Industry Buzz

Context Is Key: With DevOps Automation Our Developers Can Focus On Code, Not Servers

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

By Premesh Purayil, CTO, Ranker As a society, we love making lists. Who hasn’t played the game of listing out their favorite movies, books or albums?  At Ranker, we take those lists and allow the world to vote—resulting in a crowdsourced answer to any opinion-based question. We like to call ourselves the Yelp for everything else. I’m not merely talking about typical, “Top 10” lists like best action movies or the best laptop brands– we have those, but they’re not our bread and butter. We dig deep into lists such as the best apps for messing with someone’s life the NBA’s biggest floppers (I’m looking at you LeBron!) and the best websites to waste your time on. Sure, people can go to Google and search for the most talented leading men of Irish descent who have starred in sci-fi thrillers, but all of the results would be biased. We leverage the wisdom of crowds to provide a list based on the most user votes and responses – it’s not necessarily a perfect science, but it’s pretty close. We handle upwards of 5.7 million votes per month, then we have user-generated content. And from there, we leverage data to extract intelligence from it. For example (and to be clear, this is just an example and not scientifically proven), we can determine that a user who likes modern martial arts flicks digs remixes and mashups by The Melker Project, prefers Coke to Pepsi, dislikes Hondas and wears throwback Nike sneakers. That’s a great deal of intelligence and requires a top-notch product to power it. Our team of developers works tirelessly to improve our product. We have to stay one step ahead of the data we are creating. Our users demand real-time responses and the most up to date information. We’re always working on, testing and tweaking new features. It’s very fluid. We maintain a relatively lean team. We’re developers; DevOps is not our core competency. In the past, we constantly had top-level engineers doing configuration and maintenance of servers. It was a huge time suck – we spent about 10 hours per week keeping servers up to snuff. That’s roughly 40 hours a month taken away from  innovating and improving our product. Development is all about context. To have engineers digging into server issues and bouncing back and forth between developing and server management results in a huge loss of context. Developers require concentration and jumping from coding to fighting fires sets back progress. We could’ve hired a full or part time staffer to run our DevOps, but the time spent finding the talent and then budgeting for their salary would have been high. They would’ve had to be remote, while we’d want to keep them in-house. It just wouldn’t have been realistic. Roughly six months ago, we cut over from the public cloud to Rackspace Private Cloud, a move that’s going to reduce our infrastructure spend about 60 percent. And in January we signed on with Rackspace DevOps Automation Service to improve how we deploy and maintain our application stack. We now have the same company that is managing our private cloud handling our DevOps. One team has a deep understanding of how our software stack interoperates with our infrastructure and if there’s an issue they can easily understand it and fix it. Now, if we find an issue, we can get on the phone or submit a ticket and it’s fixed right away, as opposed to my team taking up to several days to get it fixed the old way. And it’s 24×7 – whereas if we hired someone it’d be a single nine-to-five position. Rackspace knows our Private Cloud and knows our systems. They’re the specialists. Prior to leveraging DevOps Automation Service we were all manual. We’d configure a server, take an image and reuse it. If we had to do that 10 times, the process may work four out of those 10 times. If we had to make changes to our front-end web stack – that’s 15 servers – we’d make changes manually and then update each server. With DevOps Automation, those changes and updates happen with the push of a button across all servers. It’s a huge time saver. What it ultimately comes down to is the confidence and comfort level with who is managing our infrastructure – with Rackspace Private Cloud and DevOps Automation Service we know that our hardware and our technology stack is taken care of and we can focus our energy on building a great product. This is a guest post written and contributed by Premesh Purayil, CTO of Ranker a Rackspace customer. Ranker is crowdsourced rankings of everything – topics both entertaining and practical. Ranker is also a platform for individual and fact-based lists, but its primary goal is to use the wisdom of crowds to deliver the best opinions possible about any topic where a list is the best answer.

How to resell r1soft back up services to your customers

Pickaweb Blog -

        We have recently completed a free upgrade for our reseller hosting customers.  R1soft backup/restore is now available. We have found that lots of our resellers would like to offer backup services to their customers, so we have installed r1soft´s cPanel plugin. Giving your customers access to backups and the best part is […]The post How to resell r1soft back up services to your customers appeared first on Small Business Marketing, Domain Names & Web Hosting Blog | Pickaweb. Related posts: Web Hosting Services with cPanel – advantages explained If you are looking around for web hosting services you... What is the difference between shared hosting and reseller hosting? We are often asked what is the difference between shared... Web Designer Hosting Options from Pickaweb If you are a web designer looking for the best...

