Using SSO simplifies processes for both users and administrators. Users need to track and remember fewer passwords, and administrators can control user access in the single location of their SSO provider dashboard, to simplify processes and tighten access control.
Through these SSO providers, ParkMyCloud supports just-in-time provisioning of new users. This means that users are automatically created in ParkMyCloud as they are authenticated from the SSO provider. All the administrator needs to do is email users the organization’s unique ParkMyCloud login link, which can be found in the ParkMyCloud management console.
For more information about configuring SSO for your ParkMyCloud account, please see this article in our support portal – there are instructions for each SSO provider. (You’ll need to have an active ParkMyCloud account in place before you can start adding users from your SSO provider – here’s the signup link if you need to create one first.)
Azure vs. AWS 2017: what’s the deal? There’s been a lot of speculation lately that Microsoft Azure may be outpacing Amazon Web Services (AWS). We think that’s interesting and therefore worth taking a look at these claims. After all, AWS has been dominating the public cloud market for so long, maybe the media is just bored of that story, and ready for an underdog to jump ahead. So let’s take a look.
Is Azure catching up to AWS?
You may have seen some of the recent reports on both Microsoft and Amazon’s recent quarterly earnings. There have certainly been some provocative headlines:
With Amazon and Microsoft reporting their quarterly earnings at the same time, this is a good time to analyze the numbers and see where they stand in relation to one another. Upon closer inspection, here’s what the recent quarterly earnings reports showed:
AWS revenue grew 43% in the quarter, with quarterly earnings of $3.66 billion, annualized to $14.6 billion. Sales and earnings exceeded expectations given by analyst estimates. In the immediate wake of Amazon’s report, the stock went up.
Microsoft reported that its Intelligent Cloud division grew 11% to $6.8 billion, and that the Commercial Cloud division has a annualized run rate of $15.2 billion. These reported earnings only met analyst expectations, and therefore the stock fell by nearly 2 percent within hours.
We think it’s important to note when it comes to Microsoft’s reported earnings the Commercial Cloud business includes Office 365, not just Azure. We have never fully understood why the Office 365 business has been bundled in with Commercial Cloud, given that it’s a very different business than the IAAS services of Amazon and Google to which it is often compared.
Microsoft stated that Azure’s growth rate was 93%, without providing an actual revenue number. Once again, we find this lack of lack of earnings clarity somewhat problematic.
So is Azure bigger than AWS?
Well, currently no. There is little evidence of Azure surpassing AWS, aside from a small research study which pales in comparison to a clear majority of data stating otherwise.
But is Azure growing quickly?
Yes. In this regard, it’s important to consider what factors are at play in Azure’s growth, and whether they hold any weight as far as surpassing Azure outpacing AWS in the future.
Where is Azure actually gaining ground?
Now let’s take a look at what is driving Azure’s growth, and where Azure is gaining ground.
First of all, as companies grow beyond dipping their toes in the water of public cloud, they become more interested in secondary options for diversity and different business cases. Just from our own conversations, we’re finding that more and more AWS users are using Azure as a secondary option. While users might be interested to see what Azure can offer them in comparison, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that it will ultimately surpass AWS.
Take, for example, the results of aresearch survey released by data analytics providerSumo Logic and conducted by UBM Research. According to the survey of 230 IT professionals from 500+ employees, Azure actually beat AWS as the preferred primary cloud provider, taking the lead by a 10 percent margin, with 66 percent of participants preferring Azure as opposed to the 55 percent who relied in AWS.
This research is significant because it’s the first time that survey data on customer preferences has reported Azure taking a lead over AWS. However, the data also revealed that a significant number of enterprises are using more than one cloud provider. While Azure and AWS both take the lead, there is certainly an overlap in participants who use both, in addition to other up-and-coming providers.
Second, enterprises have been committed to a variety of Microsoft products for years. According to UBM Research survey data, over 50 percent of participants who preferred Azure as their primary cloud provider were coming from large enterprises with 10,000+ employees. This makes sense considering that Microsoft has a foothold in terms of relationships and enterprise agreements with these larger organizations and are able to cross-sell Azure.
Third, Azure has a strong base in Europe, where more users report using Azure rather than AWS as their primary provider. In a 451 Research Survey with 700 participants considered to be “IT decision makers,” AWS topped the list among all participants as the preferred provider among 39 percent of participants. While Azure saw an increase in users, it still landed in second place overall at 35 percent. However, among the European participants only, Azure took the top spot, with 43.7 percent naming Azure as their provider, and 32 percent sticking with AWS.
