This interesting question asked by the spouse of Tom Hogan(HP), as he was preparing for the keynote of the Cloud Summit Conference by SandHill (media coverage here, some of the presentations here) While the focus of the conference was not about clouds on Friday the 13th, the discussions were around separating hype from reality (unfortunately a lot of it is going on these days ;o() in a very business sense. As MR pointed out during the introduction, after hearing the talks and discussions at the conference, one can either celebrate or drown one’s sorrows, during the cocktail reception ! MR’s view quoted here sums up some of the points raised in the conference.
The conference started with MR’s introduction and Tom Hogan‘s keynote followed.
Cloud Computing and the Enterprise
Summary of Tom’s talk:
- Requires shift to new architectural changes including multi tenancy, security and availability as applied to a cloud infrastructure(<KS> [Update: 10/22/08] Addition after Neil’s comments. It is not that security and availability are not part of current IT architecture, but that the mechanisms are slightly different in a cloud environment and architectures need to account for that</KS>)
- Business value propositions – deliver efficiency, increase speed and agility, mitigation of risk, enable alignment & outcome based deployment of resources(<KS> [Update : 10/22/08] Addition after Neil’s comments. Naturally all these attributes are part of current IT infrastructures. But a cloud infrastructure has a definite advantage over traditional infrastructure, in terms of business experimentation, efficiency, peak scalability, agility and responsiveness</KS>)
- [Update : 10/22/08] Good responses from Neil and Kannan below]
- IT=BT (Business technology)
- Currently 65% of IT budget goes to operation, 25% application management and 10-15% on innovation. If cloud infrastructures can make a dent in the 65% that is a big advantage as the savings can be applied to innovation
- There is a chasm (viz. architectural challenges to implement cloud computing, rearchitecting applications to utilize massive parallel processing) between the chatter and the promises of cloud computing (elastic/scalable infrastructure).
- Look at cloud computing as another service delivery channel (in addition to in-house services and outsourced services)
- Advise to IT
- Optimize your service delivery channels and impact to business
- Map business attributes to the channels and manage a multi-channel environment efficiently
- Plan for adaptive/flexible/scalable IT
- Participate in the evolution of the cloud
A Q & A session with Sandeep Johri followed the keynote. HP is looking at applying cloud computng to consolidate data centers operated by EDS. There was a quick discussion around progressive CIOs who are intrigued by the cloud computing and are looking at applying the fundamentals “to radically deliver services at a vastly reduced price point”. <KS> I liked the characterization! </KS>
Selling the Cloud to Wall Street and Main Street
- This was an interesting session on cloud economics, especially from a technologist’s point of view !
- While SaaS is being adopted, the companies are spending 50-100% in sales and marketing. A very unprofitable business model with too much $ in the sales/marketng column
- The innovation in cloud domain should be “not selling software-software is bought!” Focus on bying cycles than selling cycles ! There was a discussion on managing leads – as an example one catalog company, on the web, receives 20,000 – 30,000 leads and there is no way to manage them by hand. There needs a organic way to manage them!
- Another innovation is the business volume – sell many $25K than $1 million sales. Also subscription based models than one time sales
- Cost of customer acquisition is a very important metric
- In this regard (ales,marketing) cloud is bending the model than breaking the model
- Enterprises should learn the art of customer acquisition from the consumer side, the on-line strategy
- The cost of innovation has definitely come down dramatically
- Big companies will migrate to big/established clouds
- Which platforms to migrate to depends on the CG of the application – for example SFA would go to salesforce.com
- One challenge is the inter cloud connectivity allowing connectivity across best-of-breed platforms
The Marriage of Security and Cloud Computing
The keynote by John Maddison [Vice President, Core Technology Solutions, Trend Micro] was interesting.
They see cloud computing as a necessary platform for their applications. He was emphatic that without cloud they will not be able to manage the security threats we face in a few years. They use hadoop for processing now and plan to architect collection, processing and distribution of threat vectors around cloud infrastructure. They predict 233 million threat vectors by 2015 ! If we follow the current paradigm of downloading the signatures, our lines would be choked with ust that function!
