The Cloud in HP’s Cloud (Part 2): HP Discover, the Enterprise and AWS Cloud

imageLast month I attended HP Discover (disclosure: my participation was funded by Ivy World). The IT war already started however HP stands still not taking initiatives and real risks as true leaders should take. At the three-day conference I learned why some companies don’t last and why this IT giant is at a great risk of losing in this new era IT battle. This is a story of a lasting company that might have already lost.

> > > HP’s Washes the Cloud

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My 5 Enterprise Cloud Predictions for 2013

imageI believe that this is the year when the enterprise will find its way to the cloud.

The mega Internet sites and applications are the new era enterprises. These will become the role models for the traditional enterprise. IT needs remain the same with regards to scale, security, SLA, etc. However, the traditional enterprise CIO has already set the goal for next year: 100% efficiency.

The traditional CIO understands that in order to achieve that goal, IT will need to start and do cloud, make sure that IT resources are utilized right, and that his teams move fast.

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Let’s Welcome 2012

The cloud debate vanished. I will rememeber 2011 as the cloud POC year. We all “ran” this proof of concept and most of us agree that cloud computing just makes sense.

While cloud adoption is the first priority for all IT organizations, the service vendors will need to prove infrastructure improvement and strength. 2012 will be the year where cloud issues will be solved. Cloud technologies’ infrastructures will become better and the whole cloud environment will become more robust.

Check the presentation below. It includes some screen-shots of the most famous outages (Amazon AWS, MS 365, Gmail, etc.) and the common performance issues (Twitter, Linkedin). I hope that these will occur less and that past experience will support future evolution.

I wish you a great and happy new year. A year of happiness and success.

-Ofir,

@iamondemand

The Cloud is Alive: Integration, Collaboration and Eco-Systems

On a vacation you often find that the best way to enjoy is to try and disconnect from the regular working day routine. Part of my blogging tasks include searching for knowledge resources and publishing news and articles to my followers. I maintain communication with my readers using social communication means such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Setting that in semi-automated state with twaitter (so I can spend my time with my lovely wife and not with my iPad …) brought me to imagine a living, breathing independent cloud creature that “feeds” itself with information.

Think out of the box and try to imagine the possibility that these lines were written by a smart algorithm utilizing the clouds and their enormous amount of information and logic. Imagine that humans don’t have keyboards but only screens to view what the “intelligent cloud creature” generates using smart BI algorithms running on a complex extremely wide integration. As we speak this integration is sprawling; basic logic routines and cross systems flows developed by humans as well as by machines.

The question “what I would like to eat for lunch ?” can be based on enormous amount of considerations such as who you are, who is connected to you, what you have already eaten today and how it fits with your diet, as well as what your best friend would like to eat because he can join you today while visiting nearby. All of these answers and more are already out there. The enormous growth in the number and the size of apps’ eco-systems, Big Data and the robust physical computing capabilities of the cloud leads to a form of intensive information calculation that can generate accurate intelligent results in an adaptive manner.

Traditional IT systems and logic were confined within their on-premise domain of variables. Collaboration wasn’t really an option and integration was (and still is) always a painful point with respect to huge investments and high risks. API deveopment task was one of the last things on the ISV priorities list. Today things can be different thanks to these clouds. The cloud accelerates the extension of eco-systems and can makes this fantasy a reality. I believe that we are heading straight into a second, even more exciting information technology revolution.

“Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you’ll keep finding more and more ways to use it.”

The first time I checked this IPA (Intelligent Personal Assistant) agent was about less than two years ago. I was fascinated by the fact that besides the voice recognition and ease of use, Siri aims to generate its own intelligence using its great eco-system environment to generate suggestions and solve problems in a proactive and self-improvement manner. Eventually, I wasn’t surprised to hear that the most innovative company in the world integrated the solution inside its leading product operating system (I am just waiting for them to stop playing around and release it as part of the iOS, not only for the 4S version).

Another noteworthy example is Boomi. The company that was bought by Dell a year ago is a growing business for out-of-the-box “connectors” (the term they use for their integration widgets) platform. 

