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Thursday 30 October 2014

Private Cloud IaaS

Recently there has been a large talk on Cloud Infrastructure Providers about IaaS a.k.a infrastructure as a service. In the varied conversation it led me to write on what IaaS is and the usual case of what to look for, who to look for, and what to avoid.

What is a Cloud Infrastructure Provider - Cloud IaaS

The Cloud IaaS is a computing resource, along with associated storage and network resources. These resources are offered to clients via a self-service fashion highly-automated business model. In IaaS the provider manages the data center facilities, hardware and virtualize. However the provider only provides the "bottom-end". The Operating System, middleware, and applications are managed by the customer, and in some cases this feature can be an add-on managed service from the provider or another third-party working with the provider.

Cloud IaaS is distinct from Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). The Cloud IaaS is owned, built, and operated by a service provider, delivered either on-premises or to a IaaS provider data center. It can be either "public" (multi-tenanted) or "private" (single-tenanted). 

What to look for in a Cloud Infrastructure Provider

IaaS providers that target enterprise and mid-market customers generally offer a high-quality service, with excellent uptime, great performance, high security and good customer support.

1. Look for a robust infrastructure

Fully managed IaaS cloud solution running on enterprise-class data center.

2. Comprehensive Best Practices

- ITIL v3 standards (24 x 7 x 365) monitoring and management.
- Highly automated processes with a wide range of software tools.
- Real world experience with software companies.

3. Flexible capacity

Accommodate your business fluctuations.

4. Able to tailor made

Ability to tailor make to your requirements.

5. Serious SLA

Find SLA's with financial penalties to ensure target resolution times.

6. Industry recognized

Earned reputation in the industry.

What type of workloads are being placed on Cloud IaaS?

There are three broad categories of customer requirements in IaaS providers:

  1. Hosting a single application;
  2. A Virtual Data Center (VDC);
  3. or Batch Computing.
Hosting is the most common need, however there is a broad array of needs customers may have. Although some of these have mission-critical needs, while many others do not. Here is a list of examples taken from IBM PRESS and could be a benchmark for which segment you are in (This is to properly identify what you need the most, and how a IaaS Cloud Provider can better service you once your demand has been accurately filtered.):

EVERWORKS Private Cloud IaaS

the EVERWORKS Private Cloud IaaS is now in a soft launch stage offering virtual cpu's, flexible storage and bandwidth, additional IP's and more. Get in contact with EVERWORKS technical support to find out more, and taking full advantage of the Private Cloud IaaS benefits in the development of your business.

Should a business in Malaysia consider approaching adoption of the cloud?

According to Frost & Sullivan Malaysia's IaaS market is expected to grow 59% for the 2010-2014 period. There is a great potential growth as more and more Malaysians see the benefits of the cloud. Don't miss out on this opportunity to globalize your workforce, improve flexibility, and much more!

Cloud designed by Agus Purwanto from the Noun Project

Thursday 23 October 2014

How to Choose an Email Marketing Vendor

There will be a day when you will need to choose an email marketing vendor. Either it would be launching a new business or your current provider doesn't satisfy your growing needs. With email vendors today able to streamline your email marketing efforts to ensure that you are compliant with spam laws there is little issue with the various available options out there in the market.

But the big question is, with so many available options, which do you actually choose?

There are web-based vendors that make it easy to put a daunting campaign together. While, every business and marketing department is different, I have compiled a probable common attribute that can be used generally for comparison purposes.

What to expect in an email marketing vendor?

Templates: Some vendors have templates that are already ready to go and this really helps businesses get up and running quickly. This helps marketers who just want to change a few basic things and immediately fire out their content. Templates are a great way to jumpstart email marketing communications.
Ease of design: Having a template is great, but if editing it is a pain then it wouldn't be a good decision, to choose that particular email marketing vendor. Although not necessarily the designs provided as a template may fulfill your every desire, but with a template that is easy to tinker with is a definite must.
Customization: Templates not your thing? If you want to upload your own personal brand or design, make sure you keep a look out for customizable features embedded into the email marketing vendor's service. You would ideally look for a feature that allows you to upload your own HTML and CSS.

Connection options build your list

Social Icon Integrations: It would be surprising and rather unusual to see an email marketing vendor that does not integrate social media. Considering that it is a must nowadays. Additionally pay attention to whether there is a Facebook integration, choosing a vendor that does this is an added bonus, because most businesses have Facebook, and tapping into an existing user base can be very beneficial.
Web Forms: Most vendors offer forms, but choose a vendor that allows you to customize your forms easily.

