Emisonian: Joe Emison's Blog

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9 Vital Questions on Moving Apps to the Cloud

The decision to move an application from in-house into the public cloud is a significant one. Organizations have to consider a range of issues, from business drivers to application availability to compliance and security to user adoption. We have nine questions you should ask and answer to help you pick the right course of action.

Read More at InformationWeek Reports.

Google IaaS vs. EC2: New Benchmarks

Zencoder’s new benchmarks find that Google Compute Engine offers a powerful and competitive infrastructure-as-a-service option to Amazon.

Read the full article at InformationWeek.

Google Compute Engine: Hands-On Review

Google Compute Engine is a stable, reliable, and fast provider of on-demand computing resources. But it offers fewer features than rival Amazon Web Services.

Read the full article at InformationWeek.

IaaS a Bad Deal? Not So Fast…

Please click below to read my InformationWeek rebuttal to Art Wittmann’s argument that IaaS is a bad deal:

IaaS a Bad Deal? Not So Fast…

Dirt-Cheap Dynamic Hosting with Amazon S3

Follow the link below to read my InformationWeek report on static-dynamic hosting on Amazon S3.  Since writing the article, I have discovered Firebase, which could be the first real Database-as-a-Service that could hook into static hosting (they have to finish their security features first, though).

Amazon S3: Web Hosting on the Cheap (InformationWeek Reports)

Automatically Mirror Your S3 Data on Rackspace Cloud Files (or Vice Versa) for under $7.00/month

Hosting data in the cloud has many advantages, but it usually has the distinct disadvantage of being beholden to a single vendor.  Outages do happen, even with S3 (see July 2008).  Until now, it was a huge pain–and a significant cost–to establish any kind of mirroring between S3 and any another major cloud storage vendor.  This is because you need to compare the file lists at both locations, and then copy whatever files are needed, which means that you need to have a server that is at least partly dedicated to this mirroring task.

However, as I have intimated, mirroring between Amazon S3 and Rackspace Cloud Files (“CF”) is now much easier, and very cheap.  Read on for the gory details.

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The Limits of the Game Layer

A shorter version of this post appeared on BusinessInsider on May 13, 2011.

Seth Priebatsch’s “Game Layer” TEDxBoston speech is a wonderful introduction to what seems to be a relatively new idea: applying game mechanics to all sorts of situations to make people do what you want them to do.  Seth believes that a properly-constructed “game layer” (a term coined by Seth) can solve really difficult problems—like how to improve failing schools—and even says that game mechanics can solve global warming.
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The Advantage of Cloud Infrastructure: Servers are Software

A version of this post appeared on ReadWriteWeb on March 28, 2011.

More and more companies are moving from traditional servers to virtual servers in the cloud, and many new service-based deployments are starting in the cloud.  However, despite the overwhelming popularity of the cloud here, deployments in the cloud look a lot like deployments on traditional servers.  Companies are not changing their systems architecture to take advantage of some of the unique aspects of being in the cloud.

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The Next Generation of AVMs

A version of this post appeared in the February 2011 edition of Live Valuation Magazine and is also available for download as a PDF.

“The most accurate way to value a property is to find out how much someone will pay for it. Unfortunately, sales data is only updated when a home sells. However, building permit data allows us to take property sale values and bring them up to date, thus giving us a newer, better way to value properties.”—Holly Tachovsky, president of BuildFax, a national aggregator of building permit data.

Most automated valuation models (AVMs) estimate property values by looking at the internal characteristics of properties as part of a “hedonic model,” and by looking at historic sales around the properties as part of a “repeat sales index.” In theory, the combination of the hedonic and repeat sales evaluations captures the full range of factors necessary to value a property automatically. In practice, the quality of the data that drives the hedonic model leads to imperfect results. This article describes a better type of AVM using building permit data.

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