Cloud Computing Infrastructure on Demand from Amazon, Google, MS “Suffer from Regular Performance and Availability Issues…08.20.09

20 08 2009

cloudcomputing

This is interesting and possible disturbing to some enterprise cloud computing clients as Australia’s ITNews reports:

“Stress tests conducted by Sydney-based researchers have revealed that the infrastructure-on-demand services offered by Amazon, Google and Microsoft suffer from regular performance and availability issue.

The team of researchers…spent seven months stress testing Amazon’s EC2, Google’s AppLogic and Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services…

The research found some merit to vendors’ claims of ‘perceived infinite scalability.

But researchers also found that the three platforms delivered wildly variable performance results as Amazon, Google and Microsoft trialled, added and dropped new features.

Response times on the service also varied by a factor of twenty depending on the time of day the services were accessed, she said…”





Cloud Computing Risks to Consider…07.29.09

29 07 2009

cloudbolt-729505

LifeHacker’s The Hidden Risks of Cloud Computing lists 4 potential serious risk of using cloud computing:

” Every day more users move their computing lives from the desktop to the cloud and rely on hosted web applications to store and access email, photos, and documents. But this new frontier involves serious risks that aren’t obvious to most…

Lesser Privacy Protection Under the Law…

Weak Security Systems That Are Too Easy to Break Into…

Data Lock-in and Third-party Control…

Server Unavailability and Account Lockout…

…The key is to know what you’re getting into when you make that choice, to ratchet up your personal security mechanisms (like alternate email addresses and password choices) and to lobby for better user protection by hosting providers in the cloud…”





Library of Congress Enters Era of Cloud Computing…07.21.09

21 07 2009

LCcloud

CNET reported today:

The Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program and DuraSpace have announced that they will launch a one-year pilot program to test the use of cloud technologies to enable perpetual access to digital content.

The pilot will focus on a new cloud-based service called DuraCloud, that replicates and distributes content across multiple cloud providers and enables organizations to share, access, and preserve said content. Eventually the service will also provide computing capabilities in addition to the storage and archiving functions. (DuraSpace is a joint effort of the Fedora Commons and the DSpace Foundation.)

The project started with a vision of federated repositories and infrastructure that would scale massively and remove the risks of data silos. The other major goal is to make the service usable across external and internal cloud deployments…”

Cloud Computing and Libraries from Matt Hamilton:





OCLC’s Cloud Computing for Libraries – Ramifications…06.10.09

10 06 2009

oclc-vader

OCLC seems to jump from one pan on the fire to the next this year. Let me point out below the Library 2.0 gang post Library System Suppliers View of OCLC Web-Scale about their most recent interesting podcast about another recent and potentially controversial announcement. It is worth a listen when you find the time.

“In last month’s show there was some speculation as to what reaction there would be from the organisations that supply ‘traditional’ library systems to the OCLC announcement of their web-scale, cloud computing, library system initiative.

In an attempt to answer that speculation I took the unusual step of bringing together a specific set of Library 2.0 Gang members from that community as against our usual open house of whoever is available.  The result was an interesting conversation between Ex Libris’ Carl Grant, Nicole Engard from LibLime, Talis’ Rob Styles and newcomer from Axiell, Boris Zetterlund…”

Library 2.0 Gang 06/09: Library System Suppliers view of OCLC Web-scale [00:50:35m]: Download






“Panda Cloud Antivirus in Black and White”…05.20.09

20 05 2009

In the past, I have mentioned the new cloud antivirus Panda.  Here is a good video about it:

cloudbanner





Libraries and Cloud Computing…05.19.09

19 05 2009

clouds

This is an excerpt from Lorcan Dempsey from his post The Library of the Future in which he discusses libraries and cloud computing:

“…We have seen a major shift to webscale which has reconfigured whole industries as well as individual organizations… 

At the same time the web has accelerated the vertical disintegration of firms and the sourcing of capacity with specialist providers. Think historically of payroll, or more recently of customer relationship management and SalesForce.com. A wide range of capacities may be sourced externally: think of anything from data centers, to the provision and care of plants, to education and counselling services. Companies make decisions about what their distinctive capacities are, and externalise other capacities to networks of providers and partners. And, in fact, effective supply chain management has become an important competitive factor.

