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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 virtual-strategy.com. 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)

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)

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)

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)

On Cloud Lock-in, Standards, Decoupling and Why SaaS Does Not Scale

With security and legal concerns being slowly addressed by the industry, lock-in and standards are rapidly becoming the biggest concerns regarding cloud computing. If the cloud industry is to make good on its promise, these will need to somehow be addressed. Let’s examine some recent developments. Interesting to see how, just a week after my blog on “The Principles and Perils of Vendor Lock-in” *1 several vendors made announcements seemingly supporting my suggested approach. For example, after hinting at the potential benefit of decoupling SaaS and PaaS from its underlying Infrastructure (IaaS) layers, Microsoft announced it is making Azure available as a PaaS platform to several large IaaS providers *2. Now I am sure this had nothing to do with my blog on preventing lock-in and all to do with a desire in Redmond to increase market share for their PaaS platform, whic... (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)

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)

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 2011-12: 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)

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)