Thursday, February 25, 2010

VMware's New Cloud Mission - The Bottom up

Ok, I admit it. At first I didn't have a clue what the point of VMware's new "Get it off the Board Agenda" site had to do with promoting cloud adoption. In a nutshell VMware has created a new viral marketing campaign geared toward the idea of keeping executives out of the decision process for buying cloud related services. But why? Doesn't this seem somewhat counter productive, or does it?

First I suppose you need to get into the head of who's buying cloud products and services today. For service providers and telco's this probably means an SVP of some sort has been given the job of defining a revenue generating cloud strategy and service offering, so I'm not sure if this person would be the target for the campaign.

It's probably more likely geared toward the end customers, the customers of my customers if you will. The Google's, Amazons, Salesforce and Microsoft's style clouds and how they're being adopted. The random developer or business unit with a problem to solve. The classic "New York Times" cloud story comes to mind. The story goes something like this, Derek Gottfrid, random NYT programmer had to solve a very hard problem with no time or money. So without prior permission he goes to Amazon Web Services where he leverages the power of EC2 and the free open source Hadoop project. With in a few hours he is able build a cloud application to utilize hundreds of machines concurrently and process a 150 years worth of data in less than 36 hours at next to no cost. Yup, it's called bottom up adoption.

So what is VMware promoting you ask? Bottom up user innovation and frictionless IT procurement policies. Instead of putting up road blocks to innovation VMware is saying empower your employees by giving them self service tools that allow them to do things never possible before. Personally, I think the board room angle may be a little off, but generally I think they are on the right track.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do You Know Where Your Data Is In The Cloud?

Forrester Research has published a great Interactive Data Protection Heat Map outling regulations governing privacy and data protection by country. The privacy heat map does a great job of visually defining the degree of legal strictness across a range of nations.

Note: This interactive map provides information on national data protection laws that have either been enacted or are currently under consideration around the world. It does not address sectoral laws, local laws, criminal/civil code provisions, or constitutional provisions that may address data protection. It is intended for information only and is not an authoritative statement or summary of the actual laws in these countries, and it may not reflect all recent changes and legislative updates.

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The Redundant Array Of Independent Datacenters

Ever read about a new technology or product that instantly makes you think -- Wow, just wow! Well that just happened while reading a very interesting announcement from our friends over at Cisco. The announcement describes a unique approach to connecting multiple disperse cloud data centers / infrastructures. (Some refer to this as the InterCloud) Cisco is calling the technique Redundant Arrays of Independent Data centers. The approach uses Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) to extend Layer 2 Ethernet LANs by encapsulating the traffic.

What really jumped out at me was the statement that "the process of setting up OTV involves only five commands and five minutes of time." Compare that to weeks or months of architecture needed for an MPLS or dark fiber interconnect.

If true, this approach could have huge ramifications for the emergence of regional cloud service providers with a cheap and easy way for end customers to tie together multiple cloud providers together in a secure and efficient way. In a nut shell what this means is long haul "live" VM migration. This is big, typically live migrations have been limited to local area networks, this opens up a significant opportunity to move machines across latent distributed geographies. More importantly it potentially lowers the bar so smaller companies now have access to what traditionally has only been limited to the realm of the largest enterprises who could afford the dark fibre required for such a process.

So this next statement is to anyone from Cisco who may be reading this post. Please, oh, please can you hook me up with access to the Cisco Nexus 7000, I would love to explore how we at Enomaly could potentially use it for connecting multiple regional service providers together. You can get in touch with me here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Incredible India Cloud

To most who watch the cloud computing space telling you that there is an incredible amount of interest in Cloud Computing is rather obvious. Often times you'll hear me talking about the opportunities from the pacific rim nations or the other various emerging economies around the globe. So the fact that interest in cloud computing is exploding in India shouldn't come as a surprise, or should it?

India is an interesting place for technology, it's a country that has a population just slightly smaller than that of China making it the second-most populous country with approximately 1.17 billion people (estimate for July, 2009 according to wikipedia). Statically the country consists of more than one-sixth of the world's population and has more than two thousand ethnic groups. Or to put it another way, India occupies 2.4% of the world's land area and supports over 17.5% of the world's population. So like other high growth markets, India's rapid economic rise is based mostly on their massive population base and diversity.

Which brings us to Cloud Computing in India. One of the side effects of the CloudCamp series of events is within it's ability to provide the pulse of the emergent cloud computing opportunties from around the globe with India currently leading the charge with a series of events happening this week in India.