16 Resources to Generate Leads With Social Media

Social Media Examiner -

Do you want to get more business through social media? Are you looking for new ways to generate leads? As marketers and business owners, you’re constantly looking for potential customers. In this article you’ll find 16 resources to help you generate leads with social media. How to Generate Leads Before you boost your social media lead generation, [...]This post 16 Resources to Generate Leads With Social Media first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

How to Develop a LinkedIn Content Strategy

Social Media Examiner -

Do you have a LinkedIn content strategy? Do you want to maximize exposure of your content on LinkedIn? Reach LinkedIn users with professional, valuable content that stands out, and they’re likely a step closer to pursuing a business relationship with you. In this article, I’ll share four ways content on LinkedIn can help you meet [...]This post How to Develop a LinkedIn Content Strategy first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Amazon WorkSpaces Now Available in Europe

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Amazon WorkSpaces provides a desktop computing environment in the cloud. It gives enterprise IT the power to meet the needs of a diverse user base by providing them with the ability to work wherever and whenever they want, while using the desktop or mobile device of their choice. Today we are bringing Amazon WorkSpaces to Europe, with immediate availability in the EU (Ireland) Region. This new Region joins the existing US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) Regions. The Amazon WorkSpaces Administration Guide contains the information that you need to have to get started as quickly and efficiently as possible. Within this guide you'll find a Getting Started Guide, documentation for WorkSpaces administrators, and WorkSpaces Client Help. -- Jeff;