These types of questions are becoming more important for libraries, even if they don’t pose them in quite these terms. And they are not especially new. Historically, for example, think of two major shifts: shared cataloging/resource sharing and the move to licensed access to A&I databases and e-journals. In the former case, activity was externalised to consortial activity or to national-scale organizations, and today many organizations provide such services around the world, including OCLC. In the latter case, libraries gave up the institution-scale management of the A&I and journal resources they had collected in print form. They externalized this activity to, often commercial, third parties.

What Dahl does in this presentation is to look at the future of the library in the context of the reconfiguring potential of network services. He talks in general terms and then offers specific examples. He suggests that the library may become smaller, may shift to new service areas, and may become more creative in the work it does. What I especially like about it is that he acknowledges that organizational change is an appropriate response and then works through what this might mean in practice.”

View the Dahl presentation: The Gathering Storm: How Cloud Computing Will Blow Away Existing Assumptions in Higher Ed Information Services





Personal Cloud Computing With a Twist – ZumoDrive…05.16.09

16 05 2009

Here is an excerpt of a MakeUseOf.com post ZumoDrive – Cloud Storage Service With A Twist about another option for personal cloud computing which is worth checking out:

zumodrive-logo“By now, you should have heard of some of the popular cloud storage services such as DropboxSugarsync,Box.net etc. Recently, there is another kid on the block and I think it is worth the mention at MakeUseOf.

ZumoDrive is an online storage service that everyone can use to store their files in the Cloud and access them from different computers. What makes it different from the rest of its competitors is the way it manages the data on your computer. Most storage services create a folder on your local hard drive and sync all of the data to/from that folder. This might be a good idea in order to keep the data in sync, but what if you are using a 4GB Netbook and you have 10GB of data in the cloud? Your Netbook won’t be able to hold all the data.

What ZumoDrive does is: mount itself as a drive on the computer and “tricks” the computer into thinking that the hosted data are local. When you click to open any file (or music) from ZumoDrive, it will stream those files from the cloud and open them with any local application. This way, even if you are running out of hard disk space, you can still access 10GB (or even 500GB) of data from your computer effortlessly…”





What Librarians Need to Understand About Cloud Computing…05.14.09

14 05 2009

cloud1

Thanks to Jessamyn West from librarian.net for pointing out Where is the cloud? Geography, economics, environment, and jurisdiction in cloud computing about which you can read from its abstract:

Cloud computing — the creation of large data centers that can be dynamically provisioned, configured, and reconfigured to deliver services in a scalable manner — places enormous capacity and power in the hands of users. As an emerging new technology, however, cloud computing also raises significant questions about resources, economics, the environment, and the law. Many of these questions relate to geographical considerations related to the data centers that underlie the clouds: physical location, available resources, and jurisdiction. While the metaphor of the cloud evokes images of dispersion, cloud computing actually represents centralization of information and computing resources in data centers, raising the specter of the potential for corporate or government control over information if there is insufficient consideration of these geographical issues, especially jurisdiction. This paper explores the interrelationships between the geography of cloud computing, its users, its providers, and governments…”





NEW “What is Cloud Computing”…05.08.09

8 05 2009

The power of cloud computing explained:





“Cloud Computing Libraries and OCLC”…05.07.09

7 05 2009

oclcclouds

Here is an excerpt from a Library 2.0 Gang post today Cloud Computing Libraries and OCLC:

“New Gang member Frances Haugen from Google, joined Marshall Breeding and myself for a discussion about one of the recent trends in computing and the Internet, Cloud Computing, and how it will influence libraries, especially in the light of recent announcements by OCLC.

… Dr Paul Miller can now be found at Cloudofdata.com, working at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

Paul provided us with an overview of what is meant by Cloud Computing, before the conversation moved on to the OCLC strategy to move library management services to Web scale. Interpreting the OCLC announcement, it is clear that it is a approach to deliver hosted library management services from the  cloud in direct competition to the traditional ILS vendors such as SirsiDynix, Ex Libris, Innovative, Talis, and even those that OCLC have consumed over recent years.

Marshall shared with us the insight that in specifying the architecture for this initiative they had been working on a transaction rate sufficient to cope with the transactions of all libraries on the planet – an average of 5,000 per second.

