What is the Cloud? (Part III)

The first two parts of What is the Cloud? mostly cover technical aspects of cloud computing, including the matter of security.  In Part III, I’d like to discuss more terms associated with the Cloud and their meanings.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS means that you don’t need to buy software, hardware needed to run it, or worry about managing software.  “All you have to do is connect [to your cloud hosting provider] and use it.” 1  Your software is in the Cloud; you can use it from any geographical location; and you only pay for what you use. 2  “Google, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are all examples of SaaS….” 3

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS “…is a service model of cloud computing.  In this model, the consumer creates the software using tools and/or libraries from the [cloud service] provider.  The consumer also controls software deployment and configuration settings.  The provider provides the networks, servers, storage, and other services.” 4  This is another way to describe hosted instances.  (See, What is the Cloud? Part II)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

“…IaaS is one of the three fundamental service models of cloud computing alongside Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).  As with all cloud computing services it provides access to computing resources in a virtualised environment, “the Cloud”, across a public connection, usually the internet.” 5  IaaS enables users to create “cost effective and easily scalable IT solutions where the complexities and expenses of managing the underlying hardware are outsourced to the cloud provider.” 6  [my emphasis]  This is another way to describe hosted solutions. (See, What is the Cloud? Part II)

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud combines public and private clouds. 7  “[It] is a cloud computing environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources in-house [i.e., privately] and has others provided externally [i.e., publically].” 8

(The end of Part III)

DSCF0032

Untitled, by Luba Rascheff

References

1 Hurwitz, Judith; Bloor, Robin; Kaufman, Marcia; and Halper, Fern.   “Cloud Computing Models. Part of the Cloud Computing Cheat Sheet.” For Dummies.  Accessed on Tuesday, August 27, 2013.  http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/cloud-computing-models.html?cid=embedlink

2 “What is Saas?” Interoute, from the ground to the cloud.  Accessed on Tuesday, August 27, 2013.   http://www.interoute.com/what-saas

3 Ibid.

4 “Platform as a service.”  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  Accessed on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_as_a_service

5 “What is IaaS?” Interoute, from the ground to the cloud.  Accessed on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. http://www.interoute.com/what-iaas

6 Ibid.

7 Rouse, Margaret. “hybrid cloud.” TechTarget. Published on June 28, 2010.  Accessed on Tuesday, August 27, 2013.  http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/hybrid-cloud

8 Ibid.

WHAT IS THE CLOUD? (PART III) Copyright © 2013 Luba Rascheff

 

 

What is the Cloud? (Part II)

In Part I of What is the Cloud?, I discussed the key concept of the separation of applications and operating systems from hardware.  I explained how this separation permits elasticity, adaptability and ease of migration in the event of hardware failures in order to maintain a seamless user experience.

I also talked about redundancy, the replication of data; clustering, the multiplying of servers to balance web traffic load; virtualization; and web applications.

There are, however, more terms associated with cloud computing.

Hosted instances

Hosted instances are server images, applications, services and configurations that are already installed on a host.  For example, you can create an instance of your operating system on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) environment and only pay for what you use.  You get space, transfer and RAM and can configure your server instance any way you like. 1

In hosted instances, network speed becomes an issue since your data is in the Cloud and needs to quickly move from there to you.  To deal with this, Amazon, for example, has a main server and nine edge servers across the U.S.  These edge servers (akin to “boosters”) are positioned in such a way as to provide users with the fastest access to their server images (i.e., server configurations of choice or, hosted instances). 2  You may already be using hosted instances without even realizing it.  Google’s Gmail, for example, is in the Cloud. 3

Hosted solutions

“Hosted solutions are applications or services that are hosted by a company that provides you the service.” 4  There are many hosted solutions available on the Web.  Instead of setting everything up by yourself (i.e., purchasing hardware, software, appropriate licenses and storage space), you can pay a small monthly fee to Vendhost, for example, and get a hosted, cloud solution.

Private vs. public cloud

Hosted instances are in the public cloud.  If you’re interested, though, in combining the power of virtualization while retaining in-house control, you certainly can by way of private cloud.  In private cloud, the  hardware resides in your server room, not “somewhere out there” on the Internet. 5

What about security?

When it comes to the Cloud, security is a big question on everyone’s mind.  You may be wondering, How secure is my data if it’s sitting somewhere out there in the Cloud?  The first question you need to ask yourself, though, is How secure is my data right now?  Most small businesses do not invest a large amount of money in order to have perfect firewall protection.  They will, rather, pay an hourly fee to have viruses removed once stricken. 6  Furthermore, any time we interface with the Internet, we risk exposure to infection.  Since it’s in the interest of cloud, hosting providers to provide excellent service, security, speed and data integrity (their very existence depends on it), it’s actually much safer to host your data in the Cloud as opposed to storing it locally.  Furthermore, local, in-house servers are subject to destruction (e.g., from natural disasters) and/or theft.  It makes much more sense (including economic sense) to have the minimal computing equipment in house necessary to interface with your cloud host. 7

(The end of Part II)

800px-Cloud_in_nepal

Cloud in nepali sky

Author:  Krish Dulal

Source:  Own work

References

1 elithecomputerguy.  “Everyman IT, Introduction to Cloud Computing.”  Everyman IT.  Published on December 17, 2010 on Youtube.  Accessed on August 21, 2013.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYzJl0Zrc4M

2 Ibid.

3 Neal, Ryan W. “The Google Cloud Expands: Gmail, Drive and Google+ Now Unified with 15 GB Free Storage.” International Business Times.  Published on May 14, 2013.  Accessed on August 26, 2013.  http://www.ibtimes.com/google-cloud-expands-gmail-drive-google-now-unified-15-gb-free-storage-1257917

4 elithecomputerguy.  “Everyman IT, Introduction to Cloud Computing.”  Everyman IT.  Published on December 17, 2010 on Youtube.  Accessed on August 21, 2013.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYzJl0Zrc4M

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

WHAT IS THE CLOUD? (PART II) Copyright © 2013 Luba Rascheff

SEO for Serif WebPlus X5

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

The fact that you have a website is great.  In and of itself, though, this is not enough to ensure that your site is properly advertised, optimized and that it receives a steady, targeted stream of visitors.