Look for automation features

List Management: Add to manage your contact list so that it is current. Having this part automated really saves valuable time for marketers.
Contact Upload or Sync: Your contact list can be in a different place, because you were using a different vendor before this, and having your new/current vendor automate the transfer process saves you a lot of time.
Trigger-based Autoresponse: Having multiple campaigns running at the same time would require for you to have a certain level of automation to have flexibility in your campaigns, from sending out a response when customers reach a milestone, to a note on their birthday, etc.
A/B Testing: Small changes can be either easy or hard to make, and having a vendor that allows you to do split testing easily could make a big difference in your email marketing efforts.
Analytics: Most vendors provide free reporting tools, that allow you to make key decisions based on automated data collected to keep you well informed of the performance of your campaigns.

The stumbling blocks of pursuing email marketing

Education: Although email marketing has many perks that most conventional methods don't it does require an investment of effort to learn. There can be a learning curve involved, but fear not, because the internet is readily available to teach you basic to advance techniques of email marketing. Additionally, ensure that your vendor has a fairly decent education page that teaches you what you require to effectively use their system.
Pricing: Most vendors offer monthly subscriptions or yearly with a small discount. Pay attention to the finer payment options, because some features that is on offer for more monthly may not be necessarily needed for your business. 

Again identify what you need and what actually would benefit you. Ensure some of the key features listed above are satisfactory and you should be good to go.

A quick tip would be to create a comparison sheet to see which services you have found to be fulfilling your own needs plus the general requirements stated above.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for most businesses, as exampled by some of the major global brands, that use it to their advantage to ensure that their customers are always kept within the loop of things.

Please share with us what you think:

What are your recommendations for a good email marketing vendor?
What is your experience with browser-based email marketing vendors?

Email designed by Martha Ormiston from the Noun Project

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Happy Diwali 2014 & Closure Notice

Dear Valued Customer,

In conjunction to the celebration of Deepavali, we would like to inform you that our office will be closed on 22nd October 2014 (Wednesday). We will resume our operation on 23rd October 2014 (Thursday).

Kindly please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further clarification.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish ‘Happy Deepavali’.

Thank you for your continuous support.

Best Regards,
EVERWORKS Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd - Malaysia
Diwali Oil Lamp designed by Ambar Bhusari from the Noun Project

Thursday 16 October 2014

Images You Use Matter

"You only get one chance to make an impression"

The age old saying that pays more in weight as our society moves at such rapid pace, and people make assumptions based on information they first come to know of and might disregard everything you might have to say just based on what they see. 

Don't give their cognitive process a chance to anchor. 

On a side note: Your day-to-day business operations already require to make many decisions. From operations to product design, and amidst these daily operations certain things get lost; including the images you choose.

Images affect user experience.

Internet users are bombarded with information and different images daily, and this makes internet users tired. If they aren't; users are immune to most forms different advertising material. Images however speak up and stand out apart from all the usual jargons or marketing buzz words and makes a statement.

Presenting a visual helps make what you have to offer more user-friendly, and less robust. It allows for people to draw a quick positive conclusion on what you have to offer. Imagine trying to type down the dimensions of a server compared to having someone stand next to a server showing the person to server size ratio.

Images speak to design.

Intuitive design, intelligent visual appeal, functionality has proven to be a forefront runner in the market for selling products. Images contribute to design. You can have the best designed website, but couple it with some images that lack quality or thought and you could have a very average website that could attract few people.

Images set expectations.

Visuals are more user-friendly, however be cautious over the type of images you use. Choose images that suit what you are trying to portray rather than the "industry standard" which could spark an interest which is invaluable to what you are trying to portray.

Images affect conversation.

Conversation about your business is good if what is being conversed about is positive. You would want to choose images that would get people to talk or say positive things about. For example, if I could see just how a person would to carry a portable computer rather than just calling it "a portable computer" would make a relative easier point of recommendation between a conversation between friends.

I could say, "Hey! Go look at that portable computer, rather than this computer is lightweight at 1kg and it is portable." What was being communicated was generally the same, but comparatively if you could have a competitive advantage with just using images, the question would be why not?

Images give different emotions.

Having a joyful person smile on the homepage of your website could make someone associate your company as cheerful and friendly, compared to a website that just has a bunch of words. It makes it more relatable, adds the human factor, and gives someone comfort that there are actually homo sapiens on the other end!!

Interested to make your website visitors find it easier to read your content; click here!

What are your thoughts on the importance of images?

Tic Tac Toe designed by TNS from the Noun Project

Thursday 9 October 2014

How to Create a Wireless Network

A home network has many benefits and could prove to be ideal for small businesses trying to start out from the home. Ideal for any Malaysians trying to start a business, especially if you are trying to start a mobile business.

File sharing. Easier to share without the worry of using any forms of drives or transfer service on the internet.

No terrible wires. It allows you to keep everything neatly tucked away.

Computer mobility. You don't have to be stuck to a desk to do your work, but rather you could even do your work at the comfort of your couch or on your lawn enjoying sunlight.

Printer/peripheral sharing. I am enjoying the benefits of being able to work upstairs and leave my printer downstairs connected to a main computer. It saves me a lot of time, I do my work and print it, when I am ready to leave I just pack up and go downstairs, pick up my printed material and leave! Talk about convenience! (Oh, make sure your printer/peripherals are wifi capable if not it won't work.)

