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Neighbor Stealing Your CPU vs. 4-in-1 Machine

  • Cloud

Thief

  • Cloud Providers Treating Customers Like Barflies
  • Scout’s Explanation of Steal Time at AWS
  • How Much is Steal Time Affecting You?
  • Movie Tickets Analogy
  • Importance for Web Apps
  • 4-in-1 Cloud VM

Cloud Providers Treating Customers Like Barflies

Almost all cloud service providers are overselling their resources to a ridiculous degree. They don’t provide real resource guarantees because they don’t want to: it’s easier to pack in as many customers as they can, especially since that terrible service quality is so standard in the industry.

The quality of what you are getting in a cloud service at most providers is like bathrooms at dive bars (enter at your own risk). If everyone in the dive bar market is agreeing not to raise their cleanliness level into the Not Completely Disgusting range, customers are less irritated when they walk into another cesspool. Dive bars are designed for barflies: you can get the bar atmosphere for cheap, but don’t expect to be treated with respect.

The basic philosophy shared by many cloud providers and dive bar owners is: “Everyone else is providing something awful, so why don’t we?”

Just as the result of that philosophy leads to dirty bathrooms in the dive bar, it leads to steal time at a cloud provider. Resources aren’t guaranteed, so what you purchase represents the maximum you can experience during a burst. Your resource availability is inconsistent because sometimes the guy next to you is using the CPU that you need.

The alternative to that scenario is to provide guaranteed resources so that there is no ambiguity, everything is consistent, and you can achieve the equivalent of four machines in one. After all, we’ve all read plenty of articles about how great cloud is. How about your provider doesn’t water it down so that you can actually leverage its full potential? Like walking into a bathroom where you aren’t afraid of catching malaria, cloud without the threat of CPU theft is highly preferable.

Scout’s Explanation of Steal Time at AWS

Before we get into our 4-in-1 VM model, let’s look at one tech company’s discussion of steal time – so rampant that they speak of it as if it’s a given.

“If you deploy to a virtualized environment (for example, Amazon EC2), steal time is a metric you’ll want to watch,” says Derek of application monitoring company Scout. “If this number is high, performance can suffer significantly.”

As a feature, steal time is calculated as a percentage – the portion of time the CPU for your VM is waiting for a physical CPU to become available because another VM’s CPU is using it. In other words, it’s standing in line – personally, one of my favorite activities.

The basic way that cloud works is that you and other VM customers share resources. That’s not a problem if there are guarantees. In the case of other providers, though, your neighbor can burst into your CPU, and all you can do is stand there, humming a pretty tune.

How Much is Steal Time Affecting You?

When someone burglarizes your house, you file a police report and report it to your homeowner’s insurance. In order for the police and your insurance company to know what’s been taken, you need a list of stolen property. Similarly, you want to assess the damage with steal time if your cloud provider allows it. How much is being taken?

On Linux, run the command top.

In terms of CPU, you will see a line that lists percent idle (%id), percent I/O wait (%wa), and percent steal time (%st). “If %id is low, the CPU is working hard and doesn’t have much excess capacity,” Derek explains. “If %wa is high, the CPU is ready to run, but is waiting on I/O access to complete.” The final metric gives you your steal time.

Movie Tickets Analogy

Derek gives the example of attending a big Hollywood movie. If you go to a blockbuster movie that is likely be sold out, you will have a similar experience as you have at a cloud provider where steal time is rampant.

There is one person selling tickets, and two lines. This is how the steal time metric would apply to your situation when you want to get into the movie:

  • 0% steal time – You are going to the movies on a weekday afternoon. Although the ticket clerk is alternating to sell tickets to each of the two lines, you don’t have to wait at all.
  • 50% steal time – You are going to the movies on a weekend night. Half of the time, you will have to wait for the ticket clerk while someone else receives service instead.
  • 100% steal time – You go on a weekend night, and the cash register is not working. Everything is stopped.

Importance for Web Apps

Derek notes that getting rid of steal time is particularly critical for web applications. “For tasks that need to be performed in real-time, like rapidly serving many web requests,” Derek says, “a 4x decrease in performance can cause major backups in request queues, which can lead to outages.”

4-in-1 Cloud VM

Consider this scenario for a contrast: when your cloud provider does not oversell resources, it is equal to TWO dedicated servers set up in a redundant high-availability, real-time duplication fashion (itself expensive and time-consuming to set up
and maintain) sitting behind TWO redundant load balancers.

