Monthly Archives: March 2012

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment – WARREN BENNIS

Just look at the perfect synergy and grace of the picture. A man and his dog walking into the sunset.. I just love it.

  • The factory of the future is The Cloud – of course.
  • There will be two employees for sure – why do you need anymore with all the cloud automation being promised?
  • But a man and a dog? Brilliant.

After all we all realise that ‘man’ cant be trusted to not tinker with the ‘cloud equipment’, so the ‘dog’ is the perfect custodian of the data.

Provided the man feeds it – of course.

( Quote attributed to Warren  Bennis (1925) is an American scholar, organizational consultant and author, widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Bennis )

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When youre finished changing, youre finished – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Last killer post is tomorrow. Then Im all done.

Remember the exercise was to apply some famous ( or less so ) quotations and spin them furiously  ( and desperately at times ) to make a number of points about cloud both for and against. Sometimes I think it worked other times it was hideously wide off the mark.

I like to think I balanced between the good and the bad, and I make no apology for repeating the points about cloud being a very big ‘people’ decision, and that making sure anyone considering cloud takes a balanced view.

Well Ive had some fun writing the posts and even more pleasure from the responses received.

I suspect I wont be finished however and have an idea brewing for something else in the future.

Kind regards

Brummie.

Behind every cloud is another cloud – JUDY GARLAND

One cloud? One network? One infrastructure?

Today we have numerous networks. The definition of a network of course will vary depending on the audience. Communications people will view a network as the physical communications which connect business together. Infrastructure people will look at the local aspect of a network which connects PCs and servers together. Security will look at the authentication layers where access to resources is managed and audited. Then there is the aspect of test and development networks for Development people. All different views and perspectives.

Decades ago the concept of ‘one network’ was reality when there was a mainframe in the big room down the corridor connecting dumb terminals. A single network. There was no other option. Everyone knew what was where and who did what. The advent of web killed this concept and now we live in a world of multiple networks even when we may not realise it.

Take a small business. They may conceively have a single network because they have a single server, a internet line and email in the cloud.But already they have a cloud behind a cloud because their email is on another network – the cloud provider hosting their email.

Get more complicated and move up to large global enterprises and this definition of a cloud behind a cloud blurs beyond belief. In 1945 Thomas Watson then Chairman of IBM claimed”I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”. Was he envisaging cloud? Unlikely though we do talk loosely about the computing power moving back to the center like the mainframe utilising the power of the devices we use for local rendering, caching and manipulation.

Consider your own use of clouds for a minute? I have. Currently its quite a few. And im not counting corporate clouds. Lets list some of them  – Personal backup cloud x2,Email cloud,Photo cloud,Music cloud,bookstore cloud. And a few more.

Counting clouds is perhaps not a great past time but its quite amazing when you enter a conversation about cloud computing as people talk about cloud the singular – the cloud.

Bringing this into context the IT pros who have to really get to grips with counting clouds. People talk about current state as they look at what they have, and then talk about desired state as the place they want to get to. Cloud counting makes this really hard; not because they ‘may miss a cloud’ in their counting but because they lose control of what glues these clouds together.

Architecture of cloud networks is no mean feast. We are in a wave of technology maturity as we all work out how models will fit together, what works ( what doesnt ) and how do we keep IT running as we do all this cloud gazing.

I recently read a paper about cloud identity management. At the end I was convincing myself that cloud is so immature no one should consider it. But I then realised that all that is happening is that ‘we as an industy’ is going through the pain ( gain ) that always happen when faced with change. We will get there and whilst the stakes are considerably higher with the potential risks of cloud, the economics of cloud computing simply do stack up for most.

I also read some content about cloud service management. A biggie. And then I read an article about cloud and business continuity. Another biggie. I then read a blog about cloud performance management. And that too. In fact there is a lot of content out there to help ( hinder ) you as you embark on your cloud counting exercise.

One word of advice ( caution ). Dont start counting clouds until you have a reference architecture. A what? A set of concepts, patterns and principles that are appropriate to you and what you are provided ( protecting). Until you can agree on what architecture you need then cloud counting can be a tough job.

