Tag Archives: Cloud

Choosing the right MS SQL editions and implementation

thumbnailI have frequently come across a situation where, clients are usually confused about the selection of MS SQL edition and whether they should go on-premise or on cloud. And given the fact that there are other IaaS players too, selection of hosting a SQL server on cloud becomes even more difficult.


Editions of  2016 MS SQL 

Microsoft recently launched  2016 MS SQL editions. They are available in 4 flavors: Express, Standard, Enterprise and Developer

Here is the brief summary of what these editions are meant for :

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 1.20.04 PM


Although there is a lot of information available on Microsoft’s website, I have filtered out some of the most important features of different  2016 editions  which should be considered before finalizing which edition is right for you.

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* Basic HA – restricted to 2 node single database failover, and non readable secondary db. Basic HA ensure data availability so your data is not lost with basic HA and a fast two nodes non-readable synchronous replica.

** Advanced HA – Always On- availability groups, multi-database failover with readable secondaries.

On-premise deployment.

There are 4 costs associated in an op-premise set up.

  1. Infra cost
  2. Hardware
  3. Licenses cost
  4. Personnel

I would like to focus only on licensing cost. There are 2 types of licenses available for SQL Standard editions

  1. Server + CAL license:   Cost of MS SQL server is  $ 931 and $ 209 per Client access license (CAL) which is either used based or device based.
  2. Core based license :  $ 3,717 per core, in 2 core packs. There is no restriction on the number of users or devices which can access the server in this type of license.

On Cloud deployment:  

The benefit of spinning up SQL server on cloud is it’s fast, easy and you also have an option of getting a fully managed SQL instances.

Comparison of costs on Azure, AWS and Softlayer

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 6.36.28 PM

Below tables shows the configurations which were considered.

For AWS and IBM SoftLayer
CONF 1 2 8 100
CONF 2 4 16 200
CONF 3 8 32 400
CONF4 16 64 800

For Azure
CONF 1 2 7 100
CONF 2 4 14 200
CONF 3 8 28 400
CONF4 16 56 800

The graph shows clearly that SoftLayer is the cheapest when compared to both AWS and Azure. Following are the added advantages with IBM SoftLayer :

  1. Data download limit of 250 GB with virtual instances and 500 GB with Bare Metal instances
  2. There is no inter DC charges
  3. The instances are not bundled, so you have the flexibility of increasing or decreasing cores, RAM and HDD independently which is not in the case of Azure

Comparing the cost of on-cloud vs on-premise is  little tricky. You need to take the following things in to account :

  1. When is your server hardware refresh due: This is important because assuming you have recently invested in the hardware  and the next refresh is due only after 3 years, then you will incur only the license cost of MS SQL. In this case, most of the times, going for an on-premise will make more sense.
  2. No. of users in the organization:  Assuming you only have 20 -25 users and there is a lot of uncertainty about the increase or decrease of the no. of users, then in this case, most of the times, on-cloud will make sense. You just have to purchase the server license and then you can take CALs from your cloud service provider which comes in a minimal monthly cost.

In case you want to need to know more about the implementation and pricing on SoftLayer and want to do a TCO for your implementation then, you can reach out to me on this link or drop a comment here.


Essentials of Mobile App hosting on cloud

Beginning your Mobile App  hosting on cloud requires a lot of decisions to be considered.  What type of Cloud service I want to take, IaaS or PaaS. What are the components are required to finish the mobile hosting

These are PaaS services one would require to host Mobile App :

  • Mobile Gateway : Mobile Gateway acts as an entry point to the cloud provider services for end users. It provides the following services
    1. Authentication
    2. Policy enforcement
    3. API Invocation Analtyics
  • Mobile back end : This is the actual platform where most of the functionalities happen. When you design a mobile app, this is the first thing which you have to consider :
    1. App Logic / API Implementation
    2. Mobile App Operational Analystics
    3. Push Notifications
    4. Location services
    5. Mobile Data Sync
    6. Mobile App security

       Most PaaS provider have a lot of services available for each of these functionalities

  • Data Services: Mobile App usually work on unstructured data with a relatively less requirement for structured data. Following are the services which you should look to take from PaaS provider:
    1. Mobile App Data / NoSQL
    2. File Repositories
    3. Cache
  • Mobile Device Management: These services are typically provided to enterprise customers who offer mobility for their employees. They include:
    1. Enterprise App Distribution
    2. Mobile Device Security
    3. Device Management
    4. Device Analytics

Enterprise use these services to manage the laptops, mobile phones and tablets     given to the employees working on the go.