In other words, by buying just one cloud VM from that true 100% HA provider (us), you get the equivalent of four dedicated devices; two redundant load balancers (LBs) and two redundant/real-time duplicated dedicated servers. If you get our Dedicated Cloud, then that is equivalent to multiple such sets of 2 servers and 2 LBs, one for each VM that you create.

How do you know you’re protected? We never, ever oversell, as explained on our cloud page: “Quantities are limited so once the servers are full, you can request to be added to a wait list until more servers are brought online.”

By Kent Roberts

Image via Flickr user *sax

Projection: 15 Million Developers in Cloud by End of 2015

  • Cloud

Cloud Website Hosting

As cloud becomes the central development environment, cloud services are aiming to best meet developer needs.

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service Growing Astronomically
  • Developers Rush Toward the Cloud
  • Why Developers are Critical to Your Mission
  • Setting the Stage for Great Developers
  • The CIO vs. the Developer
  • Distributed Storage for Developer-Grade Cloud

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Growing Astronomically

Cloud is growing extraordinarily fast. You probably have heard that, but a new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) backs up what previous analyses have suggested. The IDC report predicts that the amount spent on cloud infrastructure will expand 21% year- over-year between December 2014 and December 2015. It will rise from representing 28% of all infrastructure costs to 33% of them, totaling $32 billion by year’s end.

The rate at which businesses continue to switch over to cloud platforms will continue to be high through the end of the year and into 2016, explains Kuba Stolarski of IDC. “As the market evolves into deploying 3rd Platform solutions and developing next-gen software,” he says, “organizations of all types and sizes will discover that traditional approaches to IT management will increasingly fall short of the simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility requirements that form the core of cloud solutions.”

Developers Rush Toward the Cloud

Who, though, is actually leveraging the speed and reliability of cloud to innovate and get a competitive edge?

A poll conducted by Evans Data gauged usage of certain technologies among a group of 500 developers. By applying the proportions to the broader developer population, the survey suggests that 5 million developers are currently using cloud technology as a platform to build applications. Even more stunning is the extent to which developers say they are migrating to cloud: 9.2 million additional developers are switching to cloud by summer 2016, while only 4.8 million say they are sticking with non-cloud servers.

This large and growing cloud developer community will be figuring out how to deploy platforms that best work to complete their projects.

Why Developers are Critical to Your Mission

The business world is gradually beginning to realize how much control developers have over business success. Adrian Crockcroft, who previously headed the Netflix cloud division, says that understanding the growth of your company in the past can be achieved by looking at the money you’ve made, whereas understanding its growth in the future can be accomplished by looking at how many developers you recruit.

Developers are able to create innovations that will differentiate your company from all the rest, according to veteran technology writer Matt Asay. “Developers are … the ones sidestepping traditional IT to get stuff done,” he explains. “They also are the ones whose creativity will have a far bigger impact on your company’s top and bottom lines than most anything else.”

Setting the Stage for Great Developers

Enterprises can sometimes be too restrictive in the way they treat developers. That tactic is often ineffective, as indicated by the incredible rise of shadow IT – with 83% of enterprises experiencing a shadow cloud.

Developers are certainly not the only ones going outside of their companies’ policies  for IT, but many of them are certainly disregarding rules to accomplish what they want technically. Access to incredible resources for affordable prices simply makes cloud too convenient to ignore.

Of course, the technology being used is just one piece. Developers want to work on projects that are complex and allow them to work their muscles – which is much of the reason that Google and Facebook have been able to recruit great developers, as indicated by a workplace poll from VisionMobile.

The CIO vs. the Developer

It is often difficult for the CIO and the developer to see eye-to-eye, with CIOs being much more interested in private clouds than public ones, explains Asay.

“The CIO … is generally the last to know when it comes to developer preferences,” he says. “Developers embraced open source nearly a decade before CIOs grew comfortable with it, and the same is happening with cloud.”

Gartner Research reveals that public virtual machines are expanding almost 7 times as fast as private ones are. That’s in large part because developers prefer the ease of public cloud – as indicated years ago by Stephen O’Grady of Redmonk.

All the major infrastructure and platform companies understand that their systems must be as developer-friendly as possible. Cloud providers are making it easier for developers to use their systems with specialized tools, guides, communities, and customizable solutions.

Essentially, winning over the development crowd is considered essential to being a leader in the cloud infrastructure or platform industries.

The stakes are high, says Asay. “There are 14.2 million developers up for grabs,” he notes, “and the cloud [service] that makes itself the most convenient and powerful for their needs is going to collect the spoils of cloud victory for many, many years.”