“Remember Data Integration is the key to the cloudy future. By having Boomi in its pocket, Dell is well positioned to handle these needs” wrote the cloud evangelist Krishnan Subramanian, in his article Quick Thoughts: Dell Acquires Boomi

I had a great discussion with Rick Nucci, Founder and CTO of Boomi regarding the company’s positioning and its strategy to become the heart of the enterprise business flow. The company’s offering enables the IT Organization to generate a full solution assembled from several systems. The company develops a platform that enables rapid provisioning of “connectors” that enable systems. 

“AtomSphere connects providers and customers of SaaS, cloud and on-premise applications via a pure SaaS integration platform that does not require software or appliances. .. Leading SaaS players and enterprise customers such as salesforce.com, NetSuite, RightNow, Marketo, Taleo, Zuora, Coupa, NASDAQ” Read more on Boomi’s site

Utilizing the cloud the company is able to host and maintain all of its customers’ connectors in its own cloud environment. The company takes responsibility for the connectors’ compatibly and provision them as a SaaS with a SLA. The traditional integration maintenance hassle becomes a small issue. SaaS start-ups are focusing on solving a specific problem and by so doing will not be able to solve a complete business flow. I believe that vendors such as Boomi can be positioned on top of the cloud food chain (I love that term – I encourage you to use it and comment what do you think about it), even before some of the above SaaS providers.

Traditional ISV must take action in regards to its eco-systems, both those it owns and those it participates in. Traditional ISVs have vast experience and owns data and logic that can be utilized by the new and agile SaaS developer. The ISV can leverage this experience in the cloud and take strategic steps to increase its public interface services to extend its eco-system and generate additional revenue stream. 

> > > > > Back to Reality

Without the crowd input, the user collaboration and the contribution of the fast running web developer the cloud content, systems integration and eco-system can not evolve and grow. The next IT revolution combined from the connected world and big data is just outside knocking on our door and it lies on top of a rapid pace of cloud innovations and evolution.

> > > Don’t forget to comment – What are the layers of the “cloud food chain” ? < < <

The Cloud in HP’s Cloud

Last week I was invited to the HP Tech Day in HP’s campus in Houston to learn and hear more about the giant’s cloud offering. I appreciate HP and Ivy very much for the invitation and for a great event where I was able to learn more and see these clouds in real. I had the privilege to meet savvy and professional guys. It is always great to see people that are enthusiastic on their jobs and are proud of their company. Let me share with you HP’s cloud from my point of view.

> > > The EcoPOD

HP’s guys took me and a my fellow bloggers on a great journey inside HP’s cloud. The most fascinating adventure from me was the HP EcoPOD, an out-of-the-box, ready-made hosting/cloud infrastructure creature. The finalization of the product seems to be a perfect art and with no doubt HP is still a great infrastructure market leader. The Ecopod units serves IaaS providers, huge enterprises and mega websites. The investment of buying this ready-made bank of servers can be stretched from 3 to 5 years commitment so you can actually consider that as a subscription based service. The HP private cloud offering ruled the tech day including support for bursting internally or over to a public cloud, supported by Saavis. Read more about HP’s cloud bursting on TechTalk by Philip Sellers

> > > The Cloud In HP’s Cloud

The second part of the IaaS is the software for provisioning, maintaining and controlling of the cloud resources. For that matter HP conduct a several hours of demonstration of its CloudSystem product. Once the cloud infrastructure deployed, the enterprise can provision the virtual resources, orchestrate and create a catalog of app stacks utilizing the CloudSystem. One of the main features of the platform is the Cloud Maps (I really love the name) that enables the enterprise’ IT to plan and create new app stacks or even import ready made ones straight from the HP web portal. The UI/UX is very compelling though the management capabilities are very basic. I am not sure that I saw a real cloud environment but an upgraded virtualization control and provisioning application. Following my debates on that I was told that there are some implementations of an elastic environment using custom adjustments. HP also revealed that they are working on an OpenStack implementation though I wasn’t convinced enough to believe that there are serious plans for this matter. Due to the lack of out-of-the-box features such as auto-scaling and elasticity as well as the lack of a real cloud perception that a server is just one atomic unit, I still wonder where is the cloud in HP’s cloud ?


On a “cloud security” session, I raised a basic cloud security issue, where the enterprise need to be able to maintain SSO and IAM solutions to all its applications’ portfolio including the SaaS ones. I asked to know if HP support that kind of features or plan to do so in the future. The HP response was not satisfying and led me to think again about the extreme separation between the infrastructure and the applications that the cloud brought. The answer I anticipated to hear was really simple: As an IaaS provider, HP focuses on the internal network security and the access to the on-premise physical and virtual resources. The SaaS players have the responsibility to provide extensions that integrate with the enterprise private cloud and support issues such as SSO.

