Cloud Computing For Education: Distance Learning

Cloud and Education: Distance Learning

Cloud computing is playing an important role in Education, textbooks and classrooms are no longer a restriction to study. With the Covid-19 outbreaks, the evolution in the education industry has been sped up. Institutions are now applying different distance learning programs, students can access the class anywhere simply with a computing device.

A study shows that the market size of cloud computing in the education industry was USD 8.13 billion in 2016, it is estimated to reach USD 25.36 billion by 2021. This hike is due to large-scale cloud adoptions because of the accessibility, scalability and resource availability of cloud computing.

Improve Educational Productivity
Improve Educational Productivity

Education institutions can move resources to the cloud and makes distance learning practical. Many organizations like universities and training courses start launching e-learning programs so students can take distance courses and online tests instead. In fact, cloud-based system benefit to both e-learning and traditional courses because students can download the resource without geographic restrictions.

Save Cost and Time
Save Cost and Time

Since the resource is available online, teachers no longer need to spend time on printing study materials. Besides printing cost, education organizations can save IT expenses from hardware, IT specialists and energy usage. The University of Notre Dame saved 40 percent ($1.3million) on its annual IT operations. Moreover, it also benefits to students because digital textbook tends to be lot less expensive.

Enhance Teachers’ Accountability

As all the materials are processing online, it is much easier for accountants to calculate teacher’s salaries. The online system may also provides evidences to teachers to get reasonable pay for works. Furthermore, cloud improves the accuracy of teacher’s evaluations as schools recorded all the works. When things go wrong, all resources can be reviewed and the accountability is enhanced in result.

 

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Templates Officially Integrated With VM Import

Templates Officially Integrated With VM Import And Support VM Image Now

It is pleased to announce that LayerStack Templates is officially integrated with VM Import on LayerPanel. Users can export a virtual machine image from your virtualization environment to LayerStack. Those images will be shown as templates in the panel which you can use to launch instances. With the upgraded Templates function, users can benefit from the scale of LayerStack while using your own custom environment.

What is VM Image
What is VM Import and VM Image

A virtual machine image is a snapshot of your disk at one point in time, those images are usually installed with operating systems and software such as databases or operational applications. VM image is useful for users to move workloads from the current virtualization environment to the cloud. Besides, It is also effective when users want to deploy multiple servers with a consistent cloud environment.

Which image formats are supported?
Which image formats are supported?

LayerStack Template is now supporting five image formats including Virtual Disk Image (VDI), Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK), Virtual Hard Disk (VHDX), QEMU Copy-On-Write 2 (QCOW2), and raw. If you are using any other image formats for cloud migration, please directly contact our CS team for a free consultation.
 

Pricing and Applications

Importing VM image to LayerStack Template is free of charge. Every account can create 3 templates with max. size 150GB each. Users who reached the template limit can simply delete outdated templates on LayerPanel and import new images for cloud deployments.

 

Quick Start Guide:

Create Template
1. Log in to LayerPanel (https://www.layerpanel.com/#/login)
2. Go to Services section and select Templates
3. Click Create or Upload to build your templates
4. It will be shown as Working on the list once the templates are successfully created.

Install the server with Custom Template
5. Select the relevant cloud server at “Service – Cloud Server”.
6. Click the Rebuild button at top right corner.
7. Scroll down the OS options and select the custom template at the bottom.
8. Follow the in-built guide and proceed with template installation.
 

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Cloud Providers Data Transfer Study: Unlimited Bandwidth Traffic

Cloud Providers Data Transfer Study: Unlimited Bandwidth Traffic

Nowadays, cloud computing is widely applied in many industries. Cloud providers are offering different packages and solutions for diverse needs. In fact, the stability and connection speed of cloud computing are major quality measurements to providers. Both mentioned factors are related to data usage of cloud accounts because all users are sharing the server bandwidth. Thus, monthly data transfer limit is very common in cloud industry. However, all LayerStack cloud packages offer unlimited data transfer, users do not need to concern about exceeded data transfer (like website traffic) and unpredictable bandwidth expenses with LayerStack.

