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The term fabric computing is gaining rapid popularity, but currently mostly within the hardware community. In fact, according to a recent report, over 50% of attendees at the recent Datacenter Summit had implemented, or are in the process of implementing, fabric computing. Time to take a look at what fabric computing means for software and for (cloud) computing as a whole. Depending on which dictionary you choose, you can find anywhere between two and seven meanings for "fabric." Etymology-wise, it comes from the French fabrique and the Latin fabricare, and the Dutch Fabriek actually means factory. But in an IT context, fabric has little to do with our often used manufacturing or supply chain analogies; instead it actually relates much closer to fabric in its meaning of cloth, a material produced (fabricated) by weaving fibers. If we check our handy Wikipedia for fab... (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)

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)

Notes from the Cloud Academy: RAIC - Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Cloud services

We have been running the Cloud Academy roundtables in several European countries. I’d like to share some of the more interesting questions, debates and insights around a number of topics, starting today with RAIC—Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Cloud Services. Other topics will include: A TV industry analogy: Competition for the IT department Cloud Shortcuts: Can the Cloud make( internal) IT more agile Service Level Management and the Cloud Cloud R&R - Retained responsibilities for IT Elastic Services: Everybody wants to be a manager Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Cloud services Today’s post discusses whether we can ensure performance and availability of public cloud services. I’m not sure we can. Public cloud services are a bit like the weather: we are lucky if we can predict what it is going to be like, but cannot manage or change it as we don’t control the underl... (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)

VMworld 2010: Two Trends and How They Converge

You may have missed it in the flurry of news from Apple, but VMware recently had their annual get-together at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. On stage VMware shared two key insights: successful virtualization is becoming more about orchestration and automation than about hypervisors.  And, private clouds will rapidly develop into hybrid clouds. I agree on both but believe the combination of these two trends has some distinct consequences that did not get picked up by the media. Let me start with a disclaimer and some disclosure. I followed the event not on-site but through the California blogosphere reporting on the event, and I work for CA Technologies. A third trend, by the way, was that more and more vendors (like VMware last week and CA Technologies back in May) resort to using a professional comedian to introduce the concept of cloud computing at their ann... (more)

Counting Down To Cloud Expo Silicon Valley

Just back from Gitex (more about this later) and it is only one week to go to Cloud Expo Silicon Valley, which starts Monday November 1st. I will be speaking in track 4 “Real-World Cloud Computing & Virtualization” on Wednesday at 6:25 PM (the cloud is no 9-5 affair) about How Cloud and Virtualization Are Changing the Way Business and IT Will Interact. After speaking about this in Prague in June I was invited to give my perspectives also at the event in Santa Clara. Only 5 months have passed, but in cloud terms that is a life time. Come by and check out what has changed. If you cannot wait for that, have a quick peek at the below conversation I had with Brian McKenna of Reed publishing at a recent event in London (which by the way is tipped as the location for Cloud Expo Europe 2011). It was after "The BIG debate: Outsourcing versus Cloud" a keynote panel with repre... (more)

Cloud Predictions Beyond 2011 - Part 1: Consumer Services Rule

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)

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)

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 www.cio.gov) includes a description of the possible benefits of cloud computing, several cases, metrics and management recommendations. A short review of the document wa... (more)