Applied Cloud Systems named Barracuda’s Cloud Partner of the Year!

Pittsburgh based firm awarded with esteemed honor

Carnegie, PA (August 12, 2019) – Applied Cloud Systems: Applied Cloud Systems, a Managed Gold Microsoft Partner focusing on the Microsoft Cloud, including Azure, Dynamics 365, PowerBI, and Office365 was recently named Barracuda’s Cloud Partner of the Year. The award ceremony occurred during Barracuda’s Cloud Summit at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, NV on July 25.

The 2019 Cloud Partner of the Year award recognizes partners who deliver exceptional support for Barracuda and their product portfolio. Alden Spraggins, Public Cloud Channel Manager, North America, stated “ACS was an early adopter of our Cloud Ready Program and is a leading evangelist for Barracuda’s security proficiencies in Azure. As Microsoft is shaping their partner ecosystem to be more services oriented, it is great to work with a partner that is well ahead of that curve. It helps that we can trust ACS to not present Barracuda as a tool but as a solution to real-life problems that a customer needs to resolve for their clients.”

Left to right: Alden Spraggins, T.J. Barry, Jeff Johnson

The Cloud Summit brought together a diverse group of partners to connect and learn with their peers. Applied Cloud Systems’ V.P. of Cloud Solutions, T.J. Barry was speaking at the event and was present to accept the award. He expressed that “The Barracuda Cloud Summit was a great event that allowed us as partners, to collaborate and gain perspective on Barracuda’s cloud offerings. They have the first ecosystem that leverages on-demand cloud computing to simplify data security, storage and IT management. Our cloud expertise is a complementary component of all Barracuda products, providing an added layer of protection, scalability, and cloud first architecture.”

The ACS team often aligns with Barracuda to provide stellar security and data protection solutions. They are the number one resource for Network and Application Security, Data Protection, and Deployments. The partnership has grown to be an asset for both parties. James Hughes, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of ACS noted, “Our partnership with Barracuda has been tremendous for our companies and more importantly our joint customers. We are excited at the level of innovation we are seeing with the Barracuda products and solutions that will help our cloud customers achieve their security goals.”

Applied Cloud Systems has a robust portfolio that includes customers across the country. With valued partnerships, ACS is increasing velocity in the educational, healthcare, and enterprise verticals. They pride themselves on employing full stack engineers that can leverage their past experiences to provide a level of agility to how the team delivers. As the offerings in the cloud expand, they are committed to staying educated in their strength areas to assist, guide, and transition customers on their cloud journey.

Free Barracuda Audit

We’ve been seeing an uptick in customers looking for solutions that protect against email impersonations. Employees on auto-piolet can be easily tricked as they blindly trust emails from their boss, collogues or business application (O365). If you are seeing these attacks, we’ve been offering a free audit of 365 email environments to help identify latent threats, top-impersonated employees and those most at risk for an attack.

Click here to get your free audit!

Software Assurance Planning Services

Applied Cloud Systems is a certified managed Microsoft
Partner, and can assist in making the most of your deployment vouchers.

Start planning your deployments today for the following services:

Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS)

DDPS helps you plan a successful deployment of Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus, Office Professional Plus, and the Windows operating system—providing analysis, planning, and technical guidance. Discover the best approach for deploying Office and Windows together across your organization. If you plan on moving to the cloud, evaluate the core Microsoft 365 service features within your own environment and address key considerations and requirements for adopting a cloud-ready desktop environment. Take the next step with Microsoft’s mobility productivity solutions and discover how activating Office applications on employees’ mobile devices will deliver productivity benefits to your business.

Available engagements

  • FastTrack Deployment Planning for Microsoft 365
  • Windows and Office Deployment Planning
  • Mobile Productivity Deployment Planning
  • Modern IT Enterprise Security Proof of Concept

Public Cloud, Microsoft Azure Deployment Planning Services (AZDPS)

AZDPS helps you understand what Microsoft Azure can do for your business and identify projects that are best suited for this public cloud offering. Assess web and line-of-business applications, and extend your on-premises applications to the public cloud to help reduce IT complexity and costs.

