January 2015

Google Cloud Workshop by Translucid

by Luc Van Haver

Translucid, a Cronos Group Company, organizes a Cloud Workshop on Tuesday, February 10th from 14:00h – 16:00h. Location will be the meeting room “Lucky Luke” at Cronos building, Veldkant 33b, 2550 Kontich:

 

“With this Google cloud workshop we want to show you how simple it is to setup your developer environment on “Google Cloud Platform”. We aim to give this workshop to developers / architects / devops

14:00 – 14:15 intro cloud platform presentation

14:15 – 15:00 case 1: App Engine

15:00 – 15:45 case 2: Compute Engine

15:45 – 16:00 Q & A

In less than 2 hours we’ll get you up to speed on how to move to the cloud!

What You Need to Know about Cloud

by Luc Van Haver

 

I would like to share with you some thoughts on the subject, written by Wendy White (@Wendywhite)

What are the Top 3 Things I need to Know about the Cloud today?

1)     The cloud is ready for duty at big companies. The technology has evolved and become a lot more sophisticated than it was even a year ago. There’s been a general acceleration of capacity: more sophisticated software and computing power; more storage; faster bandwidth. Usage is becoming more common, with Gartner predicting that half of enterprises will have a “hybrid cloud”- a public cloud/private cloud combo – by 2017 (https://www.gartner.com/doc/2637515/forecast-it-services–q).

2)     Yes, it’s hyped, but a lot of the hype is true, or at least rooted in corporate reality. A lot of companies really are doing highly advanced IT work a lot more quickly than they used to, and at lower cost.

3)     It’s more than just technology. The cloud represents a different approach to IT on many levels. Yes, the cloud is technically about using someone else’s computers in a remote location and paying for use, not hardware. But, it’s also about rethinking the whole way that IT can serve the needs of the business. The technology enables a change in traditional IT and business roles in figuring out how to be most innovative and competitive.

Give me two good reasons to do it.

1)     IT projects can be rolled out more quickly – The cloud can help us launch operational initiatives and M&A projects faster than can be done with existing IT. We save the time it usually takes to acquire servers, build data centers, and set up software. A lot of that can be done automatically and more or less instantly with the cloud.

2)     CapX gets cut – The cloud helps us reduce capital expenditures on IT infrastructure and data centers. The equipment and network we use are on someone else’s balance sheet. The cloud is a “pay as you go” not “pay up front.” When you need more capacity, like on “Cyber Monday,” you increase your cloud service. On Tuesday, you can turn it off. We can conserve cash for other uses.

Give me two things to be worried about.

  1. Keeping consistent with security – While the hype about the cloud being insecure has faded, it can still be a challenge to ensure a consistent security framework across bi-modal, or hybrid IT infrastructures. (The old stuff and the new stuff.) When talking to a cloud service provider, find out whether they can utilize a common security model across physical and virtual machines. A third party security tool, or a different could provider, might be needed.
  2. Execution and organizational challenges – There can be unexpected costs and delays if a cloud project is not well planned. Some cloud service providers expect us to do a lot more of the in-depth technical work than we’re expecting, even though it’s on their equipment. Expert guidance on cloud projects can help mitigate this risk. Not every company has people on staff who really know how to make the most of it.   For instance, the cloud tends to push software developers and IT operations managers into a single unit, which can cause organizational stress. The best approach is to combine a move to the cloud with an overall change management program.

What is the takeaway idea for me in all of this?

Cloud computing presents an opportunity to be more agile and operate more economically, especially with regard to CapX. At the same time, it represents an organizational shift to a new way of doing IT. It can bear fruit if it’s thought through as a complete IT/organizational change.”

You can find the original and complete post here.

Audacious Business Models powered by Cloud Computing

by Luc Van Haver

In 2014, everything had to be disruptive: technology, business models, innovation, my mother-in-law and even the barking of my dog. Disruptive sells, disruptive is cool. Disruptive was probably the word most commonly used by marketers in 2014. I was never a fan. I like audacious better.

Let’s first taste the word. Audacious. Almost delicious:

au·da·cious

ôˈdāSHəs/

adjective

 

  1. showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.
  2. “a series of audacious takeovers”
  3. Bold, daring, fearless, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, heroic, plucky

 

That’s more like it. Audacious is simply put the mother of disruptive. No disruptive without audacious. Although it might have a connotation of lack of responsibility, putting too much money at stake not knowing what the outcome of the adventure will be, it is audacious that caused multiple revolutionary changes.

It is true that a lot of brave people ceased being audacious due to budgetary reasons in the past. The future will perhaps offer them new opportunities. “If you want to increase innovation, lower the cost of failure”, Joi Ito stated recently (Joichi “Joi” Ito, 伊藤 穰一 Itō Jōichi, born June 19, 1966, is a Japanese-American activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and Director of the MIT Media Lab. Ito has received recognition for his role as an entrepreneur focused on Internet and technology companies and has founded, among other companies, PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan.