Data Transfer Cost of Global Cloud Providers

Data Transfer Cost of Global Cloud Providers

Most of the global brands are charging cloud customer for data usage. A study shows that data usage costs often end up contributing 30% of total cost. In brands like Azure, AWS and Google, users are charged for every GB downloaded from cloud or moved to another server. For example, Google’s users are paying US$ 0.12 per GB for all outbound data, the rate might be slightly different in regions.

Cloud Providers’ Transfer Limit

Cloud Providers’ Data Transfer Limit

Some popular cloud provider, on the other hand, offer cloud package to customers. Each package includes with different amount of memory, vCPU and storage. LayerStack, Linode & DigitalOcean are packaging cloud providers, but both Linode and DigitalOcean are setting transfer limit to packages. Cloud users need to pay US$ 0.01 for each additional GB usage after accounts have reached the transfer limit.

Unlimited Bandwidth Traffic

LayerStack Unlimited Bandwidth Traffic

All LayerStack cloud servers provide unlimited bandwidth traffic. Although we have a limit, it is guarantee that no extra cost will be charged for exceeded data usage. According to our “Fair Use Policy”, cloud service continues without capping when usage has reached the limit, but the transfer speed maybe slightly slowed down. If users want to get more data usage with guaranteed normal speed, they could simply upgrade the plan with a small cost.

 

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Smart Home/Store and Cloud Computing

Smart Home and Cloud Computing

It is no doubt that our world is becoming more intelligent and convenient, many innovated ideas is generated and gradually taking shape over the past 10 years due to the rapid development on AI. Smart home and unmanned shop are the most popular topics among numerous business creatives, they have one thing in common that they both involve with cloud computing in practice. This article will discuss about the position of cloud computing in future intelligent technologies.

Amazon First Unmanned Store
Unmanned Store and Cloud Computing

In Feb 2020, Amazon opened its first unmanned store in Seattle and named it as Amazon Go Grocery. The meaning behind the name is “Grab whatever you want and just go”. No payment process is needed during the shopping experience, all payment will be done automatically on your Amazon account after shopper walking out with the items. The unmanned retail solution relies on integration of RFID technology, infrared sensing technology and video surveillance. Thus, Amazon Go Grocery is a combination of unmanned store and cloud computing technologies, there are numerous cameras and sensors in store tracking shoppers’ movements, all videos will be sent to the cloud for massive analysis as for calculating the total bills. In unmanned store, cloud computing is acting as a professional analyst and accountant.

Role of Cloud Computing in Smart Home
Role of Cloud Computing in Smart Home

The smart home is a concept of the pervasive computing which is gradually becoming the trend of modern house. Although intelligence appliances work with different functions, it is commonly agreed that there is a non-substitutable connection between cloud computing and smart home system. For numerous data and complex control bring about a much heavy burden on the local computers, it is suggested that moving the calculation to the cloud can reduce local workload, meanwhile AI can access real time information through Web browser. For instance, smart refrigerator can order food online automatically once it has connected with cloud computing. Smart toilet, on the other hand, can record your health and send the data to healthy applications for daily analysis.

The Future of Smart Homes

Obviously, cloud computing is playing an important role in intelligent future, it is accounted that global public cloud market was $272 billion in 2018 which is expected to reach $488.5 billion by 2026. If everything goes well, cloud computing will be applied in more innovative technologies and smart cities in coming future, it will gradually replace traditional datacenter. Perhaps it is the right time for you to move your business to the cloud and take advantages from coming technology revolutions!