…How comfortable libraries will be adding back-office and patron’s personal data to the bibliographic data many already share with OCLC, being another one…”

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:

Library 2.0 Gang 05/09: Cloud Computing Libraries and OCLC [00:40:59m]:

Hide PlayerPlay in PopupDownload
Creative Commons License





Libraries – “Harvesting The Web With Cloud Computing”…05.06.09

6 05 2009

High-level overview of cloud computing. Originally presented during Faculty Technology Days at the University of Calgary:





On-site Cloud Computing Product from IBM…05.05.09

5 05 2009

cloudburst

The Business Mirror reported yesterday:

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)…will start selling a machine that allows customers to operate their own cloud-computing centers on site.

The CloudBurst device is equipped with software that controls users’ networks of server computers, maintaining and programming them automatically, IBM said in a statement. That allows them to create their own cloud in-house instead of relying on systems over the Internet.

Cloud computing typically delivers software and services through an external data center, accessible via the Web, so users don’t maintain their own servers. More corporations are leaning toward so-called ‘private clouds’ on site so they can protect their data with their own security, said IBM’s Tom Rosamilia, who’s in charge of the product…

IBM’s device, going on sale this quarter, is 1.7 inches high and 19 inches wide. The price starts at $45,000. (Bloomberg)”





Cloud Computing De-Mystified…05.05.09

5 05 2009

cloud

Here is a excerpt from a good article yesterday title Cloud Computing – Been There, Done That which is worth digesting:

“The Information Technology (IT) Industry and publications have lately been abuzz with …Cloud Computing. While some claim it is the next disruptive technology, others suggest it to be the harbinger of the diminishing role of the Systems Integrator. A closer examination reveals that it is neither. But whatever descriptor is finalized for Cloud Computing, harvesting its benefits will still require the guidance and direction of smart integration.

Cloud Computing de-mystified

While there are many definitions for Cloud Computing from credible sources…

  • Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing in which massively scalable ITrelated
    capabilities are provided “as a service” using Internet technologies to multiple
    external customers.
  • Forrester defines cloud computing as a pool of abstracted, highly scalable, and managed
    compute infrastructure capable of hosting end-customer applications and billed by
    consumption.

…another way to look at Cloud Computing is that it is a highly automated, readily scalable, on-demand computing platform of virtually unlimited processing, storage and ubiquitous connectivity, always available to carry out a task of any size and charged based on usage! Audacious – though possible today in a limited manner – it is certainly poised to be as pervasive a platform like the internet, in the very near future

The Future of Cloud Computing

The adoption of Cloud Computing is not without resistance or confusion. Torn between the appeal for cost savings and fear of loss of control, customers are struggling with how to take advantage of the cloud. How confidential will their data be? How will they handle issues around data privacy, intellectual property, regulatory requirements, and protection of “secret sauce” formulas? It is critical to understand that for most businesses the cloud is not a panacea. Unlike the ‘electricity grid’ where individual power generation units ceased to exist, not everything in IT will or should end up in the  cloud – at least not just yet. The strategy defining usage of the cloud should be on the CIO’s agenda. A trusted Systems Integrator should be involved in the strategic design of the architecture for how a particular company may optimally exploit the cloud.

The cloud trend today closely resembles the offshoring phenomenon. Just as the initial concerns and resistance to offshoring gave way to intelligently architected and governed models to protect the integrity of customer data while taking advantage of the lower cost options, a similar trend will emerge on the cloud front. It will start with resistance to the cloud, followed by the offering of a choice of cloud environments, finally leading to Cloud Computing becoming mainstream and an integral part of the compute environment for most businesses…”





Cloud Computing – “Cloud Bigger Than the Internet”…04.20.09

20 04 2009

cloud3

There is a short and sobering article in Cloudonomics Journal yesterday by Roger Strukhoff entitled Cloud is Bigger Than the Internet II – Nothing Changes Everything, But This Changes a Lot of Things which I have excerpted here:

“Penicillin, Post-It Notes, and Viagra were all semi-accidental discoveriers. The researchers weren’t necessarily looking for these market-busting products when they were monkeying around in their labs.

The Web was introduced in similar fashion. But additionally, legions of very smart people had been discussing hypertext and hyperlinks for years before the Web came into being. Its realization certainly kicked off a new era of dot-com innovation. But the dot-com crash illustrated that the Web itself didn’t really give us a new paradigm–it just made communications a lot more convenient, while also spawning endless amounts of trivial chattering…

Do we have a ‘father’ (or mother) of Cloud Computing? Probably not… 

But as Cloud is adopted, it will be historically clear that we have finally caught up to where electricity was in the late 19th century...