Distributed Storage for Developer-Grade Cloud

Asay says that Amazon Web Services is really gearing itself toward the developer market. That may be true, but AWS does not have the best cloud. Our use of InfiniBand technology and distributed storage, with no single point of failure or bottlenecking, provides performance that is typically four times that of AWS.

By Kent Roberts

Digital Duncecap: 9 Memorable Cloud Fails

  • Cloud

Dunce

Cloud industry market leaders are incredibly successful in the category of failure. Here are some top trending #CloudFails from the technology’s brief history.

At Superb Internet, we consider almost ALL cloud providers to be fails because they’re overselling their services, leading to unnecessarily spotty performance. Before we get into why what we offer is vastly superior to the often disappointing speed and reliability of our competitors, let’s look at nine of the biggest historic cloud fails.

  1. Netflix Goes Down Thanks to Amazon

This year, AWS proudly let us know that its cloud computing division was worth almost $5 billion. For growth, they get a gold star. But as the dangers of eating contests reveal, bigger is not always better.

Netflix was one of the original mega-companies to try out Amazon Web Services (AWS). At first glance, it looked like a match made in heaven.

“On the one hand, there was Netflix, whose streaming services were growing far faster than the company could maintain with internal IT resources,” says Andrew Froehlich of InformationWeek, “[O]n the other, retail giant Amazon was on the bleeding edge of the cloud computing movement and ready to make a splash with its new venture.”

Sadly for anyone hoping to enjoy Christmas Eve with their families (really, that’s when this happened), watching Diehard and not having to deal with a technological migraine, Netflix went down. Happy Holidays from AWS, John McClane.

  1. Dropbox Leaves Down its Drawbridge

Sure, it’s great to have a moat and murder holes in your castle for dumping boiling oil on your enemies. But those defenses aren’t worth much when you forget you left the drawbridge down.

When Dropbox released a new update to its software, you could get into anyone’s account just by inputting their email. How long was the drawbridge down? Almost 4 hours. Any comments about this incident can be sent to gapinghole@dropbox.com.

  1. Nearly 800,000 Sites Shot Down by CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a cloud tool that any site can use to enhance security and strengthen uptime for SEO – at least that’s the idea when it isn’t instead crippling your site.

“Such was the case when CloudFlare’s edge routers were upgraded simultaneously, which caused them all to crash,” says Froehlich. “As a result, approximately 785,000 customer websites were unavailable for about an hour.”

Only an hour, huh? For enterprises, Gartner says that little vacation costs more than $300,000.

  1. Apple Takes Off Jennifer Lawrence’s Clothes

Cloud hacks often aren’t titillating enough to get a lot of media attention. You know, a lot of data is boring. But some of it gets the blood pumping, like when actress Jennifer Lawrence trusted her iCloud account for pictures of her taking everything off and posing like a porn star. Other celebrities were exposed as well. Creepy men everywhere rejoiced, celebrating this iCloud vulnerability that Apple apparently had known existed for some time (per Gizmodo).

  1. Wait…Is it MS Office Almost 365?

Apparently (based on a quick search) no company has yet decided to use Twitter for 100% of its internal communications. Well, that would just be crazy. Use email, right? Not when the plug is pulled on email within Office 365.

That’s happened “several times since the service first launched,” says Froehlich. “It got so bad that the running joke was that the service should be called Office 360, since it’s not available five days out of the year.”

That’s actually a lame joke, because 360 sounds like 360°, an all-around view. A better title would be Office Almost 365.

  1. Microsoft’s Lack of Due Diligence Hurts its Customers

Hey, wait for me, said Microsoft four years after the launch of Amazon. Microsoft could have looked at the behaviors of Amazon and Google, using them as test cases of how to do cloud. Nah, why bother. Better to go down for 11 hours.

  1. Homer Simpson at Joyent Babies the Buttons

Have you ever had a baby slam down on your keyboard and ruin your day? Apparently, Joyent was neither childproof nor suddenly-rebooting-everyone-proof. In 2014, a systems administrator who took his eye off the ball rebooted all their servers at once with a faulty keystroke. Doh!

  1. LastPass Coughs Up the Name of Your Dog

LastPass has been widely adopted in enterprise IT to manage passwords and provide single sign-on for increasingly complex infrastructures. Early this summer, the email addresses and password reminders of users were stolen during a data breach.

“Although the passwords were encrypted, and there was no evidence of customer data being exposed,” Froehlich explains, “LastPass required all customers to change their master passwords the very next time they logged in.”

