Thoughts on Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an emerging buzzword in the IT industry.  The concept is not really all that new, but it is getting lots of play right now in the media.  And rightly so…because cloud computing (or whatever it ends up being called) is the future of the IT industry. 

Why you ask?  There are a number of reasons.  But primary in my mind is that it offers businesses the promise of business agility.   Agility enables the business to respond quickly to customer requests for new products and services.  It also allows businesses to partner more quickly to reach new markets faster.  And it also allows businesses to quickly change in the face of competition.  Here are some basic reasons why the cloud computing concept will take off.

  • Economics: Clouds will require a very small up front investment.  Usage will be be billed by consumption.  The resulting reduction in Total Cost of Ownership will allow businesses to pursue improvements in operational efficiency and productivity.
  • Risk Management:  In some cases, there will be no fixed time commitment.  This will allow businesses to try many new services faster.  This reduces big failure risks and allows clients to be innovative.
  • Time to Market:  Businesses will be able to adopt new services quickly for pilot usages and then scale quickly to a global scale.
  • Information Society:  Cloud computing will provide business executives value-added information generated by the collection and analysis of massive amounts of unstructured data.
  • Ubiquitous Society:  The cloud treats all devices the same making the cloud accessible via a heterogeneous set of devices (sensors, kiosks, PC, phone, telematics..)

In today's fast world, new competitors, with innovative business models (e.g. Google, Amazon, etc.), seem to be able to rapidly change their business.  To match these types of competitors, businesses must have a business architecture and an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to respond quickly to all opportunities and threats.  The emerging cloud computing concept enables businesses to become more agile because it offers the ability to get to market quickly, and with a lower capital expense.  It also assures that as demand increases, resources can be added incrementally, without the need for major architecture changes.

From an IT standpoint, business agility implies the ability to rapidly build and configure tailored solutions which span internal and external systems.  Cloud computing can enable the development of applications in real-time and then also enables them to be quickly deployed globally to any device from sensors to mobile device to PCs.  Once developed, Line of Business executives need those applications to execute in real-time, scaling to meet the needs of the business.   Follow on generations of applications must be able to handle increasingly higher amounts of data as the user base grows.  Once running, applications in the cloud offer non stop operation.  Users aren't burdened by HW and SW upgrades.  

In the future, there will be all sorts of new types of services enabled because of computing clouds.  Services we can''t even imagine right now.  The fact is that the more applications and services that are deployed in the cloud, the more opportunities there are to leverage services provided by others in the same or other clouds.

The biggest hurdle to that looms as a show stopper to this trend is security, privacy, & risk Management issues.  These issues will be HUGE to overcome.  The security issues will be very complex to solve (on par with issues like solving world peace and hunger).  I certainly don't know all the issues, nor do I have a solution to propose. I will leave that to the experts in security.  I do believe that we will solve the issues and businesses will learn to trust running our systems in the ;clouds'.   Remember the initial fear you had of buying things online with your credit card?  I bet you do that now with much less fear.  Perhaps you don't even think about it.

So in my mind, Cloud Computing is a disruptive force in our industry.  For more information, check out my previous post "A Primer on Cloud Computing".

A Primer On Cloud Computing

If you want learn a little about what Cloud Computing is all about and hear what others are saying about this emerging topic, you have come to the right spot.   This will be a LONG post, but as this is a very active area I am researching and discussing with many colleagues.  Not only can I refer colleagues to this post, but I am hoping you find value in it as well. 

Cloud Computing represents an emerging area many of us are trying to get our heads around.  It has been getting increased focus within the media as you will see with all the links I am providing you below.  

A simple way to explain Cloud computing is that it is an emerging approach to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT, and other, services.  The day cloud computing takes hold will get us closer to day where computing is viewed as a utility.

Some people are trying to define this in the same breathe as other terms, including network computing, grid computing, utility computing, software as a service, and data center as a service.  For the most part, I'm avoiding the these 'definition wars' here.  

The need for such "cloud computing" environments is fueled by dramatic growth in connected devices, real-time data streams, and the adoption of service oriented architectures and Web 2.0 applications, such as enterprise mashups, open collaboration environments, social networking sites and mobile commerce.  In addition, Internet use and content has grown dramatically, fueled by global reach, mobile device access, and user-generated Web content, including large audio and video files.  As this content grows, there is an eager global population of users wanting to search and view all this content.

Looking towards the future, we are entering an environment where users want to access all the content via their mobile devices.  More and more of the world population is looking to the mobile Web to fulfill basic economic needs.  To meet this challenge, Web developers are having to adopt new methods to address significant applications such as search, social networking, collaborative innovation, virtual worlds and mobile commerce. 

At the same time, there are fundamental and disruptive changes happening in computer architecture and network architecture.  New architectures and infrastructures will be needed to handle the explosion of data that will be flowing through networks.   This presents new challenges and opportunities to the study and application of computer science.  

With the above as a backdrop, the information below is selected information/links I have collected on the topic of Cloud Computing topic.  It is a long list, but not exhaustive…there is much more out there.   We are just beginning to understand how this will all play out.  Hang on for the ride!!

