A JOURNEY THROUGH THE CLOUD

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For two days, in 5 and 6 October, Bucharest was the European technology capital of the Cloud. We witnessed an impressive concentration of forces in which a large number of specialists around the world with a rich business card in development, evangelism and implementation of Cloud tech came to EuroCloud Forum to discuss business transformations induced by Cloud and related innovations.

Any participant in technical sessions from the EuroCloud Forum lived that unique sense of partaking in something fundamental. A simple enumeration of those who were the guides in the journey through the Cloud says it all. Technical specialists with decades of experience, evangelists, developers, contractors, have initiated us in the Cloud phenomenon. Large companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, SAP, Veeam, and Schneider Electric Teradata, writing daily Cloud history, they have revealed their visions and strategies. Service providers, independent developers and integrators of solutions based on established platforms such as Avanade, Console, DevSecCon Ltd., FABASOFT, Intelli-Factory, Ness Technologies, Revevol or Scale-Up Tech came to Bucharest to confirm the importance of developing and diversifying the Cloud services for any company, of any size, in any industry. Leading Romanian Cloud providers as Star Storage and Ymens shared their vision about the Cloud services role in the business transformation process and presented some interesting key studies.

Amazon started the journey through the Cloud in 2006. Today it is Cloud market leader and companies of every size are using AWS to innovate across different countries and industries. Danilo Poccia, AWS EMEA Evangelist show us how AWS could simplify deployment and management letting the client to really focus on creating value for his business.

Through the likes of Compute & Container Engine, App Engine, Cloud Storage and BigQuery, Google Cloud Platform is offering to his client’s access to the same state of the art high performance compute and network infrastructure that runs Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. In this talk at EuroCloud Forum, Robert Kubis – developer advocate for the Google Cloud Platform at Google UK explained how easy it is to use these services to harness the power of Google’s Infrastructure for large-scale and highly available applications.

Microsoft is one of the most suggestive examples about how a market leader company turned his engines to the Cloud, in his own digital transformation efforts. Radu Stefan, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft Romania presented which are the company strategies for Cloud development and how Azure platform could sustain the efforts to build a public Cloud for Europe.

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Dr Jens Amail, Senior Vice President Cloud Solutions and Strategic Customers MEE at SAP

SAP is another example of powerful Enterprise software provider which focused on Cloud solutions.  Dr Jens Amail, Senior Vice President Cloud Solutions and Strategic Customers MEE at SAP explained the company’s new development strategies based on Cloud services, and which are SAP proposal for digital transformation processes based on SAP Cloud platform.

In today’s digital world, we know that nothing less than 24.7.365 access to data and applications is acceptable, and enterprises embrace new technologies to deliver what their users demand. Laurent Garcia, EMEA Director Cloud & Service Providers at Veeam Software explained how Veeam has pioneered a new market of availability for the Always-On Enterprise, introducing the Veeam Availability Platform for the Hybrid Cloud. Demands for Cloud DR is on the rise and represent the number one opportunity for a Cloud & Service Provider to sell Cloud services. In a dedicated session, Veeam’s specialists demonstrated how to leverage the general data protection regulation (GDRP) for implementing business continuity, together with customer feedback on how they evaluate DRaaS providers.

But as more data streams into Cloud-based systems, the combination of data and computing resources gives the unprecedented opportunity to perform very sophisticated data analysis and to explore advanced machine learning methods such as deep learning. Clouds pack very large amount of computing and storage resources, which can be dynamically allocated to create powerful analytical environments. Natalino Busa, Head of Data Science at Teradata in Amsterdam, presented the most important advantages offered by analytics and how analytics in the cloud provides whole new ways for data analysts, data scientists and business developers.

In the today transforming world, more and more enterprises are preferring to focus on their core business, outsourcing their data centre in colocation to 3rd parties. Eduard Bodor, Solution Architect at NCEE Regional Application Center from Schneider Electric explained how  IT professionals could act now in different roles, more appropriate to their company current business model.