But just as ‘the current wars’ in Edison’s time over whether to adopt AC or DC seem quaint and amusing to us today, the initial cloud-v-cloud skirmishes over the next several years will seem quaint a century from now.

It’s a done deal. Cloud is the way of the future. For the first time since computing resources started to be managed by customers in the 1950s, Cloud places this responsibility back on the shoulders of utility providers.

Sure, pesky things such as application development, deployment strategy, capacity planning (which will become much more sophisticated once people realize they can micromanage this), and knowing exactly what you are trying to do with your IT will remain in the hands of the business.

And it is here where Cloud becomes most profound. Electricity doesn’t enable a company to do anything. Computing resources do.

Farming out your IT functionality means you can now focus on making all the great brains in your company–and brains are not computers, never have been, never will be–spend their time inventing the future, rather than hassling with problems of the present.”





How Will Cloud Computing Affect You?…04.19.09

19 04 2009

Here is an excerpt of a good, concise explanation of “cloud computing” – a hot topic at the moment – titled Cloud Computing – How Will It Affect You? 

“…Another emerging concept that has the power to change how we perform tasks is taking place before us as well, and it is called ‘cloud computing.’ Simply put, it is the ability to use resources and tools via the Internet without actually owning or being near them. The only requirement is to be able to access them….

The concept of utilizing resources in these networks is being adopted by businesses both large and small. These resources are categorized to describe their function, and include:

1.Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

2.Platform as a Service (PaaS)

3.Software as a Service (SaaS)

4.Web 2.0

In the most general terms, Infrastructure as a Service means that companies may no longer need to own and house their own back-end servers and other network computing infrastructure besides an internet-connected PC or laptop in order to maintain business functionality… .

Platform as a Service is also known as ‘cloudware’, and refers to the availability of development tools in creating web applications and services to the end user. Like IaaS, you never ’see’ the inner-workings of this environment unless you are a computer programmer or IT resource, but it exists nonetheless and again affords those who use these tools the ability to reduce costs while running their businesses.

Sofware as a Service is defined as software applications that are subscribed to and accessed only through the Internet, and not installed on local PCs or laptops...These solutions are gaining tremendous popularity, because end users do not need to install, update and maintain software locally – only connect to it and use it when the need arises.

Web 2.0 describes the whole of the social networking movement on the Internet, and includes but is not limited to destinations such as Facebook, MySpace, eHarmony, LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites offer the ability for people all over the world to share common interests, stay connected and learn more about each other – and these sites aren’t just for the young… 

The next time you are on the Internet and upload a photograph and use the online tools to modify that picture, you are participating in ‘cloud computing.’ The picture is probably loaded to a site that uses IaaS for their servers, PaaS in order to provide the visual interface in which you modify the photograph, and SaaS applications you’ll use to access your email program and social networking sites in order to send it to or post it for those with whom you would like to share the picture.”






Cloud Computing — “…money-losing mistake for most LARGE corporations”…04.15.09

15 04 2009

nyc-thunderstorm-1

According to a New York Times article today When Cloud Computing Doesn’t Make Sense:

“Clouds, clouds, clouds. Everyone talks about Google-style cloud computing — software as services off in the Internet ‘cloud’ — as the future.

But while cloud computing is a marketing triumph, new research from McKinsey & Co. asserts that trying to adopt the cloud model would be a money-losing mistake for most large corporations. The research is being presented at a symposium on Wednesday afternoon, sponsored by the Uptime Institute, a research and advisory organization that focuses on improving the efficiency of data centers.

The McKinsey study, ‘Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing,’ concludes that outsourcing a typical corporate data center to a cloud service would more than double the cost. Its study uses Amazon.com’s Web service offering as the price of outsourced cloud computing, since its service is the best-known and it publishes its costs. On that basis, according to McKinsey, the total cost of the data center functions would be $366 a month per unit of computing output, compared with $150 a month for the conventional data center.

‘The industry has assumed the financial benefits of cloud computing and, in our view, that’s a faulty assumption,’ said Will Forrest, a principal at McKinsey, who led the study.

