Lighthouse Blog

How Will Cloud Trends Impact The Enterprise In 2015

by Luc Van Haver

“Cloud services have matured to the point where they can absolutely deliver value for many use cases,” said Ed Anderson, research VP of cloud services at Gartner.

Here are five ways enterprises can tap into 2014’s top cloud trends to achieve a competitive edge in the year ahead.

 

Hybrid Clouds

I’ve explained hybrid clouds in human before. The more academic explanation would be the combination of two or more cloud services coming together to create a unified cloud experience. It can be a mix of private and public cloud services, but can also include combinations that are all public or all private. Experts are convinced that in the future not one particular cloud solution is going to meet a customer’s need nor give them the added value he is looking for. Enterprises therefor should adopt cloud services in a tactical way (within a strategic framework) to ensure they’re getting the right match. Most probably they will end up in with a hybrid scenario.

Cloud Operating Models

“As cloud services converge with social, mobile and information in what Garter calls the “Nexus of Forces,” companies will need to start incorporating cloud operating behaviors in a platform for digital business”, Anderson said.

“What happens if you are sourcing IT from this incredibly scalable, dynamic, adaptive environment? How can you do things differently from the way you did them before?” he asked. “Cloud is certainly a technology and we talk about it that way…but it’s really an operating model as well.”

In 2015, enterprises will need to start examining the synergies between their various cloud initiatives, Anderson said. “What are the next generation solutions that are going to come about as a result of all those things coming together?” he asked.

Personal Clouds

“Although cloud computing was driven by businesses, personal clouds reflect a growing influence of consumer-driven trends on corporate computing. Whether it’s having all their music available on all their devices, or a consistent backup of personal data, personal cloud services are starting to shape consumer expectations in terms of how they use information technology with a shift of focus from devices to services”, Anderson said.

People will start to question why they can’t have the same type of cloud-based access and services in their work environments as well. Companies looking to 2015 will need to start thinking about how to answer that question.

A Well-Defined Cloud Market

“While the start of 2014 was more like a free-for-all of cloud providers and services, look for a more well-defined cloud marketplace in 2015”, Anderson said. “There will be a handful of big, global, hyper-scale cloud providers,” he said. “And then there will be lots of smaller, regional, industry-focused custom providers to fill in all the white space around them.”

So what should enterprises expect in 2015?

“I would be thinking about the hybrid model and where I can use the big hyper-scale providers, because those are going to be the ones who are the cheapest and the most standardized,” Anderson said. “Then I would look at how to supplement that with some of these other providers to meet specific needs.”

Cloud Brokerages

“Organizations should expect to see a rise of cloud intermediation services in 2015,” Anderson said: “There’s a whole group of third parties who are stepping in and saying, ‘Now that cloud is pervasive, how do you pull everything together?’”

Those third-party providers—or cloud services brokers—will offer to manage and integrate organizations’ different hybrid services. Although the trend got well underway in 2014, Anderson expects it to become more prominent next year.

“Before choosing a provider”, he said, “enterprises will need to decide which responsibilities they’re going to delegate to third-parties”. “Organizations need to have a strategy that can incorporate the best of what’s happening in cloud along with things that they will continue to do on their own,” he said.

As enterprises plan for 2015, understanding the latest cloud trends can be critical to their successes in the year ahead.

“Now is the time,” Anderson said. “If you are evaluating technology upgrades, replacements or acquisitions, cloud has to be on your list of considerations.”

Based upon an article by Lisa Wirthman. Read the whole article here.

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

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/

Lighthouse offers free TCO calculation: datacenter on premise vs in the cloud

by Luc Van Haver

Belgian companies also benefit significantly from IT migration to the public cloud

Business operations nowadays are influenced by the four major new IT trends also known as The Nexus of Forces: Mobile, Social Media, Big Data and the one they are all powered by: Cloud Computing. As a result the IT landscape changes drastically and (public) cloud will be introduced on a large scale the upcoming months and years.

Yet a recent Eurostat study concludes that a lack of knowledge is the number one argument holding back enterprises from using the public cloud.

Lighthouse, a Cronos Group initiative, wants to inform you through professional consultancy on the latest cloud opportunities and challenges in a rapidly evolving and changing cloud landscape.

As an introduction Lighthouse offers Belgian headquartered companies a free TCO calculation comparing an on-premise datacenter with a similar setup in the cloud .

Confirm your interest by sending an email to lighthouse@cronos.be

 

Cloud Deployment Models in Human

by Luc Van Haver

In a recent news release Eurostat, statistics provider of the European Commission, concludes that lack of knowledge still is the enterprises’ main reason for not using cloud services.

There is still a Babylonian confusion when talking about on premise IT infrastructure and cloud deployment models. Therefore I think it is time for a translation in human. Let’s compare the need for IT with the need for transportation.

When your enterprise needs transportation (company cars) for its business you have a variety of options to fulfill this:

 

  1. You can buy the needed amount of cars (= On Premise IT). You would have to calculate the amount of cars you need upfront (including potential peaks in need), budget them, order them, make them ready to use, think of a way to prevent them of being stolen and maintain them (or not). This is all in all a time consuming process BUT you will own the cars and you can do pretty much whatever you want with them.
  2. You could purchase a whole car park at once or engage a company to do that for you and organize it in a way that departments in your company can rent a car when they need one and pay for it only when they are using it (= Private Cloud). The cars will never be used by someone outside your company, so they are reserved for you. You would still need to consider the total amount of cars to be bought or reserved upfront including potential peaks. You will pay for the cars you do not use and it will take a while to obtain extra cars.
  3. You could make a deal with one or more other companies to share the concept described under 2 (= Community Cloud). The cars can be used by all (and limited to only) the companies included in the deal. Benefits can be optimization of the resources and sharing the cost of unused capacity.
  4. You could choose not to make any upfront investments at all and work together with one or more vendors that rent cars (= Public Cloud). You would pick any available model from their catalogue at any time of the day or night and as many as you need. All models are instantly available (within minutes), you always get the latest model and you don’t need to bother about maintenance, insurance, fuel,… BUT the car you have used can also be rented to other people you don’t know whenever you are not using the car. Cars can be added automatically when the need increases suddenly and vice versa. Levels of exclusivity often can be discussed, but everything comes with a price.
  5. Any combination of the concepts described in 2. to 5. would be called hybrid concepts (= Hybrid Cloud)

 

I’m aware that purists would want to add remarks and suggest completions to my comparison, creating yet another Babylonian confusion. For a novice in the cloud landscape however it is probably a useful handhold.