Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who says the Government are Technology Laggards?

The US Federal Government has plans to offer both Software as a Service for government agencies and a cloud-based platform for agencies to develop, test and deploy new applications.

NASA has also been experimenting with Cloud Computing.

If the US Government can start to use Cloud Computing then there should be no reason Enterprises can't consider it as a new resourcing option. There's an awful lot of scare mongering still going around - particularly in relation to security and integration. Granted, whether these are perceptions or reality they need to be addressed. However, these are relative problems which may not be an issue depending on what you are doing.

I think of this as like the Movie Critic in the newspaper. How many times have you seen a film review which said the movie was terrible, when in fact it was fantastic when you saw it? The key point here is that the film critic's opinion is just that, their opinion. Make up your own mind. The same applies to technology - especially for the more innovative / new stuff. There is always going to be people telling you the 10,000 reasons you shouldn't use it. What are the 3 reasons you should?

Make up your own mind.

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Elasticity, Performance, and Analytics will change role of Web Operations

Nice short video (about 6 mins) from Alistair Croll on why elasticity, performance, and analytics will change how Web Operations are judged.

View original Bitcurrent post

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why Cloud Computing Matters

Excellent talk from Simon Wardley on why Cloud Computing matters. Worth spending 15 minutes looking at this. Simon presented this at O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention) in July 2009.

Click to view video (YouTube)

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Friday, July 17, 2009

Conventional wisdom is wrong about Cloud IaaS

Forrester research released an interesting piece of research in May 2009 which debunks some conventional thinking about who will or will not utilise Cloud Computing.

Forrester: Conventional wisdom is wrong about Cloud IaaS

From the report extract:

Survey results confirm strong interest in cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) but debunk several stereotypes. Large firms are more interested in cloud IaaS than small firms. Firms are interested in cloud services slightly more than internal cloud, not, as conventional wisdom has it, much less than internal cloud. Firms are equally comfortable with all major workload types in the cloud and are almost as comfortable with production apps as they are with test and development usage. For all vendor strategists, this means focusing on enterprise and SMB both, not leading with SMB, while product vendor strategists also need to develop different messages for enabling internal cloud versus supporting use of external service providers.

I've read the full report and it brings up some interesting thoughts:

  • The report stated that only about 1/3 of the participants were "not interested in cloud computing". That means 2/3's are!
  • Something is obviously driving these users towards the adoption of Cloud Computing -- my own thoughts about current IT depts and Channel vendors are being proven true - there is clear dissatisfaction among end-user organisations about how IT is currently delivered as well as the associated costs.
  • It would seem end-users are much less conservative than expected. Conventional thinking is that enterprises will start with development and test environments in the Cloud and maybe consider production systems in the future. According to this report, that isn't true -- over 1/3 of large and medium sized enterprise companies are ready to put enterprise apps into production in public Cloud environments.
  • The Big Switch is happening and both IT departments and the Channel vendors need to adapt and fast -- (disclosure: my own firm ZeroTouch helps both IT depts and IT Service Providers to make these changes)
ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is Cloud Computing really something new? Who cares...

A lot of the detractors of Cloud Computing say it's nothing new. We've had mainframe timeshares for decades, we've had Bureau computing services, we've basically had loads of technologies and solutions which did similar things.

So why is everybody so excited (or threatened) by Cloud Computing?

I read a thought provoking article recently which compared the maturity of Cloud Computing to the iPhone. Huh? Exactly, huh? Definitely worth a read because effectively both the iPhone and Cloud Computing are nothing new from one perspective - some of the technologies have been around in other products / services / guises for ages, but from another perspective, they make technology disappear! This is when technology starts to become seriously useful - when you stop thinking about it and it doesn't get in the way. When you make a mobile phone call you don't think about all the technology in the handset, wireless network, billing systems and numerous other systems required to make it all work. You just think about calling your friend, wife, husband, order pizza etc. The technology has disappeared.

Cloud Maturity: Just Like the iPhone, There's an App for that...

...Whilst I have often grouped Cloud Computing with the consumerization of IT (and the iPhone as it’s most visible example) together in concert in my disruptive innovation presentations, I never really thought of them as metaphors for one another.

When you think of it, it’s really a perfect visual.

The iPhone is a fantastic platform that transforms using technology that has been around for quite a while into a more useful experience. The iPhone converges many technologies and capabilities under a single umbrella and changes the way in which people interact with their data and other people...

So what about the Cloud?

The point here is that Cloud is very much like the iPhone. As Sir James (Urquhart) says “Cloud isn’t a technology, it’s an operational model.” Just like the iPhone.

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Is Twitter conceptually just like TV?

Here's an interesting thought. Is Twitter the online equivalent (conceptually) of TV? There are a lot of similarities. Broadcast TV is based on a "flow" model i.e. you tune in and get to see what's on now. This is like Twitter (and other "flow" based information sources) - you tune in and get to see the Tweets flowing past right now.

If we continue this analogy then are we likely to see (over time) similar consumer behaviour to what happened in TV-land? Consumers will be more interested seeing the content they want to see when they want to see it, rather than having to be tuned in all the time. We'll probably see the equivalent of Cable news, where everything gets repeated every 15 minutes. And lots of other developments which occurred in TV-land.

