Posts Tagged ‘Cloud Platform’

 

Cloud Computing 2009 New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, December 29th, 2008 by

new_years_hat The start of a New Year is upon us so it is time to get a list together of things that you will do (or do your best to do) in the coming year. Everybody has their own personal Resolution lists, but what about your Business ones? How are you going to remain competitive? What steps are you going to take to cut your budget to remain lean and mean? Are you going to stick with your current methods or adopt some new strategies?

Here are some “Resolutions” that you can think about as you ready your business for 2009.

  1. Invest some time in understanding the term “Cloud Computing” – there are several easy-to-understand definitions and movies that have come out that make Cloud Computing a bit more understandable. This one was done at the 2008 Web 2.0 Expo. Then came the GoGrid “Cloud Computing in Plain English”. Recently, there is a new “In Plain English” from the actual Common Craft folks (whom we got our inspiration from). And here is a more technical presentation that came out recently. Regardless, there are lots of sources out there for quick understandings. I have been maintaining a Bookmark RSS feed as well of many of the Cloud Computing blogs and sites. Subscribe to that feed for updated links. Also, read through the popular Cloud Computing Group on Google. Lastly, you can check Wikipedia for their ever evolving definition of Cloud Computing.
  2. Do some research on different Cloud Providers – no Cloud Computing provider is the same, and the differentiation is continuing. Last year (2008), I introduced the idea of the Cloud Pyramid which has Cloud Applications (SalesForce) at the top, then Cloud Platforms (Google App Engine or Microsoft Azure) in the middle and finally Cloud Infrastructure (GoGrid and Amazon EC2) as the bottom foundation. Also hooked into it are Cloud Extenders (e.g., Amazon’s SQS) and Cloud Aggregators (RightScale). It’s pretty obvious that there are many choices to be made and that these are very specific to the type of business you are running. In fact, we will be further segmenting the IaaS (Cloud Infrastructure) section more over the next few weeks. Briefly, GoGrid is now being positioned as a “CloudCenter” (which is essentially, a DataCenter equivalent but in the Cloud). More on that later. In the meantime, compile a series of questions for yourself and for your prospective provider. We will get a list together of things you might want to ask (post to come).
  3. Review your IT Budget – If you are like most companies out there, you are going through your 2009 budgeting (or have done so already and are probably on your 10th revision now). One way to make your CFO happy is to reduce your Capital Expenditures (CapEx). The easiest way to do that is to really take a hard look at Cloud Computing. If you can slash your CapEx spend by downsizing your physical server footprints, you can easily upsize that same footprint in the Cloud.
  4. Empower your Programmers – Cloud Computing offers something new to Programmers: the ability to programmatically control their IT infrastructure. Using an API, Programmers can skin the functionality provided by Clouds as well as develop “intelligent” applications that scale dynamically, for example.
  5. Empower your IT Staff – Be sure that you don’t ignore your IT Staff as you look at the Cloud as a physical IT infrastructure alternative. They have some best practices and standards that should be incorporated in what your IT strategies will be. Let them experiment with the Cloud so that they fully grasp what it can do for your organization. They may tell you that it is a great direction to go in, or, they may say that your current infrastructure simply cannot be ported to the Cloud. There may also be some hybrid solutions (like GoGrid’s Cloud Connect) that will give them the best of both worlds.

These are just a few Cloud Computing New Year’s 2009 Resolutions to get you thinking. What are your business resolutions for 2009?

Appistry & GoGrid Webinar – “Unlock the Power of the Cloud” & Some FAQs

Monday, November 24th, 2008 by

GoGrid_Appistry_slideshow_title Last week, I participated in a webinar with GoGrid’s partner, Appistry, that was titled: “Unlock the Power of Scalable, Agile Cloud Platforms.” To quote: “Cloud computing has grown from a little-known buzz word into one of the hottest topics in IT today. View this On-Demand Webinar to learn how to get started with this exciting new technology. More importantly, learn about the best practices for enabling your applications to scale and truly harness the power of cloud computing.

Sam Charrington (Vice President of Product Management & Marketing at Appistry) and I (Michael Sheehan – Technology Evangelist of GoGrid) discussed not only what the Cloud currently looks like (especially as related to Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Platforms) but also showed a demo of how the Appistry/GoGrid solution works through a live demo of the product.

Shown below is the Webinar in its entirety (complete with plenty of audio mishaps, dropped calls and scratchy voices).

Also, there were several questions related to GoGrid asked during the webinar that were quickly answered or not answered at all. I wanted to provide some responses to those questions within this post. (Note: not all questions that were asked have been answered.) So without further ado…

Q: What is GoGrid’s role in this partnership?
A: GoGrid provides the Cloud Infrastructure on which the Appistry Platform runs. Customers who wish to dynamically scale their application code and deploy across multiple cloud servers use Appistry to manage these dynamics and the application code is deployed and scaled across GoGrid servers within the GoGrid infrastructure.