But business efficiency in the Cloud is depending not only on data centres’ infrastructure. The way clients are accessing the Cloud services is also critical. Connecting to Cloud services over the Internet open a lot of challenges, including but not limited to security, reliability, and throughput. John Hill, advocate and evangelist for next generation Cloud connectivity presented Console, a global next generation software defined network. The console is offering a secure and predictable connectivity between a data centre or customer premises and Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other SaaS ecosystem who offer Direct Connect access.

Despite the focus on innovative digital technologies, most companies still have a long way to go in their digital transformation journeys. Successful digital transformation comes not only from implementing new technologies but from transforming the existing organisation to take advantage of the possibilities that new technologies provide. Catalin Paunescu, CEO at Star Storage presented how the Cloud services provided by the Romanian company help top business around the world on their digital transformation journey to accelerate cost-efficiency and time to market by rethinking operations and processes.

From the beginning, Ymens was one of the first Romanian companies with a 100% Cloud-oriented activity. Razvan Savu, Cloud Strategy Officer at Ymens offered to EuroCloud Forum participants a practical approach to the Cloud, presenting very interesting real cases for Cloud project implementations, from private to hybrid, and to public Cloud, and from custom-developed SaaS to PaaS.

The demand for saving costs and increasing the productivity of companies causes a higher need for a mobile workforce and therefore for a secure and synchronised access to data and documents. Andreas Dangl, Managing Director at Fabasoft Cloud GmbH, a leading European cloud provider for B2B collaboration “Made in Europe” and the first EuroCloud Member with a  StarAudit 5 stars certification, explained how mobile force is increasing the shadow IT risks, demanding secure and controlled Cloud services.

The Cloud market demonstrated a demanding growth to hybrid Cloud solutions. Gavin Williams, VP Hybrid Cloud at Avanade from London proposed a journey to Hybrid Cloud, discussing what capabilities an enterprise would need to be able to use Hybrid cloud, how to align the business behind a journey to the cloud, and how to understand the implications and workload.

Despite the clear technology arguments, security is still one of the Cloud adoption issues. Francois Raynaud, the founder of DevSecCon has made a very critical assessment of the current security industry from a security professional. He presented some different DevSecOps ideas to support this approach with the aim to work effectively with the DevOps community.

Today Cloud is way more than just a buzzword and is making its way into European enterprises. Christoph Streit, co-founder of company ScaleUp discussed the benefits offered by Open Cloud Technologies like OpenStack. Using open source and open APIs are important factors for interoperability, collaboration and federation, especially in a European context.

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Peter Linhardt, the Health solution architect at Ness Technologies Slovakia

Google Analytics is one of the best tools to learn what keeps the users engaged and what should be improved to make the app more successful. Romain Vialard, Google Developer Expert at Revevol Paris made a very practical presentation, giving as example Yet Another Mail Merge, an add-on for Google Sheets.

Developing server and client-side code in the same language gives a tremendous boost to programmer productivity. Adam Granicz, CEO at IntelliFactory, a 6x F# MVP and the author of five F# books, key F# community member and evangelist, presented the fundamentals of writing full-stack web applications using WebSharper, a functional, reactive web framework, and introduced CloudSharper and other our upcoming new tools that enable online development, interactive data exploration, and deployment automation in a single cloud-based offering.

One of the most interesting presentation from EuroCloud Technical stage was related to Private national health Cloud system of Slovak Republic, being one of the first centralised eHealth solutions among European countries. Peter Linhardt, the Health solution architect at Ness Technologies Slovakia, explained how the National health information system (NHIS) Cloud of Slovakia stores the eHealth related registers and data, demographic and clinical EHR of Slovakia patients. Using Cloud solution more than 20 000 physicians and health professionals has access to the health informatics resources and how all 5.5M Slovakian citizens can access their personal health history and personal clinical health records. The NHIS cloud is operated by National centre of health informatics, which represents a structure of Slovak Republic Ministry of health.

