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Sage Summit 2012: Cloud Computing for Accountants


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Everyone is talking about "the cloud." It is not often that we see a game-changing paradigm that is so misunderstood in the market. Cloud computing is certainly emerging technology that is getting a lot of hype. Before deciding what makes sense for your organization, it is first important to understand the key differences between the various types of hosted offerings.

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Sage Summit 2012: Cloud Computing for Accountants

  1. 1. What Nonprofits and Governmentsneed to know about “The Cloud”
  2. 2. CPE Credit• In order to receive CPE credit for this session, you must be present for the entire session. – Session Code: C-0365B – Recommended CPE Credit = 1 – Delivery Method = Group Live – Field of Study = Specialized Knowledge and Applications• Visit the Sage Summit Connect kiosks to enter CPE credit during the conference.
  3. 3. Your Partner in Dialogue Grant Howe • Vice President of R&D w/Sage • 15+ years in Software Development • Favorite food: Italian (anything with Alfredo sauce) • @geekbyte if you want to tweet nice things • @darthvader if you want to use the dark side
  4. 4. Confused by “weather”or not to go to the cloud?Youre not alone!
  5. 5. A Cloud Primer• What is the Cloud?• Where is my server?• What is virtualization?• What is metered use?• Why should I care?
  6. 6. Everyone Is Talking About It
  7. 7. What is the Cloud?• Shared computing resources across many virtualized servers• Gains economy of scale by sharing those resources• Benefits: – Scalability, flexibility, and fault tolerance
  8. 8. Where is my server?• You just can’t hug a cloud server Example of “blackbox” server “I am the cloud” Inside a server container Image courtesy of
  9. 9. “Trailer Park” Roofless Cloud Datacenter ConceptWhere is my server? Image courtesy of
  10. 10. Container o’ servers!
  11. 11. Cloud PrimerWHAT IS VIRTUALIZATION
  12. 12. Before Virtualization • 1:1 relationship between servers / hardware • Memory / disk space / CPU tied to single server • Lots of servers…. • Lots of wasted resources…
  13. 13. After Virtualization• Many:1 relationship between servers / hardware• Memory / disk space / CPU shared across sets of servers• Fewer and bigger servers to manage….• Resource optimization…• Dell PowerEdge Blade Enclosure• 16 Hardware “blades”• Up to 8 CPU “cores” each• Its possible to run 128 servers in several square feet of space…..
  14. 14. What Magic is this?• How do we fool many servers in to using the same hardware?• How do we assure they play nice and the resources are allocated appropriately?• Introducing the magic of the “Hyper-Visor”
  15. 15. What is a Hyper-Visor• A thin layer of magic software paint• Fools the operating system (Windows, etc.)• Manages allocation of resources• Manages fault tolerance• Provides a management interface to create and manage virtual serversMagic Paint ->
  16. 16. How did we get to Cloud from Virtualization?• Traditional virtualization still required in house servers• People saw the value of having more small servers• We all began buying bigger hardware• But the number of virtual servers skyrocketed…. Server sprawl,• So we bought more hardware.... you will!• A vicious cycle!• Now we have more hardware than ever before to manage and its even more critical than it used to be!
  17. 17. The Cloud is Born• Amazon had built their own Private massive virtualized environment• They figured out how to build a massive hypervisor network that spanned their data centers• It was a key business need for their growth to be able to scale quickly and efficiently on a massive scale• Whoa, we could “rent” our computing power to other companies! $$$$$• Amazon EC2 and S3 were born as metered use offerings to the general Public
  18. 18. The Cloud is Born
  19. 19. Different Types of CloudsPRIVATE CLOUD
  20. 20. Private Clouds• Pool of resources that are solely yours to allocate• Most like the “Family Plan” we all know – No one outside your family can share that pool of minutes, but you don’t get to use more than your total pool of minutes.• Best for: servers that have stable resource usage• Can be expensive if not fully utilizing resources
  21. 21. Private Cloud Providers• Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)• Offer dedicated hardware• Sage Nonprofit partners with Rackspace on Sage Nonprofit Online
  22. 22. Different Types of CloudsPUBLIC CLOUD
