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10 reasons to use Azure for your cloud apps

why  Azure ???????????

Many technology experts believe that 2010 will usher in a new era in computing. In the beginning of PC computing, all applications were run from (and data was stored on) each individual system’s local hard drive. As time went on, companies recognized the benefits of centralized management and control and moved to a model where data is stored on, and many apps are run from, servers on the local network. The next step will move apps and data storage even farther away from the end user, into the “cloud,” with everything residing on remote servers accessed via the Internet. This will allow users to access those programs and data anywhere, from any Internet-connected machine, including low-powered (and low-cost) netbooks.

Cloud computing requires that a computing platform exist “out there” in the cloud, on which these remote apps can run. A number of cloud platforms are available from different vendors, including Amazon, IBM, and Google, among others.

Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud-based application platform for developing, managing, and hosting applications off-site. Azure consists of several components: the cloud operating system itself; SQL Azure, which provides database services in the cloud; and .NET services. Azure runs on computers that are physically located in Microsoft data centers. In this article, we’ll look at 10 reasons to consider using Windows Azure as your cloud computing platform.

1: Familiarity of Windows

Azure is based on Windows, so you can write applications in the same programming languages you’ve used for Windows apps: Visual Basic, C++, C#, etc. You can also use familiar tools such as Visual Studio, along with ASP.NET and other familiar Windows technologies. This makes it easy for organizations to find developers who already have the skills to create applications for the Azure platform. And because the Azure environment is much like the standard Windows environment, it’s easier to create a cloud version of an existing Windows application.

2: 64-bit Windows VMs

Applications running on Azure run in virtual machines, with each instance of the app running in its own VM on the 64-bit Windows Server 2008 operating system. The hypervisor on which they run is designed specifically for the cloud. You don’t have to supply your own VMs or deal with managing and maintaining the OS because apps are developed using Web role instances or worker role instances that run in their own VMs. The apps interoperate with other Azure components through a Windows Azure agent that runs in each VM. With Azure, you can focus on the code and don’t have to worry about the hardware.

3: Azure SDK

Microsoft provides the Windows Azure software development kit (SDK), which includes a version of the Azure environment you can run on your own computer. It’s called the Windows Azure Development Fabric, and it includes the Azure agent and storage. You can work locally when developing and debugging an application and then move it to the cloud.

4: Scalability and flexibility

Using Azure, you can easily create applications that run reliably and scale from 10 to 10 thousand or even 10 million users — without any additional coding. Azure Storage provides scalable, secure, performance-efficient storage services in the cloud.

After you create a Web app, you can specify the number of processors for the application to use. If the application needs to scale up to meet growing demand, it’s easy to change the settings to use more processors. The “pay as you go/pay as you grow” approach lets you bring your new apps to market sooner and respond more quickly to changes in your customers’ needs.

5: Cost benefits and pricing model

Taking advantage of resources in the cloud allows you to decrease your costs for building and expanding your on-premises resources. You can also reduce the cost of IT administration because the hardware is being taken care of for you, off-premises. The cost of creating, testing, debugging, and distributing Web-based applications goes down because you have to pay only for the computer processing time and storage space you need at a given time.

Windows Azure pricing will be based on consumption, with a per-hour fee that’s dependent on the size of the instance for Azure computing services and per-month or per-transaction fees for Azure storage services based on data size.

6: Data center in the cloud

SQL Azure provides organizations with all the benefits of an enterprise-class data center without the hassle, headaches, and cost of maintaining such an entity. You get high availability and reliability with redundant copies of your data and automatic failover. No more worries about backing up data yourself.

It’s a relational database model that stores data in the same manner as SQL Server (tables, indexes, views) and thus will be familiar to Windows DBAs, but your SQL Azure Server is spread across multiple physical computers for more flexibility. For information about the differences between SQL Azure and SQL Server.

7: Support resources

Because Azure uses the same familiar tools and technologies as other Windows platforms, you can take advantage of the well-established support structure within Microsoft and company-provided resources, such as TechNet and MSDN, along with the huge ecosystem of Windows developers outside the company. There will always be someone to turn to when you have questions or problems.

8: Interoperability

With Azure, you can develop hybrid applications that allow your on-premises applications to use cloud services, such as the cloud database and storage services. Communications services work between on-premises applications and the cloud, as well as mobile devices.

Azure supports open standards and Internet protocols, such as HTTP, XML, SOAP, and REST. There are SDKs for Java, PHP, and Ruby, for applications written in those languages, and Azure tools for Eclipse.

9: Security

Knowing that security is one of the biggest concerns for companies considering a move to the cloud, Microsoft designed Azure with security in mind. The .NET Access Control Service provides a way to integrate identities, and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) tokens are used by applications to determine whether a user is allowed access. Microsoft has designed its compliance framework to meet regulatory requirements.

10: Something for everyone

Windows Azure can benefit hosting providers, ISVs, systems integrators, and custom software developers. Hosting providers can expand their services to areas where they don’t have existing infrastructure and add new services without more infrastructure investment. ISVs can use Azure to create, deploy, and manage Web apps and SaaS without large capital expenditures, and they can scale those applications more quickly and cost effectively. Systems integrators can take advantage of Azure’s ability to work with existing on premise infrastructures. Custom software developers can create software solutions for customers who can’t afford the costs of in-house development, including hardware costs, and they can deliver their applications to customers as services without building and maintaining an expensive data center.