It is an evident that the cloud brought the need to re-position the traditional IT vendor offerings and make sure these are related to the specific cloud layer (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS), otherwise it is a confusing play that presents a great risk to the business future.

> > > Conclusion

It is clear that this veteran market leader as other IT giants finds itself segmented into a new definition as an IaaS vendor. The giant struggles getting into a leadership position in this emerging market as it is surrounded by a great competition coming from old competitors such as IBM or Oracle. Furthermore I think that a greater competition comes from the advanced cloud vendors such as Amazon, Rackspace, Salesforce and more others that already taking a great market share. I find it exciting to watch the market evolves, how new business threats are born and how the industry giants pushing hard to find their golden path all over again.

Private Cloud Interview with Mr. Joe Weinman

As the founder of Cloudonomics.com, Joe Weinman is one of the most known cloud computing evangelists in the world. Weinman researches the economics of the cloud. Among other cloud aspects he examines, he also relates to the cloud financial operational costs together with its buisness benefits. Following I Am OnDemand last posts summarizing and discussing several Cloudonomics researches, we asked Mr. Weinman to meet for a brief discussion. Last week I had the honor to interview him for about an hour and hear his clouds’ perceptions and vision.

> > > What is a private cloud ?

I started the interview with this basic (?) question. The intuitive answer of most IT managers will be that the private cloud is the company actual own dedicated on-premise resources that are behind a firewall. The advanced ones will probably add that it can be hosted on the MSP premise as well and even managed by a smart virtualization layer. I can add that a private cloud might even be a hosted and outsourced environment inside a public cloud. Furthermore Weinman said that others in the industry relate to this question from aspects such as security, network, performance and architecture. Relating to this question Weinman brought, for my opinion, the best answer as it was driven from the economic side of things. From his perspective and experience, he bases his answer only on the business aspect: 

“… the way those cloud resources are priced. Basically the idea of private cloud is owning dedicated servers with a flat fee rate”, Weinman defined.

I think that this answer might wins as the formal definition.

> > > Why hybrid ?

One of the main reasons to move to the hybrid cloud Weinman mentioned, is adoption of cloud by the enterprise. The migration from the on-premise can be a pain point with a lot of risks including adding an enormous weight on the overall cloud costs. The enterprise will want to remove the hassle and the responsibility including unknown economic risks, hence will prefer to outsource it while the costs are known a head and are flat per year. Weinman concluded that using a hybrid cloud leads to a well balanced expense. It can be achieved using a main private cloud and use of the public for load bursts, storage capacity increase or for any other resources that have costs and their demand changes over time. To learn more about cloud bursting I suggest you to Check Weinman’s article ”4 ½ Ways to deal with data during cloud bursts”.

HP, one of the cloud giants presents the hybrid cloud as one of its main cloud services and recently announced its dual bursting, Weinman noted. The dual bursting feature is part of the HP CloudSystem that supports demand changes using on-premise or public cloud resources supported by the pay-as-you model.

Discussing the flat rate model, Weinman noted that Amazon AWS public cloud offers the option to reserve instances though he claimed that:

“It is still not fully inside the flat rate”

and continued with explaining that:

“There are other issues above the infrastructure such as the environment architecture, strategy, integration and maintenance”.

According to his opinion the enterprise (and from his experience I assume) interests on purchasing full managed cloud service solution and get a deal for at least 3 years. I know about a company the closed a cloud deal for 10 years! with HP for $130M. It makes sense that the enterprise will want an external provider to manage its IT environment as it becomes more complex praticulary in the cloud. Another main reason to go with flat rate, is simply because it cost less when there is a stable, maybe fixed need of resources over time, said Weinman. Click here and check his proof for that matter.

> > > Is hybrid cloud a temporary stage ?

The second half of the “hybrid discussion” started with my question about the option that hybrid and even the private are temporary stages and in the long run, the cloud will develop to be fully public. It is a fact that today this matter is still under a major non-consent among the cloud computing leading evangelists. Weinman is obviously one of the leading enterprise cloud evangelists and as I am originally from the SaaS industry it was very educational for me to hear his “cloud vision”.

