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Archive for 2010

 

Peering Out at the Horizon – 7 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2011

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 by

Now that I have reflected on what transpired in Cloud Computing during 2010, it’s time to do some skywriting and list out some of my thoughts for 2011 and what clouds will blow our way. Do note, these are my personal opinions and thoughts and may not reflect the views of others at GoGrid. That being said, let’s get on to the predictions and what clouds are on the horizon…

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  1. IT Procurement Includes Cloud Requisitioning – there is definitely a movement within IT organizations to think “outside of the box” as well as optimize expenditures and resources when it comes to developing new infrastructure environments. I dare say that the paper trail of purchase orders and approval forms may start to vaporize somewhat as businesses work to make their internal processes more efficient. Weeks or months to requisition new hardware or repurpose older hardware will become an unacceptable timeframe. We live in the world of instant gratification and “being in the now” and cloud computing is yet another example of how business processes can be re-tooled to be more efficient. Requisitioning cloud environments (publically or privately) will become line items in the procurement process, and perhaps in many organizations will become the de facto choice by IT departments as they attempt to retain control over their kingdom. They still want to be (and need to be) involved in the process and by accepting public (or private) clouds as a primary IT resource, these organizations can stay in front of the curve.
  2. Private Clouds and Public Cloud Act to Catalyze Each Other – many analysts have stated that private clouds will be a stepping stone to public clouds (adoption, usage, acceptance, etc.). However, I don’t believe this to be a uni-directional type of process. For many organizations, testing the waters within a public cloud allows for investigation, due diligence, education and understanding of what cloud computing can do for that organization. That is to say, doing a project within a public cloud can potentially make those self-same businesses pursue a similar strategy internally. However, I predict that many will realize that developing their own internal cloud or private cloud may be cost and time prohibitive and those efforts to do so will meet considerable internal resistance. Cloud computing is flexible, however, and there are ways to achieve similar results through a careful architecting of ones IT environment using a combination of public, hybrid and internal resources. On the flipside, organizations who have repurposed some of their internal IT resources to craft private or internal clouds will soon realize that their efforts are inefficient from a cost and human capital perspective and will then begin outsourcing their IT services for projects or business units to a public cloud.
  3. “Cloud Washing” Backlash Begins – for those unfamiliar with the term “cloud washing” it essentially means when a vendor or ISP repackages their legacy or older service offerings into something that they slap a “cloud” label to. We saw plenty of this begin happening over the past year or so as everyone wants to jump on the cloud bandwagon, especially from a marketing perspective. But merely stating that their product or service is “cloud” or “cloud-like” or “cloud-enabled” does injustice to cloud computing in general and may actually cause end-users to have a bad initial experience with supposed cloud services. As businesses evaluate the growing number of cloud providers in the marketplace, they will need to become savvy at reading between the lines in understanding what a purported cloud vendor provides as their “cloud” service. Buyer beware! Luckily, those investigating cloud solutions, reading the trade journals and vetting the vendors out there are becoming more vocal about and educated in their decision-making process. Those vendors with “cloud washed” services will soon see an erosion of customers as these users move to more proven, established public clouds.
  4. Cracks Show with Internal Clouds as Hosted Private Clouds Emerge – as corporations begin the deep dive into their internal IT infrastructure, attempting to breath life into aging servers, out of date software and costly data center maintenance, they will start realizing that pursuing an “internal cloud” strategy might not be the most effective use of their time and money. Those companies who have chosen the path of bringing the cloud in-house will be renewing licensing agreements, crunching numbers as they amortize the cost of hardware associated with keeping their internal cloud up and running, and ensuring their IT staff is properly utilized, while still maintaining a lean and mean organization. The cracks and flaws of this “old school” philosophy will show as CFO’s and budget managers demand a higher ROI and the internal “customers” demand more features and services from their aging internal IT environments. As this internal battle heats up, the hosted private cloud solution will become much more attractive and will move from being simply “an alternative” to “a requirement.”
  5. Community & Sharing Of and Within the Cloud – with the coming mainstream establishment of cloud computing within the workforce, now the innovations truly start to materialize. Several cloud management vendors produced marked customer adoption over the past couple of years, offering services built on top of or designed to help manage clouds, but the clouds that they managed were fairly disparate. As these 3rd parties evolve their products and services, expect to see creation of multi-cloud infrastructures that leverage the best of each cloud and the concocted shared cloud environments will represent a further hybridization of the cloud computing movement. When I say “hybrid”, in this case, I’m not talking about the combining of physical and virtual appliances within a single cloud, but rather a richer fabric of interwoven distinct clouds. These could be public and hosted private clouds, multiple public clouds or even mixtures of internal and public infrastructures (e.g., cloud bursting). Also, I expect to see some cloud providers looking to build out the sharing and community aspects within their cloud offerings, meaning that infrastructure designs can be shared and potentially distributed between users, creating efficiencies of design and faster time to market.
  6. Breaking Down International Cloud Borders – the growth of the Internet has made the world smaller. Data, transactions and information are sent at the speed of light across the globe. Users expect this immediacy and Internet services in general are helping to shrink the world as we know it. Internet protocols, infrastructures and IT in general is a common language that citizens of the Internet speak not only fluently but share as well. There is still some debate as to whether Europe or the US is leading the “cloud race” but regardless, cloud computing is becoming borderless. Sure there are still data privacy, ownership and warehousing issues, as well as countries that continue to maintain rigid controls over what data and information is delivered to whom and where, but for those countries that are more open to innovation, the political and economic walls are rapidly being torn down. Cloud Computing is a catalyst to this blurring of these borders and we can expect to see not only innovations from other countries and regions of the globe, we will also see cooperation between business, foreign and domestic. Infrastructure being the international language, cloud computing will be the vessel to bring cooperation between countries, companies and organizations around the globe.
  7. Cloud Standards Battle Heats Up – as the cloud evolves, interoperability will become increasingly important. Over the past years, multiple organizations have jockeyed to position themselves as the de facto standards governance body. Some are more accepted than others while others have simply died out. I expect the emergence of new groups, some comprised of big businesses lumping their names together is a sort of coalition while others more of a grass-roots natures (e.g., top down and bottom up). I feel that governments will provide an important push driving this movement to meet compliance and auditing requirements and concerns. Transparency will be a core driver here as customers dive deeper into the interoperability of clouds with other clouds as well as their own infrastructures. Those vendors who remain isolated, following proprietary tracts may find themselves losing ground to coalitions of providers who have either loosely coupled their offerings or who provide import/export or integration services.

