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Overview of Amazon Web Services Security Processes

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AWS’ Chief Information Security Officer Stephen Schmidt released this presentation last week on  At 27 pages, this presentation is packed full of excellent content and great information on the direction AWS is going on for ensuring security and compliance.  He discusses certifications, SAS70 Type II security, physical security, Amazon EC2, network, S3, Simple DB, and SQS security topics as well.  He also covers CloudFront and Elastic MapReduce security initiatives and plans.

It is a great tutorial to the strategies and initiates AWS is pursuing to make their platforms scalable, secure and reliable.   Be sure to check out this page on the AWS site for more information on security:

Netflix in the Cloud – Lessons Learned Deploying AWS

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Adrian Cockcroft, Cloud Architect at Netflix recently published a summary slide deck of a presentation he will be giving on November 3rd at QConSF.  It is a fascinating look into how Netflix chose AWS and the lessons learned.  Adrian discusses the presentation on his blog here.

It is going to be very interesting to see the entire slide deck after QConSF, which is when Adrian plans to upload it per a note on his blog.

SaaS Is For Closers – How High Performance Sales Teams Use OnDemand Apps to Beat Competitors

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There are plenty of sales teams exceeding their sales quotas today.

Much of their success comes from the commitment their companies have to creating sales training systems that are delivered over SaaS platforms. From Proctor & Gamble, which has a state-of-the-art sales training system delivered entirely over the Web, to General Electric who also has an exceptional sales training program and many others, there are companies investing heavily in SaaS-based training platforms for their sales and distribution networks.  Many smaller software companies I have worked with use as the development platform to create their own sales and partner training systems entirely in-house as well.  This area of SaaS application development is proliferating today.  Here are several take-aways from the activity going on right now.


Of the thirteen companies I know of who have created their own sales training system entirely on a SaaS platform within the last year, seven have met or exceeded their sales quotas in their latest fiscal year.  This is a 53% success rate.

What is going on is that the companies who beat their quotas launched their OnDemand training systems months before a major revenue event, including new product introductions and planned bundling campaigns.  The result was a major increase in sales efficiency due to the accelerated and focused training.

  • SaaS Training Systems Often Turn Into Competitive Analysis Hubs On Steroids. One enterprise software company is using as the platform of choice for creating an entire network of sites and portals on competitive analysis topics and projects.  This has turned into an online community that unifies direct and channel partner sales with knowledge.  It is very effective in distributing competitive pricing and strategy ideas on how to beat competitors on deals.
  • Putting Tribal Knowledge to Work Selling. Taking the knowledge inside a company that is learned over time and getting it included in an online training system is invaluable.  All companies in the 53% who are beating their quotas have done this.  Their training managers are experts at gleaning tribal knowledge out of the company and getting it into the online learning systems so sales can use it to sell.
  • Role-based learning that can be tailored to different selling scenarios is a must-have. This is what the platform does very well, it allows these companies, many of them in the B2B manufacturing arena, to create role-based learning paths and programs for their sales teams.  Each member of a team has to go through the online training and score at a sufficient level to get more leads and get out to customers.  The more they learn the more they earn.

Bottom line: Sales training is the secret weapon many companies are using to beat their competitors on deals today.  The ability to deliver training anytime, anywhere on a SaaS platform just strengthens a sales force even more.  Add in putting tribal knowledge to work and creating online competitive analysis hubs, and the competitive strengths of a company become even more formidable.

Network Service Providers as Cloud Providers – New Report From Cisco on Cloud Computing Landscape

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In August, 2010 Cisco completed a study that included interviews with 80 enterprise IT decision makers (CIOs, CTOs, and infrastructure VPs) from 43 enterprises and public-sector organizations across industries throughout the US, Europe and India.  In addition, Cisco completed one-one-one interviews with 20 subject-matter experts.

The primary focus of the study was on the adoption of the public cloud for enterprise applications.  The report  Network Service Providers as Cloud Providers Survey Shows Cloud Provision Is a Bright Option can be downloaded here.

Key Take-Aways:

Cisco forecasts that the global market for Cloud Computing Service Revenue will be $43.8B by 2013, with SaaS contributing $29.5B, or 6 7%. Workload migration will also be the greatest in that segment as well.  The study provides additional insight into the IaaS and PaaS key success factors and the implications network service providers. (Click on image to expand it for ease of reading).

The study found that in the Business Processing segment, the greatest near-term opportunity is in SaaS-based ERP, which according to this study is predicted to reach a 13% adoption rate by 2013. This is consistent with International Data Corporation estimates of SaaS-based ERP adoption in comparable time periods.  ERP’s growth on the SaaS platform continues to be constrained by lack of Master Data Management (MDM) functionality, lack of a pervasive mobile APIs on the several SaaS ERP systems launched, and concerns over security of costing. ordering, production, and quality management data. (Click on image to expand it for ease of reading).

Test Driving An Amazon EC2 Micro Instance

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Last month Amazon Web Services launched Micro Instances for EC2, the lowest-cost instance type they have offered to date.  A Micro instance includes 613MB of memory and can support 32- and 64-bit platforms on both Linux and Windows operating systems.

The pricing begins at $0.02 per hour for Linux and $0.03 per hour for Windows.  In addition, a Micro instance supports Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for defining applications, data structures and databases in addition to configurations.  Amazon is also including a templated image to get up and running quickly with a Micro instance as well.

Greg Wilson, who is a Sr. Technical Evangelist for Adobe Systems, produced one of the best tutorials and test drives available, which is shown below. He has also written a blog entry regarding lessons learned which can be found at My dive into the world of Amazon EC2 and the new crazy cheap Micro instance.

Bottom line: Micro instances are going to shift cloud-based development away from compute- and data-intensive application development to smaller applications and web services.  Given the price point, the use of Micro instances could lead to a proliferation of new low-end, utilitarian-like applications as well.

SaaS UK Accounting Market: Opportunities and Challenges

Dennis Howlett, a noted enterprise software blogger for ZDNet and a founding member of the influential online community Enterprise Irregulars, created the presentation below. Dennis is well- known for his expertise in accounting, IT, finance, and taxation among many other areas as well. He is a former technology and tax partner in a British firm of Chartered Accountants, serving in that role for 10 years.

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