Some Cloud Computing Definitions

From Wikipedia:  "Cloud computing is a popular phrase that is shorthand for applications that were developed to be rich Internet applications that run on the Internet (or "cloud").  In the cloud computing paradigm, software that is traditionally installed on personal computers is shifted or extended to be accessible via the Internet.  These "cloud applications" or "cloud apps" utilize massive data centers and powerful servers that host web applications and web services.  They can be accessed by anyone with a suitable Internet connection and a standard web browser."  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing    Also see the Wikipedia  Utility Computing Definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_computing

From SearchSOA.com Definitions  "Cloud computing is a computing paradigm in which tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software and services accessed over a network.  This network of servers and connections is collectively known as "the cloud."  Computing at the scale of the cloud allows users to access supercomputer-level power.  Using a thin client or other access point, like an iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop, users can reach into the cloud for resources as they need them."  See full definition here.

 

What Academics Are Saying…

Schools in the IBM/Google joint initiative:  The University of Washington is the first to join the initiative.  A small number of universities will also pilot the program, including Carnegie-Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Maryland.  In the future, the program will be expanded to include additional researchers, educators and scientists

Benn Konsynski – Chaired professor of business administration for information systems and operations management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.  According to Konsynski, "cloud computing offers exciting benefits for users but it may also challenge the historic direction of the business models of companies like Microsoft, whose products are, for the most part, still tethered to desktops and laptops."  Quote came from this link   For more see Konsynski's profile 

Robert Grossman, Director of the National Center for Data Mining at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Managing Partner of Open Data Group.  "Data clouds have emerged as the preferred platform for distributed computing when working with large amounts of data," said Grossman.  "Sector is the first of a second generation of data clouds that are based on new network protocols designed to work with the very large data sets that are common in e-science and that are beginning to become more common in e-business."  Quote found at this link.  See more information on Sector here

Alexander Szalay, Professor of Astrophysics and Computer Science at the Johns Hopkins University. "We have extensively used the Sector Data Cloud and the Teraflow Network to distribute multi-terabyte astronomical datasets to the whole world.  We are also working to implement large-scale streaming queries across large astronomical archives to support the users of the National Virtual Observatory". Quote found at this link

Phil Windley is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University.  "The problem is that even well funded universities have a tough time putting students into compute environments that give them experience writing applications that use and manage multiple machines over a network.  That brings up the second problem: there aren’t many good texts in this area.  In fact, there aren’t any that I know of that are written as college texts.  Mos
t are “how to” books that emphasize specific technologies over general principles.  Students need to understand principles even as they experiment with the technologies of today.  That way they’ll easily adjust to the technologies of tomorrow.  The final problem is that there aren’t a lot of professors who understand these technologies.  Many understand the ideas, but have never done it.  We need summer training that can help faculty get up to speed.  Maybe IBM, Google, or Amazon would like to help with that?"
  Quote came from his blog at this link.  See his full profile.

Jimmy Lin, an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies at Univ. of Maryland and the coordinator of the IBM/Google project:  Quote:  "cloud computing [is] the technology [that] links computers together to process information simultaneously.  It allows huge amounts of data to be processed in a fraction of the time it would normally take using a single computer, which processes data one item at a time,  The clouds work by "munching and crunching" through data".  Quote found at this link.

Ian Foster, Director, Computation Institute, Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science, Argonne National Laboratory & University of Chicago.  "In building this distributed “cloud” or “grid” (“groud”?), we will need to support on-demand provisioning and configuration of integrated “virtual systems” providing the precise capabilities needed by an end-user.  We will need to define protocols that allow users and service providers to discover and hand off demands to other providers, to monitor and manage their reservations, and arrange payment.  We will need tools for managing both the underlying resources and the resulting distributed computations.  We will need the centralized scale of today’s cloud utilities, and the distribution and interoperability of today’s grid facilities."   Quote comes from his blog post at this link.   For his profile, see this link

Randal E. Bryant, Dean of the computer science school at Carnegie Mellon University.  "Most of the innovation in cloud computing has been led by corporations, but industry executives and computer scientists say a shortage of skills and talent could limit future growth.  We in academia and the government labs have not kept up with the times,' said Bryant,'Universities really need to get on board."   Quote from NY Times article at this link

Peter Lee, Professor and Head of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.  "[cloud computing is] part of an emerging shift towards research that involves large amounts of computing power, but additionally depends on the analysis of massive amounts of data to enable scientific discovery.  Fields such as astrophysics, high-energy particle physics, biology, oceanography, geoscience, and environmental science are already building instruments that are capable of creating petabytes of data per day.  And in computer science, we are beginning to see practical approaches to machine learning, language translation, and image processing that improve almost linearly with the amount of computing power and data available."  Quote comes from Peter's blog post: Big Cycles, Big Data: The Next Generation of Computing.  ALSO, see his blog post:  A “Computing Futures” Blog?  See his profile here

