Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shedding Light on the Cloud Phenomenon

The last few years in the technology sector have been in a perfect storm based on a weak economy, high unemployment and Cloud Computing. That’s right, Cloud Computing! Many business leaders concerned with the bottom line have been looking at the various aspects of Cloud Computing as a way to reduce headcount and therefore fattening the bottom line.

Cloud Computing in its various forms like Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) can reduce costs normally associated with setting up a company’s technology infrastructure base. The key area the business executives immediately draw attention too is the reduction or elimination of IT personnel and the associated savings saved by not investing in servers.
It is true, putting key services in the cloud can have an impact on head count but you will pay subscription fees for every service you sign up for. We’ll come back to subscription fees shortly. An area most companies forget to address as they move more services to the cloud or bring on additional staff is in the actual technology infrastructure needed to get everyone out to the cloud provider(s)! That’s right, we’re talking bandwidth, switching and routing. Go cheap on equipment and bandwidth you choke productivity and create problems you hadn’t expected.

Back to the cost savings by reducing headcount, licenses are less expensive than personnel but there is a breakeven point and it’s not the typical support person salary vs. licensed seats. The breakeven point will occur when your business needs to make a change and the current subscription/Service Level Agreement does not cover changes you want/need to make to your business. This becomes very evident when you have several different SaaS applications from different venders and you need to move data and/or expand a key application or add something else to your cloud infrastructure.

Cloud based computing can save dollars via headcount but has associated costs to purchase, maintain, expand and change and access. Understand that the cloud computing arena is still very young and still changing. In my opinion the market has not seen major fallout from merger and acquisition and the usual consolidation that has traditionally occurred in the technology sector.

So what does all this cloud stuff mean to the business owner or CEO? It means you can reduce or eliminate headcount but you will still have operational expenses that will need to be adjusted over time. The cloud is a good thing but seek out an expert if you don’t have one on site to help you navigate through the fiction so you don’t get rained on under your cloud.

By Ted Franklin

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cloud Computing meets Smarter Planet Initiative

Earlier this week, I attended an IEEE Cloud Computing meets IBM's Smarter Planet Initiative event put on by the Santa Clara Valley Chapter Computer Society. The speaker, Lennart Frantzell, PhD of the IBM Innovation Center, San Mateo, has the goal of pushing technology until computers replace mankind.

Cloud Computing Adds Value in Specific Ways
Cloud Computing Adds Value in Specific Ways

The core of Cloud Computing made up of
- virtual machines
- high capacity broadband
- open source SW
- smartphones
- app stores such as Amazon Web Services (AWS)

I liked how Lennart Frantzell tied in current trends of smartphones and social networking to the growth of cloud computing. Without demand for more bandwidth and vendor neutral infrastructure by web users, the challenge of cloud computing activity may have stayed in the enterprise domain. Social networking is driving the growth of cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Globalization and Globally Available Resources
Cloud Computing Globalization and Globally Available Resources

Frantzell explained how IBM Innovation Centers play a role in expanding the global digital infrastructure. A behind the scenes innovator in converting the world from analog to digital. The demo of one hospital based Cloud Computing implementation looked a lot like Big Brother. Wearable tracking systems allow computers to determine how well a doctor sticks to a predetermined checklist. Medical practitioners are at risk for being beeped at for failing to wash their hands long enough. The level of remote monitoring gave me shivers. Other remote management, like reading energy meters, are less intrusive.

Lennart Frantzell also discussed the differences between private clouds, public clouds and hybrid clouds and how they interact. Hybrid and public clouds can act as storage or computing capacity backup or fail over. Hybrid and public clouds give enterprises the flexibility to have an internal private cloud as well immediate ability to absorb short term spike in need.

Three co-existing Cloud Computing delivery models
Three co-existing Cloud Computing delivery models

Post by devans00

Abstract of Talk

As the world becomes more and more global, integrated and "flat", it is also facing an array of problems: a financial crisis, climate disruption, energy geopolitics, food supply hazards etc. This is coinciding with technological innovations such as the following developments that can assist in resolving these problems:

The world is becoming instrumented. There are a billion transistors per human, each one costing one ten millionth of a cent.

Cloud computing and mobile computing are changing how software is deployed and used throughout the world.

All things are becoming intelligent. Algorithms and powerful systems turn those mountains of data into decisions and actions that can make the world work better. Smarter.

As the world's leading globally integrated IT company, IBM is attempting to use modern IT technology to tackle many of the world's problems. In this presentation, Lennart Frantzell will talk about IBM's global smarter planet initiative in its quest to make the world a smarter place.

IBM presentations of their cloud computing offerings available on cloud homepage.

About the Speaker
Lennart Frantzell, PhD, is a technical consultant at the IBM Innovation Center, San Mateo. He works with IBM Business Partners and startup companies in the IBM smarter planet initiative. The IBM Innovation Centers is a world-wide network of IBM business partner centers that provide business- and technical support to help companies get started and deploy applications in the IBM smarter planet space.

Lennart Frantzell has expertise in Cloud Computing, IBM Industry Frameworks, IBM Tivoli systems management, WebSphere and other IBM middleware products. He has worked in artificial intelligence, object-oriented programming and computer games.