Posts Tagged ‘PaaS’


McKinsey’s McCrazy! Flying through the Clouds with Eyes 1/2 Closed

Friday, May 1st, 2009 by

half-closed plane windowThe recent McKinsey reportClearing the air on cloud computing” has caused quite a bit of stir within the cloud community, and I can see why. While it definitely brings a good deal of analysis to the table, I feel it is somewhat generalized, makes assumptions and does overlook some key points.

First and foremost, this article is NOT going to be an analytical discussion of the cost of running or setting up a datacenter vs. an Amazon EC2 Windows instance. I’m not a financial analyst. Honestly, calculating the Total Cost of Assets (TCA) or Total Cost of Operations (TCO) causes my eyes to roll back into my head leaving me gasping for air. Don’t get me wrong, it seems like some good effort was made analyzing data and formulating conclusions. The problem is, I feel that they were on a jetliner, shooting through the clouds with the shades 1/2 down.

Before I start with my own analysis and commentary, I would like to reference a few responses I have read that somewhat chastise McKinsey.

Three “Rebuttal” Articles to Read

The first comes from CIO IT Drilldown’s Virtualization site. In his articleMcKinsey Cloud Computing Report Conclusions Don’t Add Up,” Bernard Golden does the major lifting for me in terms of analysis. I have highlighted some key points from the article that I viewed to be particularly important (my highlighted version of the article is here). I particularly enjoyed Golden’s rebuttal to the analysis of cost calculations, namely use of EC2 Windows instances, headcounts that don’t add up and other “less visible” capital expenses for facilities and other assets. Also as Golden points out, McKinsey proposes that better efficiencies and savings can be realized through virtualization within the organization. To me, the McKinsey recommendation seems a bit counter-intuitive: “Don’t go with a vendor whose expertise IS virtualization, hardware, infrastructure, et al. Instead, DO try to do it yourself, with tremendous CapEx & OpEx expense.” Hmmm, makes sense to me, NOT! Lastly, I particularly liked Golden’s 3 recommendations (quoted from article):

  1. Review your portfolio of applications to understand what cloud computing means to you.
  2. Create a viable financial model for assessing the true costs of internal hosting.
  3. Evaluate the potential for an internal cloud even if the numbers don’t work with an external cloud provider.

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“10 Obstacles to Cloud Computing” by UC Berkeley & How GoGrid Hurdles Them

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 by

By now, many in the Cloud Computing space have heard about (or even read) the University of California Electrical Engineering & Computer Science’s (EECS) study on Cloud Computing titled: “Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing.” Published on February 10th, 2009, the EECS’s paper provides a seemingly academic study of the Cloud Computing movement, attempts to explain what Cloud Computing is all about, and identifies potential opportunities as well as challenges present within the market.

The 20+ page study is authored by Michael Armbrust, Armando Fox, Rean Griffith, Anthony D. Joseph, Randy H. Katz, Andrew Konwinski, Gunho Lee, David A. Patterson, Ariel Rabkin, Ion Stoica and Matei Zaharia who all work in RAD Lab. (Interestingly, several of the companies mentioned within the study are also Founding Sponsors and/or affiliate members: Sun, Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, etc.).

There has already been plenty of discussion and analysis of this study (by James Urquhart, Krishna Sankar and has even appeared on Needless to say, I felt compelled to get my two cents in, especially from the perspective of a Cloud Computing Infrastructure vendor.


From an academic standpoint, this document definitely has some legs. It is complete with carefully thought out scenarios, examples and even formulae, as well as graphs and tables. Some of the points that are brought up even got me scratching my head (e.g., using flash memory to help by “adding another relatively fast layer to the classic memory hierarchy”). Even the case analysis of a DDoS attack from a cost perspective of those initiating an attack to those warding off an attack on a Cloud was interesting to ponder. I commend these group of authors on undertaking such a grand task of not only writing by committee but also overlaying a very business school vs. mathematics and computer sciences approach to the writing and analysis.

Unfortunately, however, as I read through the document, I started scrawling madly in the margins with commentary that is somewhat contrary to what was written within the study.

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Ten Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by

crystal-ball_cloudy After about a year of Cloud Computing under my belt, analyzing trends in the market, talking with various professionals as well as customers in the space and watching our own Cloud Computing product, GoGrid, take off as a Cloud Computing leader and innovator, I feel that it is time to make some 2009 predictions for Cloud Computing. Who would have guessed that 2008 would have been “The Year of the Cloud“? I think that 2009 will be “The Year of the CLOUDS” (emphasis on multiple).

A Quick Look Back

If you look back to January 2008, the players in Cloud Computing were few are far between. Obviously, Amazon was breaking ground in establishing themselves as the front-runner at that time. But the term was too new and largely undefined. One of my first blog posts discussed some trends of grid computing, virtualization & virtualized hosting, cloud computing and “green hosting.” For the most part, many of those concepts have not changed. Rather, they have evolved, grown and become more established as leading technologies for the future. As of the writing of that article, GoGrid was still in Private Beta, but with well over 2 years of development getting it ready for prime time.

Virtualization was definitely the buzzword of the beginning of 2008, mainly because it was something that people could fairly easily understand. There were several desktop virtualization products available for users to host different OS’s within their own OS. As Jeff Kaplan predicted, On-Demand services started to really take off for several reasons that are applicable even today (if not more so). His number 1 reason: “Services are Recession Proof” (more about that later in my predictions). While Jeff’s ideas were largely focused on SaaS, there is a lot to be said when you apply them to Cloud Computing in general.

Close to when GoGrid was launched at the end of March 2008, coincidentally(?) the search term “Cloud Computing” (according to Google Insight) really started a strong upward trend within World Wide Searches:


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