Currently underway, the CloudCamp India Tour features five CloudCamp events over the next eight days from a variety of the largest cities in India, illustrating the the growth of the movement in one of the largest technology communities in the world.

To give a little background, in recent posts on both ReadWriteWeb and the Janakiram blog outline the challenges and opportunity perfectly. Janakiram MSV (yes, that's his name) who works with Alcatel Lucent as Deputy General Manager, Bell Labs-India makes some great points about why India is poised for significant growth in his post about the battle ahead in the cloud computing market. Saying:

"Indian Subcontinent is a very unique and a potent geography for platform vendors. The reason for that is the presence of an end to end IT ecosystem.

1) India hasn’t hit the saturation levels yet. Unlike Americas and EMEA, India and APAC have ample scope for IT adoption. This market has a huge, untapped potential at every level – Let that be enterprise, Public Sector or ITES.

2) India is a playground and a test bed to pilot strategic adoption techniques. No other geography will give the platform vendor access to the whole ecosystem. Want to engage with ISVs and excite them to develop on your platform? Well, India is the place to go. Do you need a mature developer community to pilot a SDK adoption plan? Want to setup a Center of Excellence to showcase the capabilities of your platform? Go, talk to Infosys or Wipro!

3) The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) story is just warming up. Some of the inherent problems that India has been grappling with can now turn into a great opportunity for Cloud vendors. Think of how you can empower the clusters of small businesses through the Cloud and you have a winning story there. Convince the academic institutes to subscribe to Cloud Services that provide student / teacher / parent collaboration on subscription. Read CK Prahlad’s ‘The Fortune At The Bottom Of The Pyramid’ to realize the potential that the Indian SME and the consumer has."

For those of you in India please make sure to attend an upcoming CloudCamp and be part of the incredible Indian Cloud opportunity.

  • CloudCamp Tour, India

  • February 20, 2010 in Delhi, India
  • February 23, 2010 in Chennai, India
  • February 25, 2010 in Hyderabad, India
  • February 27, 2010 in Pune, India
  • February 28, 2010 in Bangalore, India

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    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Cloud Business Models Evolving Quickly

    There's been a lot of talk about what 2010 represents from a cloud adoption point of view. Some say it's the year of the prototype, others the year cloud computing becomes the standard way people consume web based products and service. For me it represents the year companies innovate on the various cloud business models or to put it another way, it's the year we make money.

    As we, [Enomaly] deploy more and more cloud service providers around the globe it's interesting to see the differences among the various regions and classes of services providers and how they adapt our product for their particular market. When we built the latest iteration of the Enomaly ECP Service Provider edition, we decided to make the product as flexible as possible for a variety of different business / revenue and deployment models. This was a risky move, because it now means that we have the extra added responsibility of assisting our customers with not only deploying their cloud services, but also defining any number of various pricing schemes. But as it turns out this decision has given us an interesting opportunity to gain valuable insight in to the various cloud business models.

    For example lately a lot of our customers have been choosing to use quota based month subscription models. This model allows a kind of hybrid between a pure utility model crossed with a credit/reservation/overdraft approach. An approach that generates some revenue even if your existing hosting customers never use the cloud capacity. Think of it as a kind of fast cloud recovery or standby. Basically for a month fee cloud customers are given an allotment of potential capacity, say 20 VM's and X amount of storage & RAM. The benefit to this approach is a customer can reserve a certain amount of guaranteed capacity for a small fee and in turn the cost per VM/storage etc is reduced, similar to Amazon's reserved instances. This also fits in well with a lot of hosting companies more traditional existing business models.

    The approach provides the cloud service provider with a greater level of insight into potential future capacity requirements and more importantly enhanced revenue predictability. We're also seeing the concept of "cloud overdraft protection" (a concept first suggested by Daryl Plummer at Gartner) where additional burst capacity provided beyond the quota may be charged at a premium. Another potential opportunity of the quota subscription model is it provides a more efficient method for linking multiple regional providers or the so called intercloud. Capacity reservation allows customers to have an efficient and adaptive global cloud recovery strategy with VM's that can sit in a kind of paused or hot standby waiting to be turned on at moments notice, but not consuming any CPU resources. More importantly it provides a sustainable and cost effective reason for regional providers to offer these kinds of services. This approach is perfect for regional scaling and other geographic sensitive requirements. In a sense you're pay extra for the geotargeted luxury.