 
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Cloud Server Auto-Backup Solution For Business

Cloud Server Backup Solution For Business

Businesses are moving to the cloud in recent years, many security techniques have been innovated and applied to ensure maximum data protection. Cloud Server Auto-Backup is one of the most popular method of off-server data storage for businesses to protect invaluable data and works. It captures a copy from disk at a single point in time and save it in a separate secondary server, cloud user can finish restoring the data within a short period to minimize the negative impacts on human error or other disasters.

How Cloud Server Backup Works?

What is Cloud Backup

Cloud server backup, also known as online backup, is a type of data backup whereby a copy of the data is sent to a separate server. Once users have enabled the add-ons, their cloud server will be scheduled to be automatically replicated. Cloud-based backup are taken once per week, the first copy will be taken on the second day after cloud backup is enabled. Each backup is retained for four weeks with maximum 4 most recent backups storing on separate data drives. Cloud users can restore backups of the entire server from the Cloud Servers Details section on LayerPanel.

Common Use Of Cloud Server Backup

Cloud-Based Auto-Backup Option For Business

Human error, both purposely issues and unintentionally mistakes, is very common in daily works which may create a big loss to businesses, especially when your customer databases were damaged. With LayerStack’s user permission management, only cloud owner has the rights to disable cloud server backup option and delete all the backup copies, it reduces the potential loss taken by businesses. On the other hand, auto-backup is also helpful in disasters like server breakdowns and cyber-attacks. All damaged data can be restored shortly with one click.

Advantage Of Cloud Server Backup

Cloud Backup Advantages

Firstly, it is easy for non-IT specialist to manage and protect valuable data, it is just one click to restore data from copies. As the backup system works automatically, it does not require additional time commitment for you or your customers, it works properly even through you are not connecting to the internet. Furthermore, cloud-based backup solution is cheaper than many data security options, it costs just 15% of cloud monthly fee on LayerStack. In conclusion, cloud backup is user-friendly and effective data security solution, it helps to keep businesses away from irretrievable loss.

 
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Where is the real cost savings in cloud computing?

Where is the real cost saving in cloud computing

As commonly known that cloud computing is turning out to be a financial saver for enterprise. Cloud users can save operation cost by moving business from in-house server hardware to the cloud and gain work efficiency. A question would raise then: Where is the real cost savings in cloud computing? The cost is reduced in multiple ways, this article will discuss about the cost saving of cloud deployment

IT Infrastructure

The upfront investment on hardware can be very expensive as they need to be kept maintained and updated. You no longer need to invest on hardware in advance with cloud computing, the scalability of cloud allow enterprise to enlarge the server whenever they want. Besides, many cloud packages include diverse software like Operation System which further reduces your IT cost.

Energy Cost

Cloud computing use less electricity due to the economics of scale, cloud provider charge business less energy cost than what you spend for your own in-house servers. Some researches show that cloud computing would help to save an estimated 68 – 87% in energy for its office computing. Enterprises can save thousands of dollars per month in result.
 

IT Specialist

Traditional servers are maintained by in-house IT specialist, the IT employee cost can be reduced because cloud providers are responsible for cloud management and maintenance. In fact, most of them offer 24/7 support and safeguard your cloud server at professional level. Thus, the salaries and other cost of tech team can be cut down.
 

Operation Cost

Cloud server makes remote working practical, this topic is popular recently because of Covid-19 outbreak. Your employee will be able to access the cloud and network with any devices outside office, the operation cost can be reduced consequently. A recent study shows that each remote employee could save up to US$11,000 a year in western countries.
 

Data Security

Business may invest a lot on the data security to protect data far from crisis, however there are many solution protecting the cloud data at a low cost in the cloud market, auto-backup and virtual private cloud are two common security technique used by many enterprises. These solutions are proven effective and efficient, helping users to save data addition cost.
 

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China Direct CN2 Route

China Direct CN2 Route (China Telecom Next Generation Carrier Network) is successor of ChinaNet Assess. CN2 has highest resilience, redundancy, low latency, meanwhile providing direct connections to all major global ISPs via fiber optic data delivery in order to serve global enterprises which are seeking for a high-quality connection with China. There are two types of CN2: Global Transit (CN2 GT) and Global Internet Access (CN2 GIA).