Dont believe me? Well try and get colleagues in a room to discuss Cloud Reference Architecture. Do this then are you off and running; if you dont then you will soon realise how hard all this cloud stuff really is. Still dont believe me? Have a glance at Microsoft’s approach to cloud reference architecture http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/4346.private-cloud-principles-patterns-and-concepts.aspx

 Start counting………………………..

( Quote attributed to Judy Garland ( 1922 – 1969) was an American actress, singer and vaudevillian  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_garland )

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Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half – JOHN WANAMAKER

Advertising?  What has this got to do with cloud. Well actually quite a lot but thats not the point of this post.Lets substitute the working advertising with IT ( or technology ) and read it back again.

Half the money I spend on IT is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half

Of course no one would admit that 50% of their cash going into delivering IT is wasted. It isnt something you would publicily want to broadcast. However, privately many IT Leaders may have empathy with the Wanamaker quote and the  IT variation above.

Running an IT business is complex stuff. Controlling costs is a massive task. Experts will claim the 80/20 charateristic of IT operations. Where 80% of your budget goes on keeping the lights on, with only 20% spent on doing innovative stuff. Variants of this exist but the bottom line is that IT leaders actually do realise that a good chunk of their cash is being wasted and they dont which chunk it is.

I can hear people cry ‘come on thats not true’. They will cite the tight accounting procedures and governance control that monitor every $ spent and the minute attention to where IT operational and capital cash is being spent. IT departments now have financial teams behind them monitoring all this stuff and the graphs and charts are impressive. So these people will say the opposite – ‘ I know exactly where my IT money is being spent’. Wanna bet?

From the humble laptop with masses of memory, a hard disk to die for and processors that could run a small business through to the server farm running mission critical applications on virtual platforms with High Availability and always on capability, there is a nagging ( and quite serious concern ) that half of the money ( the resource, the licensing, the time, the effort, the maintenance etc ) is wasted. Which half?

Well the half you cant see usually. Let me explain.

  • The capacity of IT is overprovisioned. We all know that. None of us have enough years on this planet to use all of the capacity of the devices we use. ( A few go out of there way to achieve this but for the average person and business  we can never keep up with Moore’s Law and the speed of light.

So hardware and software definately is a good candidate for the ‘half’. Surely?

  • The delivery of IT support is often underprovisioned. We all know this too. Waiting for someone to call you back to solve a simple query is mind blowingly frustrating. Finding people with the right knowledge is also a needle in a haystack moment also. Keeping good staff seems impossible and the cost of providing 24×7 support is often fruitless.

So definately a strong contender. No?

  • The tools we use to manage our infrastructure. Why yes. We seem to have consoles, dashboards and traffic light systems that look like they are controlling a mission to Mars. Yet we still have slow downs, down time and capacitt shortages. We also have teams of people whose job it is to ‘manage’. At what cost is all this? Yes this must be where we are wasting money.

For sure?

  • Backup and disaster recovery. We need this to protect our business of course but when we do the sums on how much we spent on clever technology to protect us it doesnt stack up. Worse still when we actually need to recover something or failover to something else – guess what? – it doesnt work. So we spend more money.

Without doubt this must in the wasteful half?

And there is more. Maintenance costs. Software licensing schemes. Consultancy. Training. Management time. User time. Downtime.

The point is that very few people actually know ‘which half they waste’ of IT spending. They have some clues but plans to do something about it? For sure outsourcing is a great way to erradicate wasteful cost but that also can be seen as part of the ‘half’. Sweating assets is a good one too. But hang on? Even supporting old kit past its sell by date could be part of the ‘half’.

Gosh this is complicated.

Lets agree to disagree. Meeting someone who has a really good handle on their ‘half’ is a rare event. Meeting people who tell you they know which ‘half’ and have fixed it already are less believable in my opinion. Meeting people who say they dont even have a ‘half’ well are complicated people themselves!