    Another interesting shift we're seeing is that of hypervisor based marketing -- it's dead. Amazon EC2 was among the first to do this but it seems to be catching on more broadly. Rather than marketing based on the particular VM technology say VMware or Xen, there seems to be a shift to "it's just an IaaS cloud" and the hypervisor really doesn't matter. Previously hosting providers seemed to focus on the fact it was powered by ABC hypervisor, but lately we seem to be moving to an approach that is more inline with, "it solves ABC problem" or is based in ABC location. This in itself shows a maturing of the market and more importantly an evolution in how IaaS products and services are marketed.
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    Monday, February 15, 2010

    Why Cloud Computing is More Secure

    In the midst of the 1990's economic bubble, Alan Greenspan once famously referred to all the excitement in the market as Irrational exuberance. Similarly in today's cloud computing market a lot of the discussions seem to be driven by a new set of irrational expectations. The expectation by some that cloud computing will solve all man's problems and by others the expectation that cloud computing is inherently flawed. Flawed by an ended less list of problems most notably that of security. Like most things in life, the reality is probably somewhere in the middle. So I thought I'd take a closer look at the unrestrained pessimism and sometimes irrationality found in the cloud security discussions.

    To understand security, you must first understand the psychology of how [cloud] security itself is marketed and bought. It's marketing based on fear, uncertainty and most certainly doubt (FUD). Fear that your data will be unwittingly exposed, uncertainty of who you can trust and doubt that there is any truly secure remote environments. At first glance these are all logical, rational concerns, hosting your data in someone else's environment means that you are giving away partial control and oversight to some third party. This is a fact. So in the most basic sense if you want to micro-manage your data, you'll never have a more secure environment than your own data center. Complete with bio-metric entry, gun toting guards and trust worthy employees. But I think we all know that "your own" data center also suffers from it's own issues. Is that guard with the gun actually trust worthy? (Among others)

    Recently it occurred to me that the problem with cloud security is a cogitative one. In a typical enterprise development environment security is mostly an after thought, if a thought at all. The general consensus is it's behind our firewall, or our security team will look at it later, or it's just not my job. For all practical purposes most programmers just don't think about security. What's interesting about cloud computing is all the FUD that's been spread has had an interesting consequence, programmers are actually now thinking about security before they start to develop & deploy their cloud applications and cloud providers are going out of their way to provide increased security (Amazon's VPC for example). This is a major shift, pro-active security planning is something that as far I can tell has never really happened before. Security is typically viewed as a sunk cost (sunk costs are retrospective past costs which have already been incurred and cannot be recovered). But the new reality is that cloud computing is in a lot of ways more secure simply because people are actually spending time looking at the potential problems beforehand. Some call it foresight, I call it completely and totally rational.

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    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Amazon EC2's Greatest Threat is Cloud Regionalization

    Earlier today I tweeted that I believed that the biggest threat to Amazon EC2 isn't found in any one single IaaS Cloud provider, but instead it's collectively the hundreds of regional cloud providers in the midst of launching public services. The tweet started a bit of a storm with those who believe that the economies of scale that exist within large IaaS providers will ultimately spell doom for the smaller regional players who will never be able to to compete directly with the IBM's, Google's, Microsoft's and Amazon's of the world.

    I respectfully disagree. First of all it's now fairly obvious to most in the web hosting and data center space that the hosting world is moving en masse to cloud based infrastructure. This isn't a prognastication, this is happening today. With hosting companies & regional telcom's in almost every region of the world either in the midst of building or launching public cloud offerings. Just one example is Enomaly ECP customer City Networks who launched late last year. City Networks was an early mover, offering the first Cloud offering in Sweden. Within the first month of operation they had hundreds of local customers using their service. Providing further proof that location matters, their customers could of have easily choosen a broader regional service provider, one that offered an "EU" cloud, but instead they choose to use a local smaller regional cloud provider.

    More established vendors like Cisco, IBM, EMC, VMware, Microsoft also see the opportunity found within regional cloud service providers and are all now actively going after this market. So to be as direct as possible, cloud enablement appears to be the biggest market currently for cloud computing and it's all about broad federated / distributed scale. Just ask one of my sales guy who are continuing to see the flood of inbound inquires for our service provider platform from more than 40 countries in the last few weeks alone.

    To put it another way, the emerging group of thousands of regional IaaS / cloud service providers with relatively smaller 100-1000 server deployment may singularly be insignificant, but collectively will greatly out power that of any single Amazon or Google deployment. The economies of scale isn't that one provider going up against the much larger, better funded, and possibly better staffed incumbent player. But instead the opportunities for connecting and utilizing a global cloud of regional providers in new and amazing ways. Probably one of the best examples is that of SOASTA's CloudTest platform which is utilizing a global cloud network of both large and smaller cloud providers to simulate load on a geographic basis. Ever wonder how your application will respond from a product launch in South Korea? Well wonder no more, using actual resource in South Korea. This is the power of the regional cloud. (On a side note, at Enomaly, we're also using SOASTA's platform to help stress test our ECP deployments before they go live, it's damn cool platform)

    As for interoperability, well it turns out that in an emergent market interoperability is mostly dictated by the platform with the broadest level of deployment. Not who's most open or who's cheaper or even who's technically better. It's who's the most pervasive and at the end of the day it's the install base that matters most.

