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In the past weeks we launched directly from the season of cloud events into what SYS-CON calls the Annual Predictions Bonanza. Gartner released its predictions on December 1 leading with "critical infrastructure will be disrupted by online sabotage."  At CIO magazine Bernard Golden gave two  interesting points of view, one for vendors and one for users, and even CA Technologies offered insights into the changes we expect in 2011, including how "security will shift from being perceived as a cloud inhibitor to becoming a cloud enabler." So, what happens after 2011?  In a few upcoming blogs I will highlight some "megatrends" that I believe are happening - or need to happen - in the decade about to start. (Now, you may argue that the decade started a year ago, but starting to count at zero is very "old school IT" and "old school IT" is definitely not what we are going t... (more)

Cloud Predictions Beyond 2011-12: The Need for a Cloud Abstraction Model

If the cloud is to fulfill on its promise we need to start thinking of it as a cloud, not as an aggregation of its components (such as VMs etc.) As mentioned in a previous post I‘ll use some of my upcoming posts to highlight some cloud computing "megatrends" that I believe are happening - or need to happen – beyond 2011. One of these would be the creation of an “abstraction model” that can be used to think about (and eventually manage) the cloud.  A nice setup to this was done by Jen-Pierre Garbani of Forrester, who in a recent post at Computerworld UK talks about the need to Consider the Cloud as a solution not a problem.   In this is he uses the example of the T-ford -which was originally designed to use the exact same axle with as roman horse carriages, until someone come up with the idea of paving the roads - to argue that cu... (more)

Shedding Light on Cloud Computing - A Free Primer

Cloud Computing is the most discussed IT innovation of recent times. This Primer provides a structured overview of what Cloud Computing is and what the potential benefits and risks are. In addition it explores how Cloud Computing will impact IT management and IT's role in the organization as a service provider. It also looks at the risks of Cloud Computing. Risk is consistently cited by CIOs and CFOs as the largest obstacle of cloud computing for their organizations. In this primer we consider the risks in areas such as availability, privacy and regulatory compliance. The booklet explores some of the reasons why organizations want to implement Cloud Computing, to name just a few: cost-savings, increased speed and flexibility and higher performance. It looks at how the Cloud delivers against these expectations and debates its long term viability. The Cloud Computin... (more)

Vivek Kundra’s Decision Framework for Cloud Computing Migration

In my last blog, a cloud of two speeds, I mentioned Vivek Kundra's very readable cloud strategy and the industry stimulus effect this approach can have on the emerging cloud industry. By presenting his strategy not simply as a way to cut costs and reduce budgets, but as a way to get more value from existing IT investments, he enlisted IT as an ally to his plans, instead of a potential opponent. Section two of the strategy - summarised below - is a pragmatic 3 step approach and check-list for migrating services to the cloud, which can also be valuable for organizations outside the governement and outside North America. The full Federal cloud computing strategy (43 pages and available for download at includes a description of the possible benefits of cloud computing, several cases, metrics and management recommendations. A short review of the document wa... (more)

A Cloud of Two Speeds: Europe vs. America

Cloud computing is gaining rapid acceptance, but not everywhere. Governments across Europe – in what many call “the old countries” -  are still remarkably conservative or even reluctant to embrace cloud computing.   This week President Obama organized a dinner with the CEO’s of 12 high-tech and cloud companies to stimulate job creation in North America, meanwhile - over in Europe - the Dutch Minister of the Interior replied to questions of parliament about the use of cloud computing by governments.The fact that this particular minister had to be invited three times by Dutch Employers Association to switch from his pre-war model cast iron bike to a more modern bicycle with gears and suspension, says something about the tone of this debate. A hilarious misunderstanding was that the official government delegation kept referring to cloud computing as a new in... (more)

Can the Real Cloud Market Size Please Stand Up?

