When you read about cloud computing these days, it seems as if most companies are already migrated and operating in the cloud. It is true that cloud adoption has increased quite a lot over the past several years. However, a multi-cloud or hybrid approach is still the standard among many organizations. 

This should not be a surprise because, despite the relatively low cost of getting started with the cloud and the convenience it provides, the migration process can be very challenging when dealing with training, security, and lag time.

Training Is Crucial

One of the toughest challenges of migrating to the cloud is training your IT personnel. The skills needed for cloud computing are not necessarily the same as the skills your IT department currently possesses. One way to overcome this challenge is to leverage your cloud provider’s consultants. This will not only make your transition smoother it will likely speed it up.

Address Any Skill Gaps

You are likely to discover that your personnel may have some gaps in their skills that will be necessary for operating workloads at scale securely and efficiently in the cloud. There are many software architectures, virtualization tools, and security concepts that can be difficult to learn and understand, but these very skills are all vital components of a successful migration. You should be prepared to invest in the necessary skills gap analysis and training so your IT team is up to speed and ready to tackle some of the most challenging aspects of migrating to the cloud.

Deployment Strategy, Integration, and Adoption

How you decide to market your organization’s move to the cloud, how to integrate your current infrastructure with your cloud infrastructure and apps and how you deploy the migration are all principal challenges every company faces when migrating to the cloud. It is important to prepare a deployment strategy to ensure you can leverage the new technology being installed, and that includes much more than simply implementing software. It’s planning how to effectively integrate processes, software, and business activities. Much of your effort will need to focus on helping your organization adopt the cloud.

Internet Connections

Once all your services are migrated to the cloud, your internet connection becomes even more critical. When your entire organization is working through a single connection to a cloud server, you need to think carefully about how much data is moving back and forth across the connection and make the appropriate preparations to ensure you have adequate bandwidth.

Security Maintenance and Management

Security is often cited as the single greatest challenge of migrating to the cloud. If you are using a hybrid cloud, it becomes even more complicated because you must protect on-site data and the data in the cloud. You also must manage all compliance issues for many organizations and enterprises, that can include international compliance and regulatory requirements.

Data Backups and Encryption

There is a reason for concern about data security when you choose to migrate to the cloud because you must entrust a third party to manage at least some of your data. While some fears may be over-exaggerated, the reality is you need to depend on yourself to manage and protect your data. It is crucial to back everything up regularly, including all cloud providers you utilize on-site and any additional offsite data storage locations. You should also ensure that all data is encrypted regardless of where it resides.

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Dec 2 22
Christina Zumwalt

Thanksgiving is upon us, and it is just in time. Thanksgiving is the best time of the year, as you get to spend it with friends and family. Here are some fun and interesting facts about Thanksgiving.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three day harvest festival. It included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Indians, and lasted three days. It is believed by historians that only five women were present.

Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish were likely served alongside pumpkins and cranberries (but not pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce!).

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Joseph Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years.

The history of U.S. presidents pardoning turkeys is patchy. Harry Truman is often credited with being the first president to pardon a turkey, but that’s not quite true. He was the first to receive a ceremonial turkey from the National Turkey Federation – and he had it for dinner. John F. Kennedy was the first to let a Thanksgiving turkey go, followed by Richard Nixon, who sent his turkey to a petting zoo. George H.W. Bush is the president who formalized the turkey pardoning tradition in 1989.

There are four towns in the United States named “Turkey.” They can be found in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500.

Butterball answers more than 100,000 turkey-cooking questions via their Butterball Turkey Hotline each November and December.

The tradition of football on Thanksgiving began in 1876 with a game between Yale and Princeton. The first NFL games were played on Thanksgiving in 1920.

More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. That’s up 4.8% from last year.

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Nov 23 22
Christina Zumwalt

Life before the cloud meant that most data storage solutions were decentralized and hosted on servers on-site. That local presence means more control for the enterprise, but it creates problems with scalability and efficiency. For this reason, many companies have been switching to the cloud. Indeed, there are many benefits to cloud adoption in terms of scalability, flexibility, data storage, reliability, cost-effectiveness, uptime, and others. Still, one of the downsides has traditionally been security because a lot of cloud security requires an enterprise to rely on third parties to secure private, sensitive data. For this reason, blockchain could be a more affordable and efficient technology to use for security purposes.

It’s not surprising then that many companies have begun to make the switch towards cloud computing instead. After all, it’s much more flexible and cost-effective, giving organizations access to incredible value and allowing them to replicate their data across a range of data centers, offering redundancy and reliable uptime solutions. Of course, with all the benefits cloud computing has to offer, there are some downsides too. Whenever we use a cloud service, we need to put a significant amount of trust in third parties to keep our most private and sensitive data secure. 