So this quote works well for me. For years I have been working on the ‘half’. Everyone I know is doing the same thing.

If cloud can tell me the ‘half’ and show me it every day for the rest of time then Im all in. I suspect Im going to have to compromise like we all do and chip away bit by bit working it out. Well at least we are all in the same boat.

(Quote attributed to John Wanamaker (1838 –  1922) was a United States  merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, considered by some to be the father of modern advertising and a “pioneer in marketing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wanamaker )

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Even if it was free – Part 2

I spoke about Free a few posts ago. I am reading Chris Anderson’ amazing insight into our lives and how we are sold ‘free’ stuff. Sold because behind the  free is something we want – and we pay for. There are some awe inspiring examples of smart people who nail this concept and make billions.

So lets apply some freeconomics to the world of IT and specifically cloud. I think I posted that nothing is for free and that even if you did obtain the ‘stuff’ for free ( open source is a good example ) there is cost to own it. We know this.

So lets reimagine Backup. We all understand what it is and why we need it. Its mandatory. Without it we are sailing blind. Driving without our lights on. Swimming without our arm bands on. Fishing without a rod. Etc etc.

Buts let imagine a cloud backup vendor with a difference. This guy doesnt do the usual of a 30 day free trial before he charges you a regular fee. This guy doesnt also expect you to sign up for 3 years. He doesnt charge you a flat fee but then incremental uplifts as you store more and more. No this guys says ‘backup is free for ever but if you want pay as much as you think its worth’.

Now take a step back and think about this. Imagine this was a conversation you were having. Really think about this.

You say have 100 servers that you currently backup yourself. It costs you. Its not free. You have people, ifnrastructure and services all underpinning this function. You spend more testing and restoring data to meet your committment to the busines. Its quite expensive.

So this guy will let you store 100 servers worth or more if you want in his backup cloud and not expect you to pay a penny. I forgot to mention – he is also a very reputable name and not some fly by night backstreet sharp shooter trying to muscle in on the big news. No this guy has a brand. He has wealth. He has clout. He is not going anywhere nasty with your data. This guy will send  you an email asking you to consider whether you want to pay him some money as a sign of goodwill.

What do you do?

A. Ignore it and go back to counting backup tapes, reading logs and trying to get users to archive their data?

B. Ignore it and move your backup to one of these cloud brokers who will find you the best deal on a price per unit basis?

C. Do what he says and move your data for free and never pay a penny – ever.

D. Do you what he says and pay him a fee that you feel is right for what you are storing in his cloud.

Well look at D. If you could do this ( and Im speculating massively of course but its only 2012 and cloud has a long long life span ) how would you work out what would be a good fee to pay? The reason I say this is because I think option D is the only context when you would actually put a value on your data. The other options ( except C ) are led by competitive forces for backup that set the price no matter who you use. The hard bit about D is this;

Do I just take the free option? Or should I actually pay what i think my data is worth? Perhaps I would pay more for my important data ( if i knew where it was ) and take free for the rest?

Now what is happening ( and this is all just speculation on my behalf nothing more ) is this.

  • The guy is shrinking the market. By giving away backup for free he is effectively reducing the opportunity for others to compete with him. Because he has scale and resources.
  • The guy is making people think about the true value of their stuff. In this case their data. He banks on the fact that when they start to think about it they will actually pay him more than they would pay the traditional guys. Smart. He is banking on the theory that ‘free’ drives ‘paid.’

Nicholas Carr in his book – The Big Switch – talks about how Google wants information to be free because as the cost of information falls it makes more money for itself.  The backup guy is doing the same. He wants data to drop in cost because it makes more money for himself.

Moving on a bit can you imagine what would happen if the same guy followed up with ‘free virtual desktops’ or ‘free management controls’. Or free ‘support desk’. Surely not. Surely why not. Yeah why not. Why not indeed.

Back to reality however we know the answer is ‘why not’ today because corporates cant easily give up their stuff for free. They have to show they are protecting their business and rules are rules.  They have to pay something. They are programmed to realise that free means cheap and dangerous in their world, although these same people would be shocked if they were charged for Facebook or Google. One day these people will retire and the Gen Y people will be in charge. Lets see what happens.

