Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Azure Enablement

Cloud provides on demand scaling, real-time performance and an infrastructure designed to withstand failure where resources are managed and scaled at a  data center.  Microsoft’s Azure cloud provides a Management Portal with a self-service user experience and OData REST API.  Azure  offers multiple hosting solutions – App Service, Cloud Services and Virtual Machines. 
iLink’s Azure practice is a team of qualified experts with extensive Microsoft Azure enablement and implementation experience. iLink’s Azure practice is Gold Certified by Microsoft on Cloud Platform (Azure and Office 365).
iLink analyzes customer infrastructure, applications and needs to recommend the appropriate Azure solution for customers. iLink has built Azure Websites for Line of Business (LoB) applications and helps customers manage these sites from Azure Management Portal without any server maintenance or patching. Also iLink has created REST APIs and hosts them similar to Azure based Websites this facilitates integration between various Line of Business (LoB) applications.
iLink has built Azure based Corporate websites for companies that helped them scale quickly across the globe.  iLink specializes in building such Corporate websites on a platform that provides customers, the insight to track the site health easily and run applications reliably.
iLink can migrate legacy web applications to Azure Cloud.  iLink’s specializes in creating both hybrid application (onpremise database and application on the Azure cloud) or a completely Azure cloud based solution depending on customer preference.  iLink can migrate web based multi-tier applications (developed in C#, Java, PHP, Python, Node.Js etc.), to Azure Cloud.  iLink’s Azure framework creates Cloud Services on Azure for one or more tiers to provide customers tight control over their server environment, Azure Virtual machines for one or more tiers to run server software or services that can’t be configured on the Cloud Services.  iLink’s Azure framework offers tight integration with Azure SQL Database and uses Web jobs to run backend processes.
Also, iLink can create Windows or Linux based Azure Virtual machines and customize the same for application needs.  iLink can move existing on-premise server to the Azure Cloud by creating a custom image to run on a virtual machine in Azure.
iLink has been helping organizations with the following: 
  • Azure Application Readiness, Strategy, Assessment and Planning
  • Security Audit and Governance Plan for Applications on Azure
  • Application Migration to Azure
  • Line of Business (LoB) application development and deployment on Azure
  • Maintain and Support applications on Azure        
  • BI applications and dashboards on Azure
  • Azure based Intranet Development and Maintenance
iLink has successfully migrated to Azure and maintained various types of applications for organizations from various Industry verticals.  iLink has enabled various organizations to move to the Azure Cloud transforming their Infrastructure to an Agile, easily Scalable and Cost effective one thus making them a more productive and efficient organization.
NORAD (Northcomm Aerospace Defence Command has been tracking Santa since 1955, and providing support for his safe journey for over 50 years, and were supported by Google as the technology partner in some of the past years. In 2012, NORAD approached Microsoft and iLink to re-architect the application on the Windows Azure platform, create a new design for the Windows Phone platform and a implement a new Windows 8 application.  iLink’s Santa Tracker application for NORAD successfully handled 93+ Million page views from over 30 Million unique users from 235 countries during the month of December 2012 alone.  This has been deemed by Microsoft as one of the largest scalable applications on the cloud and a poster child for Windows Azure capabilities.
iLink has designed, architected, and created a platform on Azure for a digital media based marketing firm that enables them to manage their end customers’ (Pharmacies, Retails, Corporates, etc), short form video content (applicable across different Products, Industries, business cases, categories, etc), manage Advertisements, Coupons, among many other features.
iLink offers cost effective global delivery models for large scale Azure assessment, planning and enablement and also for maintenance and support engagements. iLink’s industry focused Azure Solution frameworks and solution accelerators offer significant head start to projects and offer faster time to market. For more information, browse

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Internet of Things leading to Smarter Cities

The Internet era as we know it officially began in the year 1993.  A mere two decades on, 19 billion devices now access the Web, with that figure set to increase exponentially to around 30 billion by the year 2020, according to Gartner. This is the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply put, a network where everyday appliances and devices are connected via the Internet.

The industrial and economic impact of this step-change has been studied by analysts for the best part of a decade. The proliferation of networked industrial mechanisms will ultimately enable automated organisations to track, harness, analyse and exploit real-time data in the workplace.

In a few short years, the reality of this environment will be studied in Dubai, if the emirate realises its vision of becoming the region’s first ‘smart city’. With more than half the world’s population living in cities, the need for significantly improved urban management systems is critical. A smart Dubai will see thousands of sensors placed across the city collecting, managing and analysing real-time data. The trend is gaining momentum in new and old cities alike.

For example, governments in Paris have discovered that the amount of shade produced by roadside trees positively impacts the lifespan of the tarmac. As a result, they’ve begun placing sensors on the trees to track their health, both for conservation as well as road maintenance. Also in the French capital, sensors have been installed in city parking lots to alert drivers of the nearest available space. A recent study by UK-based Parkatmyhouse claims the average motorist spends 2,549 hours of their lifetime hunting for parking spaces. The annual economic cost in France alone is estimated at €700 million ($947 million), according to data supplied by Sareco, a parking analyst. While the IoT isn’t new, experts say it is now on the cusp of transforming the way we work, live and play. The costs? Huge. The opportunities? Bigger.

