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How a B2B2C Cloud Platform Fosters Innovation

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

My last post described some of the cloud-based home healthcare services that broadband service providers are beginning to offer. Central to this idea is third-party partnerships: allowing outside healthcare providers into the traditional “walled garden” of telecom services. It’s easy to see how this model could be extended beyond healthcare.

One can imagine all sorts of value-added cloud applications that third parties could deliver over wireline networks. Indeed, one can envision a future in which service providers follow in the footsteps of Apple’s App Store and the Google Android Marketplace, where subscribers can choose from among thousands of third-party cloud apps that take advantage of their home broadband connections, gateways, and TV set-top boxes (STBs).

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Cloud Computing vs. Virtualization: The Differences and Benefits

Both solutions can help maximize your current resources and technology dollars

Like many technologies that were once available only to large organizations, virtualization and cloud computing are being scaled down for small business use. The two technologies are often mentioned in the same breath as though they’re interchangeable—they’re not. Here’s where the two technologies overlap: Virtualization is one of the fundamental technologies that makes cloud computing work. However, virtualization is not cloud computing.

In enterprise networks, virtualization and cloud computing are often used together to build a private cloud infrastructure. For most small businesses, however, each technology will be deployed separately to gain measurable benefits. In different ways, virtualization and cloud computing can help you keep your equipment spending to a minimum and get the best possible use from the equipment you already have.

First, you need to understand what virtualization and cloud computing are. Virtualization software allows one physical server to run several individual computing environments. In practice, it’s like getting multiple servers for each physical server you buy.  This technology is fundamental to cloud computing.  Cloud providers have large data centers full of servers to power their cloud offerings, but they aren’t able to devote a single server to each customer. Thus, they virtually partition the data on the server, enabling each client to work with a separate “virtual” instance of the same software. Read More »

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Healthcare Technology in the 21st Century

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Is the cloud the cure for what ails you? It could be, if service providers and telehealth device manufacturers have anything to say about it.

Home healthcare monitoring technologies have become big news in the last few years, and are poised to become even bigger. According to a recent Berg Insight report, remote health monitoring of chronic diseases generated €7.6 billion ($10.01 billion USD) globally in 2010, and is growing at 9 percent each year. MarketResearch.com projects the market for telehealth monitoring equipment alone to reach $3.1 billion by 2017.

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IP Address Management: Smoothing the Way to Cloud-Based Services

Contributed by David Flesh, Sr Manager, Product Marketing, Cisco Network Management Technology Group

Many service providers today are implementing or investigating cloud computing to take advantage of its inherent operational advantages and as a platform from which to offer differentiated cloud-based services. By abstracting IT resources and services from the underlying infrastructure, service providers are achieving highly elastic, multitenant environments and savings. For example, cloud-based environments facilitate provisioning in minutes; time-to-market reductions of more than 50 percent; high server and storage utilization; 50 percent reductions in capital costs; and 25 to 30 percent reductions in operational costs. 1

At the same time, cloud-based services are highly attractive to providers’ enterprise customers. Service provider-based cloud services offer greater scalability and performance without requiring premises-based infrastructure and management. Self-service, scale-on-demand, and pay-per-use features increase user convenience and IT flexibility, while automated recovery and cloud-based backup significantly enhance risk management.

The good news is that service providers today are uniquely positioned to take advantage of cloud computing. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) -- a cloud utility architecture -- provides an easy entry point for many service providers who are already expert at provisioning, managing, and scaling infrastructure-based services for multiple customers. IaaS helps enable service providers to increase return on investment through existing infrastructure and to deliver high-margin multitenancy services and support new competitive offerings. According to the Cisco Internet Business Systems Group, a 2009 study has forecast IaaS service revenues to be approximately $15.6 billion by 2013.

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Cloud Architecture Considerations and The Open Group

Last week I presented and participated at the The Open Group Forum in Austin, TX. It was a great event, with insights into Enterprise Architecture, Business Architecture and Emerging Architectures. There were several breakout tracks in the Forum, including, the most popular -- Cloud Architectures Track. The sessions ranged from connecting architecture frameworks (TOGAF) to Cloud Architectures, to Cloud Architectures development. My session was on “Architecture & Considerations for IaaS Clouds”.  This session was more focused on technology aspects of the Cloud Architecture. Also, it could be applied to either an enterprise private cloud or a service provider cloud settings. Just to level set everyone in the audience, I started out with a taxonomy and reference architecture (RA) review. I utilized both NIST’s published and a simplified version of Cisco Cloud RA. The Cisco RA review was the case in point for this session, where Infrastructure, Service orchestration, Delivery/Management and consumer layers were discussed.

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