Monthly Archives: July 2011

Five letters – one powerful mnemonic

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A long long time ago I learned a mnemonic called MAPS. It was taught to me by Citrix Systems, as a way of selling their MetaFrame software. It worked a treat as it was couched in easy to understand language, common sense and very practical. Using MAPS played into the hands of a Citrix sale because the alternative ( slow performance, unusable remote access, DR etc ) was suddenly unpalatable.

If you cant remember that far ( and therefore not as old as myself ) each Letter represented the four characteristics of a application delivery scenario:-

Management, Availability, Performance and Security

It was easy to use. it rolled off the tongue and because Citrix had the market on alternative application delivery it was commercially very successful.

For years’ MAPS has laid dormant in the back of my brain ( the dead bit of course ) until I started to see that selling Cloud was presenting the same challenge as we had with remote access and application deliver. How do you assess and quantify whether – “cloud is a suitable decision to make?” ( and actually it doesn’t just mean cloud ).

The ‘beauty’ of MAPS back with Citrix then, and now today with cloud,  is that it makes sure your conversation is balanced and deep enough to cover the bases. Of course, a deep dive technical person will have a number of approaches as would a Prince II/Six Sigma PM.

But a sales guy? Well if you could understand MAPS sufficient to have a few stock questions in your head, with an understanding of how the answers direct to or away from cloud depending on their relevance, then WOW!!  I sound excited because I’m told that sales people typically rely on other people to do the questioning. I’m also told that sales people sell managed services and contracts so cloud isn’t something they would come across. Smile It wont surprise you ( but maybe it will for a sales person ) to learn that Managed Services is Cloud, Cloud is Managed Services, and I don’t know anyone who signs up for this stuff without performing a MAPS checklist. Whether it is called MAPS or any other means the result is the same.

So stepping up a bit, you will notice an additional letter in the mnemonic. Another S.

This stands for sustainability. It caught me eye as I realized that if we are moving to the cloud new world ( which we are ) then one massive question we have to ask and understand the possible answers for is – SCALABILITY.

Let me quote from an excellent paper I have recently read by Forrester entitled “Cloud Computing Brings Demand For Elastic Applications”.

Its co-authors – Rymer & Gualtieri talk about the new breed of applications that will be written to scale up and down and meet the demands of elastic computing as so often promised  by cloud today. They talk about the gap between todays monolithic applications, the limitations of underlying infrastructure (storage, network) , API operability, data volumes (big data in other terms ), layers of middleware and control architectures and so on.

Forrester go and talk about the future and how the future is all about  elastic applications that fully exploit cloud’s advances in application availability, performance, and scale.

For information Forrester defines application elasticity as:

The ability of an application to automatically adjust the infrastructure resources it uses to
accommodate varied workloads and priorities while maintaining availability and performance.

As we all know, application development and delivery teams are not mature in these designs because it’s much more complex for them take on responsibility for these additional infrastructure concerns. Raising the ante on complexity like this requires sophisticated developers who can design their own platforms. This is why we have a number of providers like Google, Amazon, Force and Microsoft offering Platform As A Service (PaaS) services.

What I love about the Forrester definition by the way, is that it nearly echoes MAPPS but leaves out words like ‘well managed and secure’. No problem because Forrester realizes that if you are a cloud provider then you will have implicitly deployed services that provide enterprise management and security as part of the plumbing so to speak.

SO what does this all mean to a sales guy or anyone in fact thinking about having a discussion about cloud?

Its clear to me that you need a plan. You know that. So practice ( and practice again till you have memorised it ) the Five Simple Letters and have a number of questions behind each one.

  • How should it be managed?
  • How available does it need to be?
  • How should it perform?
  • How secure must it be?
  • How scalable does it need to be?

Being adept at rolling MAPSS off your tongue and developing your own style to tease out the answers and deeper questions is a skill. How much of a skill? Nothing like rocket science or brain surgery. Nothing like nuclear fusion engineering or flying a supersonic jet fighter. In fact as simple as ITS YOUR JOB to know this stuff. Smile

Now if anyone wants my list of MAPPS questions then drop me a line. Happy to share privately but try and write down some of your own and test them out.

Have a great day.

Brummie.