Owning the hardware, McKinsey states, is actually cost-effective for most corporations when the depreciation writeoffs for tax purposes are included.And the labor savings from moving to the cloud model has been greatly exaggerated, Mr. Forrest says. The care and feeding of a company’s software, regardless of where it’s hosted, and providing help to users both remain labor-intensive endeavors.

Clouds, Mr. Forrest notes, can make a lot of sense for small and medium-sized companies, typically with revenues of $500 million or less…”





Keep Cloud Computing “Local” With Tonido…04.14.09

14 04 2009

tonido

Here is an excerpt from a LifeHacker post yesterday titled Tonido Keeps Cloud Computing Local:

“Windows/Mac/Linux: If you’re interested in the idea of cloud computing and remote access to your files but a bit paranoid about putting your data on some third party server, Tonido is a great compromise.

Tonido brings cloud computing home by using your computer as the storage server and host for the applications. Once you’ve installed Tonido, the only function the Tonido servers themselves perform is keeping track of your IP to make remote logins easier for you. Tonido has a juke box for remote media streaming, a photo organizer, a blog-like personal journal that has support for web clippings and Twitter integration, easy file sharing with Webshare folder management, and a workspace with calendar, notes, and task lists. In addition to making it easier for you to remotely access your files and work with them regardless of the applications available on the remote machine you’re using, Tonido has a built in P2P service which allows you to network with friends and colleagues to share files and collaborate on projects.

The biggest downside of Tonido is it requires your home computer to be on whenever you’re away…”





“Cloud Computing as a Competitive Advantage”…04.13.09

13 04 2009

grid

Something to consider here in this excerpt from an article today by Dustin Amrhein titled “Cloud Computing as a Competitive Advantage – Businesses that understand how to best leverage the cloud to facilitate innovation will have a competitive advantage“:

“When talking of cloud computing and the value it means for an adopter, we often hear of the cost-cutting benefits. Given the current economic climate, this is a fairly convincing and accurate pitch for the cloud. However, this is far from the only benefit of the cloud. Cloud computing solutions are poised to disrupt the current IT landscape, and in doing so, values that enable competitive advantage will be realized. Two such benefits that come to mind are increased innovation opportunity and enhanced business agility.

Far from being just another IT product, cloud computing is a concept that is rooted in shifting the burden of IT away from enterprises and into the hands of cloud providers. Companies are left to focus on using IT to enhance the business value they deliver, and correspondingly spend less time on enabling that value to be delivered. By allowing this focus on exploiting IT to enhance business value, a hotbed for innovation is established. Talented, dedicated personnel that were once at least partially, if not mostly, devoted to enabling services to be delivered to customers can now focus more of their time on enhancing those services or creating entirely new services. Cloud computing further reinforces a culture of innovation by removing a significant portion of the economic risks associated with bearing out prototypes of new ideas. By making it cheaper and quicker to obtain computing power, developers feel less pressure for every idea they have to pan out. By encouraging more ideas to be brought forth, the subset of ideas that eventually make it to market will presumably increase.  These ideas can mean new revenue streams, increased customer satisfaction, expanded market-share, and more…”





More on iCloud – Cloud Computing…04.13.09

13 04 2009

icloud1

Here is an excerpt today from LifeHacker‘s post iCloud Takes Your Computing to the Web with more on iCloud which I highlighted last week:

iCloud is a new but intriguing addition to the cloud-based desktop roster, with tools that allow you to store not just your files online, but the applications you access them with…

Once you sign up for a free iCloud account, you’re ready to start exploring the dozens of applications and widgets. You can edit documents in a Word-compatible editor, maintain a calendar, write emails, and tackle other computing basics. There’s a photo organizer and media player, and the Vista-like sidebar can be customized with a variety of widgets to suit your workspace…

iCloud is currently in beta…According to the iCloud team, it’s best suited for use in Internet Explorer. You can—and I did—use it in Firefox, but support for Firefox is considered experimental. iCloud is a free service and (technically) requires Internet Explorer with Java Script installed.”





Cloud Computing – NEW iCloud Launch- “the world’s first free online computer”…04.08.09

8 04 2009

lcloud_logo200

A very interesting excerpt today from Ulitzer‘s Xcerion’s iCloud Offers Free Virtual Computer in the Cloud: Free online computer gives online computer packed with free storage, applications, virtual desk“:

Xcerion announced the launch of icloud, the world’s first free online computer, giving everybody in the world their own online computer packed with free storage, applications, virtual desktop and backup accessible from any computer connected to the Internet. Starting today the icloud service is available in English, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish and Filipino languages.