(more…) «Appistry & GoGrid Webinar – “Unlock the Power of the Cloud” & Some FAQs»

Commentary on Computerworld’s “Stormy Weather: 7 Gotchas in Cloud Computing”

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 by

computerworld_logo Today I read Mary Brandel’s article in Computerworld titled “Stormy Weather: 7 Gotchas in Cloud Computing” which discusses some of the possible issues related to turning to the Cloud for your application or site hosting needs. First, I agree (and actually like) the reference to “Cloud Computing” being like a pop song getting stuck in your head…it is a frequently (over)used buzzword swirling around the media and blogosphere. The article goes on to discuss about some hurdles or pitfalls surrounding this evolving technology. (I almost added “trend” to that previous sentence but then reminded myself, this is not a trend but rather a solid alternative to traditional IT technology.)

To briefly recap the 7 Gotchas that Brandel discusses:

  1. Costs, Part I: Cloud Infrastructure Providers
  2. Costs, Part II: Cloud Storage Providers
  3. Sudden Code Changes
  4. Service Disruptions
  5. Vendor Expertise
  6. Global Concerns
  7. Non-Native Applications

So let’s quickly dive into each of these items from a Cloud Computing Vendor’s perspective, that of GoGrid.

Costs, Part I: Cloud Infrastructure Providers

At the end of this discussion of high CapEx via purchasing hardware infrastructures versus “pay by the drink” method of Cloud Computing, a hybrid approach was discussed. Putting all of your IT infrastructure physically in a datacenter that you manage, OR, hosting everything entirely “in the cloud” might not be the best option on their own exclusively. It does make sense from a cost perspective to put everything in the Cloud but there is a possibility (depending on the cloud provider) that the throughput of high I/O servers might not meet your needs. Thus, a hybrid infrastructure might be a more logical solution (put your high-performance DB servers in a dedicated, managed environment and your elastic or dynamic resources, such as web or app servers, in the Cloud). For example, take a look at GoGrid’s offering called “Cloud Connect” which give the ability to link dedicated environments with the Cloud.

(more…) «Commentary on Computerworld’s “Stormy Weather: 7 Gotchas in Cloud Computing”»

Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by

Updated: 12:30 PM 10.27.08

azure_logo At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC), Microsoft unveiled their entrance into Cloud Computing with the launch of the Azure Services Platform. Billed as "an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers," Azure is designed to provide an "operating system" and a set of developer services that will enable a broadening of the Microsoft platform from on-premise to the Cloud.

Azure is designed to allow Microsoft developers "to quickly and easily create applications running in the cloud using their existing skills with Microsoft Visual Studio development environments and the .NET Framework." More information on the Azure Services Platform can be seen here.

Obviously with the information just being released hours ago, there is plenty of speculation around the features and functionality of this new Cloud. So I thought that I would quickly put down my thoughts as to how this plays in the current Cloud offerings as they exist. First, let’s take a look at the Cloud Pyramid:

image

Some quick notes:

  • From the naming (Cloud Service Platform), Azure is clearly positioned as a "Platform" play here.
  • This is the Ray Ozzie’s "Red Dog" project…probably why some of the presenters were wearing red shoes (?)
  • Cloud Platforms, traditionally, offer development environments, using technologies that are somewhat restrictive or proprietary
  • Azure introduces certain Services (e.g., .NET and SQL Services) as a means to Extend the functionality of the platform (e.g., Cloud Extender)
  • Most similar to the Azure Cloud would be Google’s App Engine (where Python and possibly soon other languages are required for usage)
  • With Azure, you do not get access to the root Operating System, as you would with an Infrastructure offering, which means you will be restricted to only what Microsoft enables within the Platform
  • Azure pricing is not immediately available, however: (more…) «Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This»

The Cloud Pyramid

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 by

This insightful post on the RightScale blog recently got me thinking. The term “Cloud Computing” is much too vague. People want and need “slots” or “segments” where they can group things. This is how the mind operates through categorization and ordering. So, to possibly help with this, I would like to propose a “Cloud Pyramid” to help differentiate the various Cloud offerings out there.

Cloud Pyramid

There are other ways to display this hierarchy, however I elected to show it as a pyramid. For example, if one were to weight the graphic by the number of providers within each segment, the pyramid would be upside-down. The point here though is to show how these cloud segments build upon and are somewhat dependent upon each other. While they are directly related, they don’t require interdependence (e.g., a Cloud Application does not necessarily have to be built upon a Cloud Platform or Cloud Infrastructure). I would propose, however, that Cloud trends indicate that they will become more entwined over time.

Cloud Application

Within this part of the pyramid, users are truly restricted to only what the application is and can do. Some of the notable companies here are the public email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Quicken Online, etc.). Almost any Software as a Service (SaaS) provider can be lumped into this group. Most retail consumers use the services within this Cloud. You get pre-defined functionality and you cannot much further than that. Applications are designed for ease of use and GTD (getting things done). SalesForce, a huge Cloud Application/SaaS provider that has led the way for hosted software, falls into this category as well, however, their force.com product does not. Even online banking offerings could be lumped into this group.

Characteristics:

(more…) «The Cloud Pyramid»