… So many things and questions”, Weinman expressed is feeling regarding the current public cloud infrastructure state and capabilities.

Weinman gave as an example the huge cost and complexity of moving the enterprise enormous amount of applications and data to the public cloud. The basic reason for the transition to the public will be only when it is most cost effective for moving all the enterprise applications to the public in comparison to the “do it yourself” approach, though today this is still not align with the public cloud offerings.

> > > The Cloud is just like Airlines, Car Rental and Electricity

Here we entered to discuss the “economies of scale” aspect that the public cloud presents. Weinman started with the basic economic principal saying that you would like to get a better price than the price you currently pay for the same product. Enterprises will buy their IT resources from the public clouds only if those will cost less, hence IaaS vendors try to utilize their economies of scale to get a better price on the infrastructure than the price the medium or the large enterprise can get.

Weinman presented the common analogue of the cloud industry to the air lines company and debated its accuracy:

“When demand grow the airlines company will use bigger airplanes, that is not the case for the public cloud. A better analogue is between the IaaS vendor and the Rental car company”, he said.

When demand growth, the rental car company will not buy bigger cars but will just buy more cars so does the IaaS vendor. This takes me to the post “Cloud made of atomic units” talks about the drive of all the industry participants to increase the granularity of the cloud. Weinman added that if you use a car every day you will want to buy it, though no doubt that we still need the option to rent a car from time to time to fulfill a temporary need and it is a fact that it costs more.  Weinman concluded the “transportation part” by saying that the world of car transportation contains rental cars, leasing, taxis and private cars, the same goes for the world of cloud.

When describing the cloud computing evolution most of us will say that the evolution of hosting is the same that happened in the electricity industry. The economies of scale principal is the heart of the major power plant economy. Weinman said that together with the electricity economy of scale, one can also see that there is a trend in enterprise perception, hence changes in the ways the which companies acquire their electricity capacity. Mega enterprises (including the cloud giants themselves) own their power resources or buy chunks of capacity for a flat rate, again the same goes for the cloud industry.

> > > Public cloud use cases

Together with the the economic benefits of the hybrid cloud it is an evident that the public cloud is a game changer.

There are use cases where public cloud is the cause of making them reality, Weinman said.

In his article “Compelling Cases of Clouds”, he presents several use cases for the public cloud. In our conversation and on several interviews I saw with Weinman, he keeps mentioning the telecommunication service provider who should utilize the cloud as it brings a pure economic benefit over its complex private infrastructure hard wire network.

“It’s cheaper to connect to a hub or network once rather than have multiple point-to-point connections” he writes in his article.

He mentions the following use cases as well: collaboration and sharing of data, social networks, cross device access, change from CAPEX to OPEX, support demand peaks, outsource peripheral applications, use of PaaS to accelerate application development , distribute application updates, build a blog and create an online community.

Revolution or Evolution?

Such as almost every industry, Weinman said the move to pay per use model of the industry is an evolution. Even in the money industry you can find the “banking cloud provider” that will sell you a credit.

“Although it is “only” an evolution, the cloud is a truly wonderful evolution and it is proven !”, Weinman concluded with enthusiasm. 

I want to thank Mr. Weinman for sharing his knowledge and vision with `I Am OnDemand` readers. I assume that if I will have the chance to continue this discussion with Mr. Weinman I will probably would pick to discuss the implications of the increasing amount of new SaaS applications (pay per use) adoption by the enterprise.

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This interview is one of the important mile stones on the cloud journey of `I Am OnDemand` blog including its readers, authors and contributors. The amount of knowledge that we gather is increasing on a weekly basis as well as the amount of our new readers and it slowly but surely becomes one of the main knowledge resources in the world of cloud computing.

Stay tuned,

Ofir. 

SaaS and Cloud Computing – 2010 Summaries and 2011 predictions

Check out the followings include information about 2010 trends and 2011 predictions – 

The top 12 gifts of cloud from 2010 by Wisdom of Clouds a CNET News blog

Cloud Computing: 2011 predictions by ComputerWorldUK

Gartner December press release about SaaS Revenue Within the Enterprise Application Software Market for 2011

Cloud Computing 2011 Predictions by CIO magazine