Hold on. Isn't that not just like blogs and other archived-like content? Or basically just the normal Internet with its vast array of web pages on every subject known to man?

If my Twitter / TV analogy plays out, then consumers will get fed up with the real-time broadcast flow nature of this service and return to other "information when you want it" modes of operation. Or will they?

Interesting thought. What do you think?

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Cloud Standards Co-ordination

This announcement marks a significant evolution in Cloud Computing standards. Worth exploring further if you have an interest in this field.

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Major Standards Development Organizations Collaborate to Further Adoption of Cloud Standards

Cross Institutional Group Pursuing Clarity of Standards Landscape

Arlington, VA. - July 13, 2009 - At its Cloud Standards Summit here this week, OMG™ today announced a collaboration with leading technology Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) to coordinate and communicate standards for Cloud computing and storage. Organizations expected to participate in this round-table style collaboration include: the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), the Open Grid Forum (OGF), the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).

To support this collaboration a public working group has being established and anyone with relevant technical skills, interest and commitment can participate. Participation by enterprise and government IT leaders is encouraged to ensure that their critical standards needs are being addressed. The work is an outgrowth of the already existing Standards Development Organization Collaboration on Networked Resources Management (SCRM) working group that has coordinated management standards in general.

"OMG is committed to providing modeling-based solutions for complex business challenges, including those associated with cloud computing. Cloud computing, which is primarily a business decision of operating expense vs. capital expense, fits well into our vision of Business Ecology, which is focused on the optimization of business processes through standards," said Richard Mark Soley, Ph.D., chairman and CEO, OMG.

Most SDOs already have many one-to-one liaison relationships, which are effective and productive for handling specific issues. This round table-style collaboration provides a "bird's eye view" of this broad and complicated technical area, helping further the work already underway between these leading standards bodies. This is the main reason the Cloud Standards Coordination working group was born. The group has a goal to create a landscape of cloud standards work, including common terminology.

The organizations involved have created a wiki to describe each organization's standards and efforts in this space. Each SDO has representatives that keep the wiki up to date. The URL is

" is a vital mechanism for coordination across the cloud computing landscape. OGF will use this venue to drive progress for end-users, developers, vendors, and all cloud stakeholders," said Dr. Craig A. Lee, President, Open Grid Forum.

"The DMTF has established relationships with many SDOs through its alliance partner program and is actively expanding those alliances to leverage existing and future DMTF standards, such as OVF," said Winston Bumpus, President DMTF. "With the recent formation of the DMTF Open Cloud Standards Incubator the coordination of DMTF standards with these SDOs and industry groups will be key to minimizing overlap and identifying any gaps between the standards."

"The SNIA, in its role to advance storage and information technology, is defining a cloud storage taxonomy, a cloud reference model and the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) specification in coordination with and support of several standards development organizations and industry groups," said Vincent Franceschini, Vice Chair SNIA Board of Directors and Co-chair of the SNIA Cloud Storage committee. "We see our cloud storage standards coordination work as key to achieving integration and adoption of these new industry cloud standards in released products and services as well as complementing existing storage and computer standards."

"With this collaboration, we look forward to leveraging OCC's work developing standards for large data clouds and for inter-cloud communication with other standards efforts," says Robert Grossman, Chair of the Open Cloud Consortium.

"Fostering trust in cloud computing services is a key criteria for enabling its growth," said Jim Reavis, co-founder of the Cloud Security Alliance. "CSA seeks to encourage pervasive adoption of best practices for securing cloud computing to create a trusted baseline for the industry and are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to help us achieve that mission."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Forget Google, maybe this is the real threat to Microsoft?

Google would never be able to inflict this much damage on Microsoft's Seattle HQ.

The 1,700-foot Tsunami that struck Alaska (in 1958) - can it happen again?

This is an interesting read for a number of reasons. Firstly, it shows the possible danger the whole Western US and Canada may be under. From the article:

...Their scenario depicted a rupture beginning in the north and propagating toward the south along the 600-mile long Cascadia Subduction Zone (an area where two tectonic plates move towards one another, forcing one to slide beneath the other). In their scenario, the ground moved about 1.5 feet per second in Seattle, nearly 6 inches per second in Tacoma, Olympia and Vancouver, and 3 inches in Portland, Oregon...

Also, think about the latest rush by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo etc to build Data Centers in this part of the world near the Columbia River. I hope they factored in some severe earthquakes in their construction...

A geological event like that described in the article above would not only have a major impact directly on this region but also on global commerce because of the interconnectedness of everything and the growing move to Cloud Computing (and in particular the services of the companies mentioned above).

Business Continuity Management planning is something every company should have but especially in this region. Also, it goes without saying (or it should) that secondary / backup facilities and data centers shouldn't be anywhere near this region - just in case of the big one...

ZeroTouch IT Ltd

Cloud Computing for dummies - video

Here's a nice Cloud Computing for Dummies explanation from

InfoClipz: Cloud computing

ZeroTouch IT Ltd