Available engagements

  • Integrating Azure Storage with Customers’ Backup, Archive and DR Solutions (BCDR)
  • Migrate VMs and Applications to Azure IaaS
  • Implementing Application Develop & Test on Azure
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security Identity and Access Management
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security Identity Driven Security
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security Information Protection
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security Managed Mobile Productivity
  • Implementing Azure Security and Management Services
  • Modernizing Apps using App Service
  • Modernizing Apps using Containers
  • Implementing Event-driven Apps (Serverless)

Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services (DTDPS)

DTDPS provides an effective strategy for assessing and improving DevOps maturity. DTDPS can help achieve continuous delivery, resulting in lower perceived risk and cost of deployment, for a mature DevOps workflow.

Available engagements

  • Implementing DevOps on Azure

Dynamic Deployment Planning Services (DYDPS)

DYDPS provides in-depth assessment and planning to help you implement or upgrade your CRM or ERP solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement or Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. These planning service offers can help you review your business processes and understand what it will take to implement a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution that meets your specific consideration. During the engagement, Microsoft Partners or Microsoft Consulting Services can help identify the most suitable implementation path, create a custom plan, and deliver a proof-of-concept (depending on the engagement) to help you assess the solution’s benefits. Engage with experts to realize more value from your IT investment and streamline your implementations.

Available engagements

  • Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
  • Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
  • Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
  • Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
  • Migrating to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Private Cloud, Management and Virtualization Deployment Planning Services (PVDPS)

PVDPS helps to transform your customer’s IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of business value. Modernizing your customer’s Windows Server platform will help enable them to deliver more advanced capabilities to their business for increased IT efficiency and agility.

Available engagements

  • Modernizing your Windows Server Platform

SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS)

SDPS helps you develop customized deployment plans for your specific environment and assess the overall impact of implementing a SharePoint and/or SharePoint Online solution. Evaluate SharePoint Online through the FastTrack Deployment Planning for Microsoft 365 engagements, which show you the core Microsoft 365 service features within your own environment and address considerations and requirements for adopting a cloud-ready desktop environment. Evaluate several SharePoint capabilities, like features for IT professionals and business users, SharePoint search, business intelligence, applications, information architecture, topology planning, and migration planning. Evaluate your options to deploy Project Online or Project Server across your organization through an envisioning and deployment planning workshop.

Available engagements

  • FastTrack Deployment Planning for Microsoft 365
  • SharePoint Deployment Planning
  • Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) Solution Planning
  • SharePoint Business Applications

SQL Server Deployment Planning Services (SSDPS)

SSDPS provides in-depth assessment and planning for deploying, upgrading, or migrating to a SQL Server hybrid cloud solution. Engagements can help you review architectural and business considerations and create a detailed implementation plan.

Available engagements

  • Implementing Cloud Scale Analytics
  • Data Estate Modernization
  • Implementing Globally Distributed Data

IOT Demonstration

The purpose of this demonstration is to help individuals gain an understanding of what IoT is and how it can be a value driver for their organizations. We provide a high level overview of what IoT is, an example of how it can be applied to a real world business use case and a live demonstration using Azure IoT Central to show the near-real time capabilities of collecting, exchanging and consuming data using IoT.

Centers of Excellence!

December 2018 Centers of Excellence! Posting discussing the virtue of leveraging Centers of Excellence to foster Cloud adoption and success.

I had the chance this summer to visit Antoni Gaudi’s Sagria Familia in Barcelona. The hundred+ year construction of the basilica is nearing completion.  

While modern technology has recently provided velocity to the construction, the same guiding architecture and engineering principals established by Gaudi over 100 years ago are still being leveraged. 

Gaudí was not a fan of grandiose plans, he continually built to scale three dimensional models. By leveraging this approach Gaudí was able to “fail fast” and perfect his designs. This approach is akin to DevOps and the use of continuous integration and delivery to deploy solution capabilities. 