The public launch of icloud builds on a closed beta testing program and the incorporation of user feedback from iclouder’s worldwide. icloud is proud to announce free icloud accounts for everyone at http://icloud.com

icloud1_small

icloud is a complete platform for sharing experiences with friends. It is secure, social and always accessible from any computer or device. Applications on icloud include office productivity, development tools, media and widgets. Over time, a wide range of applications will be available through an easy to use marketplace and application development toolbox...

The public version includes:

 * Access to your friends, files and digital life on any computer
 * 3 GB free storage space to safely store documents, photos and
   music online
 * 30 free applications such as Office, Mail, Music, Video, IM,
   Sharing, Games, Collaboration and Development tools
 * 20 free widgets
 * Free backup to provide secure storage, including WedDav
 * Zero installation, icloud runs in your Internet Explorer or
   Firefox browser...
icloud2_small




Amazon Taken Up in a Cloud – Cloud Computing the Amazon Way…04.02.09

2 04 2009

amazonelastic

TechCrunch reported today in With Hadoop, Amazon Adds A Web-Scale Data Processing Engine To Its Cloud Computer:

Slowly but surely, Amazon keeps adding capabilities to its cloud computing services. What started out as pay-by-the-drink storage (S3) and computational processing (EC2), now includes a simple database (SimpleDB), a content delivery network (CloudFront), and computer-to-computer messaging (SQS). And today Amazon added a web-scale file system data processing engine with Amazon Elastic MapReduce. (It is a framework for accessing data stored in file systems and databases)…

Amazon is using Hadoop, which is the open-source version of MapReduce. Yahoo also started using Hadoop last year. While Google and Yahoo use this technique for searching the Web, it can be used for any data-intensive computational problem. Amazon lists the following examples: ‘web indexing, data mining, log file analysis, machine learning, financial analysis, scientific simulation, and bioinformatics research.’ Indeed, Hadoop is also the underlying technology used by IBM in its Blue Cloud initiative…”





Cloud Computing to Grow 19.8% in 2009’s Down Economy…03.30.09

30 03 2009

gold

Ever wonder why “cloud computing” is all the rage in the news? Consider the following excerpt from PC World yesterday from the article More Cash for Cloud Computing in 2009 by Tom Sullivan of InfoWorld:

Information Technology shops are turning to the cloud even faster than expected, at least according to Gartner, and other firms had already predicted hearty adoption throughout the next few years.

Gartner last week released a report estimating that worldwide cloud services revenue will not only surpass US$56.3 billion this year but, perhaps more telling, will surge to just more than $150 billion in 2013.

The analyst house said that traditional IT services moving to the cloud will constitute a large segment of the growth, as will substantial new businesses.

Cloud-based business processes are the largest portion of the cloud services market, which includes advertising, e-commerce, human resources, and payments processing, and Gartner forecast 19.8 percent growth in the segment to $46.6 billion this year. Advertising-supported services, such as those provided by Google and emulated by Microsoft, Yahoo, and others, account for 60 percent of overall cloud services and will remain the largest component through 2013, Gartner said.

The notion that the current economic downturn — and the tighter IT budgets it has brought — make hosted applications and services all the more appealing has been brewing for months now…”





How to Bring Cloud Computing Down to Earth…03.29.09

29 03 2009

tornado_and_lighting

There is an important article yesterday in Cloud Computing Journal titled “Bringing Cloud Computing Down to Earth” which I have excerpted here and is worth reading in its entirety when time permits:

Whether you’re a small business considering cloud services or an enterprise contemplating public or private cloud services, it pays to understand some of the technical challenges and players likely to have a significant impact on the availability, security and costs of those services. Cloud computing is a game changer, and it may also pay to know who could win or lose as IT services are decoupled from specialized hardware in specific locations.

Don’t let the endless list of companies proclaiming cloud leadership confuse you that the world has already embraced cloud; there is a vast difference between using cloud services to deliver software as a service and delivering cloud IT services in a multi-tenant public environment. There is also a sizable gap between cloud announcements, cloud revenue and enterprise-ready cloud services.