Ready-to-use software

Several leading cloud providers now offer enterprise-grade blockchain solutions, including AWS, Oracle, and IBM. These enterprise solutions provide better scaling mechanisms, privacy, security, and additional protocol changes that make them much more appealing to the private sector. These functionalities deliver higher transaction speed and smart contract execution time.

Enterprise-grade DLT provides another functionality that is particularly useful for enterprises-the ability for collaboration. DLT enables unprecedented collaboration within large organizations and across companies as well. An example of the power of this enterprise collaboration ability is seen in the food industry. Several of the largest world food suppliers, including Walmart, Nestle, Unilever, Kroger, and others, are working to create a global food tracing system on blockchain. Collaboration is a crucial factor in providing complete visibility into the origins of potentially hazardous goods and in providing the ability to trace source of contamination quickly. These enterprise-grade solutions are setting unified standards for such collaboration, and they are largely responsible for faster blockchain adoption by enterprises and better interoperability between companies.

Improvements in Interoperability

Blockchain Solutions have suffered from a lack of connectivity mechanisms between differing blockchain solutions, creating obstacles to broader technology adoption. Recently this situation has improved, and tech companies are offering viable solutions to establish connections between different ledgers.

Ripple released a mid-ware arbitrary protocol that can “connect” different types of distributed and traditional centralized ledgers. The goal of this protocol is to improve interoperability between financial institutions. Another benefit of Interledger is that it allows users to store aggregate transaction data off a public blockchain by using a connector to transfer funds between private versions of the Ripple network.

Customer data privacy remains a huge challenge for enterprises because they need to constantly upgrade their systems to remain compliant with emerging regulations. By leveraging blockchain technology, businesses can reduce their data ownership and the challenge and cost of updating their systems. Customer information gets recorded on a distributed ledger and does not need to change hands when transactions are executed. Instead, users grant permission for access to those records whenever they are required. This allows enterprises to remain compliant with far less effort and users benefit from increased privacy and security.

For most enterprises, Blockchain is a promising new technology capable of transforming business processes across multiple industries apart from the financial sector. According to a survey by Deloitte, 74% of companies surveyed stated they already have a “compelling business case” for blockchain technology, while 34% reported they had already initiated a blockchain deployment.

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Nov 17 22
Christina Zumwalt

November 11, 1918, was the day that World War I ended, and it is now celebrated as Veteran’s Day. Although the war had ended, it took 7 months for the Treaty of Versailles to be signed on June 28, 1919. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about Veteran’s Day.  

Veterans Day is a State and Federal Holiday

As expected, Veterans Day is a state and federal holiday, meaning that many schools and non-essential government agencies are closed for the day. For those who do have the day off, it’s worth seeing if a Veterans Day parade is happening in your area.

Don’t Expect Any Mail on Veterans Day 

United States Postal Service doesn’t operate. On Veterans Day, all post offices are closed. Mail delivery should resume the following day on November 12. However, FedEx and UPS services largely remain in operation. It’s worth noting that some banks observe this day as well and will also be closed.

It’s Common to Observe Two Minutes of Silence 

Possibly the most common way to observe this day is to pause for a two-minute moment of silence in honor of the service and sacrifice of all of America’s veterans. It is usually observed at 2:11 p.m. EST.        

The #BeThere Campaign Raises Awareness About Veteran and Military Suicide Prevention 

The mental health of veterans has long been a topic of discussion, and the impact that seeing combat may have on one’s mental health. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has compiled a list of information and resources to educate both the public and veterans alike about things like post-traumatic stress disorder.

We hope you enjoy your Veteran’s Day!

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Nov 11 22
Christina Zumwalt

Over the last few years, cloud computing has only gained momentum, and it has become evident that it is not stopping. We saw some huge changes come from cloud computing during the pandemic, and more changes are coming. By 2028 the market size is expected to reach $1.1 trillion, with a growth of 15% CAGR during this period. Here are a few trends that are expected to flourish over the next year.

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Infrastructures

Using hybrid cloud services is not a compromise between approaches but a balance of their strengths. It gives you the ability to have quick access to your data but also has private servers for more secure or sensitive data. Most businesses have moved past using a single provider for all services and have delved more into using multi-cloud infrastructures where you can use multiple services from different suppliers. Even though both these technologies are currently used, there will be an increase seen during the end of 2022 and leading into 2023.

Cloud Gaming

This type of technology is new and emerging in the gaming world. Cloud gaming allows you to stream virtually an unlimited option of games for a monthly fee. These games can be played anywhere on any device you own without having to buy expensive gaming consoles. Cloud gaming helps eliminate the need for storage space, specialized hardware, and piracy issues. All this brings a shift to lower overall costs and sustainability. Many major players use cloud gaming, such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Nvidia.