The industry already talks about Cloud and Cloud 2.0. From all the Tech stage presentations in EuroCloud Forum 2016 we really understood the 3rd wave of Cloud computing is here to help us concentrate on what matters: “Building” instead of “Running”.

All images:   cloud☁mania

 

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ICIPRO – CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IMPLEMENTED BY YMENS RECOGNIZED BY EUROCLOUD AWARDS ROMANIA FOR BEST BUSINESS IMPACT OF CLOUD SERVICES

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Continuing the presentation of Romanian winners of EuroCloud Award 2016, here is a review of one of the most important Cloud project recognised in the “Best Business Impact provided by Cloud Services” category, where the champion is company Ymens, for the project „ICIPRO – Cloud Infrastructure for Public Institutions”.

Buton ICIPROWhat about the project? The ICIPRO project – Cloud Infrastructure for Public Institutions in Romania” is the result of deep collaboration between ICI – the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics and Ymens, a Romanian company from Teamnet group. The project was born from a critical need for more efficient acquisition, implementation, and better operation and usage of IT infrastructure. In the same time, Romanian government should be aligned to the European strategy regarding Cloud adoption in eGovernment services.

What is very important here? ICIPRO is practically the very first major Cloud initiative for the public institutions in Romania. This is the first step in a more large adoption of Cloud Computing in Romanian public infrastructure. National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics (ICI) will be ready to extend ICIPRO bringing more services to this platform and offering more storage opportunities to Romanian government organizations. In this moment, only 20% of the data center capacity is currently used by ICIPRO.

The ICIPRO implementation is important also for his capabilities to create the required regulatory framework that will drive a fast adoption of Cloud models throughout the Romanian market.

ICIPRO is the first Cloud infrastructure project in Romania that addresses typical issues in public administration structures:

  • Data fragmentation and data duplication;
  • Improper usage of existing infrastructure capacity;
  • Complicated public procurement procedures and difficult flows.

The main benefits offered by ICIPRO implementation are:

  • Data center consolidation – ICIPRO offers IT availabilities for processing, storing and communication to all public entities that can either leverage this infrastructure to build new services or to migrate existing systems to a unified central platform;
  • Business Continuity services – available as backup or Disaster Recovery for existing systems in Public Administration;
  • One-stop-shop – for IaaS or PaaS services needs in the public entities for eGov services developing.
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Costin Matache, CEO Ymens

 

“Innovation is our main goal. And for Ymens innovation has multiple dimensions. For the public administration clients, the innovation involves new technologies adoption stimulation. In this way, ICIPRO project transformed the National Institute for Research and Development in the first Cloud services provider for the public sector in Romania”, said Costin Matache, CEO Ymens, in an interview for EuroCloud Romania. “On the other hand, Ymens is a powerful promoter of BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) concept on the local market. On European level, this business model is already well defined as Smart Cloud BPaaS Broker”.

Which are the technologies adopted in the ICIPRO implementation? The main technology stack is based on a Microsoft core with Windows Server / Hyper -V 20 12 R2, Microsoft System Center, and Microsoft Windows Azure Pack. This was complemented by two components: NSBS Platform – NEC Cloud Brokerage Suite and ELO Digital Solutions – ELO Enterprise 9 as document management solution. In order to enhance the services delivered through this Cloud infrastructure, the project included also an interoperability platform based on Microsoft Biztalk Server 2013, and a user management platform based on Microsoft Forefront Identity Management Server.The software platform is supported by a high-end hardware infrastructure: 148 NEC servers based on Intel Xeon technology, HP storage systems 3 PAR 350 TB, CISCO Communication Infrastructure 10 Gbps, IBM Tap eLibrary, placed into a specially designed data centre location.

ICIPROBut ICIPRO project benefits will be multiplied by secondary and multi-reflection impacts of Cloud adoption, with direct involvement in:

  • Economic Growth: acquisition and usage of IT resources and services become more efficient, with major investment and operational costs;
  • Fast Social Integration: all public institutions, including social care institutions, gain access to high-performance IT infrastructure and services, being able to radically improve the quality of social services provided;
  • Environmental Sustainability: by infrastructure consolidation, any Cloud platform can reduce the CO2 footprint and improve the IT energy efficiency;
  • Governance: more performing IT infrastructure is a warranty for more efficient and better performing eGov services for citizens and business environment.