That is exactly what cloud computing can offer. A lower cost of failure. Cloud computing can power your audacious idea to the extent that in case of failure, the cost of getting drunk the day you realize you failed will probably be higher than the amount you spent on IT infrastructure trying to succeed.

Audacious is going to be the 2015 buzzword. Be audacious!

How to tackel resistance towards cloud computing

by Luc Van Haver

I’m happy to post some thoughts on this subject, written by Sahba Hussien, Senior Technology Consultant:

“Cloud Computing undeniably introduces management challenges to an organization and will create some tension and opposition. However, management should see them as opportunities to build a more highly skilled workforce, a more responsive IT department and in doing so to focus on core strategic issue, ultimately, a better organization overall.

There is a fear among IT professionals which with the tendency to abstract responsibility away from the organization will leave them with few opportunities. Some fear redundancy and unemployment.

Abstracting non-core operations away from the organization, and focusing more on strategic tasks introduces a varied spectrum of skills and capabilities that impacts both challenges and opportunities within the organization.

The positive aspect of Cloud Computing is that there are many existing opportunities for people to learn these new skills – ongoing training in commerce and strategy can fit well within an existing role and can result in a progression from pure IT technologist to a role that has a significantly higher business focus to it, and in many cases, higher business value.

For those who fall into this class, there are some real opportunities around the interface between the different applications and services the organization will use in the Cloud. The rise of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for example has led to an entire industry based around the utilization, creation and manipulation to bind the different services together. While system integrator firms are available, there is still the need for internal system integrators to tie together the various cloud services.

Similarly there are opportunities to specialize in the areas of Cloud Computing monitoring and control for internal staff to have an interaction with the services.

Moving to Cloud Computing enables IT departments to minimize their involvement in the technical aspects of IT and become true strategic partners of the business, by teaming up IT professionals with staff dealing with strategy, therefore become a value-adding department that is actively involved in delivering solutions and benefits.”

Cloud Essentials in Human

by Luc Van Haver

When you ask around about the meaning of Cloud Computing, you may expect a wide variety of answers, from fluffy descriptions by self-declared experts covering a lack of knowledge to in depth technological explanations masking specific vendor solution sales.

Yet there is only one more or less world-wide accepted official description, published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Not an easy exercise, since the one below is the 16th and final version of their definition:

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” (Source: NIST-USA 2011).

This means we can use the term Cloud Computing when it meets the five essential characteristics described in the definition:

 

Resource Pooling: a variety of consumers has access to the resources in a virtual way (multi-tenant) and they have no or limited control over the physical location of the resources. Resources typically would be virtual machines, storage, networking, databases, bandwidth, software,…

On-demand Self Service: the consumer activates the resources without human interaction from the provider. A self-service tool is installed to obtain the required resources.

Broad Network Access: the chosen resources (capabilities) are available over a network and accessible through certain standard tools like a workstation, a thin client, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone.

Rapid Elasticity: the resources can be elastically provisioned, in some cases manually or sometimes even automatically, to meet the requirements of the customer. The outward and inward scaling can be realized rapidly.

Measured Service: the usage of the resources is measured and can be monitored and controlled to the benefit of both provider and consumer.

 

If the story you are being told matches the characteristics above, it’s a true cloud story. If not, it is probably fog…

Of course there are several Cloud Deployment Models, but that’s another story I’ve written here

Five tips to help companies elevate the success levels of their cloud transformations

by Luc Van Haver

In its recent cloud survey report, “Elevating Business in the Cloud”, KPMG concludes that cloud is no longer a technology focus of an IT department. It has become a top-level discussion that involves the entire management team and the board in order to make strategic decisions that drive transformation and enable innovation. It’s clear that organizations that embrace cloud as a management topic – beyond IT – will seize much greater potential from all that cloud has to offer.

KPMG suggests five tips to help companies elevate the success levels of their cloud transformations – and elevate above the competition.

1. Make cloud transformation a continuous process.

To realize true long-term business benefits from cloud, cloud adoption should not be viewed as another technology implementation project, but rather a transformative journey spanning from strategy through execution.

2. Drive cloud transformation from the top.

Decentralized organizations which lack a clear decision-making hierarchy may struggle with the changes triggered by cloud adoption, impeding the transformation. Rather, organizations should seek to manage cloud transformation projects centrally, with a senior-level team that oversees the transformation process and guides strategic decisions.

3. Focus on strong leadership and engagement.

Cultural alignment through all levels of the organization is essential to managing the change associated with cloud transformation. Executive management should work to establish an aligned corporate culture at the outset, focusing first on getting the buy-in and support of cross-functional business leaders.

4. Avoid silos.

Cloud transformations succeed when organizations are able to embed change into every aspect of the business. As such, silos hamper transformation. In contrast, collaboration powers it. For example, business and IT professionals should work side by side as cloud is adopted into the enterprise.