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Picture this – Cloud in the dock

Imagine the scene. You are the defence for a court case where “Cloud” has been accused of misrepresentation and trying to sell solutions under a banner of Private Cloud . The prosecution is representing industry who have filed the case because they believe your client is touting a business model that doesn’t adhere to industry classifications, and falsely claims to be a private cloud provider. So lets look at the court dialog.

image PROSECUTION says “Cloud Inc, I put it to you that your private cloud solutions do not conform to the industry acknowledged cloud definitions, as laid out by NIST. To this end I accuse you of leading  your customers into a contract situation that you cannot actually deliver on”

image DEFENDANT argues “Rubbish. Our private cloud solutions follow the broad spirit of NIST, And anyway. All cloud providers interprete NIST to fit their capabilities, so what’s the big deal?. ”

image PROSECTION  counters “Cloud, let me  read from your marketing blurb. I quote “Cloud Inc delivers fully optimized private cloud solutions that are agile and flexible and delivers elastic, self service provisioning and utility billing to our customers.” I put it to you that this is a total fabrication of the truth, and that you are unable to provide these services today, nor in the future”

image DEFENDANT exclaims “Our customers are happy so what’s the problem?”

image PROSECUTION follows with “The problem Cloud,  is that you say you have self service, but on investigation we have discovered that this really means a printed catalogue that your customers have to fill out a form and post to your Cloud Office, which takes 5 working days. Hardly consistent with the definition of cloud computing ! You also say you have utility billing but that is in fact, a requirement of your customers to show you recent utility bills of their own to open up an account with you. This is just the tip of a very deep iceberg Cloud Inc.”

image DEFENCE  jumps in with “Objection! The prosecution is trying to lead my client, and put words in their mouth”

image PROSECUTION barks “I have it on good faith that actually 8 out of 10 cloud providers’ do indeed offer online self-service allowing their customers ‘ to dynamically provision server workloads, and generate some form of automated billing through processes and controls. So  Cloud Inc, why is it that you have no shred of such services, yet extravagantly claim that you do? I put it to you that you are misrepresenting yourself, and trying to position yourself as a Private Cloud provider when in fact all you do is host servers in racks ”

image DEFENDANT “All lies, lies, lies ( sobbing uncontrollably). We do deliver Private Cloud.  We do, honestly we do.!! All our racks are in a building marked private and we have a security guard as well. Its not fair. you are picking on us. “

image PROSECUTION “Cloud Inc, let me ask you a simple question and remember you are under oath. If a customer buys private cloud from you, can you give them a service that manages their physical and virtual environments regardless of location,  using proactive workload monitoring and reporting, that allows them to scale up and down resources depending on their business volumes, and that stretches between their datacenter and your own, with full DR and BC capability and at the end of the month gives them a bill for what they actually used?”

image DEFENDANT “Err …..Yes we do…err…maybe we can…..no we can’t ( more sobbing )”

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The JUDGE slams down his gavel has proclaims “Cloud, I find you guilty of misrepresenting your business by pretending to be something you are clearly not, and that you have been taking your customers’ money under false pretences. I sentence you to 5 years’ hard labour working on premise with physical servers, backup tapes and no air conditioning. Take Cloud down. Case closed.”

Oops………………………It doesn’t always does what it says on the tin!!!!

 

Back with a vengeance.

Brummie,

The Apprentice and the Elevator Pitch

This is going to be short and sweet. Look at the pictures below.

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I don’t know if you saw last night’s The Apprentice but I had to smile when I saw the contestants walking into their business case presentation and were asked NOT to sit down, and instead give their version of an ‘Elevator Pitch’ to describe their ‘business value’.

Inwardly I couldn’t help think that whilst The Apprentice show is not  necessarily real life and falls into the celebrity TV bucket, I did like the approach of the interviewer.

Lets break it down. These contestants had been given 48 hours by Sir Alan Sugar to prepare their business case, and we watched them agonise over their business pitch with vigour.   So you can imagine their shock to be told to stand up and deliver a elevator pitch, standing up and within a few seconds not the planned step by step approach they had envisaged.

Now back to reality.

My blog is loosely about cloud computing so what does this post have to do with CLOUD, Brummie?