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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times – CHARLES DICKENS

………………….it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way………… ( The rest of the quote )

So OK a bit deep but if youve ever read a Tale of Two Cities you will realise that!!

Cloud computing without doubt is the best of times and most likely rhe worst of times. Let me explain my mind here.

Cloud is where its all at. We enjoy cloud computing. We often dont know that we are ‘doing cloud computing’. We let our fingers and our imagination take us up into the cloud and we are satisfied. We in fact thirst for me and the unlimited pit of knowledge is drawing generations into an ecosystem the scale of which we cannot possibly size up. We all know this of course. So it is the best of times?

Well it is for Joe Public but for corporates ( which is why I do this blog ) it definately represents a tug of  war situation between the old and the new. The old is considerably complex. Legacy is only six letters on a page but decades of interoperability, shims, fag packet fixes, sticky tape and the ocassional prayer when all else fails. Legacy is business critical apps that run the show but run on kit that no one has the manual for anymore. Legacy is knowledge in the head of one ageing analyst in the corner who isnt going to be allowed to retire. Legacy is the life blood and when people talk about cloud the old sages will say ‘ah but we have too much legacy to think about cloud computing – yet’. What they really mean is – ever.

But our IT industry isnt unique. People like to moan about the best and worst times. Its human nature and all sorts of industries tell tales of good and bad times. Each wave of fashion or advertising wave brings out the quotes from wise people. Cloud is doing the same. The revolution we are living through happens to all industries and some people like it – some dont.

We see how wonderful cloud was being as a tool to help us socially ( Facebook, Twitter, Ebay ) but on the flip it was the worst of times ( job losses, downtime, loss of control). In decades to come we will probably sit in our rocking chairs and look back at what actually happened. But for now in 2012 we need to balance why we see the best and worst of cloud computing.

Of course the good old favourites like its not secure, or its not mature enough will echo from the ‘the worst of times’ camp. The ‘best of times’ camp will gush superlatives like ‘it has changed my life’ and ‘without cloud we would be out of business’. Believe them? I dont. No one can be totally in favour of one side of this discussion. Cloud is an amazing paradign shift for the world’s economy, but it is only one of hundreeds of cool things out there. In third world countries you would find that mobile communication is the most amazing transformation they have ever experienced. The benefit it has bought them in terms of improving medical response across fast deserts is formidable; but it aslo is being enjoyed during still excessive drought and civil unrest which is undermining peace and economic growth. A good example.

Another one is the impact on young people who will use the cloud for hours a day but perhaps neglect time for their families and studies. Or the loss of social interaction between people travelling together as they choose to listen or watch to cloud delivered content rather than actually talk to each other. I must be sounding really old now – just realised! There are sinister aspects also to cloud as we can all imagine and again in years to come we will define this time in our lives as ‘the best of times; it was the worst of times’.

 Dickens’ captured it neatly and I see both sides of a very long fence. It is almost for every good thing in cloud land there is a bad thing. Again though so what? this is what happens and IT is not unique. We just have to get over it and decide if our glass is half full or not.

Time will tell whether it was the ‘very best of times; or the very worst of times’.  My vote is that we are in the ‘times that are getting better’ and that ‘we will arrive at even better times soon’. I dont think we can use the word best because that means there is nothing else to follow and for sure cloud is just the start of technological change we cannot even describe because it has not even been thought of yet.

To close therefore I want to change Dicken’s quote to my own “Cloud; it was a really good time in 2012, it got a lot better in 2015 and by 2020 is was really getting better; it was the worst of times for some people caught up in the negatives of cloud and what it meant and even in 2015 it was still worse but by 2020 peoples’ attitudes had changed and people started to see the good in what cloud can bring to them’.

(Quote attributed to Charles Dickens  (1812 – 1870) was an English writer, generally considered to be the greatest novelist of the Victorian period and responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic novels and characters  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_dickens )

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Let me tell you something you already know

I think we have all had this said to us at one time or another. Or we have said to someone.