  23. 23. Public Clouds• Shared resources and/or bandwidth• Like a phone plan where you share minutes with your entire city, a “Neighborhood Plan”• Best for: when you need to scale internet facing servers, like web servers• Pay premium for flexibility and burst capacity• Example: “The Oprah Effect”
  24. 24. Public Cloud Providers• Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)• Platform as a Service (PaaS)• Shared hardware only• Saleslogix and Sage One hosted on Amazon EC2• Watch for new Sage offerings on Windows Azure
  25. 25. Different Types of CloudsHYBRID CLOUD
  26. 26. Hybrid Clouds• Creating a link between both a Public and Private Cloud so they can work together• If you could have a “Family Plan” and “Neighborhood Plan” on your phone and choose to which plan to charge the minutes – You could be more conservative with your dedicated minutes and more generous with the shared ones.• Best for: when you need to scale some services (web, fundraising) but not others (reporting, backend database)• “Buy the base, rent the spike”
  28. 28. Accounting in the CloudWhat are my options?• Managed, hosted applications• Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)• Licensed vs. subscription solutions• Flexibility and choice
  29. 29. Accounting in The Cloud: What are the options?HOSTED APPLICATIONS
  30. 30. Hosted applications in the cloudPros Cons• Offers remote access via • Many hosted application the web providers require you to own the software license• Eliminates need to have up front and don’t offer in-house servers subscription pricing• Updates and backups managed by the provider automatically• Cloud-based data protected from local server crashes, fire or flood disasters
  31. 31. Accounting in The Cloud: What are the options?SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE(SAAS)
  32. 32. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)Pros Cons• Generally offered to • Many SaaS providers customers by the only offer subscription software developer with no option for purchasing a license• Almost always web- based • No ability to access data if discontinue subscription• Constantly evolve and – Be sure to understand the add new features potential costs of future data conversion if you need to migrate to another solution
  33. 33. Accounting in The Cloud: What are the options?LICENSED VS. SUBSCRIPTIONSOLUTIONS
  34. 34. Licensed vs. SubscriptionLicensed solutions Subscription pricing• May require a larger up- • Predictable, regular front cost expense schedule• Retain ownership of the • Attractive for software license asset organizations with a low – Choose to install it in any tolerance for unexpected compatible environment IT costs or large capital you choose purchasesExample: Buy or lease a new car
  35. 35. Accounting in The Cloud: What are the options?FLEXIBILITY AND CHOICE
  36. 36. Flexibility and choice • Look for solutions that offer the best of both worlds: – Hosted and accessed remotely online – Installed locally on your own server • Select your system first – Then choose implementation that work best for your organization • Needs grow and change – Options to change your implementation in the future—without the expense of having to switch your core accounting system
  37. 37. Top questions to consider before you implementBEFORE YOU FLY…
  38. 38. Questions to ask yourself• What application(s) do we need hosted?• How do these applications interact with us and other applications?• How many man hours are spent each month maintaining servers, workstations, connectivity, software updates?• Have we ever lost data?• Do our users need remote access when working from home or traveling?• What type of compliance do we need? (PCI, HIPAA, etc…)
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  42. 42. Your Feedback is Important to Us!• Completing a session survey is fast and easy: Stop by a Sage Summit Survey kiosk or complete the survey on your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet through the Sage Summit mobile app. – IOS, Blackberry, or Android users may download the app from the App Store by searching “Sage Summit” – Laptop users may use this link• Remember each completed survey is another entry for one of several daily prize drawings, including an Apple iPad!• Your feedback helps us improve future sessions and presentation techniques.• Session code for this session: C-0365B
  43. 43. Contact Us• Presenter Contact Information: – Grant Howe – – @geekbyte• Follow us on Twitter: @Sage_Summit – Use the official Sage Summit hashtag: #SageSummit• Don’t forget to use the Sage Summit mobile or web app for all your conference needs.• Access presentations on Sage Summit VirtualTotebag. – you for your participation.