Distrusting the Cloud (article from The Reg)


So a very interesting article on the Reg…… and in a way I have to agree with some of the points the author raises:

  1. The reality is, Cloud is here to stay! It’s been a buzzword for the past year or so but has only just started to get real traction in the industry as IT looks at the next stage after consolidation and virtualisation!
    I’m seeing a lot more clients wanting to learn about ‘The Cloud’ and how they can use it in their environment…. IMO, it’s no longer a terminology that clients and consultants can throw around to make themselves sound “knowledgeable”!
    In fact I can see that a lot of IT integrators, ISPs and consultants are really going to get found out if they keep babbling on about ‘Cloud’ without fully understanding the concepts and constructs of one (Let’s face it, there’s so much BS in the market at the moment! However, customers have started to get wise to it as more and more articles appear about Cloud Computing).
  2. Everyone is trying to sell ‘The Cloud’…. but everyone has a different idea of what ‘The Cloud’ is supposed to be! No two cloud service provider have the same offering! And that’s probably due in part to how wishy-washy the cloud standard is (and the different ways you can approach self service, orchestration and automation)!
  3. Every sales guy wants to sell a large cloud offering at the enterprise level, but in reality C-board members have been so badly ‘cloud-washed’ that it’s usually down to the IT director to determine whether they can push their IT into the cloud! I’ve yet to speak to anyone higher than an IT director about cloud! And more often than not the IT guy only wishes to put their test/dev into a cloud – and nothing else! (Afterall, IT admins are protective of their own little world….. the cloud is too big and fluffy for their liking!)
  4. Trust & Security…… This is a huge bugbear to IT administrators and CIOs!! With the recent revelations that the NSA and even GCHQ are snooping at online data, if you can’t explain the security of data in the cloud to your client, then you can pretty much kiss goodbye to any opportunities!! Security of a clients data on the cloud will become #1 priority over the next few months – if it’s not already!

To be honest, whilst Cloud is a fancy term that has been pandered around for ages, more and more people are looking at making it a reality within their business. But many are still put off by the reliability of the public cloud offerings (*cough* Amazon *cough*), or the ability to exit a cloud at short notice and pull data and services in house if required (*cough* Azure *cough*… and even when companies go tits up…. *cough* 2e2 *cough*).

I still have to agree with VMware’s view (from last year) where they were insisting any sort of Cloud adoption should first be a Private Cloud which allows the IT admins to still ‘hug’ their hardware! Plus it allows them to evaluate whether ‘The Cloud’ is really for them whilst still keeping control over their data.
IMO, a Public Cloud is still a step too far for clients to adopt as their entry to the cloud.


Edit Note: ……. Hmm…. after reading my blog post I’ve realised it’s quite a load of rambling nonsense…… ^_^”
Hopefully I’ve managed to get some of my points across. One of these days I really need to sit down and write a proper entry with industry references…… I blame the early Monday morning, the heatwave in UK, and my lack of coffee for my ramblings!

Journey to the Cloud

Interesting article in the Reg on Weds about where to start in your Cloud journey…..

With so many virtualisation vendors and cloud offerings, sometimes it’s wise to take time and see which product (or cloud model) fits your business and IT strategy! The worst thing anyone can do is jump straight into the cloud just because their C-level have been cloud-washed by a marketing dept or sales guy! Your cloud journey will be more painful if you try to avoid any due-diligence! (Just look at all those clients who got locked in when 2e2 went tits up!)

In fact it’s worth sitting back and letting the vendors fight amongst themselves for your services!

Entering a public cloud may seem a great way of offsetting infrastructure and support costs, but you need to have a plan in place to exit the cloud – something that probably 90% of cloud customers don’t have!! When you embrace any sort of new technology, it’s always worth having an exit strategy in case everything goes wrong!

As for deploying cloud applications and custom apps…. well, they’ll all be redundant if someone in upper management decide that they don’t want to use VMware and want to put it all in Amazon (or vice-versa)!! Time and effort for cloud-integration is commonly overlooked…… What may work in a VMware cloud may not work in Microsoft Azure or Amazon EC2!

In my opinion, the journey to the cloud should be the same process as the journey to virtualisation…… and that is only throw your dev/test environment in first! Don’t start customising your applications and infrastructure for Cloud in case you need to swap vendors or pull out!

Whilst it’s possible and tempting to push everything into the cloud, it’s more  advisable to ensure you have control over your engagement, that you understand the implications of cloud and how it will integrate with business services…. it’s far easier to scrap a test/dev cloud environment and reclaim data (or even lose it all) than if you had pushed out your mail services or your file server!

Another thing a lot of companies overlook is training…… Cloud computing is a different beast from standard Wintel support….. how do you manage your cloud infrastructure? How do you monitor it for performance? What’s your capacity to grow? A lot of companies pay for consulting services to help them into the cloud, but after splashing out £1-2k per day, make sure that you get your IT some knowledge transfer so that you don’t have to keep paying consultants to come in and fix your problems or even maintain the environment for you! It’s far cheaper in the long run to train your in-house staff and get them managing your cloud than to go outside!



10 most influential bosses in the storage arena

Quite interesting article on The Reg regarding the 10 most influential bosses in the storage arena…..

Surprised at seeing the CEO of Dropbox in the top 10….. as well as the CEO of Amazon and Facebook’s Open Compute Project at 7 & 8….. I guess cloud computing and cloud storage is really coming into the fore now!

Dropbox is pretty much used by most people in the IT industry to share large presentations and software…. great handy tool!

Amazon have pretty much commercialised the aspects of ‘cloud computing’ which explains why they’re there…..

And Facebook are pretty much leading the way with non-vendor specific hardware (although quite surprised Google aren’t listed as I’m sure they’re in the same boat as Facebook with building their own piece-meal hardware and they have vast storage requirements).

Violin Memory’s inclusion over the likes of more established storage vendors like IBM and NetApp is really interesting – especially since they mainly sell all-flash arrays. Then again, I supposed they’re currently one of the ‘innovators’ in the flash-array market and have been making big waves in flash-array tech…..

Not surprised that NetApp aren’t on there as frankly they haven’t innovated for a long time and in my opinion haven’t really impressed the market with some of their OnTap products (ie Clustered OnTap), but really surprised at seeing HP at No. 6 given how they let their EVAs and StorageWork portfolio decline over the years (although I believe they’re trying to rescue the division with the acquisition of 3Par). Again, I would have thought IBM would be on there considering their new Storwize V7000 arrays have been receiving decent praise (then again we don’t go up against IBM much as if a client is pretty much a ‘Big Blue’ house, they tend to be pretty closed off to other vendors!).

No surprise to see Joe Tucci – CEO of EMC – as No. 1….. no other CEO has overseen the recovery of such a big giant and gone on to make such clever acquisitions (DataDomain, Avamar, VMware, Isilon, XtremIO, Greenplum). I wonder what the future holds for EMC… they’re already No 1 in so many different product areas (data dedupe, storage, virtualisation, etc)… You have to wonder who’s next on their acquisition trail!

Another name missing from this list is probably Samsung…… Aren’t they the leading manufacturer of flash memory and SDRAM? Pretty sure I read that they are looking at entering the PCIe Flash-storage cards soon!


Anyways, interesting times ahead in the storage arena……. I guess the next big move would be to link server-based PCIe flash storage with back-end flash-based storage arrays!