Well the point is that too many ‘cloud propositions’ suffer from the elevator effect. That is ‘too complex, too lengthy and ultimately confusing’. This situation is often as a result of lack of preparation of course, but also a lack of focus on the four very simple messages that a good elevator pitch needs.

State who you are ,state what it is you do ,state what your unique selling point is …..and  state your call to action

I wonder if because we are pitching ‘cloud’ ( that subliminal word, that if marketing hype is to be believed, writes the cheques ) , that we don’t need an elevator pitch. After all if you can get a price for your cloud service then you can knock over the deals because the alternatives ( not doing Cloud ) suddenly become completely unpalatable. Well maybe so but cloud computing still requires the four messages dealing with, and if you cant describe it succinctly in an elevator then you are screwed in the board room Sad smile

Cloud ( and any innovative technology for that matter ) can only succeed if it passes the elevator pitch, and as we all know these new fangled elevators are so much faster then the old ones, so we don’t have a lot of time! Smile

Enjoy.

Cloud README.FIRST TXT

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When you decide to move to the cloud do you think there is a README1ST.TXT file? Of course there isn’t! Don’t be daft.

Or is it?  Remember those days of programs and applications that came with that very important TXT file that you always made sure you read first? Remember? The important information pertaining to known issues, command line switches, updates, undocumented features and so on.

So when you think about Cloud what are the things that should be included in this hypothetical README1ST.TXT file? I have included obvious ones like Migration Dos and Don’ts, Interoperability issues, backup problems and legal limitations.

The reason I post this is because I remember fondly the almost religious behaviour by technicians installing solutions in the ‘old days’. Each one of us would reach for the README1ST.TXT file as we knew this would contain vital information that would not have been included in the System Documentation. We would ignore the README1ST.TXT file at our peril !

Of course life goes on and we have matured our skills and approaches to technology, and the cloud is the latest demonstration of this advanced state we live in. So it would be crazy to think that we would still need a README file. Now we just need to either press a few keys and select a few buttons and the cloud will do the rest. And if we cant do it ourselves then there is a plethora of service companies out there who will do it for us.

Hang on though. We may have lost the README1ST.TXT file but we haven’t lost the need to take precautions and sensible steps to ensure we understand the limitations and outcomes of a cloud decision. Sure we can ‘move to the cloud’ speedily and without all that heavy lifting we had to do in previous migrations of applications and infrastructure, but we don’t need to forget common sense and due diligence along the way.

This isn’t a doom and gloom post. It is about how things get ‘forgotten’ or ‘missed’ in technological decisions and that having a catch all opportunity to list these things in a single place may still be a good thing to do. This is what the README1ST.TXT file was for. A catch all to ensure the installation went successfully.

You see my fear is that we miss something important, and that when considering cloud we should remember that at some point we are going to need to ask “can i see the README1ST.TXT file please”.

Have a great weekend.

Smile

Is it worth having the Yellow Jersey?

The more I read the ‘news’ on the net, the more I smiled to myself. The recent announcement from one of the leasing virtualization vendor’s about dramatic changes to their licensing strategy, has created the ‘normal storm’ of ‘I told you so experts’ predicted significant loss of market share to their closest competitor – or the current holder of the Yellow Jersey.

 

The upshot of this is a further nail in the coffin for ‘the sole vendor strategy’ and demonstrates how people in the industry really do need to look at how they can ‘climb over the wall’ to greater success and not be ‘constrained’ by vendor lock in.

 

What is happening is what always happens when you have a mainstream technology and two leading players battling for the Number One spot. Indeed, Gartner’s’ Magic Quadrant has now reaffirmed this battle recently with the merging The vendor now occupying the top right hand corner.

So who are those vendors Listen I’m not going to tell you for 3 simple reasons.

1. Because everyone else talks about Vendor X and Y and to me it is irrelevant and misleading. Go read all the stuff on the Net if you want. Start here if you are so minded…….

2. Eventually all these vendors look and sound the same and differentiating their true business value will become so marginalised that it wont really matter to the customers’ out there

3. The real news is what this ‘shrinking of competitive edge’ really does mean to the person in the street ( especially people selling services )

Let me explain how I see all this panning out.