OpenStack Summit Atlanta: Where To Find Rackspace Specialists

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

OpenStack Summit Atlanta kicks off on Monday. Thousands of stackers will head to the ATL to hear more about OpenStack during keynote sessions, workshops, a design summit and much more. Rackspace will be out in full force hosting a number of speaking sessions, a keynote presentation from Troy Toman and a bunch of other awesome events. You can keep up with all of what’s happening on Twitter with the hashtag #rackstackatl. Here’s a full list of what we’re up to at OpenStack Summit Atlanta (May 12 through May 16): Keynote Presentation Monday, May 12 9:50 a.m. Just Rebels? Or A Rebel Alliance? (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Architect Troy Toman @troytoman) OpenStack’s remarkable progress, traction with users and vibrant community changed the course of computing. But that’s not enough to keep this thing going in the face of intensified competition and mounting complexity. Now we have to get big. That means extending what the cloud can be, embracing interoperability and engaging more diverse contributors. It means coming together to define what users need and making it strong enough to scale. Speaking Sessions Monday, May 12 11:15 a.m. Multi-Tenant Bare Metal Provisioning with Ironic (Featuring Rackspace Software Development Manager Russell Haering @russell_h) 12:05 p.m. So You Want to Be an OpenStack Contributor? (Featuring Rackspace Software Development Manager Rainya Mosher @rainyamosher, Rackspace Software Developer Iccha Sethi @IcchaSethi, Rackspace Principal Architect Egle Sigler @eglute and Rackspace Cloud Technology Instructor Angela Streeter @angelastreeter) Continuous Integration Testing for Your Database Migrations (Featuring Rackspace Software Developer Joshua Hesketh) 2:50 p.m. Laying Cinder Block (Volumes): Use Cases and Reference Architectures (Featuring Rackspace Technology Evangelist Kenneth Hui @hui_kenneth, SolidFire OpenStack Block Storage PTL John Griffith and Open Innovations Lab Principal Architect James Ruddy) 4:40 p.m. Troubleshooting Neutron Virtual Networks (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Technology Instructor Phil Hopkins) 5:30 p.m. Bridging The Gap: OpenStack For VMware Administrators (Featuring Rackspace Technology Evangelist Kenneth Hui @hui_kenneth and VMware Engineering Architect Scott Lowe) You Sir, Sir Vey (Featuring Rackspace Developer Advocate Everett Toews @everett_toews) Vagrant Up Your Rackspace Private Cloud (Featuring Rackspace Sales Engineer James Thorne @jameswthorne) OpenStack – QA Security Code Analysis (Featuring Rackspace Director of Software Security Engineering Jim Freeman @Drolaw) Tuesday, May 13 12:05 p.m. OpenStack Python and the Holy Grail: A New Proposal for Image Portability (Featuring Rackspace Software Developer John Garbutt @johnthetubaguy and Rackspace Cloud Images Product Manager Brian Rosmaita @br14nr) 2:50 p.m. Working with Security Groups (Featuring Rackspace Principal Solutions Architect Jacob Walcik) Automating Service Orchestration with Docker and CoreOS (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Solutions Architect John Yi @jyidiego) 4:40 p.m. Orchestration for Public Cloud: The Experience of Running Heat at Rackspace (Featuring Rackspace Senior Software Development Manager Keith Bray and Rackspace Senior Software Developer Randall Burt) Focusing on Developer Experience and Announcing (Featuring Rackspace Developer Advocates Jesse Noller @jessenoller and Everett Toews @everett_toews) 5:30 p.m. Your OpenStack DevOps Team: Encouraging Innovation with Open Source Development (Featuring Rackspace Development Manager Uma Goring, Rackspace Software Development Manager Rainya Mosher @rainyamosher, Rackspace Software Development Manager Toan Nguyen, Rackspace Cloud Engineering Manager Matt Van Winkle @mvanwink and Mirantis Senior Architect Mike Wilson) Wednesday, May 14 9 a.m. Saved By the Bell: Alerting, Logging, and Monitoring OpenStack with Open Source Tools (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Architect Jason Grimm, Rackspace Sales Engineer James Thorne @jameswthorne and Rackspace Enterprise Architect Vinson Rogers) 11 a.m. Chef for OpenStack Deployment Workshop (Featuring Rackspace Principal Architect Justin Shepherd and Chef Director of Cloud Integrations Matt Ray) 11:50 a.m. Product Development in the Open (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Images Product Manager Brian Rosmaita @br14nr) Using ZeroVM and Swift to Build a Compute Enabled Storage Platform (Featuring Rackspace Software Development Director Camuel Gilyadov @camuelg and Rackspace Director of Next Generation Markets Blake Yeager @Blake_Yeager) Scaling Out OpenStack Clouds in the Enterprise (Featuring Rackspace Technology Evangelist Kenneth Hui @hui_kenneth, Red Hat CTO Office Jan Mark Holzer, Piston Cloud Computing Head of Product Caroline McCrory, Blue Box CEO and Founder Jesse Proudman, HDS CTO of Intelligent Platforms Manju Ramanathpura and Mirantis CEO and Co-Founder Boris Renski) 1:50 p.m. From Infrastructure Administrator To Cloud Architect (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Evangelista Niki Acosta @nikiacosta, Rackspace Cloud Architect Jason Grimm, Rackspace Technology Evangelist Kenneth Hui @hui_kenneth and SolidFire Cloud Solutions Architect Aaron Delp) 3:30 p.m. User Experience in the OpenStack Community (Featuring Rackspace User Experience Designer Jacki Bauer, Red Hat Senior Interaction Designer Liz Blanchard, HP User Experience Designer and User Researcher Pieter Kruithof and Red Hat Technical Staff Member Ju Lim) Preparing to Deploy a Private Cloud (Featuring Rackspace Principal Solutions Architect Jacob Walcik) 4:30 p.m. Making Test-Driven Development [Somewhat] Bearable on OpenStack (Featuring Rackspace Operations Engineer Hart Hoover @hhoover) 5:20 p.m. Learning to Scale OpenStack: An Update from the Rackspace Public Cloud (Featuring Rackspace Linux Systems Engineer Jesse Keating @iamjkeating and Rackspace Software Development Manager Rainya Mosher @rainyamosher) Automation, Orchestration, Confusion? Taking the Discussion Up the Stack (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Solution Architect John Yi @jyidiego, Mirantis Platform Architect Georgy Okrokvertskhov, hastexo CEO and Principal Consultant Florian Haas, Red Hat Senior Software Engineer Steve Baker and GigaSpaces CTO Nati Shalom) Thursday, May 15 9 a.m. Getting Started with OpenStack (Featuring Rackspace Technology Evangelist Kenneth Hui @hui_kenneth and Red Hat Senior Software Engineer Dan Radez) Public Cloud on OpenStack: The Challenge of Knowing What to Push to Production and How to Keep it Running (Featuring Rackspace Cloud Engineering Manager Matt Van Winkle @mvanwink, eNovance Products Vice President Nick Barcet, DreamHost Cloud Vice President Jonathan LaCour and HP Cloud Services Operations Manager Topher White) 9:50 a.m. Federated Identity & Federated Service Provider Support for OpenStack Clouds (Featuring Rackspace Identity Product Manager Joe Savak @joesavak, Rackspace Principal Architect Jorge Williams, IBM Software Developer Steve Martinelli and IBM Distinguished Engineer Brad Topol) 11 a.m. Hands-On Heat Tutorial / Turning Up The Heat (Featuring Cloud Architect Jason Grimm, SUSE Linux Technical Specialist Rick Ashford and SUSE Linux Technical Specialist Cameron Seader) 1:30 p.m. Using Continuous Integration with an Open Source Code Base for Large-Scale Infrastructure Deployments (Featuring Rackspace Software Developer Brian Lamar and Rackspace Software Development Manager Rainya Mosher @rainyamosher) Designate: Interactive Workshop – Install and Operate (Featuring Rackspace Software Developer Emmanuel Ankutse, Rackspace Software Developer Vinod Mangalpally, Rackspace Software Development Manager Joe McBride @mejoe, HP Cloud Services Senior Software Engineer Graham Hayes, HP Cloud DNS Technical Lead Kiall Mac Innes, Red hat Principal Software Engineer Rich Megginson and EBay Inc. Cloud Engineer Ron Rickard) 3:10 p.m. Repose – The OpenStack API Filter (Featuring Rackspace Product Manager Felix Sargent @Antagonist) Neutron at Scale (Featuring Rackspace Software Developer Justin Hammond, Rackspace Systems Engineer Andy Hill @andyhky and Rackspace Systems Engineer Chad Norgan @chadnorgan) Demo Theater Tuesday, May 13 4:20pm  In the expo hall, we’ll host a Demo Theater during which Rackers Erik Carlin and Chris Kuehl will be demonstrate Rackspace’s hybrid cloud capabilities using the public cloud and RackConnect 3.0. #vBrownBag Rackspace is a sponsor of the #vBrownBag technical talks. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 14 Camuel Gilyadov, co-founder of ZeroVM, will showcase the latest and greatest projects at ZeroVM. Developer Discount As part of our continued dedication and support of the developer community and open source, we’re offering OpenStack Summit attendees something special: Sign up for a new Rackspace Cloud account and receive up to $50 in credit per month for six months on your cloud account. This is our way of saying thank you. Visit here for more information. Now go build something awesome! At Our Booth There are a number of activities going on at the Rackspace booth throughout OpenStack Summit Atlanta. We’ll host a Rackspace Cloud Code Challenge during which each attendee who participates and completes the task gets a Scottevest pullover. We’ll also have a lounge area for attendees to sit and complete the challenge. The booth will feature looping video with a list of speakers. We’ll also have copies of the OpenStack Command Guide cheat-sheet on how to get started with OpenStack. And a caricature artist will be on hand. Rackspace is also participating in the booth crawl on Monday, May 12 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We’ll be serving beer, wine and small bites to eat. Other Goodness  And if all that above wasn’t enough, we got some other awesomeness going on throughout OpenStack Summit Atlanta. ZeroVM (a Rackspace company) will have a booth in the expo hall as well (booth No. E55). Swing by and say hello. On Tuesday, May 13, Rackspace will sponsor the developer lounge. Rackspace recruiters will be on-hand throughout the Summit looking for top technical talent and OpenStack experts. Be sure to speak to one of our recruiters for more information. We’re hiring for a number of positions including Senior Python Software Developer, Python Developer (OpenStack Barbican), Software Developer – Test Data Warehouse and Private Cloud Solutions Architect. We can’t wait to see you all at OpenStack Summit Atlanta next week!