It seems like every week another sizing of the cloud market is published, and – maybe as to be expected - none of them seem to agree. Let’s have a look at who is saying what, and whether we are comparing apples to apples, or apples and oranges. We will start by looking at SaaS. The most recent numbers from IDC claim that SaaS revenue will grow 5 times faster than traditional packaged software. This would mean little if traditional packaged software is expected to no longer grow (five times zero would still be zero). Joe McKendrick at ZDNet took IDC’s numbers and extrapolated from them that “very soon, a third of all software will be delivered via cloud.” This seems to directly contradict Gartner numbers from just a month earlier. In June Gartner released a report stating that “Software as a service (SaaS) will have a role in the future of IT, but not the dominant future... (more)

Vendor Lock-in and Cloud Computing

IT vendor lock-in is as old as the IT industry itself. Some may even argue that lock-in is unavoidable when using any IT solution, regardless of whether we use it “on premise” or “as a service”. To determine whether this is the case, we examine traditional lock-in and the to-be-expected impact of cloud computing. Vendor lock-in is seen as one of the potential drawbacks of cloud computing. One of Gartner’s research analysts recently published a scenario where lock-in and standards even surpass security as the biggest objection to cloud computing. Despite efforts like Open Systems and Java, we have managed to get ourselves locked-in with every technology generation so far. Will the cloud be different or is lock-in just a fact of live we need to live with? Wikipedia defines vendor lock-in as: In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in, or customer ... (more)

Audits and Certificates Won't Erase Cloud Security Concerns

In every cloud survey, security consistently comes out as an inhibitor to cloud adoption. Even though this has been the case for several years, many feel that it is a temporary barrier which will be resolved once cloud offerings get more secure, mature, certified, and thus accepted. But is this indeed the case or do we need another approach to overcome this barrier? During a recent cloud event, two speakers from a large accounting and EDP auditing firm took the stage to discuss the risks of cloud computing. While one speaker dissected the risks for both consumers and providers of cloud services, the second speaker discussed the various certifications and audit schemes that are available in each area. They acknowledged that with the currently available certifications, not all risks were covered, but their envisioned remedy was even more comprehensive certification... (more)

Might the Cloud Prove Thomas J. Watson Right After All?

In 1943 former IBM president Thomas J. Watson (pictured below) allegedly said: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers". Will cloud computing prove Watson to be right after all? Anyone who visited a computer-, internet- or mobile-conference in recent years, is likely to have been privy to someone quoting a statement former IBM president Thomas J. Watson allegedly *1 made in 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers". Most often it is used to show how predicting the future is a risky endeavor. But is it? Maybe cloud computing will prove Watson to be right after all, he was just a bit early? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting there will be less digital devices in the future. In fact there will be more than we can imagine (phones, ipads, smart cars and likely several things implanted into our bodies). But the big data ch... (more)

End of Outsourcing, Death of the Web, Self Managing Clouds? Not So Fast, Just Yet

Sure, it may all happen, but expect a similar timeframe as for the paperless office Predicting the future is a lot more fun than analyzing the past, but as Mel Brooks might say “A funny thing happened on the way to the future; it changed from what we expected.” And there have been plenty of predictions recently. For starters, Wired Magazine announced  the death of the (browser based) web, predicting it will be replaced by dedicated locally installed desktop or mobile applications – those things we now call “Apps.” As you can imagine, this article prompted a large response by bloggers – and emotions were nearing outrage in some cases. Most of the reaction came from people who simply love their browsers, but one can imagine that many SaaS vendors also had a rough night. Being able to run multiple SaaS applications next to each other, while still offering a rather consis... (more)

Virtual Strategy - Virtually Right

With a private cloud strategy and dynamic data center you can quickly respond to rapid business fluctuations. But how do you get there? This post was originaly published as thanksgiving weekend special at In the article I discussed some approaches for building a dynamic data center that not only addresses complexity and reduces cost, but also accelerates business response time, to ensure that organization realizes the true promise of cloud computing, business agility and customer responsiveness. Cloud computing presents an appealing model for offering and managing IT services through shared and often virtualized infrastructure. It’s great for new business start-ups who don’t want the risk of a large on-premise technology investment, or organizations who can’t easily predict what the future demand will be for their services. But for most of us with... (more)