In the same time, ICIPRO platform offers a wide area of benefits for the Government employees:

  • Increased focus on building new and better services for citizen;
  • Fast access to high-quality infrastructure with reduced costs;
  • Improve internal workflows with ready-made solutions available on the Cloud and adapted to public sector user profile;
  • Funds reallocation for other priority investments;
  • Easier scaling for peak periods;
  • Improved SLAs for ITC infrastructure;
  • Business Continuity infrastructure availability.

Interesting is one of the ICIPRO main clients is ICI itself, due to platform facilitates allowed to scientific research activities. This will enable ICI to build an academic knowledge database associated with the implementation and operation of Cloud services.

Concluding, the ICIPRO project has the potential to enhance the technology usage in the Romanian public sector, thus covering IT needs and providing the necessary tools for a more transparent and efficient service delivery model for the citizens and the business environment. Cloud model brings a simplified interaction between citizens and the public administration, reducing the errors, providing rapid access to information, and impressive economies of time and budget.

Related articles:

Interviu cu Costin Matache, CEO Ymens, câștigator al premiului EuroCloud Romania 2016 „Cel mai Mare Impact in Business prin Implementarea Serviciilor Cloud” cu proiectul ICIPRO“, EuroCloud Romania, August 2016

Romanian Winners of EuroCloud Award 2016“, cloud☁ mania, July 2016

Romanian Winners of EuroCloud Award 2016

EuroCloud Europe Award Banner 

EuroCloud Romania announced the winners of EuroCloud Award Romania 2016. Being at fourth edition, the national competition of EuroCloud Award aims to identify and promote the best practices and reference solutions from Romanian Cloud computing industry.

EuroCloud Award 2016 LogoEuroCloud permanently promotes performance in Cloud industry and encourages the maintenance of a competitive climate at regional and continental level. EuroCloud Award Romania is a national competition part of EuroCloud Award Europe which every year is recognizing the most innovative Cloud services and projects in Europe, selected from the winners from each member country.

The Romanian winners are competing with all others European solutions awarded at national level. The EuroCloud Europe Award 2016 winners established by an independent jury of international experts will be announced in a best of the best special gala organised during annual congress. The big surprise in this year is the festive Gala will take place during EuroCloud Europe Forum which will to be held in Bucharest on 5 – 6 October 2016.

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Elena Zvarici, President EuroCloud Romania

 

“This year again we’re glad to see the commitment to quality and openness to international of the Romanian Cloud solutions providers. The Cloud removes geographical barriers and open new markets for Romanian providers,” said Elena Zvarici, President EuroCloud Romania. ”Also, we are glad Romanian providers are participating in all five categories of European competition, which will announce the winners during the EuroCloud Award 2016 Gala on October 5, in Bucharest”.

 

And the winners of EuroCloud Award Romnia 2016 are:

  • In the „Best Cloud Service for horizontal markets” category, the national prize is won by GTS Telecom with „GTS Cloud Suite” solution;
  • In the „Best Cloud Service for vertical markets” category, the winner is Star Storage with „Star Capture Mobile” solution;
  • In the Best Cloud Services provided by Start-Up CSP’scategory, the prize is won by Great People Inside company for GR8PI” solution;
  • In the Best Business Impact provided by Cloud Services category, the winner is Ymens, for the project „ICIPRO – Cloud Infrastructure for Public Institutions”.
  • In the „Best Cloud Migration Service” category, the prize is won by ZITEC with Cloud migration project „Studio Moderna”.

This year for the first time the Romanian jury decided to recognize with a special distinction „Excellence Award for Cloud Culture Promotion in Romania” the company YMENS, for whole activities related to Cloud models promotion on the national market.

For more details visit EuroCloud Award Europe

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