Performance Cloud Servers Coming To Australia

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Underperforming servers and failure in the cloud can lead to overly complicated architectures, server sprawl and operational nightmares. When that happens, your architects end up spending precious development time compensating for cloud deficiency rather than building the next killer app. Six months ago we launched our most powerful model of cloud servers that are designed to provide an unparalleled level of application performance—and starting 13 May, our Australian customers can also leverage the reliability of Rackspace Performance Cloud Servers, from our Sydney data centre along with our US and UK data centres. Powered by OpenStack, Performance Cloud Servers inject performance and reliability to the public cloud at a price that doesn’t break the bank. Performance Cloud Servers create a powerful platform for a variety of workloads, ranging from basic web hosting to large scale NoSQL data stores like MongoDB and Cassandra. The first company to use these supercharged servers in Australia is simPRO, a trade professional software company that delivers ERP solutions to more than 1,900 customers worldwide. simPRO Enterprise is a suite of tools specifically designed for trade industry organisations, enabling consumers to operationalise their ERP by placing all the points of the trade process into a cloud-based application. The company originally managed a co-located environment but quickly saw rapid growth that required a much faster solution. They needed more agile performance, higher reliability and greater customer support—so they turned to us. From receiving the initial customer call through to the tradesperson invoicing the job, all documentation and transactions can now be completed in the cloud on Rackspace Performance Cloud Servers. Rackspace Performance Cloud Servers are designed with 100 percent data centre-grade, RAID 10-protected solid-state disks (SSDs), powerful Intel® Xeon® E5 processors, up to 120 Gigabytes of RAM, and 40 Gigabits per second of highly available network throughput to the host. These servers deliver more total performance over existing Cloud Servers, including: 4X more total RAM 2X more total CPU performance 132X more total disk I/O (input/output) 8.3X more total network bandwidth 2.6X more total overall performance Performance Cloud Servers are engineered to deliver speed, reliability, throughput and scale. And as always, our specialists are here to help you architect, build and operate your Performance Cloud Servers in the cloud.