Why does the Azure vs. AWS debate matter?
Why does the Azure vs. AWS 2017 debate matter to, when choosing a new or secondary cloud provider? Well… in terms of market performance, it probably doesn’t. As always, the specific needs of your business are going to be what’s important.
One thing is for certain: the public cloud is growing and it’s here to stay. Let’s not forget that both Google and IBM both have growing public cloud offerings too (and Google is looking to expand their enterprise market this year.) All of this competition drives innovation, and therefore IaaS and PaaS offerings – and perhaps, better pricing.
For the customer, the basic questions remain the same when evaluating public cloud providers:
How understandable are the public cloud offerings to new customers?
How much do the products cost?
Are there adequate customer support and growth options?
As of today, you can now connect to Okta for Single Sign-On (SSO) through the Okta App Network (OAN). This simplifies SSO configuration using SAML 2.0.
Using Okta for Single Sign-On allows administrators to easily add and govern their existing internal users in ParkMyCloud. It also reduces the number of passwords that users need to remember and use.
If you are an Okta customer, it is straightforward to connect to your ParkMyCloud account. First, run your account in admin mode and search for ParkMyCloud on the OAN. All you need from ParkMyCloud is an identifier string, provided in your account settings. Once configured, your users will automatically be added to ParkMyCloud, to the team you specify, after they have been authenticated through Okta.
This makes it extremely simple to get your enterprise users started with parking and saving in ParkMyCloud.
For more details about connecting Okta to your ParkMyCloud account, please see our knowledge base article on the subject.
We also recently added support for OneLogin for SSO, which joined Ping, Google Apps, and Azure Active Directory as SSO options for your ParkMyCloud account.
When you start looking for an instance management tool to help manage your cloud infrastructure costs, you’ll realize there are a lot of options. While evaluating such tools, you need to make sure to have a list of requirements to make sure the software fits your needs and will help you reduce cloud waste. Here are a few items you might want to have on your checklist:
1. High visibility
One factor that contributes to cloud waste is the inability to track cloud instances. In today’s world, cross-cloud and cross-region are must-haves in order to provide high availability and true redundancy. Any modern instance management tool must be able to see all of your instances in one place, or you’re sure to have some fall through the cracks.
You might hate making reports, but solid reporting can be the difference between a well-informed organization and a proverbial dumpster fire. With the help of a good tool, you can generate reports that show the data you need for decision-making, without wasting time.
3. Takes Action
Sure, reports and pretty graphs are nice, but something needs to actually be acted upon in order to make any real difference to your monthly AWS or Azure bill! A lot of tools will gather up that data for you, but you really need something that can actually turn off the lights, so to speak — not just tell you which lights haven’t been turned off.
4. Simple to use UI
The user experience of an application can sometimes go unnoticed, but it’s often the difference between a useful tool and shelfware. One of the main difficulties in determining how easy an interface is to use is that you need to understand who the actual end user will be. The IT administrator who is evaluating products may be able to figure out the interface, but if other team members will need to use it, then their needs must be taken into account.
5. APIs and Automation
With the rise of DevOps practices and automated infrastructures, API access is a must. By enabling inbound actions and outbound notifications, new tools can work seamlessly with existing operations to eliminate wasted resources. Automation should also take into account your naming conventions and tagging standards for optimal integration.
6. Schedule Overrides
Once you’ve started working on solving your cloud waste problem by scheduling resources to turn off when not needed, you need to be able to adapt to the changing needs of the user and the organization. Anyone with proper access to a system should be able to override a given schedule if necessary, since any tool you use should be helping your users get work done.
7. Team Governance
A huge concern when letting users run wild with any new tool is how you can make sure they aren’t going to break anything. Giving someone the minimum required access is a security best practice, but sometimes those access controls can be confusing. In addition to a simple UI, the role-based access controls should also be simple to set up, modify, and understand.
8. Single Sign-On
Some might consider this a nice-to-have, but most enterprises today have started requiring this for all products they use. Users find it easy to sign in without remembering a million credentials, and admins find it more secure and faster to deploy. If SSO is being used within your organization, then you should start picking tools that integrate with it easily.
This is a starting point, but of course when evaluating an instance management tool, make sure to incorporate any unique needs your organization. What else would you include on your checklist?