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6 Reasons Why Start-ups Should Use Cloud Services Like Amazon Web Services (AWS)

What is Cloud Computing?

“Cloud Computing”, by definition, refers to the on-demand delivery of IT resources and applications via the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.

Amazon is a very convenient way for start-up companies to set their businesses up in a short amount of time. Especially with the variety of services it offers to easily scale out your business. We (Saplo) is one of such companies, taking advantage of Amazon’s Web Services and APIs here are our top six reasons why start-ups should use the cloud.

Trade capital expense for variable expense

Instead of having to invest heavily in data centers and servers before you know how you’re going to use them, you can only pay when you consume computing resources, and only pay for how much you consume.


Benefit from massive economies of scale

By using cloud computing, you can achieve a lower variable cost than you can get on your own. Because usage from hundreds of thousands of customers are aggregated in the cloud, providers such as Amazon Web Services can achieve higher economies of scale which translates into lower pay as you go prices.

Stop guessing capacity

Eliminate guessing on your infrastructure capacity needs. When you make a capacity decision prior to deploying an application, you often either end up sitting on expensive idle resources or dealing with limited capacity. With Cloud Computing, these problems go away. You can access as much or as little as you need, and scale up and down as required with only a few minutes notice.

Increase speed and agility

In a cloud computing environment, new IT resources are only ever a click away, which means you reduce the time it takes to make those resources available to your developers from weeks to just minutes. This results in a dramatic increase in agility for the organization, since the cost and time it takes to experiment and develop is significantly lower.

Stop spending money on running and maintaining data centers

Focus on projects that differentiate your business, not the infrastructure. Cloud computing lets you focus on your own customers, rather than on the heavy lifting of racking, stacking and powering servers.

Go global in minutes

Easily deploy your application in multiple regions around the world with just a few clicks. This means you can provide a lower latency and better experience for your customers simply and at minimal cost.


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The art of cold calling

The art of cold calling

Calling someone is not so difficult, but dialing, bashing and smiling over the phone doing the business however you dress it up, cold calling has long been viewed as a necessary evil when booming up new business. But with the dawn of the social media age, it has become much easier to track down, new contact and start conversations with potential leads. Does this spell the end of cold calling?

“Absolutely not, cold calling is not dead. It’s evolving”. There are still just as many cold calls being made now as ever. Social media has become a great help for lazy sales people with a fear of rejection to get out of picking up the phone. They don’t hit sales targets and, when challenged about it, they say, ‘I’ve been on Twitter or Facebook!’

You need to have done your homework beforehand. You cannot make a professional cold call without knowing at least the name of the person you are trying to reach otherwise you create problems with the gatekeepers. People are far too savvy to pass on calls that begin, “Can you put me through to your head of marketing, please?” It’s pure laziness not to find out the names. It always has been. These days, tools like LinkedIn and Twitter can help you find out those names. And if you don’t do that, you’re daft.

The secret of generating new business via telesales is always put quality before quantity. Before you call anyone, look at the person you will be speaking to on-line through sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

It’s also incredibly important to motivate your sales team when it comes to cold calling. There’s still stigma attached to the practice, even on the sales floors themselves. It’s often the new kid or the unfortunate exec that’s missed their sales target that gets saddled with cold calling duties. People often view cold calling as a punishment for not getting sales from the usual channels.

Every single sales person should be doing some element of cold calling.



15 Top tips for mastering the art of the cold call

  1. Remember that gatekeepers are your allies not your foes. For example: Be pleasant to whoever picks up the phone or is guarding when cold calling.
  2. You need to develop various strategies on how to get the gatekeeper on your side. You can politely ask the gatekeeper “if you could help me?” will help you get the information you looking for such as the name and best time to contact the right person you are looking for.
  3. Try to do the cold calling during morning times if possible. That’s the best time to reach the decision makers directly and morning is the time when people feel energetic and productive.
  4. Learning the name of the gatekeeper and being friendly when calling helps you bypassing them.
  5. Remember that the most important person on the call is you. People always say things like, ‘the customer is always right’. Rubbish. Get your point across, sell your heart out, or you’re dead.
  6. Think about the time and the day you ring. For example, the end of the financial year is stressful for a lot of companies, but leading up to Christmas or during the summer there can often be a more relaxed atmosphere in many offices.
  7. Know your product/service well – preparation and research is vital. People buy from people who love and have faith in their products and companies.
  8. Don’t bother with the pleasantries. Nobody cares. If you’re at home, about to have your tea at six in the evening, and you get a sales call, how do you feel?
  9. Give your name and company, establish it’s convenient to speak, and then give the reason for your call. This isn’t about getting a personal rapport. Stick to the business rapport.
  10. Be realistic about what can stop you from getting the business – don’t flog a dead horse.
  11. Understand the company thoroughly and think of what pain points the person you are speaking to may have.
  12. After the call always follow-up with an e-mail that adds value, i.e. that tells people something new. Don’t just send what you have already.
  13. Offer a free online tool, piece of valuable research or a guide that is of use to your potential client. Even some good food! A cold call from a company that makes chocolate mousse wanting to send free samples is welcome at most offices!
  14. Forget old school sales techniques to try to keep people on the phone, just be clear, informed and direct, don’t waste anyone’s time.
  15. Ask questions andlisten to the answers – getting the questioning technique right is the key. Discover their true needs.