AWS CloudTrail Update - Seven New Services and Support From CloudCheckr

Amazon Web Services Blog -

AWS CloudTrail records the API calls made in your AWS account and publishes the resulting log files to an Amazon S3 bucket in JSON format, with optional notification to an Amazon SNS topic each time a file is published. Our customers use the log files generated CloudTrail in many different ways. Popular use cases include operational troubleshooting, analysis of security incidents, and archival for compliance purposes. If you need to meet the requirements posed by ISO 27001, PCI DSS, or FedRAMP, be sure to read our new white paper, Security at Scale: Logging in AWS, to learn more. Over the course of the last month or so, we have expanded CloudTrail with support for additional AWS services. I would also like to tell you about the work that AWS partner CloudCheckr has done to support CloudTrail. New ServicesAt launch time, CloudTrail supported eight AWS services. We have added support for seven additional services over the past month or so. Here's the full list: Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Elastic Block Store (EBS) Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Relational Database Service (RDS) Identity and Access Management (IAM) Security Token Service (STS) Redshift CloudTrail Elastic Beanstalk - New! Direct Connect - New! CloudFormation - New! Elastic MapReduce - New! Elastic Load Balancing - New! Kinesis - New! CloudWatch - New!  Here's an updated version of the diagram that I published when we launched CloudTrail: News From CloudCheckr CloudCheckr (an AWS Partner) integrates with CloudTrail to provide visibility and actionable information for your AWS resources. You can use CloudCheckr to analyze, search, and understand changes to AWS resources and the API activity recorded by CloudTrail. Let's say that an AWS administrator needs to verify that a particular AWS account is not being accessed from outside a set of dedicated IP addresses. They can open the CloudTrail Events report, select the month of April, and group the results by IP address. This will display the following report: As you can see, the administrator can use the report to identify all the IP addresses that are being used to access the AWS account. If any of the IP addresses were not on the list, the administrator could dig in further to determine the IAM user name being used, the calls being made, and so forth. CloudCheckr is available in Freemium and Pro versions. You can try CloudCheckr Pro for 14 days at no charge. At the end of the evaluation period you can upgrade to the Pro version or stay with CloudCheckr Freemium. -- Jeff;

Delivering great video and audio on Twitter, made simple

The Twitter Developer Blog -

Video clips and audio streams have a special place on the Twitter platform thanks to the Player Card. By implementing a few meta tags on your website and following the Twitter Rules of the Road, you can bring your rich media to your followers and millions of other users across the globe. Two great examples below, courtesy of @codeorg and @SoundCloud: In response to feedback from developers, we’ve recently updated our online documentation to include sample code, case studies and clearer direction on how to implement a secure and beautiful media experience on Twitter. Check out the updated Player Cards documentation and pull our GitHub repo to get your hands dirty. And thanks again to all the developers who provided the input that helped make using Player Cards easier.

Email Hosting: The Road To Competitive Advantage [Infographic]

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Email is a critical business communication tool. It houses valuable intellectual property and business assets. Businesses need reliable email to maintain productivity, protect the organization from email-borne threats and reduce the frequency of unplanned downtime. The right hosted email partner can be a game changer for business by helping to maintain email accessibility and performance while keeping employees focused on the high-value tasks that drive a competitive advantage. The below infographic highlights some mind-boggling numbers related to business email.