So in the context of cloud it resonates. Look around. Everyone is out there telling us about cloud. We can read blogs (opps), white papers, You Tube videos, TV adverts and newspaper content that patiently digs as deep as we wish into what cloud is, how it works and why we need it. Information overload is very pertinent when thinking about cloud !

Go to a cloud conference or seminar and you will see people from all backgrounds furiously engaging in conversations about cloud. We all have an opinion and are eager to listen to other people’s view as well. It is like being at a feast where you can eat as much as you want! A smorgasbord of information!

So here is where I want to check something. if we all know about cloud why do we (1) thirst on more and more information about it and (2) are happy to be told by someone we dont know.

Point (1) suggests we arent finished on our journey. Downloading content about cloud is a full time job. Printers are smoking as we print out wodges of paper on cloud. We flick through reams of PowerPoint slides on cloud. Our flashy iPad flashes endless video content on cloud as we travel on trains and sit in airport lounges. Keep it coming – even though we actually know all we need to know about cloud.

Point (2) suggests we seem to listen to people we dont know and therefore cannot possibly trust. My blog is a case in point. As is the thousands of blogs and web sites. We dont know the author from Adam. We dont know their backgrounds. We dont know if they are cloud ‘experts’. We ultimately cannot trust them but we do.

Where does this leave us? I think it means two things

(1) we dont know as much as we should about cloud and for many of us we are still sitting on the proverbial fence as we posture our way along the cloud journey. Now this is not surprising as it will only be the C level guys who probably know all the strategies and roadmaps. They may be keeping it close to their chest and preferring a small ring of people in the know leaving the rest of us in the dark scrabbling for more and more pointless content.

(2)we need to start looking closer to home for people to engage in the cloud conversation. Why listen to someone via a blog or video when you want to learn something new about cloud when you probably have a colleague who is someone who can ‘tell you something you need to know’. Someone who is closer to the relevant strategy and who can involve you in the conversation.

What is this post for? Nothing more than to say that when you are considering a download, a blog or a video that catches your eye ask yourself this little question “Am I really going to find out something I already know” and that the actual question should be “what do I need to know first before I start looking for information”. One is a fruitless exercise ultimately, whilst the other maximises your time and helps you weed out the people who can really help.

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I dont know the secret of success but the key to failure is to try and please everyone – DALE CARNEIGE

Browsing the Government’s new G-Cloud CloudStore Catalogue the other day. Impressive. Each type of cloud is present –  IaaS, PaaS, SaaS.  Each type of deployment option too  -Public, Private, Hybrid. Also the type of impact level – ILO etc.  Impressive. It seems there are other 1700 unique services available. I suspect the UK Government is not alone to have spun up a cloud catalog. Take a look http://www.govstore.net/

A quick browse of the types of services available reveal all sorts of different value add from vendors of all shapes and sizes. Ranging from backup, management, application development and so on. The choice on this cloud portal is impressive and I am sure it will grow.

Now I dont know so this is conjecture on my behalf but I reckon a good percentage of the suppliers on the Government’s Cloudstore are there because they need to be seen to be there. They have realised that the Government’s CloudStore offers a shop window and their closest competitor is on there. It would be madness to not be up there. Even if there is limited scope to win any business. Call it a loss leader. I may be wrong of course and all the vendors of the 1700+ services are making good margins and building up a impressive pipelines.

Now Carneige’s quote fits neatly IMHO to this view of choice and cloud. You see cloud may have well defined architectures, models and frameworks but the agile manner of developing unique services on top of the cloud fabric is super impressive. Hence the 1700+ services on the Government’s CloudStore. But when you start to examine the types of service you are struck with two thoughts.

(1) Does this service actually exist in that it is working today and has active users consuming the service?

(2) How successful are these services to the vendor? Do they have a business model built on these services? Can they articulate business growth on selling these services?