The model most commonly adopted so far is to attract businesses which develop software and hardware applications for the Internet of Things, and encourage them to put their ingenuity to use to smarten the surrounding areas. Public money is often put up as an incentive to do so – an example is Glasgow, Scotland, the government has offered £24 million ($37 million) for technology which will make the city “smarter, safer and more sustainable”. Applications developed or planned for the program include intelligent street lighting which will switch itself off to conserve energy when there’s no one around, mapping energy use around the city to better understand demand, and mapping how people get around to maximize the use of bicycle and foot paths.

Of course, there are plenty of people voicing the need for caution over this wave of new technology. The systems are designed to collect and interact with intimate details of our personal lives such as where we travel, who we associate with, and even how we dispose of the waste materials we generate. There is a danger that in the rush to be the first to develop and market solutions aimed at improving citizens’ everyday lives, some aspects of privacy or information security could be overlooked. On top of that, others have voiced concerns that, particularly in the developing world, living in Smart Cities could be prohibitively expensive for much of the population, leading to them becoming enclaves of the elite, with local governance enforcing social apartheid by keeping out the poor.

These are challenges which will have to be overcome by the architects behind the new systems, as well as legislators and civic authorities. With smart phones and mobile technology increasingly becoming available to a larger number of people, it should be possible to create inclusive systems which are available to all.
However, the potential applications are endless if the technology is leveraged in the proper manner.

Anders Lindbald, president of Ericsson Middle East, claims that automated government-run processes can leverage the IoT in simple, yet highly effective ways. For example, priority vehicles, such as ambulances, can communicate with traffic signals to ensure that roads en route to an emergency call are clear of red lights. Rabih Dabboussi, managing director of Cisco UAE, says that injecting intelligence and connectivity into everything we use is the logical next step in the development of the IoT. While it may sound like science fiction, having sensors on your clothes, shoes, watches, spoons and toothbrushes is inevitable.

The full impact of the IoT on households is something that will take a little longer to realise, but as the cost of microprocessors falls, connectivity in the home will increase. Cisco foresees a future when a child’s toothbrush will notify parents how long they’ve brushed for, the fridge will re-order food from the store, household security systems will switch on the lights before an owner returns home and a reduction in daylight hours will inform a home’s thermostat when it should raise the interior temperature.

The bottom line: The Internet of Things presents huge opportunities for smart economies in the 21st century.

Lotus Notes to SharePoint and Office 365 Migration

Businesses migrate their Lotus Notes based Mail, Applications and Workflows to Exchange, SharePoint / Office 365 to transform an organization to become more agile, productive and cost-effective. Organizations are focused on making the most of their technology investment. Consolidating to a single vendor solution platform for email, collaboration, employee engagement within the organization has become a priority for most organizations that used Lotus Notes.  Increasingly organizations have started seeing Lotus Notes as an unnecessary expense that does not fit into their larger business strategy. Cost reduction through a single platform and readily available support for the platform from Microsoft are the drivers for organizations to migrate from Lotus Notes to SharePoint. This helps them avail improved functionality, attracting and retaining talented employees and becoming more nimble and connected.

At a high-level an organization gets the following business benefits through migration from Lotus Notes to SharePoint or Office 365:
  • Cost Reduction through reducing user training and improving user productivity
  • Capability enhancement through SharePoint FAST search, Tight integration with Office 365 and Microsoft Office apps and SharePoint Workflow templates that provide faster workflows than Lotus Notes.
  • Consistent and Easier Workflows - Enhanced Workflow Platform as Microsoft has a Workflow foundation that works the same way across a range of products.
  • Long term business strategy – facilitating business goals such as innovation, agility, mobility, attracting and retaining talent, mergers and acquisitions. Microsoft products clearly score over Lotus Notes in fast tracking these business goals.
iLink has helped organizations migrate from Lotus Notes to SharePoint and Office 365. iLink has successfully used migration tools like the Dell OnDemand Migration tool, Quest, AvePoint, MetaLogix Migration Manager and Microsoft’s Online Notes Inspector (MONTI).
iLink’s Migration methodology typically comprises of the following:
  • Pre-migration analysis
  • Migration strategy focusing on key facets such as
    • Gaining access to SharePoint features such as managed metadata and document sets
    • Using native web services, connect to SharePoint / Office 365 sites
    • Preserving the look and feel of Notes applications and cover Notes forms to Microsoft InfoPath list forms
    • Moving Notes data to SQL Server tables
    • Discovering Notes databases, analyzing how they are used and determine which applications are unused, as well as those applications that will need development
    • Using a customizable rules-based engine, specify target locations and migration jobs, hundreds of which can be migrated
    • Inhabit lists, libraries, sites and subsites based on existing Notes infrastructure
    • Maintain data fidelity when migrating rich text and complex application data, as well as preservation of data including keyword fields
    • Choice of document destinations beyond lists and libraries, including wiki pages, basic pages, and content publishing pages
    • For applications requiring custom form layouts, migrate Notes documents to InfoPath XML documents
iLink has migrated Lotus Notes Mail, Applications and Workflows to SharePoint using Quest for a Global Chemical Distributor and a Healthcare Insurance Provider. iLink has migrated complex Lotus Notes Mail, Applications and Workflows to SharePoint using MetaLogix Migration Manager for a global online retail platform.

iLink has created some standard pre-migration analysis and migration templates apart from a comparison matrix of using various migration tools. Through these templates and a standardized migration methodology iLink provides a faster turnaround as well as qualitative migration and support to various customers who migrate from Lotus Notes to SharePoint and Office 365.