Top 7 Mistakes in Web Design

Homestead Small Business Blog -

An attractive, usable web design will help users spend more time on your site and trust you and your business more. If you want your visitors to associate you with quality, set yourself apart by avoiding these top mistakes in website design.1. Poor NavigationHelp your users get around your site – or else they will leave and find the information they were looking for somewhere else. Navigation is expected to be on the top of the page below the header or on the left-hand side – if it is somewhere else, it needs to work harder to be noticed. Make sure each link is large enough that it is easy to click, and has enough white space around it to keep all the pages from blending together.Now that you can avoid a few common mistakes, your site will come across as being more authoritative and attractive. What are your pet peeves about business websites? Are there any small business sites you see as being examples of what to aspire to?2. Searching for SearchA huge portion of website users navigate primarily using search. Don’t force these users to take the time to understand your site’s organization. Search fields are often placed within the header, and impatient people might not look farther for it if it’s not there.Search results also need to be high quality, and presented in a readable way. Take your guidance from Google and Bing, because those formats are what most people anticipate when viewing search result pages.3. Mixed MessagesDo you have too many things going on with your site? Make sure each page has a specific call to action, instead of barraging your visitor with too many offers or details. This is not a reason to make moving around the site more difficult, but you should make sure different page elements are not vying for attention. Simply make your email, phone number, or sign up button presentable and clear.4. Complicated FontsTrying to decipher a new font could distract a visitor at best, and might even prevent them from reading anything on your site. And if they do not have the font you are using installed on their computer, the text might default to an unintended font that will be even more distracting because it doesn’t match. And if you want to brand your business name successfully, people need to be able to read your header.5. No Images – or No TextLanding on a page and being hit by a wall of text does not make a good impression. At the same time, images can’t go far without words. If your visitors want to learn about your business, they need to be able to both read about it and see it for themselves.An important factor for both images and text is leaving enough white space. Giving the eye room to rest instead of overloading the page with content is critical.6. 90s DesignIt’s not hard to figure out what kinds of designs look outdated. Repetitive or garish backgrounds, pixelated photos, and moving or flashing text are sure signs that your site has been around the block. Cheap HTML tricks or Flash movies can lose both your customers’ interest and their trust in your brand. And, please, no pop-ups or background music!An old design can also make users distrust the facts on your site. After all, if the design is still the same, people assume the content hasn’t changed, either – and no one wants to call a phone number that’s 10 years old.7. Too Many AdsYour whole site is an advertisement for your own business – don’t distract your users’ attention with advertisements for other products and services. Though ads might seem like a way to subsidize your website costs, every click you get paid for is a click away from your site. Plus, ads (especially text ads) are ugly, and can quickly discredit your site.

What Cloud Is Best For SharePoint?

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Here is an interesting number: 19,700,000. That’s the number of results I received when I did a Bing search on “Cloud Computing.” (For Google – there were 310 million results.) If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that my world is squarely focused on Microsoft Technologies and specifically SharePoint. What I’d like to discuss today is what cloud is best for SharePoint. There are three different types of clouds that we need to consider for SharePoint: Private Cloud Public Cloud SaaS Private Cloud A private cloud makes use of virtualization – but that virtualization runs on a server that only they use. That server would be called a dedicated hypervisor. The primary benefit to this configuration is that you get all of the resources of the hypervisor without having to share them with anyone else. The downside is that it is often more costly because you have to pay for the entire hypervisor. Public Cloud A public cloud makes use of virtualization as well, but the hypervisor it’s using is potentially shared by other companies or services. This server will run the same version of your operating system as a private cloud, but you will have to share the resources of the hypervisor. The result is you can’t guarantee the VM’s performance because you don’t know if it is going to be running another payload on that same server. SaaS Software as a Service is the model where the hypervisor and the VM are actually obscured from you and all that is exposed is the end application – in this case, SharePoint. Office365 is an excellent example of this. Here you are trusting the provider (Microsoft) to run the application is an “available and permanent” way. Here are Rackspace, we run our SharePoint payloads primarily on a private cloud (dedicated to each customer) and most times we use VMware as the technology provider of choice using EMC storage. EMC has proven to be an excellent technology provider with solutions that enable us to deliver to our customers the options they require. These options could be technical or  driven by price. Hopefully this quick primer into the different types of cloud will help you decide where to place you SharePoint workload. For more information on Rackspace and its relationship with EMC, come visit our booth (No. 256) at EMC World in Las Vegas this week. Check out where our Rackspace specialists will be throughout the event.