For a number of us, building our ‘skills’ around one vendor has always been our opportunity to build expertise and competitive edge. Our industry has made itself successful by becoming the ‘best’ at delivering technology from one vendor. We would ensure all our people were Subject Matter Experts in the intricacies of the products, and our sales guys would ‘chunk up’ deals by leveraging our ‘guru’ status through our accreditations and relationships with these vendors. In return the vendors would have a massive ‘love in’ with us, because we made them ‘look good’ and we were their ‘virtual sales force’. We would be all in with their beta programs, early adoption schemes and we would always find that reference site to enable them to become even more successful. In summary, for many years’ the gravy boat was mercilessly ploughing ahead through calm seas and we were all engaged in a ‘closed loop’ market place. There were no losers, only just winners. Smile

Well it not new news that the seas have become a lot rougher and the smooth sailing is now a much harder place to show that unique advantage.

The news about this licensing change is not ‘new news’. It is inevitable. Whether its because the vendor has face the reality that all they can now do is plough R&D budgets into niche innovations in their product roadmaps giving the perception of ‘new value’ to their customers is a interesting debate.

People still need experts. They always will. You wouldn’t want heart surgeons to become generalists and ‘dedicated amateurs’ would you? Technology is no different than any other industry. People will always pay for the expertise and deep dive excellence. However, they will develop a keener sense of true value, and will ‘see through’ the veneer of what expertise really means. This veneer means that aligning to one vendor based on legacy relationships, accreditations, inner circle membership and status amongst the partner community are all at risk.

Think of it like an onion. There are layers and layers to be peeled off to get to the core of the onion where the real value resides, but  for many, these layers are becoming more and more expensive to maintain. These vendors don’t really care that for their partners the ‘cost of exclusivity’ is going up.

Of course vendors have problems of their own, and quite often, even when a competitor gives them an edge like this virtualization pricing situation, many will continue to shoot themselves in the foot. They too struggle to differentiate between ‘marginal product improvement versus licensing cheap shots in marketing and journalistic rhetoric’. Sadly, the eventual outcome will  be product marginalization and distillation of partner value add.

Of course those people who haven’t ‘backed just one vendor horse’ will be in a better position than most. These guys will have been smart enough to realise that this marginalization of technological advantage will mean they need to develop new services and ‘stickiness’ with their customers. They will position themselves above the vendors’ as agnostic or best of breed consultants who focus on understanding the business needs foremost and leave the technology to the subsequent conversation.

What do I predict? Well some of these people will still pursue a blinkered strategy in the hope that their huge investment in the sole vendor approach will continue to reap benefits; It may so, but the cost of ownership will eventually become a significant millstone around their necks, and eventually they will have to change course. My worry is that these guys will do this too late and the market place will have forged ahead and they will be left behind.

So advice? Try not to get wrapped up in all the incremental toing and froing from the vendors as they fight each other for the Yellow Jersey. Remember they can afford to do that; you cant.

Brummie.

If cloud were a person called Frank

Say hi to Frank – my cloud person.

Frank is a complex person. Frank has many facets and complexities. Frank is a modern human being. Frank wants to be everyone’s friend but suffers from personality conflicts as Frank struggles to keep everyone happy. Frank is too eager to promise things and then fails to deliver but then also produces amazing feats of agility and reactivity when put in difficult spots by so called  friends. Frank often confuses these friends with acquaintances who pretend to be Frank’s friend but end up taking Frank to court because of the small print they conveniently stitched him up with. Frank has ambition and a plan. Frank knows where Frank wants to go and has a fantastic career ahead . However, for Frank to be successful there needs people around to work as a team and knows there are some people who are burying their heads in the sand and working against Frank. Sadly Franks trusts people too much and will be knocked down several times as he pushes forward. Things will go round. Frank will overcommit at times and fail to deliver in occasion. Other times Frank will fall foul of legislation as Frank fails to spot the intricacies of friends’ requirements. Frank will work out who are friends and who are foe. Frank will build a strong team of friends who have similar personality characteristics and this will make Frank stronger. Frank will adopt a keener eye for spotting opportunities that will deliver many riches and over time more and more people will come round to Franks thinking. Frank will realize that personality encourages more openness and agility, seeing Frank blend experiences  with the unknown that lies ahead. Frank will secretly want to live for ever and believes that to do so it requires an ecosystem, a health management strategy and people around to help.  People will want to give Frank all sorts of advice and Frank will need to spot those who can genuinely help and those that will ‘pull Frank’s chain’. This will be hard for Frank as there are many who don’t have Frank’s best interests at heart and are after a fast buck for themselves. There will be times when Frank is low in confidence and may question his purpose in life but Frank will always keep a half full glass as Frank realizes that the future is there for the taking, and those living in the past will ultimately fail. Frank realises that it is a long game and that he needs to be respectful of the past and the future. The good news is that Frank has a strong heart and lots of soul so if you ever meet Frank say hi for me.

