I’ve looked at clouds …

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow

It’s clouds illusions I recall

I really don’t know clouds, at all

– Joni Mitchell

I really must stop using song titles and lyrics in these blog entries but ……

Anyway, I recently sat as part of an august panel of CIOs, drawn together to critique yet another a vendor proposition on cloud computing, and listened intently as we all described “Cloud” differently. Chatham House rules apply so I wont name names but it was all kinda worrying as the discussion was actually supposed to be about something called “hybrid cloud” which I subsequentyly learnt is supposed to be  “the intersection of public and private clouds” – or cloud 2.0 as some wags are now calling it.

After much debate one of the attendees lent forward, cupped his head in his hands and proclaimed “What is all this B***s**t ?? Come on guys lets get real !! Am I really going to sit in a room with my CEO and have this conversation ??”

I found myself strangely drawn to his candour. Its bad enough that many CEO’s still think that IT spends too much time with its head in the clouds, now we’re introducing vocabulary that even we don’t even understand.

In an earlier post I issued the plea to stop banging on about what this cloud stuff is or is not and to focus on harnessing the underlying technologies to deliver / enable our business strategies. I still hold firm to this view but the IT industry – particularly the vendor community – do have a responsibility to put some shape and form around this whole debate. Now you can agree or disagree with my previous post about “nothing changes” and that actually this is all just ones and zeros painted a different colour (albeit offered at a lower price point), but one thing that IT supposedly does well is process and standards – so why are we as an industry ignoring our strengths and perpetuating the marketing spin and hype.

So, with that in mind, here are my 3 essential priorities for any supply side cloud advocates – “my 3 x S’s”

1. Shape – put some real and tangible definitions up that give this whole debate some shape and meaning. What do things like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) actually mean in practise ?? How do you engage and more importantly disengage with suppliers?? What should you really focus on ?? What do you need inside the enterprise to succeed ?? etc etc
2. Standards – we desperately need standards that address the well articulated security and data integrity / audit concerns whether they be fact or fiction – remember that perception IS reality !! The supply side MUST address this and, whilst there are emerging initiatives around data location, exchange/interchange protocols etc these are in their infancy and need to be embraced and accelerated
3. Segmentation – there is no one size fits all “cloud solution” so it is incumbent on the vendor community to start helping different industries and sectors chart a path to meeting their disparate needs.

The onward march of cloud computings underlying technologies is inevitable – what is up for grabs here is whether we can accelerate the road to practical adoption by removing the hype.

JMHO

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5 Technologies that CEOs intend to invest in next year

Amid all the CIO and vendor hype about where the next round ou IT investment should be focussed, it was hugely refreshing to read on Silicon.com the 5 technologies that CEOs will invest in next year. Not a mention of cloud computing, virtualization, web 2.0 > enterprise 2.0 and all that jazz, just some very basic fundamentals that will driver their businesses forward

  • Better data collection and retrieval systems… to directly drive business growth and find more savings as well as new business opportunities’.”
  • Home and remote working… to get more performance from their existing workforce whilst reducing travel overheads at a time when unemployment is on the rise.
  • Mobile commerce… CEO’s are starting to believe that, after 10yrs of hype, this might just be ready for prime time
  • Business intelligence… track and responding to customer behaviour – if you’re not doing it then you competitors sure are and implied customer loyalty is long gone.
  • E-discovery systems …. “In difficult economic times, legal challenges tend to increase” … so how good are your retrieval and analytical systems ?

Now clearly I’m not saying that cloud computing, virtualization, web 2.0 > enterprise 2.0 et al don’t have a part to play in many of these priorities but shouldn’t we be focussing on the problems – as articulated by our most important customers – rather than the technologies and their somewhat abstract labels

JMHO

More on offline being the new online

… from TrustedReviews.com – now Opera implements google gears to allow offline browser accces.

“Gears enables compatible web applications such as Gmail, YouTube, Picassa, Remember the Milk and even WordPress to be accessed seamlessly when offline. It does this by caching data which ultimately means you get all the benefits of Cloud computing when connected to the Internet (anywhere data access, fast operation, online storage/backup) combined with the availability of a locally installed desktop application even if that connection breaks. ”

I use it with gmail and its great

Have you tried it yet – what d’ya think?