Monday, 17 May 2010

Flexibility, Security, and Cost: Key Factors in Cloud Computing

"The security threats from highly organized offshore governments and cybermafias are so great that small enterprises are turning to large, trusted cloud servers for protection," notes John Sundman in this exclusive post-show interview with Cloud Expo Chair Jeremy Geelan. John Sundman, founder of Cloud Expo exhibitor, is a novelist who writes for software developers. He has a lot of experience in hardware and software organizations.

Cloud Computing Journal: A very general question first, about Cloud Computing itself: Surely we've heard all of this before in various forms and guises - grid computing / utility computing, etc.? What is different this time - why is everyone so convinced it will now work?

John Sundman: A bunch of reasons, such as:

1. The cost of hardware keeps coming down, and hardware keeps becoming more reliable even as the challenges of managing vast secure networks multiply. Until fairly recently, CIOs and other decision- makers were concerned with hardware costs. Hardware costs are not such a concern anymore, so people are able to step back and look at the real costs of developing expertise. And it makes more sense to outsource when you can.
2. The marketplace has been prepared by applications like Hotmail, salesforce, Flickr, Facebook, etc. This makes it easier for people to explain the difference between cloud-based applications and locally hosted applications. As recently as five years ago, the whole notion of web-based applications was hard for people to understand. Now everybody gets it.
3. The security threats from highly organized offshore governments and cybermafias are so great that small enterprises are turning to large, trusted cloud servers for protection, much as peasants turned to feudal lords for protection in the middle ages. ABC Manufacturing, Inc, is no match for the most sophisticated computer scientists of offshore criminal gangs and governments. But Microsoft and Amazon are.

Cloud Computing Journal: What are the three main factors driving CIOs toward the Cloud?

Sundman: The three main factors are flexibility, security, and cost.

Cloud Computing Journal: And what are the three main barriers preventing some CIOs from moving some of the on-premise computing to the Cloud?

Sundman: First, specialized needs not met by any off-the-shelf cloud solution. Second, CIO conservatism, that is a general reluctance to adopt new trends until they've been proven. The final barrier is security - some concerns have even more expertise in specific data security issues than cloud vendors do.

Cloud Computing Journal: How does your own company's offering/s assist CIOs and organizations/companies?

Sundman: I write novels to help CIOs and people with similar responsibilities relax and learn. Throughout human history, art and literature have provided an essential data-processing need: artists and storytellers help people digest and deal with the unsettling complexity all around them. There has never been a successful, decent human society that did not have artists and storytellers. There's a reason for that. Humans need art. We need stories.

Cloud Computing Journal: Are there other players in the Cloud ecosystem offering the same - or is your company unique? Why?

Sundman: There are other geek novelists, for example Neal Stephenson. But we are few.

Cloud Computing Journal: We hear talk of a Cloud Revolution and also of a Cloud "evolution" - either way, what kind of time span are we talking about, do you think. In other words, for how long is Cloud Computing going to exert its pull on the minds, hearts, and budgets of all involved in modern-day Enterprise IT?

Sundman: I would guess three years. Lots of IT people at small concerns are going to lose their jobs. This saddens me a lot. But I think it's inevitable.

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AMDE said...

I'm suprised that these are considered the 3 main drivers when security is often one of the main barriers?! Interesting.
Costs are actually somewhat sneaky and can be deceptive i.e. not all inclusive of other considerations [mentioed on this blog].

IMHO, when considering security, 2 items need to be addressed:
1) Physical security of the hardware 2) Security of the Data - here are some resources I've found that discuss this and act as guidelines when considering

security and the cloud:

Physical security:

Data Security:

Costs are critical to calculate if you are REALLY saving what you project you will. Although there a many other factors to consider if going to the Cloud is the right answer - regardless - here is a tool I've found to help with Total Cost Ownership of going to the Cloud:

hope that helps.

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