Vendors who best address the gap between true cloud requirements and today’s whirlwind of proclamations will be tomorrow’s winners as computing processes and storage requirements shift from endpoints and custom hardware to networks and netbooks. Investors who understand the difference between proclamations and critical technologies will make better decisions. Networking pros who understand the ramifications of this shift will have more influence over their career development.

I’ve been in the networking industry for most of the last nine years, so my perspective is understandably network-centric. My list of critical technical challenges focus on networking, because I think that this area hasn’t been adequately discussed in the haze of vendor cloud positioning exercises; and I think networks will be more strategic to the cloud than they are to the LAN or WAN.

There are at least three network-centric technology challenges when it comes to cloud computing: 1) network automation and management; 2) capacity; and 3) security…”





Cloud Computing Manifesto…03.27.09

27 03 2009

cloudcomputing1

(Image created by Sam Johnston using OminGroup‘s OmniGraffle and Inkscape -includes Computer.svg by Sasa Stefanovic)

ITWorld today reports today in Cloud Computing on Linux Has Microsoft Blogging which I have excerpted here:

The Cloud Manifesto, a collaborative document prepared jointly by Amazon, Google, IBM and others has apparently upset Microsoft. In a blog post entitled “Moving Toward an Open Process on Cloud Computing Interoperability” and penned by the senior director of developer platform management for Microsoft, Steven Martin, Mr. Martin stated his position that the Cloud Manifesto and the process of creating it was biased to benefit its authors, and unfair to their competitors–such as Microsoft.

The Cloud Manifesto document appears to describe design principles and guidelines for system interoperability in cloud computing…

Many industry leaders are positioning Linux/Unix operating systems and Open Source technologies as the platform for cloud computing. IBM, Sun, Google, Amazon, and RedHat are all developing and supporting Linux-based cloud solutions. Microsoft is likely upset not because they were left out of the design discussions but because this important future technology is being focused on a platform that Microsoft once publicly stated to be irrelevant in the technology marketplace… “

The “Cloud Manifesto” will supposedly be published on March 30, 2009.





IBM Makes Huge Infrastruture Investment in Cloud Computing…03.24.09

24 03 2009

This new item about IBM is excerpted from IBM Pours $300 Million Into Building Disaster Recovery Centers today on ChannelWeb:

To ensure data security for its business and government clients, IBM (NYSE:IBM) has added another layer — or in this case, brick — and plans on spending $300 million to construct 13 business resilience service delivery centers in 10 countries this year.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company said that the massive infrastructure expansion is the largest of its kind and will allow its clients to access business continuity services for the first time from a cloud computing environment.

The centers are specifically designed to help clients maintain business operations under virtually any condition, comply with industry and government regulations and recover rapidly from disasters.

The business resilience service delivery centers will be located in: Hong Kong; Tokyo, Japan; Paris, France; London, UK; Beijing and Shanghai, China; Izmir, Turkey; Warsaw, Poland; Milan, Italy; Metro Park, New Jersey; Cologne, Germany; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mumbai, India; South Africa; and Brussels, Belgium.

Additionally, IBM Wednesday ramped up the build-out of its Information Protection Services (IPS) business, which delivers cloud-based computing services that support business continuity…”





Cloud Computing and Social Networks Merge Into “The Service Cloud”…03.23.09

23 03 2009

servicecloud

TechCrunchIT reported an interesting development – a new product called the “Service Cloud” that brings together what a lot of people have been talking about and which is discussed in this excerpt of Salesforce Puts Tweets In The Cloud:

Cloud computing and social networks are two of the more powerful movements in the web 2.0 space. So the potential of social media and the cloud integrating is compelling to say the least. Salesforce.com recently rolled out the Service Cloud, a customer service application that tries to capture the crowdsourced pools of knowledge floating across the internet from sites like Google, Facebook and Amazon, and then uses this information to better equip commercial customer service operations with useful knowledge. Salesforce has now connected Twitter to the Service Cloud, allowing customer service reps using the SaaS to access tweets from more than 8 million Twitter users…

The Service Cloud seems like a useful tool to capture and then sort conversations about a particular enterprise. But what’s fascinating is how businesses want to tap into the dialogue of what’s happening on social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. Social networks are becoming much more than an online gathering of friends; Facebook and Twitter are becoming destinations for ideation, e-commerce and marketing. Its of no surprise that companies want an easy and simple way to capture all of the information that is relevant to their businesses and then leverage this knowledge to improve customer service. As we’ve said earlier, Salesforce has consistently managed to provide innovative, desirable technology platforms for enterprises to merge their business operation with the web 2.0 world.”