Gaudí embraced new methods to reduce the cost of construction. For example, he leveraged ceramic bricks in geometric patterns to efficiently construct strong structures. Today we leverage Cloud Services to yield strong yet cost efficient solutions. 

Most importantly Gaudí leveraged a workshop where he innovated and validated his designs. Gaudi’s workshop represents what we now refer to as a Center of Excellence. 

Centers of Excellence are often confused with Innovation Laboratories. Centers of Excellence align people and process with new technologies. Innovation Laboratories tend to be focused only on technology. Aligning people and process is critical for organization’s embracing the Cloud. Keep in mind that Gaudi’s workshop yielded magnificent architecture and engineering carried forth by people long past his death. 

Why DataOps is essential to your Modern Data Renaissance

January 2019 DataOps Posting discussing the Data Operations and it’s support of modern data platforms.

Data enablement is a pressing need for many organizations. Legacy Business Intelligence (BI) solutions leverage expensive infrastructure and centralized functions that routinely struggle with delivering business capabilities at the “speed of need”. 

Modern cloud service-based offerings such as those built on Azure, facilitate the delivery of robust data platforms in a fraction of the time and cost of legacy BI solutions. In many organizations these forms of “Advanced Analytics” are creating a resurgence of cognitive and predictive analysis. Success with these technologies however requires the adoption of new operating models and methodologies.

Advanced Analytics solutions foster significant velocity to data transformation activities by leveraging scalable parallel processing to occur after data loading (ELT versus ETL). They are also foundational to enabling IoTArtificial Intelligence and Machine LearningInitiatives to be pursued by your organization. 

Critical to the success and empowerment of a modern data platform is how its deployed and maintained. Unstructured methods will bring ruin to your data platform. Conversely, overtly legalistic approaches will stifle innovation and hamper your ability to embrace the power of your modern data platform. An agile method leveraging proven concepts such as continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) where testing and delivery is fully automated must be pursued.

Enter the concept of Data Operations (DataOps). Akin to DevOps, DataOps is based on the concept of automating the pipelines leveraged to test and deploy data and capabilities to your platform. With a modern data platform, the infrastructure is cloud service based requiring little to no worry. Azure services are ensured under service level agreements (SLAs) of 99.9% or more often 99.95%. The services are maintained in a resilient fashion by the cloud provider ensuring zero downtime for patching and service enhancements or in the legacy realm…upgrades. Many of us recall sleepless nights and weekends upgrading mission critical BI platforms!

Three of the critical differences between DevOps and DataOps is the need for a platform sandbox, iteration of orchestration, and robust monitoring. 

In a traditional DevOps scenario, the developer maintains an isolated environment (Sandbox) where they write and test features without impacting other developers. In a Data Platform, it is not economically feasible for individual developers to maintain their own sandbox environments. A centralized sandbox environment needs to exist for the development or data engineering team(s).

Orchestration needs to occur at each step within the pipeline. This includes data and logical tests to ensure the quality of production and feature enhancements to the platform. A subset of data should also be leveraged and routinely run to ensure confidence in the platform. Azure Data Factory is a robust orchestration service that integrates with over 70 data sources.

Unlike DevOps where builds either pass or fail, metrics need to be captured and analyzed regarding the performance of the data pipelines. Statistical process controls (SPC) should be established to ensure quality. These controls require a larger collection of performance data than what is typically stored in the orchestration tool. Azure Data Factory combined with Azure Monitoring addresses this need and provides enterprise class monitoring of your pipelines.

In a data platform, a pipeline is comprised of logical activities that complete tasks such as ingesting, cleaning and executing the transformation of data. The pipeline can also enable external platform activities and should be leveraged as a business information process actuator.

The code and configurations comprised within these pipelines need to be stored outside of the data platform to ensure availability and repetition in both non-production and production environments. It is critical for the integrity of code and configuration to be maintained outside of the platform.

A normal software development lifecycle that segregates development, testing and production should be followed. Consideration should be made on provisioning your data platform in alternative cloud regions to meet recovery time objectives or to address data residency requirements.