  1. Verizon Wears the Presidential Healthcare Duncecap

Healthcare.gov was supposed to be President Obama’s crowning achievement. Its launch turned into a disaster, starting with repeated problems in the Verizon Terremark cloud.

Obama held a ceremony in the Rose Garden honoring them with the Presidential Healthcare Duncecap.

#CloudFails Standard Among Public Cloud Providers

Practically ALL cloud service providers are grossly overselling resources, causing highly variable peaks and valleys in performance. The resources you think you’ll get are actually a maximum that is often not met.

Why is Superb better? We do not do ANY overselling: your resources are ALWAYS guaranteed and are always available. (Want proof? Note this statement at the bottom of our cloud page: “Quantities are limited so once the servers are full, you can request to be added to a wait list until more servers are brought online.”)

By Kent Roberts

Not All Cloud Services are Created Equal

  • Cloud

Cloud

Think about any field, and you can identify the promise of the service provided and how that promise is left unfulfilled by many businesses due to their greed and willingness to leave their customers unsatisfied. Two obvious examples:

  • Preventable medical errors are the third-highest cause of death in the United States, suggesting that many American “healthcare” providers are doing an awful job at living up to their name.
  • In academia, the cost of for-profit colleges is almost twice that of in-state public four-year school tuition ($15,130 vs. $8893), but employability for for-profit graduates is 22% lower that it is for public institutions and private nonprofit schools.

Should you go to the doctor when you get sick? Maybe, but be careful what clinic or hospital you choose – apparently there’s a fair amount of collateral damage. Is an education worth it anymore? Sure, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that a diploma is just as valuable no matter where you go.

Not every doctor will kill you, and not every diploma is worthless, though. The message here is that quality still matters. It matters in technology just as it does in other industries. It’s critical when choosing cloud providers because cloud is ephemeral – a virtual construct rather than a physical machine.

What’s going wrong with the cloud? Practically ALL cloud service providers are grossly
overselling resources. Shady hosting companies used to love shared hosting because no one could immediately see how awful it can become when everyone needed resources at the same time. The greed cloud that’s sold by our competitors is just like shared hosting: if all diners go to the buffet simultaneously, you can find yourself standing there with an empty plate.

The only reason why cloud functions adequately well at many providers is that so many users are paying for something they aren’t using. Resources aren’t guaranteed. The specs you buy represent the maximum burstable amount, but what’s available in terms of CPU and RAM is often smaller than that.

Hey, wait a second – I thought the doctors were supposed to heal me, not kill me … and I thought that the entire idea of the cloud was to counteract resource inconsistency, to counteract peaks and valleys in availability. It’s highly reliable moment by moment due to the thousands of physical machines at play, right? Not with the wrong provider.

At Superb, we think those inconsistencies are ridiculous. That’s why we do not do ANY overselling of our public cloud VM’s. Your resources are ALWAYS guaranteed and are always available. You aren’t riding a technological roller coaster. You always get the 100% peak performance that is written into the specs you choose, as indicated by legitimate third-party benchmarking measurements from PassMark.

After all, advantages of cloud are substantial if you use a provider that is giving you true 100% HA (high-availability) cloud. Here are a couple that were recently highlighted by the data science company Mixpanel Engineering, even though they were frustrated with their provider – Rackspace – and weren’t able to fully benefit from cloud technology:

  • Cheap upfront cost. Mixpanel estimated that cloud is at least 60% lower to get up and running than a dedicated server.
  • Quick implementation and ability to easily adjust servers. For companies that see their traffic frequently rise and fall, it’s simple to bring servers up and down to match your needs. In terms of the ability to deploy new machines, cloud also fares well. (Mixpanel says that dedicated servers are similarly easy to scale for different traffic quantities, but that’s of course within strict limitations since physical hardware will eventually reach peak capacity.)

Mixpanel left Rackspace because they were getting a performance level that was jumping all over the place. Their experience was an IT horror story. They would see their performance fluctuate from 300 queries per second with extra room to 50 queries per second fully maxed out, a position where it would remain for hours.

They were suffering because of the ways that their neighbors were using their cloud servers, a virtual replay of the problem with shared hosting that can easily be solved by not overloading machines with more customers than fit the resources available.

Performance can also get terrible at some providers when other users quit. “Based on observations over a few months, I’m pretty sure that Rackspace actually does the equivalent of a full virtual disk wipe every time a customer deletes a cloud server,” says Mixpanel. “Better hope that none of your neighbors ever decides to cancel their server!”

