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Posts Tagged ‘Analysis’

 

Peering Back at the Clouds – 7 Cloud Predictions from 2011

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 by

As is my annual custom, at the beginning of each year or as we are entering into a new year, I try to make some educated guesses as to the direction that Cloud Computing will take us. In December, 2010, I published “Peering Out at the Horizon – 7 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2011” and now is the time that I reflect back to see how well these predictions actually did. Just as a reminder, the predictions that I made were my own personal opinion and may not reflect others at GoGrid.

2011-looking-back

Here is a quick recap of the 2011 Cloud Computing predictions I made and I have also mentioned how I think the prediction faired at the end of 2011:

  1. IT Procurement Includes Cloud Requisitioning – Part of me was really hoping that this would come to fruition a bit more than it did. Essentially, I believe that the Enterprise and Business Units therein would begin loosening up a bit in terms of the procurement of IT resources. It still seems that there is a division of this process. Traditional IT managers are looking to extend their hold on the physical and data center environments that they “own” and manage. However, as Gartner analyst, Lydia Leong posits, there are also those who are considered “circumventors” who bypass the traditional IT procurement process and go to the public cloud to get project-based infrastructure. The circumventers use whatever tools possible to get their jobs done. They love the characteristics and qualities of the cloud. Conversely, those IT traditionalists view the cloud as risky. They want to ensure that infrastructure is compliant, safe, secure and carefully managed. They are worried about “cloud sprawl” and not having control over infrastructure in the cloud. While previously, these groups had heated political battles about whose method was the proper one, in 2012, they will realize that both methods have advantages and by working together, they can minimize the risks. The use of Cloud Bridging (joining on-prem to public cloud), Cloud Bursting (expanding to the public cloud when resources require it), and Hybrid Hosting (combining physical and virtual appliances within the same environment) will provide both sides of these dueling mindsets with ways to get along.
    Prediction results: There is definitely some headway being made to bridge the gap between these two forces within organizations. The lines are blurring as different ways to procure both cloud and physical infrastructure are emerging.
  2. Private Clouds and Public Cloud Act to Catalyze Each Other – There is still the ongoing debate as to which comes first, a public cloud or a private cloud. It really depends who you talk to within an organization. There are those circumventers who simply “expense” the use of a public cloud and there are those traditionalists, as I mentioned, who will make all attempts to re-use existing infrastructure and make it “cloudy.” However, there are more and more companies that look to a hybridization of infrastructure, where they are creating Virtual Private Clouds to ensure better data security or compliance while leveraging existing physical infrastructures. Private clouds can definitely whet the appetites of organizations who are looking at the cloud for more efficient utilization of IT resources. And I still believe that once private clouds prove their use, there are more possibilities for public cloud adoption.
    Prediction results: We are seeing a continued growth of cloud computing in general, and within that, a mixture of the types of clouds being used, pure public or private, cloud bursting, cloud bridging, hybrid clouds and hybrid hosting in general.
  3. “Cloud Washing” Backlash Begins – Cloud washing occurs when an infrastructure vendor takes its traditional, legacy or older service offering and they simply slap the term “cloud” on it. Companies seem to be doing a better job at disguising their non-cloud (or even “false cloud”) offerings into something that resembles a cloud offering. It’s still “buyer beware” with these types of services, in my opinion. Ensure that the cloud provider you choose passes the cloud-litmus test. You shouldn’t have to have a big capital expenditure, services should be dynamic and scalable, you should be billed based on usage and the service should be consumed via internet services.
