Jul 07 2011

What’s the Word on Cloud Computing?

Every month, BizTech tackles one technology and offers up news, notes and insights from around the web on the topic.

There’s More than One Path to Cloud Adoption

Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. And that doesn’t just apply to individuals; it’s true for businesses as well.

Dustin Amrhein, a technical evangelist for cloud technologies at IBM, observes that when organizations begin to consider cloud computing, they often decide to take either a tactical or strategic approach to deployment.

The strategic approach requires detailed specifications and planning before any cloud deployment happens. The tactical approach, by contrast, is a hands-on learning experience: The organization identifies a small project that might work in the cloud, and through that small deployment learns if an enterprisewide rollout makes sense.

So why is it important to identify an organization’s approach to cloud adoption? Because it impacts the way that IT staff should support and steer the cloud installation, Amrhein concludes.

These two approaches require two different types of help. Strategic adoption paths would really benefit from adoption roadmaps, case study data from other implementations, meaningful exploration of cloud delivery models, and more.

Tactical approaches would benefit from technical accelerators in the form of services for integration, migration, translation, and more.

Read the full post on Amrhein’s blog.

Meet the Network Hypervisor

Most people are familiar with the concept of a hypervisor, but what about applying that same technology to a network?

Gary Kinghorn, product marketing lead for Cisco Systems’ unified network services, defines a network hypervisor as “a modular abstraction of reusable network services that assemble a flexible data center or cloud infrastructure.”

The company is putting the network hypervisor concept to work in its Cisco OverDrive product, which allows customers to build and launch cloud-based infrastructures capable of running virtual applications.

For more on the network hypervisor, check out Kinghorn’s June 17 post on the Cisco blog.

How Cloud Computing Will Change IT

For some businesses and industries, cloud computing is a revolution. It’s changing the way people think about using data, applications and hardware. But cloud computing’s impact goes beyond technology — it’s also changing the way businesses organize and function.

Ken Oestreich, senior director of cloud and virtualization marketing for EMC, has this to say about how cloud computing will change roles, alter organizations and demand new skill sets:

The Role of the CIO: Today the CIO is orchestrator of technologies, if not a technologist him/herself. Governance of the technologies/vendors is perhaps secondary because "keeping the lights on" is such a dominating task. In the future, the role will shift from technologist to where the CIO (and IT overall) will become a service portfolio and governance manager... Regardless of whether the services are generated internally or externally. Implication: CIO's will need new skills, policies, processes.

IT Organizations: Referring again to Chuck's blog (and excellent illustrations therein) the IT organization will shift from siloed/distinct organizations to a set of unified service organizations leveraging a common services infrastructure. Implication: change management, goal changes, departmental funding changes.

Individual Skill-sets: Today's IT skills (esp. in larger organizations) are specialized around applications, servers, networking, backup, etc. each of which aligns with the organizational structures, above. However, in the future many of these functions will either become more automated and/or combine with (be embedded within) other service management functions. Implication: new skills training, certifications, processes.

Supporting Services: As IT transforms, so will adjacent organizations and services — like finance, lines-of-business, legal/compliance, vendor/partner management. How IT is measured and accounted-for, related-to as a business partner, and how it dovetails with external partners/providers will necessarily shift. Implication: need for change management and new organizational design.

Read the full article on Fountainhead.

Can the Mobile Cloud Bring Smartphones Together?

The smartphone world is distinctly fragmented across several lines. First, there are the operating systems themselves: Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Then, there’s the competition between native apps and the mobile cloud, aka the mobile web.

This fragmentation is having an impact on where companies want to allocate their resources, money and skills. But the mobile cloud could be the equalizer that removes these barriers and increases cross-platform coverage.

Smartphone users stand to benefit from this shift in talents and resources toward building out robust and flexible mobile websites, rather than native apps — they’d have to less fragmentation to contend with. And the good news is that mobile developers seem keen on the mobile cloud as well.

In a survey conducted by IDC and Appcelerator, 52 percent of respondents say they are interested in developing for the mobile cloud.

Read more about the mobile cloud and its potential for defragmenting the smartphone space on Data Center Knowledge.

Cloud Computing Is the Way Forward

Familiarity is comfortable, reliable and routine. Change is unstable, uncertain and … always changing.

But that’s always been the way forward in technology, and cloud computing is just the latest revolution to take hold.

Jay Fry, vice president of marketing for cloud computing at CA Technologies, firmly believes that IT organizations that embrace cloud computing are signaling to the world that they are progressive, not business as usual.

Embracing cloud options in some way, shape, or form puts IT on the path to being known as the forward-looking masters of the latest and greatest way of delivering on what the business needs. Rejecting consideration of the cloud paints IT as a cabal of stodgy naysayers who are trying their darnedest to keep from having to do anything differently.

John Treadway tweeted a great quote from Cloud Connect guru Alistair Croll on this same topic: "The cloud genie is out of the bottle. Stop looking for the cork and start thinking [about] what to wish for."

Read more about the forward-thinking nature of adopting the cloud on the Data Center Dialog blog.

The Outlook for the Cloud Looks Clear and Bright

The buzz around cloud computing isn’t evaporating into thin air — it’s turning into real planning and strategizing by serious IT organizations.

In an annual Cloud Computing Outlook survey conducted by BitNami, Cloud.com and Zenoss, only 20 percent of respondents say they have no plans of doing anything with the cloud. The rest of the respondents either already have a cloud implementation running or are in various stages of planning for one.

Check out the infographic for the 2011 Cloud Computing Outlook at ReadWriteCloud.

How to Create a Cloud

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if Steve Jin of VMware has his way, he’ll be able to build a cloud with the click of a button — sort of the way big-bang theorists think the Earth was created in the blink of an eye.

In a post titled “Big Bang: The Story of How A Cloud Is Created,” Jin explores the idea of building cloud computing instances instantly:

With the wider adoption of cloud computing, there will be demands for tools that facilitate the big bang process. Ideally it’s one click big bang, meaning you click one button and the tools take care of everything else. Of course you need to first design your cloud blueprint.

…whoever comes up with such a tool first will enjoy an enormous advantage in [the] marketplace especially for enterprises where cloud creations may be repeated from time to time.

Read Jin’s full big-bang theory on his cloud computing blog, Double Cloud.

5 Tips to Prepare for the Cloud

Before a good chef turns on his stove to cook a meal, he makes sure that all of the prep work for the meal has been done first. The same holds true when considering a move to the cloud: Preparation is essential before taking the next step.

SMBs can dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s before launching their cloud computing initiative with this handy list of tips from BizTech.