Top 10 Most Shared Facebook Photos from Popular Parenting Pages

Post Planner -

My 3 kids are all younger than 7, so I follow lots of parenting blogs & Facebook pages. I do this to get the latest news & advice on stuff like: craft projects vacation recommendations how to deal with a temper tantrum etc. The tips run the gamut! This week, I used Post Planner’s new viral photo finder to find the most shared Facebook photos from 11 popular pages about parenting. Viral photos from some of these pages surprised me. I show you at the end of this post how I found these popular photos & how you can too. Enjoy the pics! Top 10 Most Shared Facebook Photos from Popular Parenting Pages 1. Being Mommy >> Click to Tweet // Post by Being Mommy. 2. I Love My Kids >> Click to Tweet // Post by I Love My Kids. 3. Smart Parenting Magazine >> Click to Tweet // Post by Smart Parenting Magazine. 4. >> Click to Tweet // Post by 5. Practical Parenting Magazine >> Click to Tweet // Post by Practical Parenting Magazine. 6. I Love Being a Mom >>Click to Tweet // Post by I Love Being a Mom. 7. I Love My Family ( >> Click to Tweet // Post by I Love My Family ( 8. Super Moms >> Click to Tweet // Post by Super Moms. 9. Honest Mom >> Click to Tweet // Post by Honest Mom. 10. Boston Parents Paper >> Click to Tweet // Post by Boston Parents Paper. BONUS! How To Be a Dad (for the Dad’s out there!) >> Click to Tweet // Post by HowToBeADad. Find Viral Photos to Share on Facebook Want to know my secret for finding the most shared Facebook photos on any page? I explain it all here: The post Top 10 Most Shared Facebook Photos from Popular Parenting Pages appeared first on Post Planner.

Mike Hultquist: chili pepper & jalapeño chef

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

Bored of bland food, Mike Hultquist needed to add some more flavor to his palate back in his college days. So, he decided to combine his love of pepper and spice and start his websites, Today, he writes and creates culinary recipes for people brave enough to handle habaneros or those simply looking for just a little kick of heat. Come see how Mike uses Pinterest to share chili techniques, connect with other chefs, and even promote his new book! Mike, can you give us a quick peek into your background as a chef, writer, and spicy food blogger? I’ve cooking with chili peppers and have been a chili pepper enthusiast for over 20 years. I have a background in writing – novels, feature films – but have always had a huge passion for peppers and spicy food. I started the site to explore my love of jalapenos, and it naturally grew from there to where I expound on all things chili peppers, though I have a heavy focus on cooking. How did you get into experiencing, blogging about, and cooking with chilies? It started back around the college days when I had to learn to cook. I quickly grew bored of bland food and needed to spice things up. I realized an affinity for cooking the more I did it, mostly because of the passion for it. I use the blog and my sites as a way to share what I learn and what I am passionate about. I love to share my love of peppers and spice. We’ve been looking through your “chili pepper spicy food recipes” board and preparing our taste buds to try some recipes. How do you use Pinterest to discover a new side of spice? I use Pinterest as a way to share the visual side of what we do here. I blog with my wife, Patty, and she is becoming a heck of a photographer. Food is highly visual and we are working to improve that part of our work. People love the visual nature of Pinterest and it’s only natural for us to utilize such a great system. I also use Pinterest to explore what other cooks and bloggers are doing, as well for other non-cooking related interests, like design ideas for my new office. Follow Chili Pepper Madness’s board Our Jalapeno Poppers and Stuffed Chili Peppers Cookbook on Pinterest. I also have boards dedicated to books. For example, I produced a book called “Jalapeno Poppers and Other Stuffed Chili Peppers” and I have a board dedicated specifically to that here: With food being so highly visual, it is important to promote your work through photos, especially a cookbook. Pinterest also allows me to add photos that aren’t in the cookbook, which helps potential buyers to see the recipes or variations thereof. For someone looking to put a little spice in their meals, where do you begin especially now with Spring and Summer rolling around? With planting season upon us, it is time to get those seeds plants or get those seedlings in the ground, depending on your zone. Some people in the south are already harvesting, those lucky dogs. With access to fresh peppers, I say incorporate them into anything and everything. Freshly harvested peppers are incredibly delicious and can add both zing and heat to your meal. Consider roasting them for an even different flavor. With salsas, the possibilities are endless. So many fresh ingredients! It is fun to play with different combinations and cooking techniques, which I explore in the book. What do you recommend for someone who can’t handle spicy foods? There is a huge range of spice level in chili peppers. I like to cook with peppers of all types, even bell peppers, which have no heat, to poblano peppers, which have only a low level of heat, all the way up to the superhots. If you’re not used to spicy food, start low and move your way up. I started with jalapenos and used to think they were crazy spicy. Now I eat 4-5 at a time. I moved up through habanero peppers, which I LOVE, and regularly eat superhots like 7 Pots, Ghost Peppers, Scorpions and more. Also, keep a dairy product on hand, like milk. Chemicals in the dairy will help counteract the heat element in the peppers if you go a little overboard. Follow Chili Pepper Madness’s board Spicy Seafood Recipes on Pinterest. Do you have any advice for growing chilies in the garden? Same as with cooking. Check the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on a particular pepper type before growing. The higher the SHU, the hotter the pepper. Jalapenos are about 5,000 SHU, while a habanero is around 300,000 SHU. The hottest is over 2 Million SHU. Whoa! Chili peppers are pretty forgiving when growing, but treat them with care. Be sure to pick often to keep them producing, and learn some simple preserving techniques so you can eat them throughout the winter season. Any crazy chili stories or adventures that added some heat to your life? When I was about 5 years old, my sister dared me to chomp on a chili pepper she pulled from the fridge. She knew it was hot, but I didn’t. I took a bit and felt the burn immediately, but wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of reacting. But when my eyes teared up, she laughed and laughed. Little did she know she got me hooked! Now, I think I’m the one who is adding heat to others’ lives. I’m known around the neighborhood and in the local restaurants as the guy who likes it hot. We throw a fiesta party every year and people look for my superhot blends or homemade sauces. When I walk into my favorite local Mexican restaurant, the cook automatically tosses peppers on the grill. I bring my own spicy chili powders when I go out for pizza and that always sparks a conversation. People often want to try the powders and get a real kick! My preferred powders is a blend of scorpion and 7 pot peppers. Quite hot! I enjoy encouraging people to bring chili peppers into their lives. They’re so great! One of Nature’s perfect foods. Thanks Mike for showing us how to add some spice into our lives with food! If you want to see more of how Mike is heating up his dishes, check out hiswebsite and Pinterest boards!