I could probably go on with several other forward-looking cloud computing ideas. The point being that Cloud Computing allows innovations and ideas to truly surface and be built upon. Others in the space will have different as well as similar perspectives and I encourage you to read and contemplate on those ideas. Nobody has a magical crystal ball that can truly look into the future, but remember, all of the images of those magical fortune-telling globes seem to have one thing in common, they start with clouds!

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Reflection on “5 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2010″

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 by

As 2010 draws to a close, I thought that I would take a look back at some predictions about Cloud Computing that I made at the beginning of the year, but with a bit of an added spin. This reflection could be pretty lengthy so I will focus mainly on how GoGrid matched up to the predictions. While that can be perceived as a bit one sided, I believe that it is important for the Cloud Computing community to contemplate on what they did for the Cloud from a “personal” perspective and how they are driving this evolutionary movement forward.

Here were my predictions from January 2010:

  1. Cloud Outages – There will be several Cloud Outages that get high visibility this year. As complexity and associated infrastructure grows and more users turn toward the cloud, any hiccups therein will receive quick and broad media coverage, with naysayers quickly stating “I told you so”. Unfortunately, any type of outage may be perceived as a “cloud failure”, resulting in the masses becoming increasingly doubtful in the reliability of the cloud. This “F.U.D. Factor” will be a steep hurdle that cloud providers and partners will have to overcome. Those companies with sound IT strategies and best practices in place will be able to weather any outages well, assuming they employ Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions and have them implemented.