Finally, Mixpanel complains that they thought the hardware was low-quality and potentially outdated.

Here’s the solution: We use 100% solid-state drives for our public cloud, paired with InfiniBand technology for unmatched speed. And we never, ever, ever oversell. You can forget about your neighbors with us. They are truly irrelevant.

Want proof? Note this statement at the bottom of our cloud page: “Quantities are limited so once the servers are full, you can request to be added to a wait list until more servers are brought online.” Get cloud the way it should be.

By Kent Roberts

Cloud Fuels Worldwide Adaptation & Predictive Analytics for E-commerce

  • Cloud

Ecommerce

The adaptability and predictive analytics of cloud allow e-commerce companies to excel in an increasingly complex marketplace.

  • Global Adaptation
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Strong Cloud with Distributed Storage

Global Adaptation

Clarins, a French makeup manufacturer, decided to aggressively target the Chinese market in 2012. The company had previously only made sales in China via its affiliates.

It wasn’t easy to figure out how to maintain its current brand presence and properly position itself with Chinese consumers, explains online sales VP Laurent Malaveille.

Using a cloud e-commerce system makes it easy to split those two messages. In years past, running a complete second website could have been prohibitively expensive. Today, system maintenance is entrusted to a cloud provider. Since the basic technical aspects of Clarins’ infrastructure are covered, the IT and e-commerce teams are able to focus on more specific work concerns such as the company’s rewards program. The Chinese site was a huge success, with double-digit revenue increase through the first six months.

The company currently operates a dozen e-commerce websites worldwide, each of them tailored toward the specific regional culture and powered by a cloud server.

One reason the company is using cloud is that it wants to be able to rapidly enter different markets without having to hire a bunch of IT personnel. Clarins also wants to avoid the patching and upgrading that’s required with traditional, on-premise systems.

“Another factor in Clarins’ decision to go with … a cloud offering [was that] it can easily handle the company’s traffic surges during holidays and promotions,” Mary K. Pratt of CIO explains. “[Its] architecture can rapidly scale as the company launches new country-specific websites”.

As new features get released, they are deployed immediately to customers. Since features become available without having to perform upgrades in-house, it’s easier for Clarins to grow.

Cloud computing creates broader options for companies setting up online sales systems. Clarins appreciates the ability it now has to easily build in its own features that fit its evolving needs. One example is a point-based customer reward system that is built into its e-commerce platform.

“We didn’t want to be trapped into one set of functions,” says Malaveille. Using cloud “has empowered our [IT] team to run our business in a more dynamic way.”

Predictive Analytics

The cloud makes it possible for anyone to use big data and run predictive analytic projects. Shockingly, though, 4 in 5 e-commerce companies aren’t fully leveraging their analytics, according to one analysis. In fact, a substantial number of companies don’t monitor the basics, such as weekly sales and conversion rates.

Here are three ways in which analytics are being used by online retailers to increase their sales:

  1. On-Site Offers

Build.com relies on its partnerships to feed possible customers into its online store. The affiliate sites give people discounts through a variety of clickable coupons.

Traffic was coming to Build.com, but a problem was occurring that was not immediately apparent. Customers who accessed the promotion were sent to the homepage, and it wasn’t obvious if the coupon had in fact lowered their prices.

That was a broad issue, but analytics allowed the company to solve the problem by targeting users individually (a classic case of big data being used to solve small, discrete problems). According to Sid in Kissmetrics, the company used analytics to determine the referral site of each user, along with the specific coupon code accessed.

“Using this data, they were able to create personalized pop-ups and banners for each visitor,” says Sid. “For example, if a visitor comes from CouponAlbum using a 2% discount coupon, they see this pop-up as soon as they land on the Build.com homepage.”

  1. Email Offers

Personalization is a major strength of big data and the cloud – as indicated by the federal Precision Medicine Initiative, which is using data to personalize healthcare.

Personalization can save lives, but it can also do something as simple as generating better email response. An Experian study found that by customizing emails, it saw open rates and click-through rates respectively rise 29% and 41%.

  1. Dynamic Pages

Sure, it’s become relatively easy to create customized on-site and email promotions. Those elements are single pieces. When you are ready to really get the most out of your customer analytics, it’s time to implement dynamic pages.

After all, the numbers favor dynamic pages, according to Sid. “59% of online shoppers say it is easier to find interesting products on personalized e-commerce stores,” he says, “and 45% are more likely to shop on a store that offers personalized recommendations.”

Strong Cloud with Distributed Storage

Cloud technology allows you to globally adapt and use analytics to drive smarter e-commerce. Not all cloud is created the same, though.