  • Mobile Business Applications: These are the set of services which are helps the marketers to understand their customers better and execute personalized marketing campaigns. Typically, below services are provided :
    1. Proximity services and Analytics
    2. Campaign Management
    3. Business Analytics and Reporting
    4. Work flow / Rules
  • Security services : Needless to say, security is the most imporatant aspect of any application and when it’s mobile application, it becomes even more important. Below are the services which you should consider to implement while executing security services :
    1. Identity and Access Management
    2. Data and Application Protection
    3. Security Intelligence

There are differed products/services provided by different vendors and I will be covering those products in the coming blogs.

In addition to these you use IaaS to get the following services:

Compute: It depends on what type of computing services you want to implement or to get started with. You have following options to choose from :

  1. Virtual Machines
  2. Container Services
  3. Run time environment services

The faster you want to get started, lesser will be the control on your computing services. For Example, Virtual Machine provide the maximum control but at the same time you have to be technically very sound to host your application and set up the entire environment

Network Services: Bandwidth is the most important aspect of networking services. Typically IaaS providers don’t charge for in-bound traffic but they charge for out bond data. Go service provider which offers maximum data out bound limit. If your app is streaming videos or audio, then you need a Content Delivery Network. This streams and cache the data in the nearest server to the user to decrease the latency.

Storage Services: If your workload involve transactional data, go for Block storage, where as if it involves Unstructured data, Object storage will be a better option.

Essentials of Big Data and Analytics on Cloud

indexStarting a Big Data and Analytics (BDA) project on cloud is not only faster, but also quite cheaper. I have come across many clients who want to start their BDA project, but they don’t proceed or I will say they delay thinking about the upfront cost, required skills and execution time. All these can be well taken care of if they start their project on cloud.

The challenge for them is to decide upon which what cloud services they should go for and which vendor to select. Here is a list of the services which are currently available on cloud and will be a good idea to consider them to start BDA project.

1. Edge Services :  This act as an interface between your users, data and Cloud services provider. It serves the following purposes

  • DNS resolution
  • CDN services
  • Firewall
  • Load balancers

This is typically available as IaaS from companies like, IBM, AWS, Microsoft etc.

2. Data Streaming : This is primarily for data in motion. You need data streaming for

  • Real time analytical processing
  • Data Augmentation

Data Streaming tools are available as SaaS on various cloud market places.

3. Data integration: Data from different sources are delivered to the cloud service provider by using Edge services then go through the following to extract insights from it :

  • Data Staging
  • Data quality checks
  • Transformation and loading

These are also available was SaaS on various Cloud Market places.

4. Data Repositories: Data repository consist of both data in motion ( from streaming services) and data at rest (after Data integration process) and then prepares the data for the various Analytical engines. Data repositories are meant for the following functionalities:

  • Data warehousing
  • Landing, exploration and archive
  •  Deep Analytics and modelling
  • Interactive Analytics and Reporting
  • Catalog

Earlier not many SaaS offerings were available for Data repository services. But now there are many SaaS offerings available on different cloud market places.

5. Actionable Insights: Data from Data repository is then fetched in to a variety of tools to extract insights. Typically you need different tools to perform the following:

  • Decision Management
  • Discovery and Exploration
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Analysis and Reporting
  • Content Analtyics
  • Planning and Forecasting
  • Visulization

In addition to the above services you do get Data Security an Governance services on cloud. There are multiple vendors providing either all or part of the above services. The market is flooded with services and to select one service or vendor really require a lot of research and many points to be considered.