    End of Year Update:
    Yes, there were outages in the cloud but the term “cloud” expanded to include a variety of items that were indirectly related to the Cloud Pyramid. No hosting service or data center is fully immune to outages or disruptions. Several SaaS providers had disruptions of service that were pretty high profile (most recently Tumblr, a micro-blogging platform, affected countless customers across the globe). ReadWriteWeb has a good listing of significant disruptions that occurred including Wikipedia, WordPress, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and yes, even WikiLeaks.
    GoGrid Update: I’m happy to say (knock on wood), that GoGrid has maintained a 99.99% uptime throughout the year which means that customers who have implemented their infrastructure solutions within our cloud offerings have made an important choice. With our rollouts of new service offerings as well as an East Coast data center, our customers now have a choice on the type of infrastructure to provision and where they want it to reside.
  2. The Rise of Hybrid Hosting Solutions – While relatively new in 2009, more providers will consider implementing the ability to have the “best of all worlds” hosting solutions. Whether this be the combination of physical and cloud environments or, cloud bursting, or private and public clouds working congruently, there will definitely be a blurring of lines between what hosting is.

    End of Year Update:
    There was definitely some significant movement in this arena, with a couple providers announcing “Cloud Connect” or “Hybrid Connect” features that cross-connect physical and virtual environments. This is an important item for corporations looking to have flexible network topologies.
    GoGrid Update: We first launched Cloud Connect back in November of 2008 as we understood this need by businesses to have hybrid environments. Coincidentally, it was released using the “Cloud Connect” name which other providers seem to have attempted to capitalize on. However, back in February 2010, we released our GoGrid Dedicated Servers offering that effectively integrates physical and virtual infrastructure within the GoGrid Cloud. More recently (December 2010), we announced that GoGrid Dedicated Servers and our Hybrid Hosting environment was available within our East Coast data center as well, thus providing these hybrid solutions in multiple locations. The important take-away here is that 2 years ago we realized that this would be an important service that enterprises, businesses and corporations would desire, so our products and engineering teams ensured that the physical and virtual components that comprise our offering were tightly integrated and easy to use, all within the same web portal and private network.
  3. Security Concerns, Vulnerabilities and Malware – this is an only logical prediction. As the number of cloud or virtualized environments increase due to their ease of use and lower cost, the possibility of environments being created and left unattended also increases. Also because of the ease of use, with “average” users deploying environments that are not hardened or at least audited from a security standpoint, there are more possibilities for hackers or users to unintentionally open their systems up to malware, botnets or other malicious code.

    End of Year Update
    : With the exception of DDoS attacks which any hosting provider is susceptible to (and which are typically targeted at a specific site, not a provider), and with the obvious exception of the WikiLeaks attacks, cloud “hacks” or vulnerabilities seemed to remain fairly low. There is still obviously the FUD factor (fear, uncertainty and doubt) but since cloud computing has really seemed to have hit mainstream IT, companies are doing their due diligence when selecting a cloud hosting provider, obviously looking toward robustness and security as core requirements for IT implementations.
    GoGrid Update: We have strengthened our DDoS mitigation services, engaged with new technology partners and service providers, and continue to provide robust support should malicious activities occur. GoGrid has been conducting regular educational webinars (including some with our partners) to help our customers reduce risks associated with technology as well as develop redundant, N-level architectures designed for fault tolerance and resiliency.
  4. A “Cloud” for Everyone – Towards the end of last year, we started to see a blurring of the definition of “cloud” and “cloud computing”. The mainstream media is to blame for much of this confusion. To that end, people seem to be ubiquitously interchanging the word “cloud” and “cloud computing” where they are actually quite different. Most people are simply using the word “cloud” to describe anything where the data is stored somewhere else, whether it be truly using a “cloud computing” environment or simply a cluster of servers somewhere. I predict that this confusion will get worse long before it gets better. People will continue to interchangeably use “cloud” and “cloud computing” thus forcing those of us in the industry to (re)define what “cloud computing” truly is. However, as the word “cloud” becomes incredibly mainstream, it will grow to mean anything that is delivered via the web, regardless of if it is applications, services, infrastructure, data or what have you. (In fact, I used “cloud” interchangeably throughout this post…for me, I’m talking about “cloud computing.”)