CN2 GT

CN2 GT is providing global customers with the transfer service of accessing global Internet resources at a low cost. It has more than 350 POPs locating in all China’s cities and major cities worldwide. Although CN2 GT has its own independent line for international connection, however the link is still in the domestic 163 backbone network which is comparatively slow.

CN2 GIA

CN2 GIA offers a premium access between mainland China and counties outside China. GIA is the abbreviation of global Internet access. It is working with dedicated path and acknowledged as the most reliable with the lowest latency network for overseas enterprise. It has dual-POPs in 161 cities and dual-PEs installed in 148 single-POP cities., covering nearly 200 major cities in China.

Business Class Solution For Oversea Enterprises

The LayerStack China Direct CN2 GIA Route offers a business class solution for overseas enterprises seeking a high-performance connection with China. This route is backed by the top three Chinese carriers including China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, ensuring high capacity, superior performance, solid reliability, and excellent connection speed. CN2 GIA route is now available to all LayerStack cloud server plans as an add-on service. With the addition 2-way direct connection, users will significantly reduce network latency and receive throughput improvements at a very small cost (US$ 2.5/month) .
 

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AI and the Cloud

According to a recent report, the global value of AI market will grow to $190 billion by 2025, it is no doubt that AI is one of the fastest-grow market in the world today. On the other hand, it is accounted that global public cloud market was $272 billion in 2018. Unlike AI, cloud industry has well-developed in the market and seems to be a driving force for economic growth. AI and cloud computing industries are not mutually exclusive, in fact, there are many evidences proving that AI and cloud can coordinate perfectly. Intelligent assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are the best example showing how AI access the big data with the cloud, learn from the data and continuously improve the performance.

What actually is AI?

Artificial Intelligence refers to the simulated intelligence in machines. The terms refer to the result of endowing machines with the ability to learn and analysis from data, which allow them to make the best decisions in different scenarios. AI is always associated with robot because of the influence of movie, however, most of the AI are invisible and working closely with our daily life.

AI Self-Managed Cloud

AI has been embedded into IT infrastructure to help streamline workloads and automate repetitive tasks, such as email auto-reply and payment requests. With the diverse capabilities of AI, some companies start using AI to optimize the core business workflow, thus the routine processes can be managed by the system itself, it helps IT teams better capture the efficiencies of the cloud.

AI and Data Management

AI is also performing as data analyst nowadays, as mentioned above that Cloud allows AI to access big data, a wide range of data-related duties can be handled by AI strategic program. Those duties include data collection, data identification, ingestion, categorization and database management. The categorized data will be analyzed and evaluated by AI for generating valuable recommendations in different aspects like website UI, marketing, customer service and supply chain. In order words, the cloud endow AI with capabilities to learn from big data in order to achieve auto-optimization.

AI in operation strategy

Product recommendation is applied by many e-commerce websites aiming for remarketing. After visitor shopping for a product online, he will then keep exposing to banners for related product suggestions, it is all about AI and big data. In addition, chatbot is widely used by enterprises, it tends to extract information from website and present it to customers. These bots advance with time, understanding and serving customer queries better due to its machine learning algorithms. In fact, moving the e-commerce to cloud can be benefited from valuable advantages, full article available at Blog – Cloud hosted eCommerce.

The Future Business Environment

 The fusion of AI and Cloud is transforming the business environment in every level, from deeper learning to near-compete automation of key processes. Although the AI is already applied in many businesses today, the technology is still in its early stage. It is widely believed that there will be a phenomenal advancement in the future, many types of job will be replaced by AI in coming 10 years, the industry evolution is yet to come.