Or is it all a version of cloud-washing and only happening because it sounds impressive to be on a Government cloud portfolio and whether you can actually deliver the service is not the big deal. Im sure I am 100% wrong and all vendors are stringently veted to ensure they have real solutions ( are not cloud washing ) and have real customers to reference.

Against this therefore I wonder whether the channel is trying to ‘please everyone’. A read of some of the descriptions put up by vendors reveals a lot of confusion and complexity and does not strike you that they are aiming to help the reader. Which makes you wonder what is their game here? Are they trying deliberately to make their services complicated so as to attract serious customers who like to be confused. Or are they missing the point of a Government CloudStore and treating the shop window as a place to copy and paste their web site? A quick look reveals some vendors not even bothering to describe their service – “The supplier did not provide a description for this service”.  I mean come on. Isnt this being arrogant beyond belief? They cant be bothered to actually describe what they want to sell? Instead they appear to be paying lip service by suggesting they can do most things and their potential clients are supposed to fall into this by assuming they have the right credentials. Or perhaps they genuinely are not bothered but felt they need to register their name?

So yes I agree with Carneige on this. In the process of ‘trying to please everyone’ cloud vendors are running the risk of being jack of all trades or at least appearing to the market that they have fingers in many pies. This attempt to flood the market with a vision of their capability will only work if they have the brand and demonstratable proof of their claims. And I think we are faced with many cloud vendors who are ‘claiming to do everything’ as they are afraid of missing out on a deal. What they dont realise is that this isnt a smart way to success. No, in fact, it smacks of confusion and as we all know – CONFUSED CUSTOMERS DONT BUY.

( Quote attributed to Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (originally Carnagey  1888 –  1955) was an American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Carnegie )

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It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity – TITUS LIVY

We all know aboutMoore’s law .Tthe number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit double approximately every two years. Many of  the electronic devices in use today follow the theory when you  consider processing speed, memory capacity, sensors and pixels.

As a consumer you are less bothered about how long it takes to produce the gadget in your hand or on your screen. We have witnessed incredible speed in how ‘electronics’ have made us blind to how the electronics work. So in fact with Moores Law is pushing our technological world at a pace ( every two years it seems ). Maybe Livy’s quote doesnt pan out then, as its clear that we are living through a compressed period of ‘excellence to maturity’.

Consider cloud computing. Moore’s Law has been a major influence in the world of processing and memory capabiltiy which has allowed us to take our physical data center world and move to what is now de facto – virtualization. Cloud computing takes this virtualization layer and adds on all sort of automation and workflow to give us even more capability to deliver Agile IT. Again like mobile phones, cameras and household goods Moore’s Law has rapidly turned our IT world on its head – in short time as well. Who would argue that delivering workloads via a cloud service without all the pain and cost of doing it yourself? Cloud is most certainly bringing excellence to maturity in short shrift. So again Livy is wrong. ( OK its not his fault considering he lived about 2000 years ago!).

But is he wrong? Forget the dramatic doubling of transitors to give us double the processing and memory capability. Forget the innovation of people to create even more powerful devices to entertain us or to make our businesses go faster. Forget all the excellence available today. Instead focus on the people who are instrinsically tied into the management of said technology.

 To give context this consider an individual. They are in the posession of a device that has more processing capability than they will ever need. They have it because they can – simple. Like a high performance car and mandatory speed limits. No matter what they do they can only go so fast. We have definately seen this in the corporate IT world too. With virtualization we now have huge capacity that outweighs the demand. This is why cloud appeal so much. Why pay for your own infrastructure when you can pay for what you need. You know the rest.

But the IT people are the ones that Livy’s quotation is aimed at. You see we are in the era of change where we seek to leverage cloud computing whilst keeping our eyes on our legacy. And this will take time. It will not follow Moore’s Law for sure. Imagine 2014. We will still have legacy IT. Oh yes we will. It wont be like our mobile phone though. Guaranteed we will swop our phone for the next ‘more powerful’ phone available. We wont even consciously consider this. It will just happen.