    End of Year Update
    : Unfortunately to those of us in the Cloud Computing industry, the term “cloud” continues to morph into an encompassing of anything related to “stored on the Internet somewhere”. Recent advertising campaigns now throw the term “cloud” around extremely loosely, polluting the true definition. We believe that Gartner’s definition of Cloud Computing is one of the best in the space currently: “A style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ to customers using Internet Technologies.”
    GoGrid Update: At GoGrid, we make it our mission to adhere to the important qualities of cloud computing: self-service, scalable, on-demand, pay-as-you-go and as a service. While we may use the term “cloud” loosely, our core competency is “cloud computing”, being the largest “pure play” provider in the space. What I mean by pure play is that our business is devoted to providing infrastructure services entirely, not diluted by other add-on services or products or physical items. This year we developed our Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – “Complex Infrastructure Made Easy™” which we live and breath by. So while the term “cloud” continues to become fractured, representing many things that it wasn’t initially supposed to, we fully believe in ensuring that our “cloud” represents industry definitions and standards.
  5. Analysts will Shorten their “Coming of Age” Stories – Many of the big name players predicted that cloud computing wouldn’t really be adopted by the mainstream for another few years. I believe that they will retract or refine their statements to show how much closer to mainstream cloud computing really is. While Fortune100 companies may still be slow to adopt, the “rest of us” will get on the cloud a lot faster than analysts originally predicted.

    End of Year Update:
    Cloud Computing continues to “infiltrate” corporations and enterprises as these companies look to alternatives to traditional IT requisitioning. While corporate entities as a whole might not fully throw themselves at replacing their existing infrastructure with cloud infrastructure, business units and other departments therein are seeing the advantages and embracing them. I still believe that the adoption curve is moving a lot faster than what analysts are predicting.
    GoGrid Update: Our increase in corporate and enterprise customers clearly indicates that there is a significant uptake in interest as well as implementation of cloud and hybrid scenarios and solutions. Also, our ever-growing numbers of SMB and Web 2.0 customers reflect an even healthier adoption of cloud computing as outsourcing of IT services remains a critical component of financial savings, human resource optimization and other unrealized IT rearchitecture.

So there you have it. A quick look back at my predictions for 2010 and how the market and GoGrid faired. What are your thoughts on the past year and how Cloud Computing did therein? What about 2011? Would love to get your read! And Happy Holidays from all of us at GoGrid.

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GoGrid Updates for December 2010 – Dedicated Servers (East Coast), Server Image Sharing, and More!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 by

Our software “elves” have been hard at work preparing the latest and greatest feature and service updates to the GoGrid cloud. We are excited about our December 2010 release as it is packed with enhancements and new and updated features to truly make GoGrid your choice for deploying Cloud Infrastructure or setting up a Hybrid Hosting environment.

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Some of the noteworthy features and changes include:

  • GoGrid Dedicated Servers in our East Coast Data Center
  • Limited Time Promotion on East Coast Dedicated Servers and West Coast GoGrid Firewall
  • GoGrid Image Sharing
  • GoGrid Fortinet Firewall Ordering
  • Increase Windows Sandbox Server Size
  • Other Changes including Windows Patch Updates

Read on for more details on each of the items above.

GoGrid Dedicated Servers on East Coast

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Webinar: Accelerate Your Website & Deliver Your Content with Lightning-Fast Speed (Dec 2, 2010)

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 by

As part of GoGrid‘s on-going educational webinar series, we have another important and informative webinar titled “Accelerate Your Website & Deliver Your Content with Lightning-Fast Speed” running tomorrow (Thursday, December 2nd, 2010) at 11:00-12:00 PM (Pacific Time). As many of you may already know, GoGrid has a CDN offering (see our CDN page for more details) that can help you instantly scale your web presence around the globe.

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Here are the details of webinar:

Description: Do you depend on your web presence as a critical component of your business? Have you experienced occasional slow load times or video buffering of your content from certain geographic locations? Will increased website speed help you sell your services, products, or advertising on your website?

Topics:

  • What is a content delivery network and how it can benefit your business
  • Example of businesses and content that should be using CDNs
  • Introduction to the GoGrid CDN

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Press Release: GoGrid to Deliver Cloud Hosting Solutions Through New Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 by

GoGrid‘s Channel, Partner and Reseller Programs have already received notable recognition and today we released news of our participation in the new Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace (http://www.ingrammicrocloud.com).

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The following Press Release was released today and is available online here and here as well:

GoGrid to deliver Cloud Hosting Solutions through new Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Leader to Enable Ingram Micro Channel Partners with Pioneering Cloud Computing Capabilities

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