 
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Application Programming Interface

Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of tools and protocols for integrating services and features. It simplifies programming by abstracting the underlying implementation and only exposing those major objects or actions the developer needs. Cloud API, thus, serves as a gateway or interface that provides direct and indirect cloud infrastructure and software services to users. The complicated command setting is reduced and providing a full picture of cloud condition to non-specialist users. Cloud users can also be benefited from faster platform access and a more efficient management of platform security with APIs.

RESTful API

One of the most popular type of API is REST (Representational State Transfer), also known as RESTful API, it can be used over nearly any protocol. REST is a logical choice for building APIs which allow users to connect to, manage and interact with cloud services in a distributed environment. One key advantage of REST APIs is that they provide a great flexibility, data is not tied to any resource or methods which allow user to manage different types of calls. In fact, RESTful APIs are used by global brands like Amazon, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Multi-functional LayerPanel

LayerStack RESTful API gives clients maximum control over their cloud management and provides an easy way to build and adjust the cloud servers programmatically. On LayerPanel, a new cloud server can be purchased and deployed in 3mins without any complicated command setting. The Operation System (include custom ISO) and Firewall setting can be easily configured on panel. Moreover, user can guard server health and track with the CPU and RAM usage, disk read/write, and bandwidth usage, through a simple web-based interface.

More Features to Come…

Furthermore, LayerStack API is effective tools for businesses because it supports multi-users, cloud owner can set different access authorities for different parties to work in a single cloud environment with user permission management. LayerStack commits to provide our valued customers with superior cloud experience, with the powerful support of LayerPanel, more useful and innovative cloud features can be developed and released in the coming future in order to make further improvements on customers’ work effectiveness and efficiency.
 

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Cloud Server vs Tradition Data Center

When it comes to hosting enterprise’s IT infrastructures, there are two major options for business leaders, the cloud and data center. A traditional data center is on premises that data is accessed through a local network, it is typically maintained by in-house IT specialists. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is essentially a remote version of data center which allow business to access the data through the internet. In this article, some difference between cloud and data center will be outlined for your reference.

Cost Saving

Cloud computing comes with obvious cost-saving and this is the driven for many businesses to move to the cloud for years. Cloud users only need to pay for their needs and cloud usage without any advance investments on hardware and software infrastructures that will be outdated.
 
 

Scalability & Deployment Time

Scalability is another selling point of cloud. A traditional data center involves some time-consuming work to bring additional server online, and that time lost may eventually affect your business. However, it takes only 10 mins to deploy a new cloud server which allow users to resize cloud servers to meet changing needs.
 

Data Security

For sure that datacenter provide user with complete control which is not possible in cloud computing. However, many popular cloud providers do also deliver superior data security to users, like 24/7 supports and user permission management. Thus, a trustable cloud provider is the key of data protection.
 

Accessibility

Unlike placing the data in traditional data center, users can upload and download files even they do not have the particular devices on hand with cloud computing, it allows businesses to achieve remote working business model which has been proven beneficial to business efficiency and productivity.
 

Disaster Recovery

Cloud provides offer multiple solutions for users to completely safeguard business data from disasters. The rationale behind those recovery solutions are that data is free to transfer from cloud to cloud, it can be automatically copied to a backup server to minimize the recovery time objective.
 
 

Geo Restrictions

To cope with global expansion, sometimes businesses need to move the data to local network in order to speed up the website or comply with local regulations. Deploying a new cloud server in a new country or region is as simple as selecting the location from a drop-down menu.
 
 

Technology Choice

There is no restriction on software and hardware with datacenter. Users can install with a specific graphics accelerator or hardware security module to meet businesses’ operation needs. The technology choice of datacenter, in fact, is more extensive then cloud computing as users do not “complete control” the cloud.

 
 
Although cloud computing is the business trend in recent years, it is not easy to judge which option is better than the other as they both have their own strengths, enterprises should evaluate the business needs and decide to use the most effective and efficient way.