IT’s ability to adapt internal procedures and processes to accomodate this change will mean that the maturity of IT people will still be a big big deal. All sorts of people. Service managers, architects, support people, management people. Senior management. Directors. All of us in fact. We struggle with adapting internal processes with the way Moores Law is changing our landscape. We know we have to move ahead and adopt the next waves of technology because our peers demand this but all the time we face even more issues with integration and compatibility. Our industry is only just starting to realise how much we have to do before we can use words like Maturity and Excellence.

Unlike transitors which will no doubt follow Moore’s Law, human beings will indeed ‘take a long time to bring excellence to maturity’.

Nice one Titus!

( Quote attributed to Titus Livius (59 BC – AD 17)  known as Livy in English  was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livy )

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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work – THOMAS EDISION

This could be one of my all time favorites.

In fact I dont know where to start and who to aim the quotation at but sticking true to the cloud theme of this blog I felt I would aim this at IT. After all the blame is often landed at the feet of sales people and business people for not hitting target or finding new business so why not IT?

As we all know ( yawn ) running IT is not an easy job. Wearing overalls is what IT people do. So why is it when a cloud discussion comes up do we read in the press and journals of all the problems with cloud and the risks it brings coming from IT people. Well of course they are only doing what they know best – take a pragmatic view of the risks and issues. You could ask an IT person to fix your home printer and they would engage you in a debate about printing and maintenance when all you want is your printout! Unkind Im sorry IT people!

Cloud is a big deal and is no way easy. Whether you are actually building a cloud infrastructure or managing one we all know its hard work.

So where is the opportunity being missed? Well we spoke about the cloud washers who front end traditional hosting as a cloud service without all the rigour and controls that ‘proper cloud’ signifies. They do this for one simple reason. They dont have a mature economic model to understand how to make money by turing their cash cow services into a cloud service where they have to deal with peaks and troughs,and subsequent pay as you go customers. it is not easy. It is dam hard. You need more than overalls for this!

But there is an opportunity being missed. Internal IT managers and departments are largely protected from the cloud talks. C level people are dealing with the cloud. These IT guys have enough on their plate without worrying about cloud. However, what they are absolutely missing out on is the opportunity to wash their current IT infrastructure through a cloud assessment model.

Now im in part about the masses of cloud assessment tools out there that can analyse and recommend cloud platforms. VMware, Microsoft, HP, IBM all have them. Big solution integrators have them too. All aimed at asking you a bunch of questions to tease out information about workloads whilst they underneath crunch your responses against their data to come up with a cloud proposition. Useful stuff. But what IT teams need to do is find that bit of space to do a ‘What if we had to produce a Cloud Plan’ or ‘Plan A is what we are doing today but what would Plan B look like’. Great questions to me and a fantastic opportunity to do some serious work on the future. Not the usual technology update stuff where you draw out migration milestones for vendor X and Y. No something that encompasses not just the technology but all the other things – security, service desk, procurement processes, governance, business continuity and so on. The whole nine yards!

Imagine simple processes that run IT today. What would they look like if some of the infrastructure ran in the cloud. Would they reduce or increase? What about how you backup today? Would you need to change your service descriptions and SLAs if cloud backup was introduced? What about using virtual cloud servers for test and dev? How would this change your staging procedures? This list could go and on.

Yes this is hard work because it requires time and some visionary thinking. Edison would have wanted people to come to the table with ideas and thoughts on the future. Call it a Reimagining IT Workshop. Or a Vision of the Future Braindump. Or a Whiteboard session. Or a meeting. Who cares! The point is that the opportunity to envisage the future is here today. Right now. it doesnt mean you are going to deploy cloud tomorrow. But it does mean you have demonstrated that you are thinking about cloud and how it might fit into your current plans.

Imagine how the CIO would feel if you knocked on his door with you Alternate Plan. Or your Plan B for Cloud. or Cloud; the alternative path. Or cloud; a fork in the road moment.

Again who cares? Just do it.

( Quote attributed to Thomas Edison ( 1847 – 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison )

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