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The Weather Channel weathered its own storm of sorts when it experienced its highest traffic ever over the course of Hurricane Sandy.

The media company typically supports about 90 million Web and mobile users a month. During Sandy, that figure jumped to 450 million, nearly double its previous high for Web traffic.

Fortunately, The Weather Channel was prepared for the traffic surge, according to an article on NetworkWorld.com.

The company's IT team had recently architected its real-time radar mapping. On typical days, the mapping system runs on about 20 instances, but during Sandy it scaled up to run on 175 nodes.

It's a classic use-case for the cloud: Variable and unpredictable peak demand for Web services is outsourced to a public cloud provider. It would have required a major investment to spin up a system across the company's on-premise and colocation environments to support the traffic load it experienced when Sandy ripped up the Eastern Seaboard, and then it would have likely gone mostly unused during other times. The alternative would have been not to have the compute horsepower to serve all the visitors to The Weather Channel's platforms.

Adequate compute power for the application allows the radar maps to be updated as close to real-time as possible. Without the scaled-up, on-demand cloud resources users would have experienced lagging maps, delayed by seconds or maybe even minutes.

Study Reveals Job-Security Perception a Barrier to Cloud Computing
Some IT managers admitted they fear their jobs will become obsolete if a shift to the cloud is put in place at their workplace, according to a new study.

A key barrier to the uptake of cloud computing technologies is reassuring and persuading IT managers that their jobs would not become obsolete if they shifted to the cloud, a major study by Lero has revealed. It also found that the word "cloud" actually scares some people, according to an article on SiliconRepublic.com.

According to Lorraine Morgan and Kieran Conboy, who conducted the Lero research at NUI Galway, the key barriers to cloud assimilation can be grouped across six headings:

  • Perceptions of the term "cloud"
  • Convincing IS/IT management
  • Persuading employees to use cloud systems
  • Security and privacy issues
  • Integration, and
  • Bandwidth and connectivity.

The study involved detailed qualitative analysis across cloud service providers and their customers. The study found that cloud-computing adoption and routine use has the potential to streamline internal processes and productivity.

While a key barrier is reassuring and convincing IT managers that their jobs would not become obsolete if they shifted to the cloud, there was consensus among the majority of study participants that there will be tremendous opportunities for IT managers if they adjust their skills and capabilities to suit the cloud landscape.

Gartner: Growth in Cloud Computing to Shape 2013 Security Trends
The new year will see an emphasis put on security in the cloud, according to research from Gartner.

Gartner analysts predict that 2013 will be about expansion of cloud computing and the efforts of the enterprise to achieve appropriate security for it, according to an article on NetworkWorld.com.

"Increased adoption of cloud-based computing is expected to impact the way security is consumed as well as how key government agencies will prioritize security of public cloud infrastructure," according to Gartner analysts Ruggero Contu, Lawrence Pingree and Eric Ahlm.

Gartner predicts by 2015, 10% of overall IT security enterprise capabilities will be delivered in the cloud, with the focus today clearly on messaging, Web security and remote vulnerability assessment. However, there's also the expectation there will be more on the way, such as data-loss prevention, encryption, authentication available too as technologies aimed to support cloud computing mature.

Gartner anticipates the acceleration of change in cloud-based security will likely "threaten" some traditional business relationships that IT security providers have with their value-added resellers, for example. But the overall trend will lead to more managed security services providers through cloud delivery. Not surprisingly, a high level of merger and acquisition activity related to cloud-security start-ups and established players is predicted to be seen throughout 2013.

About Patrick Burke
Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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