Listen, I don’t want to start another discussion about the cloud. What is a cloud anyway? However I’ve recently been in two different conversations where someone indicated that they thought everything in corporate IT was the cloud.
It occurs to me that from the point of view of of an organizations staff, where they access all IT services via a browser or a smart device of some kind, that it sure looks like everything is the cloud. Everything is just out there and they aren’t having to install fat clients on their desktops to get things done anymore. It is no unreasonable to start thinking of all the things that IT does as ‘the cloud’ when you have that perspective.
Here are some thoughts on this:
- Any conversation that an IT professional has with someone related to the cloud better start with definitions and a common understanding, or starting point. I’ve been in several cloud conversations lately where I’ve realized later that we were talking about different things. I’ve got to get better about starting with a common foundation on these conversations.
- I think the cloud is IT related services provisioned via the internet with a pay as you go model. No capital expenses up front and can scale up or scale down based on changing needs by the buyer.
- Corporate IT has many legacy applications running on dedicated hardware in private data centers or hosting sites. It looks like the cloud, but it is not the cloud. There are capital costs, upgrades strains and little reuse. Little scaling too.
- The cloud is not hosting. It is not contracting with some company where they will just run an application on hardware in their data center and your employees will get access to it over the internet. That is not the cloud. That is just putting the hardware in their data center. Doesn’t matter if it is a pay as you go model or not. This is not the cloud.
- I think real cloud applications are multitenant. To really get economies of scale the hardware needs to be shared by many users at the same time. Google apps are an example where all the people running Gmail or google apps are running on shared hardware in Google data centers. This last point everyone won’t agree on, but I think real, scale-able cloud based applications have to be multitenant.
Well, am I getting this wrong? Do you agree with these viewpoints? Or is corporate IT the cloud too?
I haven’t thought much about our network in a while. There were times that we used to talk about it all the time and consider uptime, bandwidth utilization and outages as well as network technology transitions. I don’t seem to do that much anymore. I just stopped a series of posts on things for new CIOs to consider and I didn’t even mention anything about the network.
I’m thinking that we’ve gotten to a point that the network availability and its capacity/speed have become like the lights. They simply work all the time (most of the time) and their support has transitioned to the background. We seem to have reached a place where the network is just there.
There is an article is Forbes recently entitled, Thriving with New Technology Starts with a Strong Network which I think is right.
- The ‘internet of things’ where we are capturing data everywhere inherently requires us to move the data through the network to a data warehouse or equivalent.
- Wi-Fi must just work and work well everywhere your people are located.
- Video and telepresence is taking off and that requires high quality bandwidth.
- All your messaging solutions need the network to move those messages. email, chats, alerts, etc.
In short, our network is critical and necessary but our thinking (or mine) has transitioned to the point where it is a utility? Like the lights?
What do you think?
I’ve had the chance in the last 2 months to spend extended amounts of time with some key IT infrastructure and application companies. In all three meetings, I’ve heard the repeated theme that the amount of data being collected, stored and analyzed is increasing and there is no sign of it slowing down.
One well known company indicated that they were collecting a huge amount of data from their latest product in operation and they are just now trying to separate the signal from the noise. They are collecting data from a huge number of sensors and they are trying to identify the key input variables. But the important point to me is that they are collecting huge amounts of data.
Another person said that all of us will be saving more and more data and we’ll need to ‘keep buying disk drives.’ Given where I work that is a good thing.
Another well known network infrastructure company talked about the amount of data moving through their networks every day and the numbers are just staggering. Many petabytes per day.
Everyone is talking about Big Data now and the Internet of Things were sensors are exploding in count.
Storage which might have been a boring subject is no longer boring.