Is Infrastructure as a Service for Me?

Here is the presentation we presented today at Microsoft Cloud Service Seminar here in Perth. Fantastic turnout and some great content.

Red Ember Solutions – Microsoft Cloud Seminar – Is IaaS For Me

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What really is “the cloud” or “cloud computing”?

So, what really is “the cloud” or cloud computing?

Well we think “the cloud” is a term which can be used to describe services which are consumed over the internet. “The Cloud” really is the new term used to describe the internet for example “Hey John, can you get that application finished so we can push it up into the cloud”

We feel cloud computing services should bear the following characteristics;

  • Infinitely Elastic – means you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of resources, you should just be able to keep consuming what cloud service you are using until you run out of money.
  • Subscription Based – whatever service you are consuming, it’s paid per X per month, so it could be per user per month, or per X amount of CPU and memory per month but it’s generally in a monthly subscription.
  • Consumption Based – based only on what you consume or what you want as guaranteed consumption. For example, if I have a virtual machine and I’m not paying a minimum amount for memory or CPU, then my monthly bill should only be what I used that month but obviously there is no guarantee. On the other hand, if I want a virtual server with a guaranteed minimum of 1GB of memory and 1Ghz of CPU then I will be charged for that whether I used all of those resources during that month or not.
  • Opex – It’s based on an operational recurring expense, not CAPEX. Allows you to smooth out your spending over the year.
  • The platform on which you are consuming your service has been enabled for multi-tenancy, if it’s not multi-tenanted then perhaps it’s just a managed service?
  • The service must have some level of flexibility, for example you can switch on and off when you want to or change the service, change plans, add users, etc.
  • End user Provisioning – you must have the ability to control the service you are using either via developer API’s or a web portal or some other management tool. Again, if you can’t control it yourself, are you just paying for a managed service?

We hope this clears a few things up for people. In our next post, we’ll explain Public, Private and Internal Clouds.

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Friday Productivity Tip: Broadcast Presentations Powerpoint 2010

With Powerpoint 2010 the PowerPoint Broadcast Slide Show makes it easy for you to share a presentation on the fly with anyone, anywhere, without using any broadcasting tools. Just send a public link (provided by default by Microsoft to any user though Hotmail/LIVE ID login), and you invite will be watching a synchronised view of your slide show in their Web browser, even if they don’t have PowerPoint 2010 installed.


Good luck!

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Tracking your time in Outlook

Outlook contains a great feature if you bill by the hour or want to see where all of the time in your work day goes. It’s called Journal, and it can actually track your work activities not just in Outlook but also Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.

It’s not turned on by default, so if you want to start tracking in Outlook 2007, visit the Go menu and select Journal – or just use the convenient keyboard shortcut Control-8 in any version that has this feature. You will most likely see this message:

Journal message

Click Yes to turn Journal on and then select the activities you want tracked, including appointments, tasks, and your other Office applications:

Journal options

You’ll see a timeline with your activities and you can easily search your journal entries and even add new ones manually if, say, you want to take notes during a phone call or meeting. Just click the Start Timer button to track the length of the interaction.

If you don’t set your Journal Options when you turn this feature on or you ever want to modify these settings, in Outlook 2007 go to ToolsOptions, and click the Journal Options button on the main Preferences tab to revisit them. In Outlook 2010, use FileOptionsNotes and Journal.

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Desktop just gets too cluttered? I have the tool for you

I often find now with my 23″ Samsung HD LCD, that I have too many things open and I like to have multiple applications open on the same screen (in my view). This great utility allows you to create 4 “virtual” desktops so you can organise the things that you’re working on ie. Screen 1 for “social networking” twitter, facebook, rss reader etc, Screen 2 for web browsing and Screen 3 for documents, spreadsheets etc. I’m finding it very useful and I hope you do too.

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Bill Gates talks about energy

Very interesting video.

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Some Tweeting Twittering Tips

Twitter can be a valuable resource for finding out what customers are saying about your company and can build a two-way communication channel where customers are publicly answered and appreciated.
If you’ve only had a small taste of Twitter, the odds are it seemed like a foreign place full of strange customs and behaviours. You wouldn’t be blamed if you wondered off not feeling too comfortable in this odd little world made up entirely by 140 character or less text strings.

Here are some tips which can be helpful to n00bs (newbies);

– the @ symbol is used to highlight your post to the people you want to see it. Think of it as an addressing mechanism (at so-and-so) except that you can easily address multiple people in a single post. @ replies, as they are called, appear to the recipient in their @ reply stream and can be seen by anyone who searches on that person’s @ replies. So if you wanted to Tweet at Red Ember, you would write @redembersol. It’s worth noting that only people following both parties see them if the @ is the first character in the post. To get around this and share your reply with all of your followers, add any other character to be the first in the tweet ie “r @redembersol” without the quote marks.

– the # symbol is called hashtags and are used as an aid in searching. People can search on any hashtags they want to follow.

– short URLs since 140 characters isn’t much space, you don’t want your entire post eaten up by a lengthy link. Most Twitter clients support URL shortening services such as and There are also services like and that host images attached to tweets, replacing them with a short URL.

– RT is an abbreviation for Re-Tweet and represents a message that someone found valuable enough to share with their followers. One service you can provide to your Twitter audience is aggregating and sharing the most useful or interesting tweets that you pick up from the people you follow.

– D means Direct Message, and it’s an alternative to the @ reply. However, you can only DM someone who follows you and you should be wary of what you share via DM versus, say, e-mail. Some DMs have slipped out on rare occasion via search engines that found a way to index what should have been private. More often, I’ve seen users mistype the ‘D’ used to tag a DM and they send their message out to everyone who follows them. Also, be aware that some people don’t check their DMs very often, so you might have to wait days before they notice your message. If you expect a customer to reply to you via DM, be sure you are following them – at least for as long as it takes to complete your interaction (e.g., a product support issue). Likewise, if you need to send a customer a DM, they will need to be following you.

Twitter is only as valuable as the people that you follow. Follow too few, and you’ll wonder what all of the fuss is about. Follow too many or the wrong sort and you’ll be overwhelmed. Follow only those who mesh with your goal for your Twitter identity. You can always create more than one – say, a personal Twitter account for friends and family and another for work.

If you want to tweet from Outlook, there’s a plug-in that will quickly integrate it – it’s very good. Check out Twinbox.

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