    Global Governmental Cloud Computing

    I've just had arguably one of the highlights of my career this week when I had the honor of representing both my country and company keynoting the Westminster eForum in London. My trip was sponsored by the High Commission of Canada in the UK as well as Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Yup @ruv, Goodwill Ambassador for Cloud Computing, strange I know.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the Westminster Forum Projects in the UK, it is the predominant governmental public discussion Forum in Great Britain. It enjoys substantial support and involvement from key stakeholders within UK Parliament, government, regulatory bodies, industry, consumer's organisations and other interested groups. The forums organize senior level seminars on public policy in these sectors. Each Westminster Forum Projects forum is structured to facilitate the formulation of 'best' public policy by providing policy makers and implementers, and those with an interest in the issues, with a sense of the way different stakeholder perspectives interrelate. Usually this is through impartially-framed, inclusive discussion conducted either in public or under the Chatham House Rule. Forum events are frequently the platform for major policy statements from senior Ministers and regulators, opposition spokesmen and leading opinion formers in industry and interest groups. Events regularly receive prominent coverage in the national media and trade press.

    During both my keynote and the ensuing Q&A session it became quite clear that the future of Cloud Computing is clearly found within the rise of regionalized cloud providers both from an economic standpoint as well as from a policy, compliance and regulatory one. A reoccurring theme had to do with the impact of geopolitical data governance and privacy as relating to remote cloud based environments. It is also clear that the UK government is fully committed to embracing all aspects of cloud computing with the recent launch of as a great example. But major issues still remain.

    One issue is that of the so called digital divide, something I liken more towards a "information divide" where the urban populations have much greater access to information via better Internet connections than the more rural populations. Like many established economies, the UK suffers from a legacy communications infrastructure which makes modernizing IP networks problematic at best. In direct contrast other areas of the world like South Korea where a significant portion of the population has fibre to their homes are at a distinct advantage when it comes to equipping their populations with latest and greatest cloud based infrastructure, and more importantly applications.

    Another one of the points I raised during my keynote is "Information is Power" and faster you can collect, organize, analyze and utilize it -- the more competitive you will be as both an individual and collectively as a country. In my usual fashion I was blunt, the fact is currently many Western Countries are losing this new data centric arms race to places like China. To remain competitive in the 21st century the West will need to embrace this new data/cloud centric world with policies and laws that make working in the places like the UK and beyond less restrictive -- again assuming a certain level of oversight.

    Another point I raised was around information technology as the great democratizer . What I mean is we can't always agree on the politics of the various governments around the globe (i.e. The Socialized Capitalism of China), but what we can agree on is that access to information, even information this heavily restricted provides a level of empowerment never seen before and at the end of the day, information wants to be free.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    The People's Republic of Cloud Computing

    I just got back from an action packed week of meetings in Shanghai, China. Shanghai is one of the more exciting cities I've visited recently as they prepare for the World Expo in May as well as the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities. As a city Shanghai is a bustling modern metropolis. A city that in a little over thirty years has gone from a small village to mega city of more then 30 million people. In talking with the people I met in Shanghai I quickly came to realize that like myself, most people in Shanghai were not originally from there, most had recently moved there from other areas of China for "economic opportunities" the city now offers. Looking around the city you'll notice a level of wealth on par or better than most western cities. In a nutshell the reason I found myself in Shanghai was for the very reason the Chinese are now pouring into the the city, the opportunity to capitalize on the new Chinese dream.

    As many of you know I've been a big proponent of Cloud Computing in the PRC for quite some time. Not withstanding that China is among the fast growing and largest economies on the globe, China has a significant data center hosting ecosystem made up of a small group of very large state sponsored telecom organizations which makes selling [hosted] Cloud services in this market a challenge to say the least. Fortunately for me their overwhelming need to equip a new and rapidly growing underlying network infrastructure is a huge opportunity, something that myself and Enomaly seem uniquely qualified to offer.