Before you start, here are some of the items you may need:

  1. Broadband Internet Connection and Modem
  2. Wireless Router
  3. Wireless Network Adapters (depends if you need them - if your peripherals or computer comes with inbuilt wifi then this wouldn't be necessary)

Setting up the Modem and Internet Connection

Once you have your equipment you will need to connect your modem to the internet. If this wasn't done already by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) then follow the instructions that came with your modem as to how to connect it to your computer and have the internet up and running. 

Positioning the Wireless Router

Set up your wireless router where you think it will get the highest signal strength. Position your wireless router in a central location with lesser interferences such as metal cupboards, walls, etc. 802.11g networking equipment uses a 2.4 gigahertz (Ghz) radio frequency, the same as a microwave or a cordless phone. So keep those away from your wireless router or choose equipment with a higher frequency.

Windows Guide:

Securing your Wireless Network 

Security is imperative because your wireless network could go beyond the boundaries of your walls. If you don't secure your wireless network, people with computers nearby will be able to access files on your network and use your internet without you knowing it (If this has already occurred change your username and password quickly, and if you don't know how to do that read the operations manual that came with your Wireless Router). Here are two suggestions on how to secure your network:

Protect your router by changing the default username and password that came with the device.

Set up a security key for your network. 

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking the Start Button, and then clicking the Control Panel. In the search box type Network, and then click Network Sharing Center.
  2. Click Set Up a new connection or network.
  3. Click Set up new network and then click Next.

The wizard will walk you through creating a network name and a security key. I recommend you choose WPA2 over WPA or WEP as it is a better form of security.

Additional Information: Consider installing a firewall to keep out malicious softwares and hackers. Having firewalls in each computer connected to a network will help control the spread of malicious software on your network.

Adding computers to your network

Connect your computer to the network by clicking on the wifi icon in the notification area. In the list of networks choose your network name and click connect. Enter your security key and you should have connected to your wireless network.

And that's it - your wireless network is ready to go. You can now enjoy the benefits of being able to connect wirelessly without pesky wires or a limited working boundary.

Find out how you can also have your business online without the hassle of handling hardware for costly infrastructure by hosting reliably and at a cost effective price with EVERWORKS datacenter hosting solution.

How much would you invest into hardware to set up your own personal wireless network architecture for your own personal business?

Computer designed by Matthew Hawdon from the Noun Project

Friday 3 October 2014

Words that shouldn't appear on your blog anywhere

"Sorry I haven't blogged lately... There has been a lot going on of late"

"Oh shucks when was the last update?"

"Oops when was the last time I blogged?"

It is understood that blogging consistently is a good thing, it makes your ranking on Google better, teaches people when to expect to come back for new content, and it adds to the great amount of information on the internet. It builds trust. To a certain extent if you don't blog often enough people will forget about you.

All of this is true.

However, writing those words above just brings the spotlight on the fact that you have not blogged for a very long time. 

Not blogging often and consistently is a guilty truth makes you get this massive cloud of guilt that comes pouring down that somehow causes an inevitable need to confess, explain, or provide an excuse to make up for the lacking consistency.

Take this to heart.

"The blog you write isn't your mother. You don't have to explain why you didn't do something when you ought to have done so."

I, your reader, often don't notice you have not blogged. I have a vast amount of other reads that I follow on the internet that keeps me occupied not just your blog. Even if I did notice, I would have come to my own conclusions or if your content was great, wait for the next post.

I write this blog post because I come across a large number of blogs that have numerous posts with apologies and this leaves me an impression that their whole blog is a series on how they haven't blogged. Even if the post contained super content it would either been missed or bookmarked for later often leading to it not being read. 

If you still feel the need to explain don't use "busy" because being busy is a lousy explanation.

Instead add a cheerful one liner "Hey I was delving deeper into newer topics that would benefit Malaysian tech businesses and boy do I have tales to share!"

Adding more positivity is a more encouraging read compared to negativity.

Most times: People just want to read the good stuff. Information that really matter to them.

Coming back after some time gives great temptation to write complex posts, but readers normally don't notice. So simplify to get ahead. Stay in touch with how you should write your posts.

Improve your contents with outlines. Make it easier for readers to skim through the content and find what they find most relevant or in general just make it a nicer read!

In conclusion what you write is important and finding readers to share with your ideas and thoughts are equally as important. So beef up your SEO with a good idea of the importance of server location. Also maximize your SEO with Tips on Google Analytics!

With all that being said, sometimes you will need a place to put up your blog, writings, website reliably find out more about EVERWORKS's reliable hosting and 6-hour guarantee!

Do you have any experience with any words that you think shouldn't appear on a blog anywhere?

Blog designed by WARPAINT Media Inc. from the Noun Project