5. Measure success.

Organizations should develop realistic and measurable outcomes for their cloud transformation projects that tie back to key business objectives. A value- and metrics-driven approach to cloud transformation enables the organization to know when milestones are reached and stay focused on achieving strategic goals.

source: KPMG 2014 Cloud Survey Report: “Elevating Business in the Cloud”

Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms for DevOps Pros Q4 2014

Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms for Devops Pros

The Future of Cloud Computing

InterCloud

Understanding what is next for cloud computing is crucial for businesses at all levels because the cloud isn’t just for techies anymore. Managers are responding to the real opportunities that the cloud offers to develop new business models, forge closer ties with customers, and use the expertise of employees and partners. From a technology that was initially adopted for efficiency and cost savings, the cloud has emerged into a powerhouse of innovation throughout organizations

The next-generation of cloud computing will deliver value to the business faster by automating everything from request to deployment and configuration — and do so up and down the stack and across the entire infrastructure. In order for the next-generation of computing to achieve these goals, there are five platform requirements:

1. A management platform that engenders a high degree of service flexibility
2. A platform that can support multiple constituencies
3. A platform that is not tied to a single infrastructure
4. An intelligent platform
5. A platform that is integrated with your existing enterprise management technology and processes

What is next for Cloud Computing?

Introduction of Cloud of Clouds or Intercloud: A new model for cloud computing services based on the idea of combining many different individual clouds into one seamless mass in terms of on-demand operations. The intercloud would simply make sure that a cloud could use resources beyond its reach, by taking advantage of pre-existing contracts with other cloud providers.
More implementation of OpenStack : OpenStack software delivers a massively scalable cloud operating system. It is an open source infrastructure as a service (IaaS) initiative for creating and managing large groups of virtual private servers in a cloud computing environment. The goals of the OpenStack initiative are to support interoperability between cloud services and allow businesses to build cloud services in their own data centers. One of the greatest selling points of OpenStack is its incredible flexibility and versatility.
Big data as a service (BDaaS) is a term typically used to refer to services that offer analysis of large or complex data sets, using the cloud hosted services. Similar types of services include software as a service (SaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), where specific big data as a service options are used to help businesses handle what the IT world calls big data, or sophisticated aggregated data sets that provide a lot of value for today’s companies. Recently IBM announced a new business unit for launching Watson based cloud computing service named as Watson Discovery Advisor to help the researcher from different fields who want to analyze the gigantic volumes of data to find out the result pattern for developing the research ideas. This platform is based on IBM Watson, the cognitive application system available through cloud computing platform of the company.
Platforms-as-a-Service Continue to Grow: More companies will be looking to adopt PaaS solutions in the upcoming years. PaaS allows businesses to lower IT costs while speeding up application development through more efficient testing and deployment.
Graphics as a Service: Running high-end graphics applications typically requires massive hardware infrastructure, but cloud computing is changing that. With emerging cloud-based graphics technologies, end-users will run graphically intense applications using nothing more than a web browser.
More Hybrid Cloud adoption: Hybrid Cloud is a combination of the Private Cloud and Public Cloud enabling IT to utilize on premise and cloud based infrastructure seamlessly for cost reduction, bursting, disaster recovery and other use cases. The key to Hybrid Cloud acceptance in the marketplace is providing this “seamless” capability for all applications, including those production applications that are core to the business.
Cloud as the innovation platform for Mobile, Social, and Big Data: Cloud technology provides a common platform for Mobile; Social and Big Data applications to cross pollinate as well as enhance and extend existing investments. Cloud as innovation platform will give businesses the agility to respond quickly to new innovations, e.g. wearable technology or speech & gesture interaction with applications…
The Internet of Things Takes Off: Look for the Industrial Internet (a.k.a. the Internet of Things) to start transforming operations in few coming years, as solutions combining intelligent machines, big data analytics, and end-user applications begin to roll out across major industries. Cloud computing platforms will play a big role in creating the next generation of intelligent, software-defined machines that are operable and controllable entirely from centralized, remote locations.
BYOD and the Personal Cloud in Enterprise IT: The BYOD movement is already hitting enterprise environments and is expected to expand beyond 2014. As end-users put more of their own data into personal cloud services for syncing, streaming, and storage, IT executives are finding ways to incorporate personal cloud services in the enterprise environment through techniques such as (MDM): Mobile Device Management.
Better Identity Management in the Cloud: Cloud services offer accessibility, convenience, high-power, and redundancy, but with cloud-based applications taking over businesses, there’s a need to rethink security policies. Look for identity management solutions to bring new paradigms of security to the cloud in 2014 and beyond.
More Software-Defined Hardware. In order for servers, storage, and networking equipment to behave like one big “machine,” where applications can assume massive scalability, the entire infrastructure must be virtualized and centrally controllable, that is, software-defined. Ultimately this trend goes beyond SDN (Software Defined Networks) to include every system in the data center. Advanced software control schemes pioneered by public cloud providers will continue to trickle down to the enterprise.
Four heavyweight tech companies are translating their ambitions in the future of cloud computing into investments in their cloud computing services: IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and Google are all expected to spend more than $1 billion annually on their global networks in the coming years.

Source: http://thoughtsoncloud.com/2014/09/next-generation-cloud-computing/