersed agencies increased support and coverage, additional technical capabilities and expertise, and improved up time.
Governing in the 21st century presents new challenges for public officials. Technology is changing the ways we interact as global citizens and how we govern. With billions now online, citizens expect to connect with governments and public sector agencies in a secure, seamless, and reliable environment. Public service employees need to collaborate across multiple agencies and geographies in real time.
Government officials around the world are exploring new ways of doing things in order to cope with the challenges of globalization, economic uncertainty, emerging technologies, and a more connected citizen base. The solutions to these challenges have two factors in common-connecting people and maximizing resources in radically new ways.

Key Benefits of Managed Services
• Reduces costs, including traditional service fees, hardware, IT operations,
• Eases adoption of new business processes
• Increases levels of support and network availability without additional staff
• Makes the IT budget more stable and predictable
• Provides access to the latest technology with limited risk
• Provides access to an enhanced skills base
• Makes it easier to adapt to changing business conditions
• Enables the IT group to focus on the core business

HPC Solutions Managed Services offers a suite of solutions to offer true, 24 x 7 support for videoconferencing endpoints and infrastructure. Our staff provides all the proactive support you need and responds to alerts, tickets, and remote service requests.

Our complete turnkey Managed Services for network equipment and applications is available on the customer premises, or cloud based. Performing to SLA’s, our technical video team provides state of the art Help Desk support, multipoint bridging services, scheduling, maintenance and repair. Our highly trained and certified professional video operators, and engineers can augment internal video teams or a complete outsource solution is available.

Our managed services include all of the components in your videoconferencing and AV infrastructure:

• Videoconferencing endpoints and systems
• Projectors and Screens
• LCD, LED, Plasma, and Touch Displays
• Media Players and Content Management
• Supporting Infrastructure: MCU’s, Controllers, Network
• Networking, Cabling, Accessories
• Command and Control Systems
• Audio systems

Our Help Desk service provides a seamless interface between our manufacturer partners, and our customers. The Help Desk is manned by technical professionals who log each support request into our real-time ticketing system and get the issue resolved.

Our Help Desk services cover a broad range of support solutions, from desktop applications such as videoconferencing, Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec, and Microsoft OS, to all types of hardware and connectivity as well.

Ask HPC Solutions how to streamline your video communications and improve your video support services.

We optimize your resources.