One critical aspect of a strong, 100%-high-availability cloud is distributed storage. With distributed storage, there is no single point of failure and none of the bottleneck risk associated with centralized storage. Experience Superb’s superior cloud.

By Kent Roberts

Social Entrepreneurship Accelerates with Cloud Computing

  • General

Cloud Storage

By running data science projects in the cloud, social entrepreneurs such as actor Adrian Grenier can tackle poverty and other global problems.

  • Business for Social Good
  • Cloud Data to Improve Lives
  • No More Head-Scratching
  • Recovery from Natural Disasters
  • Building Your Social Entrepreneurship Tool

Business for Social Good

In the HBO show Entourage, Matt Damon has to call in backup from Lebron James to convince Vincent Chase to give more than $10,000 to his children’s charity. In the background is the private plane in which Chase will be flying momentarily to Italy. Essentially, Chase is being shamed into giving more money – relenting and casually telling his assistant to stroke a check for $150,000.

As it turns out, the guy who plays Chase, Adrian Grenier, does not need to be convinced to pay it forward. Alongside his acting, he created the content platform SHFT in 2010, which focuses on movies, cuisine, industrial design, and creative projects that promote environmentalism. In turn, he has been given a new position at Dell as its social good advocate.

It’s a fancy title, but does it mean anything?

The short answer is yes. Through the Dell Legacy of Good program, Grenier will advance “a lot of upcycling and recycling as well as reclaiming of [electronic waste] and implementing it into new products,” he says. Additionally, the actor says he and the computing giant will be “creating some initiatives together that help me achieve  … goals [regarding] ocean work and helping the environment.”

Through this work, Grenier is further building his own legacy as an icon in the social entrepreneurship movement – a field that is tied at the hip with cloud computing, as data science helps to give socially conscientious projects direction.

Cloud Data to Improve Lives

Social issues tend to be extraordinarily complex, and social entrepreneurship is fundamentally concerned with finding solutions to those problems. Just as with an effort to get a competitive advantage and increase revenue, anyone trying to succeed with a social entrepreneurship program must have hard data in order to focus their work.

After all, research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals that companies that are more data-driven are 4% more productive and generate 6% more profit. Notice how those numbers about data are themselves compelling.

“Vague ideas and obscure stories aren’t very persuasive, but facts set in data paint a much clearer picture,” explains When I Work marketing VP Sujan Patel. “This is huge when it comes to determining whether social entrepreneurs will … gain the support they need from others.”

For instance, telling people that you want to end poverty may sound idealistic to the point of absurdity. However, you can ground your efforts in the specific dollar figures that would be required to help the 80% of people who live on less than $10 per day.

No More Head-Scratching

There have been some feel-good stories about using cloud computing and data science to solve real-life problems in recent years. The Google Person Finder, for instance, allows people to locate their loved ones following natural and humanitarian disasters. Similarly, the University of Oxford created a data analytics tool to predict the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Still, most of the focus of data science has been on increasing business, and nonprofits often haven’t known what to do with the data they have.

Jake Porway wanted to make it easier for public-sector organizations to process data and data scientists to engage in social entrepreneurship, so he created DataKind.

“The company’s goal is the visualization and understanding of a social organization’s data, through the lens of a data science expert,” says Patel. Beyond analytics, the organization teaches socially minded groups “how to build good data sources, as well as assisting them with quality data discovery.”

Recovery from Natural Disasters

The Google Person Finder isn’t the only mechanism created to respond to natural disasters. The Qatar Computing Research Institute now has 10 projects running with its Social Innovation Program, showing the world how building data science initiatives on public cloud machines can fuel social entrepreneurship and help real people navigate life-threatening crises.

Like the above efforts, it’s proving that data can actually be extraordinarily useful in improving quality of life and even saving lives.

Building Your Social Entrepreneurship Tool

Social entrepreneurship sounds like a great way to get any company a lot of press, but Grenier insists that’s not what it’s about. Rather, socially responsible projects are built into the fabric of the company. That way, “[w]hen you sit down with your shareholders and you say you spent a lot of money to do this really great thing, you don’t need to show them that it directly affects the bottom line positively,” the actor says. “They just accept it as part of who you are.”

Do you want to build social entrepreneurship into your own organization’s DNA? A powerful cloud computing virtual machine is essential to creating data science projections. Ours are PassMark-rated to typically achieve 300% better performance than SoftLayer or Amazon VMs with similar specs.

By Kent Roberts