November 08, 2009, 8:38 AM — Okay, so we all know that cloud computing is a big deal, and most of us have experimented with Google Apps and Amazon's S3 cloud-based services. How about making them truly enterprise-friendly, so that you can actually get some real work done while you are up in the clouds? Here are two things to try out on your own.
The first is a new product from Ltech called Power Panel that is a Google Apps plug-in. Do you need to organize your contacts into groups? Want to share a common set of contacts across a workgroup? Need to have admin rights to reset someone's Google Apps account in case they forget their password? Have to change someone's email settings on the fly? Then this is the product for you.
Take a look at the features here. Power Panel is just one of several other services from Ltech. There is another module that has a way to backup Google Docs to a local drive and still preserve the folder structure, and others to import calendar and contact items into Google's services.
At $5 per user per month, this can be a very affordable way to make use of Google Apps.
Here is my second tip. If you are looking to get started with Amazon's S3 and EC2 cloud services, I came across a great tutorial that goes step by step through the process of creating your first virtual server and cloud-based machine instances. On Fred Stluka's Amazon EC3 page, you can see how to set up these services, how to connect to them across the Internet using either SSH or Windows Remote Desktop, and how to use persistent data instances. Plus, what charges you can expect to incur as a result of all of these efforts. It is a great resource all in one single place.
Let me know if you have other resources that are worthy of the enterprise.