<KS>It is comforting to know that clouds are the only way for this domain, on the other hand depressing to hear that we need that massive scale to keep up with viruses, bot-nets et al. May be we should drown our sorrows with MR during the happy hour !</KS>
Demystifying the Cloud
The talk by Dr. Vishal Sikka of SAP was another interesting keynote. Earlier, dusring one of the panels, someone mentioned that Oracle and SAP do not get loud; but Oracle has at least a good management … Ouch ;o( Vishal was a little mystified, but went on to give a good speech.
- We have achieved power, infrastructure and operation optimization
- But are far awa from integration, integrity and elasticity ! <- all cloud attributes
- Optimization is not a single dimension, different applications need different types of optimization (Slides 2 and 3)
- Slide 4 is a good illustration of the breadth of optimization required
- Slide 5 is a GMail page showing the breadth of elasticity. Different parts of the web page has different characteristic fed by appropriate infrastructures
- The search area by the GFS, Chubby, mapReduce et al
- The left side bar by a mail infrastructure and
- The right advertisement bar by appropriate inference & data infrastructures
He completed the talk with an excellent slide on Timeless Software “Delivering this over containers that span multiple generations of technologies; Minimizing the cost and maximize the ease of its construction, deployment, and life-cycle management; In a landscape that is permanently heterogeneous”. <KS> Just beautiful, brings tears to the eyes of a technologist and well said !Their motto is “every activit, every user, in every business” !</KS>
In the following Q & A session with MR, he talked about “business by design” running “over a collection of processes over a clod infrastructure”
How would clouds evolve ? Mega clouds, cloud outsourcing and entrepreneurs using clouds
Ke customer opportunities ? Early stages of adoption of edge apps, major customers running mission critical systems on dedicated clouds. Need to manage cloud relationships very well. Too early to tell
Impact of cloud on data ? Issue is to maintain visibility/control. It is not that data is out of the enterprise, but need visibility. For example certain legal documents need to be destroyed at certain times, and enterprises need evidence that the content is in fact destroyed. <KS> I thought this is an interesting view. I also am of the view that a lot of enterprise data resides outside an organization – as part of backup, disaster recover plans, with vendors et al. </KS>
Understanding Enterprise Requirements for the Cloud
An interesting panel – three views
- CIO, government – Government regulations dictate data privacy, locality et al. A cloud operator cannot replicate data to other parts of the world – the CIO will go to jail ! But looking to leverage cloud for hosting public data as well as using public data (for example GIS) for applications. Clouds do give flexibility as she need to go to the legislature for more headcount and resources
- CIO, University – Most of the apps in cloud ! e-mail, CRM, alumni management, …. Feel that data security is more with clouds than can be achieved by a 40 person IT department. Clouds take low value complexity and they focus on the rest. Doing their own integration; so their infrastructure is the hub and the various clouds are the spokes. See increased liability due to higher vendor risk and vendor dependence on the operational integrity of the business. Per peeve on SLAs, termination clauses et al
- Director, web publication – Naturally web apps, mixture of clouds. Use clouds for various apps like surveys et al. Will do more clouds in the future
Finding Opportunities in The Cloud
A discussion session between MR and Navin Chaddha [Managing Director, Mayfield Fund]
- Cloud is evolutionary
- Makes sense for Amazon to get into cloud space because the need the infrastructure anyway
- Start-ups should not focus on capital intensive infrastructures, but have opportunities on cloud services like management, billing et al on mega clouds like Amazon’s. ie focus on building value (tools,applications) over basic cloud infrastructures
- Clouds – definitely provide capital efficiency for start-ups and consumer web 2.0 apps
- One interesting question was on data ownership and legalese – Would you rather have your lawyers answer a subpoena than your cloud providers lawyers ?
- Clouds – consumerization of It not commoditization of IT <KS> Interesting and very accurate. I am a big fan of clarity, in terms of concepts, because they have long implications on architecture and business models</KS>
- Large enterprises will go to mega clouds. Cloud will have bifurcation – large and small
- Currently there is no major catalyst for cloud computing
Good conference in the business sense. Excellent keynotes, learned a lot. I felt that the breakout sessions were a little anemic and the breakout presentations we more marketing – YMMV