    Prediction results: For the most part, there wasn’t as much of a backlash as I would have predicted. Either cloud buyers are simply unaware of cloud-washing or it simply doesn’t matter to them and they are still getting what they believe to be cloud services. I just hope they don’t get buyers remorse once they dive a bit deeper into their selected vendor.
  4. Cracks Show with Internal Clouds as Hosted Private Clouds Emerge – The idea here is that corporations who rushed out to buy hardware and virtualization licenses in order to implement their own private cloud are now reeling from sticker shock and a high TCO. Private clouds are important to organizations, especially if data security and privacy are core requirements. However as the tab for running and maintaining a private cloud continues to climb, enterprises and larger organizations are now looking for financial and human capital efficiencies in their infrastructure management and growth. GoGrid introduced the Hosted Private Cloud service earlier this year and we are seeing great traction. In fact, Orange Business Services has been using GoGrid’s Hosted Private Cloud since early on this year. You can see their case study here.
    Prediction results: As I mention, Hosted Private Cloud interest and sales are seeing strong numbers at GoGrid and there are other cloud vendors who are now starting to offer similar services. Expect this movement to grow in 2012.
  5. Community & Sharing Of and Within the Cloud – With a proliferation of cloud services in the marketplace, it is only natural that aggregation and inter-networking of disparate clouds begin to form. With outages always a possibility, it’s important for organizations to build for failure and this is where multi-cloud utilization is important for disaster recover plans. Companies like Racemi are leveraging migration plays that can help corporations distribute their infrastructure across multiple public clouds.
    Predictions results: For the most part, the growth of peripheral cloud integration and migration services, including professional services companies, showed pretty solid growth this year with cloud consumers realizing that there are options and a plethora of services from which to choose.
  6. Breaking Down International Cloud Borders – Many analysts have said that the US is leading the cloud computing charge with Europe & Asia closely following. There are a few cloud vendors within Europe, but not to the extent of the United States. Being able to use a single cloud vendor for world-wide distribution and utilization of cloud services is critical to many companies. While due to the Patriot Act, European companies need to host their EU-centric services in Europe, many also use US-based cloud provider for their US-audiences.
    Prediction results: The European expansion started this year and won’t be slowing down any time soon as US cloud providers are realizing the importance of having a physical presence overseas. But this could all change…
  7. Cloud Standards Battle Heats Up – Cloud computing is rapidly becoming an established IT movement and no longer viewed as being simply hype or an alternative to traditional IT. It is not only replacing legacy IT environments, but also companies are building for the cloud from the get-go. While some public clouds are consumed in a proprietary manner (which causes quite a built of vendor lock-in if you build specifically for them), others are more open, allowing for easier migrations and deployments. A more flexible or adaptable (standards-based) cloud provider requires less specialization of the IT or Development teams working with that particular cloud provider. In fact, some Certification programs, generalized for Cloud Computing, are emerging as well. This indirectly pushes the marketplace toward standardization of offerings and services.
    Prediction results: While the standardization process is still a bit cloudy, progress is definitely being made. Via certifications, developers and IT professionals can now tout their cloud experience and knowledge which allows companies and individuals to document their proficiency in not only what cloud is, but also how to use it and the best ways to use it.