New Funding for Automattic

Matt Mullenweg Blog (Founder of WordPress) -

I’ll start with the big stuff: Automattic is raising $160M, all primary, and it’s the first investment into the company since 2008. This is obviously a lot of money, especially considering everything we’ve done so far has been built on only about $12M of outside capital over the past 8 years. It was also only a year ago I said “Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained.” I was wrong, but I didn’t realize it until I took on the CEO role in January. Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster. Also our cash position wasn’t going to be terribly strong especially after a number of infrastructure and product investments this and last year. So part of my 100-day plan as CEO was to figure out what new funding could look like and we found a great set of partners who believe in our vision for how the web should be and how we can scale into the opportunity ahead of us, though it ended up taking 110 days until the first close. (Our other main areas of focus have been improving mobile, a new version of, and Jetpack.) This Series C round was led by Deven Parekh of Insight Ventures, and included new investors Chris Sacca, Endurance, and a special vehicle True Ventures created to step up their investment, alongside our existing secondary investors from last year, Tiger and Iconiq. (There is a second close soon so this list might change a bit.) There was interest significantly above what we raised, but we focused in on finding the best partners and scaled it back to be the right amount of capital at the right valuation. Deven and Insight share our long term vision and are focused on building an enduring business, one that will thrive for decades to come. WordPress is in a market as competitive as it has ever been, especially on the proprietary and closed side. I believe WordPress will win, first and foremost, because of its community — the hundreds of core developers and large commercial companies, the tens of thousands of plugin and theme developers, and the millions of people who build beautiful things with WordPress every day. Automattic is here to support that community and invest the full strength of our resources to making WordPress a better product every day, bringing us closer to our shared mission of democratizing publishing. But a majority of the web isn’t on an open platform yet, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. Back to it! You can read more about the news by Kara and Liz on Recode: Parent Automattic Has Raised $160 Million, Now Valued at $1.16 Billion Post-Money.

AWS Week in Review - April 28, 2014

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Let's take a quick look at what happened in AWS-land last week: Monday, April 28 We announced an Important Change for your AWS Secret Access Keys. We announced that Amazon SNS Now Supports Server Name Indication (SNI), Along With Other HTTPS Enhancements. Tuesday, April 29 We announced a New Location for the AWS Blog. We announced New CloudWatch Metrics for Amazon Simple Workflow. We announced a Price Reduction for AWS Storage Gateway, Along With Suppport for Symantec Backup Exec. The AWS PHP Development Blog announced the Release of Version 2.6.1 of the AWS SDK for PHP. The AWS .NET Development Blog published Part 4 of an series on Access Key Management for .NET Applications: IAM Roles For Amazon EC2 Instances. Wednesday, April 30 We announced Domain Name Health Checks for Route 53. Thursday, May 1 We announced a new feature that lets you Tag Your Auto Scaled EC2 Instances. The AWS Security Blog tells you What to Do If You Inadvertently Expose an AWS Access Key. Friday, May 2 We published AWS customer success stories from Baylor college of Medicine and Z2. Stay tuned for next week! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the RSS feed. -- Jeff;


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