Kubernetes

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that can provide tamper-evident, shared digital ledgers that will record data in either private or public networks. These records are accurate and do not rely on central authorities. Kubernetes are open-source container platforms used to orchestrate organizations being able to scale, deploy, and manage containerized infrastructure automatically. Using both blockchain and Kubernetes interoperable allow simplified deployments and upgradeability. Deploying blockchain networks and their components via Kubernetes clusters will most likely be the standard of adoption within the next few years. This is due to this method solving two of the major issues blockchain faces: inherent complexity and integration into the existing infrastructure.

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Nov 9 22
Christina Zumwalt

Halloween is one of the best holidays where kids get to dress up as their favorite characters and walk around getting candy. It is such a fun night for all. Here are some fun facts about Halloween:

1. “Jack o’ lantern” comes from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack.

2. Candy corn was originally called Chicken Feed.

3. Trick-or-treating comes from “souling.”

4. The most lit jack o’ lanterns on display is 30,581.

5. Halloween folklore is full of fortune-telling and magic.

6. Day of the Dead should really be called Days of the Dead.

7. Michael Myers’ mask is actually a William Shatner mask.

8. Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic festival.

9. Des Moines has a hilarious tradition called Beggars’ Night.

10. The White House is haunted.

Here at Alto 9 we hope you all enjoy your Halloween!

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Oct 31 22
Christina Zumwalt

Cloud computing ultimately means storing data on a managed internet-based platform rather than hosting and managing your own infrastructure. Using the cloud to supplement or even be the backbone of your business can have many benefits.

These benefits have the possibility to save you time and money while giving you more time to focus on what’s important, your business.

IT Resources

Most cloud-based solutions have automated updates and a multitude of support options that you can choose from based on your needs. This can be a step in the right direction for the smaller company that may outsource IT support. Cloud solution companies have dedicated teams to keep everything running smoothly and securely, minimizing the company’s risk. On the other hand, a company might have a dedicated IT specialist. In this case, they would be freed up from the upkeep of specific software, the physical maintenance of servers, and other time-consuming tasks that would be handled directly by the cloud provider. This allows more time to focus on development to improve the business. No matter what IT department circumstances a company has, there can be a great benefit when cloud solutions are being utilized.

Security

Cloud solutions offer a better spectrum of security for small businesses than they might have if they were not using the cloud. Smaller businesses tend to be a target for hackers since there are typically fewer security measures in place. Cloud can give a little more peace of mind for all businesses since these companies have dedicated individuals that keep up to date on the latest threats.

Disaster Recovery

So many things can bring a business down that are virtually unforeseeable or unstoppable. A good example would be natural disasters. Would your company be safe if a devastating hurricane or earthquake stuck in your area? According to FEMA statistics, 40 and 60 percent of small businesses affected by a disaster never re-open their doors. With cloud storage, you have the peace of mind that your data is in a safe place and has the potential to move with you to safety.

Cost

In most cases, cloud-based solutions are a great way to help the cash flow of a small business. Many providers offer free versions that could suit a smaller company. There are also options for pay-as-you-go while also having the scalability to pay for your business needs. Using the cloud can cut the costs you would spend keeping your physical servers up to par and secure.

Flexibility

An added benefit to being able to pay for what you need is the scalability option you will have while using the cloud. This can be a great way to plan for the growth of your business since you can always upgrade your space with cloud providers, and the scalability can go both ways. With the proper planning, you can also scale down for slower times of the year or possible seasonal shutdowns, depending on your business.

Services

Cloud services can offer sophisticated tools you might not have access to otherwise. These can even the playing field between your small business and the larger enterprise companies. This is all because many of these more advanced tools require upgrades to physical servers and other hardware. Having a cloud solution could offer the opportunity for greater technology improvements without all the cost.

Alto9 is a Cloud solutions firm created to help customers migrate to and make the most of Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing is a rapidly changing paradigm that requires a specialized focus. Our Amazon Certified engineers have the depth of experience and know-how to ensure your Cloud infrastructure runs efficiently, securely and scales with you as your business grows.

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Oct 21 22
Christina Zumwalt

Christopher Columbus landed in a part of the Americas on October 12th, 1494. This day is now celebrated as Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus was an Italian sailor born in Genoa in 1451. The day did not become an official holiday until 1906 when it became recognized as a state holiday in Colorado and officially a federal holiday in 1934. Here are some interesting facts about Christopher Columbus and his journey to America:

  • Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. He began sailing when he was only 15 years old.
  • When he set sail for the expedition, he was given three ships by the city of Palos.
  • He set sail in August of 1492. It was 35 days before a sailor spotted land.
  • The names of the three ships were the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
  • His crew consisted of 90 men.
  • The expedition’s goal was to chart a western sea route to India and China and to the islands in Asia with spices and gold.
  • When Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas in 1492, he was the first European since the 10th century to have the opportunity to explore the Americas.
  • Christopher Columbus made the voyage to the New World three times.
  • He died when he was 55, in 1506, only two years after his last trip to the New World.