    Unlike other markets around the globe the Chinese hosting business lacks any sort of small or middle tier of hosting providers, yet the country has upwards of 40 million small businesses. In my discussions with several of the largest Chinese telecom providers the opportunity is simple, to help a equip these emerging small businesses to become part of the larger global information / internet environment. Yet another driver for the use of cloud based infrastructure in China is the the rapid development found in the data center real estate market. Like the booming real-estate market itself, data center space and capacity is growing at an exponential rate. All this new space means new capacity, capacity that needs to be managed in an adaptive, energy efficient and continually evolving way. Something that cloud computing is ideal for. Also, with the development of a country wide wireless Internet infrastructure, it seems that cloud computing will play a major role in how people access applications and information in China.

    How do you say Cloud Computing in Chinese you ask? 雲計算 yún jì suàn -- The reason I mention this is because to do business in China today, you must first understand the way the Chinese do business. Culture is an extremely important part of all aspects of the business environment. As for Enomaly in China. We now count several of the largest Chinese Banks, Power/Energy utilities, Regional Telecoms and even a local police force as ECP customers. What is interesting is we seem to have found ourselves a sought after niche in the Chinese market. A particular niche that has been overlooked by most in the technology world -- that of cloud enablement. Some of the reasons are simple others are more complex but it mostly comes down to market access. Things like culture, language and relationships play a hugh role in how business is done here.

    To be honest, we were extremely lucky in that we found a major partner in Intel who provided us with on the ground support and introductions to some of the largest players in China. Without the know how and help of the Intel China team I doubt we would have had the opportunities that we now enjoy as a small company in this very large market. So my suggestion to any upstart trying to gain a foot hold in the Chinese market is to first find an established player with a local team. And second, do not build you're own data centers, local IT policies really don't make running your own data center a reasonable option. Of those who have tried they typically do so under the rationale of "Disaster Recovery" which limits your ability to act as a production hosting facility.

    In closing, when it comes to doing business in the PRC, the sky is the limit, keep watching you'll see some exciting Enomaly related news in the very near future.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Enomaly & Intel Participate in New Cloud Builder Program

    It's been a little quiet on the blog front lately because of my crazy travel schedule. I'm currently in Shanghai on business and have had limited access to the my favorite social media tools while I've been in the Peoples Republic.  Today I have some exciting news, something that's been a long time in the making. As many of you know over the last few years we've been working very closely with the team at Intel on various cloud and virtualization related efforts. In terms of a technology partner, they have been ideal both in going the extra mile technically allowing us access to their world class technical team around the globe (in places including China, India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan U.S) as well as market access to both their customers and partners. Intel was among the first to full understand the opportunity in enabling a truly secure virtualized cloud computing environments for service providers and Telco's. I'm happy to announce that Enomaly has joined  the Intel® Cloud Builder Program to enable ease and scale of cloud deployments.

    The purpose of the Intel® Cloud Builder Program enables easier deployment of cloud solutions. The program provides a starting point to setup, deploy and manage a cloud infrastructure.  The primary goal is to simplify the effort to deploy cloud-based solutions for service providers, hosters and enterprise customers looking to use cloud architectures. The program provides tools and best practices for cloud service providers to create a cloud environment based on a defined software and hardware stack. 

    Our participation in the Intel Cloud Builder Program aligns closely with our other efforts to enable Service Providers to deliver enterprise-class cloud computing services to their customers. Our work with the Intel Cloud Builder Program will help to accelerate our efforts to deliver a massively-scalable, highly-available, high-security cloud platform to our customers.

    A proven cloud computing technology platform, Enomaly's Service Provider Edition and High Assurance Edition provide a strong platform with which service providers can deliver revenue generating cloud services to their customers.  Simple and easy to use by end-users, Enomaly provides a feature rich, customizable platform that will enable its Service Provider customers to gain competitive advantage in this fast moving market. 

    According to Billy Cox, director Cloud Computing Strategy, Intel Corporation; "Enomaly is one of the important industry influencers, Intel and Enomaly are working together with the goal to reduce the implementation time for our customers. Enomaly's participation in Intel® Cloud Builder Program can help enterprises and service providers move to cloud computing more easily."     

    I'm looking forward to continuing to work closely with Billy, Jake and the rest of the Intel team. Thanks again for believing in us. 

    About Enomaly

    Enomaly is a global leader in the fast-growing Cloud Computing space.  Enomaly empowers service providers (carriers, hosting companies, and others) to deliver revenue- generating infrastructure on demand (Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS) services to their customers.  Enomaly's Elastic Computing Platform, first released in 2004, was the world's first IaaS platform, and is used today in over 1000 working installations. 

    For more information, please visit 

    For more information on Intel® Cloud Builder program, please visit here. 

    All names referred to are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.   

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