Frank is a woman.

Smile

You are in a bar with Moore and Pareto, when Einstein walks in

Its happy hour. The bar is quiet. There’s you  and your old time buddies Moore and Pareto. You are discussing the usual guy things – cars, politics, fashion and football. You are on your third cocktail, and the conversation is deep into cloud computing,. Suddenly the door opens and in walks Albert Einstein. Awesome.

        

Can you imagine?

So Einstein wanders across with his JD and Coke and opens up with “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”.Does he mean the JD and Coke or cloud computing you wonder?

Pareto ( now on his fourth cocktail replies “ the big benefit of cloud as I see it is 80 percent of outcomes are from 20 percent of causes”. So you take this to mean he is saying people will get the most benefit from moving to the cloud with only the smallest amount of effort.

Einstein argues back though “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Does he mean me? After all I’m the guy with the job of selling cloud services.

Moore sat there quietly nursing his second Guinness and then suddenly dives in with “Integrated circuits would double in complexity every 18 months”. Stunned silence around the bar. What is he going on about? Does he mean that with the doubling of technological capability in memory and other components that cloud is inevitable because we can achieve more with less? Is he reiterating that virtualization is the secret sauce for the cloud and that if technology keeps reducing its footprint whilst doubling its ‘power’ ? Awesome.

Pareto throws a spanner by saying ”Give me a fruitful error anytime, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections”. Oh boy what the hell does he mean? Then you realise that he means that cloud is not always going to work despite Moore’s predictions, and that there will be errors and downtime. You get this. Cloud is not the answer to everything. Phew back on track.

Einstein munching through a bag of crisps nods wisely and says “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”. So is he saying cloud is now out of our control and is becoming some kind of monster? Can I still make money though Albert?

So what are the guys saying. ? Are they saying cloud is good? Seems so but they are saying that there are pitfalls. You go to the men’s room and then when you come back you overhear Einstein boasting “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them”. Is he a genius then? Many will say so.

Moore comments “The technology at the leading edge changes so rapidly that you have to keep current after you get out of school. I think probably the most important thing is having good fundamentals”. Again you try and work out what he means and you interpret this to mean that cloud computing doesn’t stop your development or wanting to learn.

Pareto has to run because he forgot that he has to go to the gym where he knows 80% of the effort will only produce 20% of the desired result! I mean he downed 5 pints and 3 bags of nuts!

So you are left with Einstein and Moore and a bar bill that Pareto would have been proud of.

Moore is on a roll now and is saying “With engineering, I view this year’s failure as next year’s opportunity to try it again. Failures are not something to be avoided. You want to have them happen as quickly as you can so you can make progress rapidly.”

His new mate Einstein isn’t so sure and retorts “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough”

So you try and summarise the night out with the guys and try and get them to think about cloud computing and whether its all hype and marketing spin, or whether there is some real substance to the whole cloud thing. You believe the latter and you are using Moore’s Law and Pareto’s Principle to justify the economics and the inevitability of the cloud.

Einstein shakes his head and says “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts”.

Shit. What does he mean? Does he mean people like me have to make cloud fit the situation even when it doesn’t? Is the hype we hear about? Or is he saying make sure you don’t get sucked into all the ‘cloud theories’ and ignore the facts.

You shout “Heh Albert – I get it now”.

But its too late because he has downed his last malt, and disappeared through the door with Moore saying they are off to a club to get wasted.