Have a great day!

Oct 10 22
Christina Zumwalt

Machine learning, the internet of things, big data, and other data-heavy workloads have become the standard way for enterprises of all sizes to boost their competitive advantage. However, one of the biggest challenges is the data –gravity and latency issues that often occur because of the distance between where the source data is generated and resides and where the data is sent to the cloud.

One of the ways an enterprise can protect itself against latency issues is to allow cloud-native applications to run on-site in edge sites where their data can be processed and analyzed at the point of origin, which is more effective and efficient than sending the data to the cloud for processing. Cloud computing is drifting into the “Fog” or towards the edge away from centralized computing models.

Security and Compliance

Many regulated industries, including banking, finance, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals, are subject to strict regulations and compliance policies. Compliance issues and a fear that the enterprise will lose total control over their own data make moving data and workloads to the cloud problematic. It is true that cloud vendors continue to evolve. It is a primary reason that most companies are using a hybrid cloud to protect their most sensitive data internally and through their cloud providers. 

Focus on Your Core Business Competencies

Most companies do not have IT as a core competency. Cloud computing allows companies to leave the IT headaches to their cloud provider so that the company can focus on its core business competencies and business expansion.

Lower Operating Costs

Small businesses and enterprise businesses alike can benefit from the ability to do more with less.

Cloud computing optimizes hardware utilization while virtualization increases the value of physical server hardware resulting in significant savings. For example, suppose you usually have five servers working at an average of 10% CPU utilization. In that case, you can “virtualize” the five servers onto one physical server in the cloud, sharing the resources. This decreases the need for rack space and power usage. It also makes it much easier to manage. You can create copies of your servers and quickly get them up and running. You can automatically allocate appropriate resources or turn off unused servers during periods of low use to optimize your savings.

Enable Collaboration and Flexibility

Businesses that rely on a high level of collaboration will love cloud computing. Because it is easy to retrieve and save files through the cloud, it enables employees to work from the same master document. Collaboration tools make it simple to upload, edit and comment on documents improving and streamlining the collaborative process. The other benefit of collaborating within the cloud is that managers can easily track and manage individual work on assignments. Cloud collaboration also makes it possible for greater flexibility. Telecommuting or working in the field can occur using various devices, including smartphones and tablets, making your organization more responsive and agile.

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Oct 7 22
Christina Zumwalt

Artificial intelligence is at the cutting edge of new technology developments. What is happening in the lab? Which discoveries by academic and corporate researchers will set the course for Artificial Intelligence for the coming year and beyond? Here’s what is being worked on and why each topic is important for the future.

Deep Reinforcement Learning

This type of neural network learns by interacting with the environment through observations, actions, and rewards. DRL or deep reinforcement Learning has been used to learn different gaming strategies, including Atari and Go. It even includes the famous AlphaGo program that beat a human champion. Of all learning techniques, DRL is the most general purpose, and it can be used in most business applications. One benefit of this learning technique is that it requires less data than other techniques to train its models. Another important characteristic of this learning technique is that it can be taught through simulation. We expect to see a trend of more business applications that combine DRL with agent-based simulation.

Deep Learning Theory

Deep neural networks mimic the human brain. So far, they have demonstrated the ability to learn from text, images, data, and audio inputs. Deep neural networks have been used and studied for more than a decade, but there is still a lot we don’t understand about how neural networks learn or why they perform so well. A new theory applies the principle of an information bottleneck to deep learning. This theory hypothesizes that after an initial fitting phase, a deep neural network will compress and literally forget data sets that contain a lot of additional meaningless information while preserving information about what the data represents. This is important because understanding precisely how deep learning works allows for greater development and use of AI. Understanding deep neural networks can yield new insights into designing optimal networks and architectures while providing increased transparency for safety-critical or regulatory applications.

Capsule Networks

Capsule networks are a new type of deep neural network that similarly processes visual information to the brain. This means capsule networks have the capability to maintain hierarchical relationships. This capability represents a huge difference from convolutional neural networks that are not able to take into account important spatial hierarchies between simple and complex objects. Because of this limitation, convolutional neural networks often misclassify objects and have a higher error rate. For typical identification tasks, capsule networks hold the promise of better accuracy and reduced error rates by as much as 50 percent. They also don’t require as much data for training models. We can expect to see the widespread use of capsule networks across many problem domains and deep neural network architectures.

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Sep 23 22
Christina Zumwalt