Whew, there you have it – my analysis and synopsis of some predictions I made early in 2011 on the directions of Cloud Computing this year. Again, these are merely my predictions and analysis and may not reflect others within GoGrid.

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GoGrid’s Network Performance Beats IaaS Competition – CloudSleuth Report

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 by

For the past 12 months, CloudSleuth, a service provided by Compuware, has been pulling in millions of network performance data points in order to compile a report that compares the network performance of leading cloud providers. A sample of the report results is shown below and more details can be found on the CloudSleuth’s blog post. We commend Compuware for taking a leadership role in providing these necessary benchmarks and reports of the cloud space as this type of 3rd party, independent analysis is extremely useful and helpful to those shopping for the right cloud to support their business.

At GoGrid, our technology stack is not simply around infrastructure devices like servers, firewalls, storage and load balancers. We also view Operating System choice, horizontal & vertical scalability, CPU and I/O performance, our partner ecosystem, our image management and deployment systems, and yes, network management, availability and performance as well. By doing just a bit of research, you will see that cloud providers vary greatly in what they can or cannot offer and how well they do it.

It is significant to note that this performance study ranks all types of cloud service providers juxtaposed together — PaaS, IaaS and even VMware shops. We call this out because there are definite distinctions between types of cloud (see Cloud Pyramid below). As we use this important data to better educate our customers and prospects, there was an interesting fact that bubbled up – if you segment and categorize the results, GoGrid’s network led the IaaS category.

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(Note: categorization of PaaS/IaaS added by GoGrid)

Compuware mapped out its benchmarking strategy to measure the differences in network performance of these leading clouds. The Compuware team pulled statistics from 25 providers from different presences around the globe (as part of the Gomez Performance Network). The results are interesting, to say the least, especially since the analysis clearly indicates that GoGrid’s US EAST data center was the best performing within main IaaS providers (e.g., Amazon, Rackspace and others).

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Analysis of Gartner’s “Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009″

Thursday, October 16th, 2008 by

gartner_logo This week, Gartner, Inc released their list of the top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009. This information stems from research performed within the Technology sector and factors in their client and research feedback. This list, released at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo, is considered to be potentially “disruptive to your environment or market in some way,” says Gartner analyst David Cearley.

While I sometimes find some of Gartner’s commentary on trends in technology a bit conservative and missing other critical data, this 2009 list does represent current trends that I have seen and mirrors many of my own expectations. Just last week, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington declared that Web 2.0 was dead. I think that many of us have already moved well beyond Web 2.0. My view, for some time, has been that Web 3.0 (for lack of a better term) will be a combination of Integration and Standards and the coupling of the two, with other enabling technologies such as Cloud Computing providing the necessary lubrication. We saw the term “mashup” become prevalent during the past year or so, where companies sought to integrate similar services (or even disparate ones) in a new service delivered via the Web. A could of quick examples of this is evident with the numerous Twitter services that use Twitter data and either present this data in different ways or full integration into other services, or the advent of Yahoo!’s Pipes.

Key to Integration is making the connections easier through the use of public APIs. As more companies expose their API’s to developers, the wheels for integration become even more greased. This is all fine and good provided that these API are carefully documented, but more critical is that APIs must adhere to some sort of standard. Unfortunately, the “standards” requirement is a lot harder to require and maintain. At a recent Cloud Computing Interoperability meeting that I participated in, most attendees agreed that Standards are a huge priority, however, defining these standards would be a daunting task to undertake. But this interop was a clear step forward by the leaders in the industry towards defining these standards. If you step back a few years, you could view Web Services as a precursor to the API movement we see now (API’s are a subset of Web Services), and XML standards helped to propel the acceptance of Web Services and Integrations in general.

I feel that those companies who are currently working to aggregate (or integrate) various API’s into their business model are well positioned to be the ones who can help drive these standards. Case in point, GoGrid has a public API and recently signed up various Cloud Aggregators (such as RightScale, Appistry and GigaSpaces). These companies use a variety of other Cloud Infrastructure providers within their management services. The more that I thought about it, the more I realized how important these Cloud Aggregators’ roles are in driving some Cloud standards. They have views into all of their partner API’s and can easily find similarities and differences between these API’s. Any API’s that these aggregators come up with themselves are one step closer to a standards-based API that could potentially be generic enough for use by many if not all providers.

What is also interesting, is that this concept of Integration and Standards actually does apply to our current World Financial Crisis as well. We have a bank and financial institution pandemonium with mergers seemingly occurring daily. These institutions will need to integrate diverse systems in order to succeed and the government will be forced to derive some standards to govern their vested interest in these institutions. Sure, this is a fairly broad application of these terms in this comparison between Web 3.0 and Finance, but the ideas are similar.

But back to the Gartner predictions for 2009. First, we need to take off our rose colored glasses here. Any time you make a prediction, the odds are that you could be wrong in the long run. I realize that this is a bit pessimistic, but just look at our Economy right now. There were plenty of naysayers who told us that we were going down the wrong path, but we still proceeded ahead, ignoring these predictions. Technology trends are no different than Economic ones; you can make an attempt to predict based on the past however, the difference here is that technology seem to be a lit less volatile compared to the economy.

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