IT Departments Resist Cloud Computing…03.19.09

19 03 2009

cloudcomputing2

With all the interest in cloud computing and its apparent inevitability, the following excerpt from “Cloud Computing? No thanks, Say CIOs” from ZDNet Asia today:

“Cloud computing is often touted as cheaper than building and maintaining in-house IT systems, leading to speculation that it may be one of the technologies to benefit as CIOs have to tighten their belts in the face of recession.

However, three-quarters of companies that use ‘proprietary systems’ said the economic downturn had not ‘spurred their interest’ in cloud models, according to a new survey, while the other quarter said the tough business environment had actually decreased their interest in cloud computing.

In the survey of 500 c-level executives and IT managers, sponsored by Microsoft-focused consultancy Avanade, 27 percent of companies that did use cloud computing said they were likely to increase use of it because of the downturn.

Another 60 percent said there had been no impact and 13 percent said they had reduced their use of cloud technologies because of the economic climate.

Concerns around cloud computing included security and loss of control–the most frequently mentioned worry in the survey, followed by the difficulty of integrating with existing internal systems, high ongoing costs and poor support…”

© 2009 CBS Interactive Inc.





“Cloud could be ‘more important than the PC'”…03.19.09

19 03 2009

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A ZDNet Asia article yesterday by Tim Ferguso titled “Cloud could be ‘more imporatnt than the PC” is excerpted here:

The advent of cloud computing could have a greater impact on public sector IT than the PC revolution did in the 1980s, according to the U.K. Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm).

The association for public sector IT professionals said the adoption of the technology is unstoppable, in much the same way as the adoption of PCs was decades ago once organizations realized the business benefits.

The flexibility and potential cost savings of using applications accessed via the Web will fuel adoption in the public sector, according to Socitm.

Socitm Insight principal associate Chris Head told ZDNet Asia’s sister site Silicon.com, the ‘fortress’ approach of keeping all IT within the confines of the corporate network can’t be maintained.

With the average user already starting to use Web-based applications independently of the corporate IT department, Head said there will be growing pressure on management to look at the technologies…”

© 2009 CBS Interactive Inc.





Cloud Computing Reliability: How to Help Protect Yourself from the Cloud “Reigning” Down on You…03.13.09

13 03 2009

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There is some good advice from the post Is Cloud Computing reliable enough? How to monitor downtime or poor performance of the cloud? on the Cool Web Developer blog from which I have excerpted here:

“…SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is that even you are hosting on a cloud or have a SAAS app running somewhere, your end user expectations are no different then the regular client server application. So in a generic sense User Acceptance Testing is not much different then testing on a Client Server Architecture.

Remember web based application environment in the cloud is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces. At the core you have your virtual hardware followed by your operating system. Each of your servers is then configured differently depending on its specific duty. You may have application servers, web servers, search servers, database servers etc. Each of these servers needs to be monitored from several points of view – both internally and externally.

Though you dont have direct access to performance monitoring like in a Client Server Architecture. But still you can follow following steps to make sure your users are getting the experience you want them to:

  • Use the same browser for testing and monitoring that the majority of your end users are using.
  • Use a Testing service like Gomez or monitis. These external watchdog systems help to keep everyone informed if the cloud is having issues. These also provides with important statistics on response time and application performance that can be used to determine how to adjust the infrastructure.
  • Re-record testing scripts on a regular basis, because cloud API might change over time affecting the performance.
  • Monitor the availability of the application as well as response time.
  • Set alarms that let you know when performance is trending toward unacceptable levels, or when there is an abrupt decline in performance.
  • Make sure monitoring agents are consistent over time so that historical data and current data can be compared easily to identify trends.

Your monitoring system can be the difference between keeping your systems alive OR having unhappy customers and missed SLAs. It can help you pinpoint exactly what went wrong and reduce the time to identify and solve the issue.”





Cloud Computing for Libraries and Others…03.12.09

12 03 2009

There is a lot of interest and confusion in the concept of cloud computing

Here are a couple of good general videos:








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