What a night! Smile

Buy not build, source not operate

Of course all the outsourcing, managed service and cloudologists ( are you one BTW ? )  will say that the IT landscape is changing  because this is the drum they have been beating for many years. And will continue to do so. They will quote analysts and market trends. They will talk magic quadrants and push forward examples of customers who have made this paradigm shift to the new world of technological landscape. What else can they do? Its a dog eat dog world out there, and these guys have deep pockets for R&D and acquisitions of competitive products and patents.For now at least .Smile

But in the shoes of the corporate IT person who has to work out what the future should look like things do not live in mice convenient buckets or pretty pictures of whiteboards and PowerPoint slides. It is a lot tougher and being able to articulate this is where I think the ‘skill’ is missing or in short supply.

I dug around my blog and remembered a post about the Babushka Doll and the way the simplicity of the doll and its many shells depicted how a ‘layperson’ could interpret the IT landscape.

So I have given it some thought and tried to create a picture that explains it for the sales person out there to grasp and use themselves.

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Let me explain the picture. It shows the Doll in various stages of separation with the smallest doll representing the true value of IT to an organization. So their crown jewels, classified data, business edge. Basically the things that make them money and that is deemed unsuitable to be left in any else’s hands. Maybe they are a bank and for compliance reasons they have to build and operate this secure core themselves. They need to protect the edge from intrusion and Trojans because the secure core contains customer data and so on. By definition this secure core may be quite small in terms of overall IT footprint and may have the highest cost of ownership e.g. infrastructure, management, tools staffing and protection. However the business understands this and is faced with little choice. The key point I would like to make here is that the Secure Core has a BUILD and OPERATE characteristic meaning internal skills are used to build and manage. This may be the only one way ensure protection and compliance but will have a high price in terms of skills, training and succession planning.

Now as the dolls start to reveal themselves and you move to the left, the value of the data and services start to become more commoditized. This may be visible by applications and data that can reside outside the secure core but still provide a level of business relevance. However, the organization has made a conscious decision to move the plumbing and care and maintenance to someone else. Maybe a hosting partner or public cloud vendor. They may choose to create a hybrid cloud of the secure core and non core layers to provide a top level management domain. There will be a number of scenarios. Again this non core may represent a larger slice of the IT footprint e.g. unclassified data, large number of transient users, geographic situations and so on. As this non core ‘Doll’ is envisage then there is a shift from the BUILD and OPERATE model to a more BUY and SOURCE model, as commodity pay as you go services start to feature largely.

Finally, the largest layer of the doll is the Mother on the far left. Over here we see the social aspect of the corporate IT world coming together. People here will use non corporate devices and non corporate applications to collaborate and potentially share business information. Perhaps this will be disallowed by corporate IT, or equally encouraged to meet the needs of a younger workforce, device independence or market conditions. This will be the ultimate BUY and SOURCE, where IT is as utility commodity as electricity and water.

Phew!

So of course the dolls may be the wrong way round as organizations may have the largest footprint of IT inside their secure perimeter an very little in the PERSONAL layer. Of course the doll is purely a metaphor.

OK BrummieRuss so what. Well its just a picture but the points I want to make are these;

  • The dolls represent what is happening today. For some they encourage this; others proactively discourage this.
  • The dolls represent interoperability. The dolls have only one way to fit together. IT has to have the same rules of engagement regardless of where the information resides. Corporate IT has to be in control to some extent even if its in a Service Management role and not building and operating as they did traditionally.
  • Business value may soon be stronger from the non core services which will eventually become the core services as corporate IT migrates from the legacy secure core services. Believe that?

So in summary my dolls are metaphors. They represent the journey. They can be used to help you understand how a customer or organization carves up or describes their IT footprint.

And don’t forget. The dolls are always SMILING Smile so go on have a great weekend.

BrummieRuss.

If cloud is the answer what is the question

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You have an exam to take. The last question is this one….

If cloud is the question then what is the answer.. you have an hour to write 1500 words on this question. What would be your synopsis?

To give you some context to the question you are given one piece of information to assist you. It comes from a report produced by Gartner in their quarterly IT forecast http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/quarterly-it-forecast/

 

Public Cloud Services Forecast, Worldwide, 2Q11 Update

The migration to public cloud services is one of the hottest topics in IT, and forecast spending in this area, at an annual average growth rate of 19%, is growing almost four times faster than spending on overall IT. However, to put this growth in context, by 2015, the level of spending on public cloud services will be less than 5% of the total spent on IT overall.

