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In the first part we discussed lessons that IT can learn from a hundred years of manufacturing best practices and the possible role of cloud computing in that endeavor. We now continue with what may very well be the area that IT can learn most from manufacturing: Costing. Costing. Many feel that the billions that the industry invested in ERP systems can be justified by the improved planning capabilities that such a global perspective gives. Reality however is that the benefits of ERP – if any – come more from improved financial visibility. By being able to compare costs, prices and efficiencies per country, the overall portfolio could be optimized. And although most ERP systems have added a supply chain planning solution over the past years, their cost analysis and financial functionality is often both more advanced and more widely implemented. Full, loaded, integral... (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)

The Private Cloud Debate Is Building Up Steam, But Is It Worth Having?

Slowly but steadily the debate in the blogosphere about private clouds is increasing. Now it is always good to see some debate, but is this a debate worth having? Will the cloud long term not be about other things than who owns a machine? Under provocative titles like “Private cloud discredited, part 1”  and “Do We Really Need Private Clouds?”  the private cloud debate is building up steam. The first blog is actually called “part 1” because the author is sure there will be a part two, given the raging emotions and all the opinions being aired. The second one is part of a very readable guest series by IT analyst avant la lettre Robin Bloor at Cloud Commons. Cloud Commons is a cloud consumer rating service community site, like consumersearch.com and epinions.com but for cloud products and services, that CA Technologies helped initiate. Now it is always good to see deba... (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)

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)

Cloud Computing: More on Fabric Computing in the Cloud

In my last post I covered the concept of fabric computing and why it matters in the world of cloud computing.  With a "fabric" approach towards creating a cloud application, we include the virtual compute, storage and network components inside a fully software-based model of the service. This is distinctly different from a more traditional approach, where the various resources are added and configured one by one. In response to a comment, I also suggested that this new approach could be compared to a modern espresso machine.  Such a machine delivers a complete service (coffee!) - in an integrated fashion.  No need to worry about the temperature of the water, grinding the beans, any other steps or equipment required to make it happen. In a cloud computing context, the fabric is integrated "out of the box," like the espresso machine. It doesn't require provisioning, man... (more)

Don’t Let the Cloud Creep Up on You!

In IT we like to use fancy words like architecture, governance and strategy, but is our approach to IT innovations indeed as structured and planned as these terms imply or is IT in many cases just like real life: IT is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans? And if yes, does that also apply to cloud computing? When I recently published my “to cloud or to compute” column, fellow columnist and IT service management expert Alee Roos submitted the following “confession”(at ITSM portal): “… I'll make an embarrassing confession. I had not been much interested in the cloud-thing but finally went to listen to a presentation on cloud and cloud security. It was only then I realized that I had already put most of my business in the cloud without thinking much about it. The point was that I had bought services like web-site, Outlook Exchange, remote backups and ... (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 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)