Great keyword research

The first step in SEO is great keyword research.  You don’t need anything fancy; Google’s Keyword Tool (or, AdWords Keyword Tool) is sufficient.  If you already have a Google AdWords account, login.  Otherwise, go to www.googlekeywordtool.com and verify that you’re human by typing the text presented in the box.

The first step is to minimize the ‘Saved ideas’ on the left.  For a more precise search, deselect ‘Broad’ and select ‘Exact.’  We’ll start with ‘Broad’ and move to ‘Exact’ in this example.

If your website is about digital media, start by typing in ‘digital media’ (without quotes) in the box labeled ‘Word or phrase.’  Now click ‘Search.’  Scrolling down, you’ll see that the results of your search are depicted in several columns called:  ‘Keyword Ideas,’ ‘ Competition,’ ‘Global Monthly Searches’ and ‘Local Monthly Searches.’

The majority of the results in my example are listed as ‘Low’ competition.  This is favorable  because I know that if I use any of the keywords or phrases associated with ‘Low,’ I have a reasonable chance of elevating my website’s ranking (i.e., in Google’s search results) since I won’t be up against strong competition for the same spot.  For example, the phrase ‘digital signage software’ has a ‘High’ competition.  Using this phrase would pit me against strong competitors (who, most likely, bid high for ads), so I’ll avoid it.

I’m highly interested in ‘Global Monthly Searches.’  These numbers tell me how many times per month people will type in a particular keyword or phrase when doing a Google search.  A cursory scan of the results reveals that people type in the phrase ‘what is internet’ 338 million times per month; ‘what is management’ and ‘what is java’ result in over 83 million global searches per month (gsm); and a search for ‘digital’ produces nearly 56 million gsm.

In my example, I’d like to narrow my search to ‘digital media’ and ‘social media.’  An ‘Exact’ search results in the keyword phrase ‘social media’ showing low competition and 201,000 gsm.  This means that I can safely use this phrase to optimize my site.

Now try typing ‘social media’ into the ‘Word or phrase’ box.  Click ‘Search.’  This results in 201,000 gsm with low competition.

It is in this experimental manner  that you will find the best keywords or phrases (sometimes misspelled) to optimize your site.

Great quality content

If you’re going to optimize your digital media website focusing on social media, you want to make sure that you deliver what’s been promised!  Once you drive traffic to your site, visitors have the right to expect top-notch, quality content about digital media and social media in particular.  This includes inserting keywords (often bolded and italicized) within the body of your website’s pages’ text.

Optimize your pages in WebPlus X5

Once you’ve experimented with the Google Keyword/AdWords Tool, it’s time to optimize your website’s pages.

Open your website.  In ‘File,’ select ‘Site Properties.’  In the pop-up box, select ‘Search.’  In the box entitled ‘Enter the description to be displayed when a search engine finds a page on your web’ type in, for example:  ‘E-books about digital media with an emphasis on social media’ (without the quotes).  Note that the first ten words are most important which is why I excluded the preliminary words ‘This website is about….’

In the box titled ‘Enter a list of words for search engines to use to find pages on your Web site…’ insert the series of keywords or phrases you researched with Google’s Keyword/AdWords Tool.  I selected ‘en-us’ for the language code on my website.

Don’t click ‘OK.’  Instead, select ‘Search engine.’  For my website, I selected all available categories setting my page change frequency indicator to ‘Monthly’ with a page priority of ‘0.5’.  I named my search engine sitemap file ‘sitemap.xml’  making sure to upload the special file provided by Google when I registered my website using their Webmaster Tools in my public/html folder.

Don’t click ‘OK’ yet.  Select ‘Analytics.’  Check the box for ‘Enable web analytics.’  In ‘Paste from Clipboard,’ insert the text (i.e., tracking code) that you received when registering your website with Google Analytics.  If you aren’t ready now, you can do this later.

Now select ‘Summary.’  Type your name (or pseudonym) in the ‘Author’ field.  Repeat (or type in a variation on the theme) the keywords or phrases you used when completing ‘Search’ above for ‘Comments’ and ‘Subject.’  Finally, click ‘OK.’

You’ll need to optimize each page.  So, for every page, with the page selected, right-mouse click to select ‘Page Properties’ and, in ‘Navigation’ choose a relevant page name, title and file name making sure to fill in a page-specific description.  For ‘Search’ and ‘Search Engine’ use the information I provide earlier in the article.  Under ‘Indexing,’ do not select ‘Override site search engine settings’ and observe that this section appears dimmed.  That’s because you expressed your preferences in ‘Site Properties’ globally, for the whole site.

Don’t forget to save and publish your newly optimized website to the Internet!

Although I haven’t discussed off-site optimization, schema.org and rich snippets, I hope this brief article on how to do SEO for a WebPlus X5 website helps you.