 

Now lets consider the very last sentence and consider that according to Gartner “..by 2015, the level of spending on public cloud services will be less than 5% of the total spent on IT overall.”

Back to the exam question. How would you answer it using this information as the background to the answer? What arguments would you take to identify the answer to the question. Literally I mean what will be the reasons for people to justify saying that Cloud is the answer against the backdrop of Gartner’s predictions?

Of course they are only focusing on Public Cloud and this may be part of your response that indeed the percentage of organizations moving their legacy infrastructure into private cloud environments will be a much higher percentage of the overall IT spend. This may be true and many believe that managed hosting ( aka virtualization ) is a private cloud scenario already and there are many already delivering hugely successful services in this fashion.

You may argue against Gartner and put a case that Public cloud will grow faster as the key players like Amazon, Apple, Google Microsoft and so on make their services for capacity and productivity gain too good an opportunity to turn down. So you may say that technological inevitability ( aka Moore’s Law and others ) is the question that cloud provides the answer to.

Others may cite cost as the big answer as the financial people ( CFOs ) take control of the IT purse strings much more, and seek to get a fair price for a service in much similar ways as they would for fleet car, power, environmental services, building maintenance and contracted services such as HR and Payroll.

You may furthermore choose to offer up several questions such as

  • what can support organizational growth into new markets and through M&A
  • what can deliver improved business continuity capabilities
  • what can offer the reduction in development costs
  • what can offer better collaboration
  • etc etc

But for me, my answer would go something like this.

“Cloud is the answer because technological history suggests that the combination of market forces, economic pressures, competitiveness and ultimate inevitability are the questions that only a cloud strategy can satisfy”.

Note I deliberately avoid my buzz words of management ,availability ,performance and security. These four little beauties would be my reasoning position in the rest of my 1500 word submission as I tried to give a balanced view that whilst on paper cloud may be the answer ( and only answer ) to a bunch of questions, there is still the need for due diligence and prudence in any decision about cloud. At this time anyway. Smile

Go figure.

5

My shortest title ever. Why 5?

image  image

Well lets consider the impact that this prime number has on our lives.

5 is the number of elements – Fire, air, water, earth and spirit

There are traditionally Five Wounds of Jesus Christ in Christianity: the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the wounds in Christ’s hands, the wounds in Christ’s feet, and the Side Wound of Christ.

“Give me five” is a common phrase used preceding a High five

Muslims pray to Allah five times a day

5 is the number of natural senses – sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing

Almost all amphibians, reptiles, and mammals which have fingers or toes have five of them on each extremity

The Olympic Games have five interlocked rings as their symbol, representing the number of inhabited continents represented by the Olympians

The number of players of a basketball team on the court at a given time is 5

5 is the number of essential characteristics of cloud computing according to NIST

Ugh – I was ok with the list ( which could have gone on and on BTW ) until I got to the last one. Five essential characteristics of cloud computing. Remember these boys?

Let me remind you of the Essential Characteristics as defined by NIST>

1. On-demand self-service.

A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as
server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human
interaction with each service’s provider.

2. Broad network access.

Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard
mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g.,
mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs).

3. Resource pooling.

The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers
using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically
assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location
independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact
location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of
abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage,
processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines.

4.Rapid elasticity.

Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases
automatically, to quickly scale out, and rapidly released to quickly scale in. To the
consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can
be purchased in any quantity at any time.

5. Measured Service.

Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging
a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g.,
storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be
monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and
consumer of the utilized service.

Hands up who believes that the only people ‘capable’ of meeting these 5 characteristics are Public cloud providers? Maybe even these guys choose not to.  I mean for someone like Amazon maybe they are less interested in measuring the service but more focused on rapid elasticity to scale at peak trading times like Xmas. Private cloud theoretically has to adhere to the 5 characteristics but again the provider may ‘weight’ their services up or down in the individual characteristics. This is understandable because people have to make money, and there is a school of thought that says 5 is a dangerous number as it means it ‘costs 5 times as much to provide cloud than say 3 or 2 or even 1’.

Which characteristic would be your winner if you could only choose 1? I kinda like 4.

Smile