Ed Lazowska,  UW computer science professor and lead academic in the Google/IBM class development.  "In 2006, when I helped Christophe Bisciglia, a former UW student now a senior engineer at Google, to develop the program, our goal was to understand the challenges that universities face in teaching important new concepts such as large scale computing and develop methods to address this issue,  A year later, we've seen how our students have mastered many of the techniques that are critical for large scale-internet computing, benefiting our department and students."   Quote comes from Google press release.   Ed Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.  emai:  lazowska at cs.washington.edu

Dennis Gannon,  Computer scientist at Indiana University in Bloomington. "The potential synergy between my manycore desktop/laptop/phone and the cloud go far beyond the current generation of Grid middleware.  We anticipate having dozens of agents running on our personal devices interacting with the cloud and monitoring the computations and data feeds on topics of interest to us.  The explosion of networked sensor data and video feeds together with advanced data mining and image recognition tools all running continuously on a manycore client can drive rule-based systems that know how to alert us when something of interest happens."   This quote from his draft article:  "The Grid, Cloud Computing and our Manycore Future".    See his profile here   email: gannon at cs.indiana.edu.

Rich Wolski  Computer Science Department, University of California, Santa Barbara   Research interests include, but are not limited to, Computational Grid computing for performance, parallel and distributed systems.  See profile here   email  rich@cs.ucsb.edu

What the Press Is Saying…

NY Times Article "Google and I.B.M. Join in ‘Cloud Computing’ Research"  -  Published: October 8, 2007.  "Even the nation’s elite universities do not provide the technical training needed for the kind of powerful and highly complex computing Google is famous for, say computer scientists.  So Google and I.B.M. are announcing today a major research initiative to address that shortcoming.  The two companies are investing to build large data centers that students can tap into over the Internet to program and research remotely, which is called “cloud computing.” "  Read more at this link

Wall Street Journal:  IBM, Google, Universities Combine 'Cloud' Forces – October 8, 2007.  "International Business Machines Corp. and Google Inc. said they are starting a program on college campuses to promote computer-programming techniques for clusters of processors known as "clouds."  In a joint telephone interview, IBM Chief Executive Samuel Palmisano and Google CEO Eric Schmidt said each company will spend between $20 million and $25 million for hardware, software and services that can be used by computer-science professors and students.  So-called cloud computing — which lately has attracted the attention of many tech giants, including Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. — allows computers in remote data centers to run parallel, increasing their processing power."  Read more at this link 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer:  Google, IBM expand program to teach 'Internet-scale' computing – October 8, 2007.  "Google and IBM, expanding an effort that began at the University of Washington, will launch an initiative to help computer science students and researchers learn a form of programming increasingly significant in the Internet age.  The companies are dedicating a data center of several hundred computers for universities to use to teach "Internet-scale" programming — the development of software applications that can harness thousands of processors to deal with massive amounts of data."  Read more at this link.

BusinessWeek:   Computing Heads for the Clouds.  "IBM, Yahoo!, and Google are all putting the power of cloud computing to work.  Here's a short primer on how the new technology works.  Researchers seeking smarter ways to tackle the most complicated computing tasks think they've found the answer in a cloud—though not the kind that wafts across the sky as masses of condensed water droplets and frozen crystals.  Instead, they're turning to something called cloud computing, which aims to deliver supercomputing power over the Internet."  Read the article at this link.

BusinessWeek:  Google and the Wisdom of Clouds.  "What will research clouds look like? Tony Hey, vice-president for external research at Microsoft, says they'll function as huge virtual laboratories, with a new generation of librarians—some of them human—"curating" troves of data, opening them to researchers with the right credentials.  Authorized users, he says, will build new tools, haul in data, and share it with far-flung colleagues.  In these new labs, he predicts, "you may win the Nobel prize by analyzing data assembled by someone else.  " Mark Dean, head of IBM's research operation in Almaden, Calif., says that the mixture of business and science will lead, in a few short years, to networks of clouds that will tax our imagination.  "Compared to this," he says, "the Web is tiny.  We'll be laughing at how small the Web is." And yet, if this "tiny" Web was big enough to spawn Google and its empire, there's no telling what opportunities could open up in the giant clouds."  Read the article at this link

BusinessWeek  Had a good graphic accompanying an article on Cloud Computing.  Go to the following link http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_52/b4064048930874.htm

eWeek:  "The idea of this "platform as a service" is to provide a comprehensive cloud computing architecture that will allow enterprise developers as well as developers for ISVs and SIs (systems integrators) to create applications without the need for software and hardware client/server architecture.   The cloud-based platform encompasses a set of features intended to help developers create business applications, including the ability to create database applications on demand, a workflow engine for managing collaboration between users, and a Web services API for programmatic access along with mashups and integration with other applications and data."  Article located at this link.

TechWorld:   Provides a discussion from a storage perspective.  "Cloud computing isn't defined by particular data centre architectures. Nevertheless cloud computing can be seen as a logical evolution of grid and utility computing ideas.  The massive petabyte-level scale of cloud storage would bring the cost/GB of storage to the fore and rule out traditional controller-based array building blocks on cost grounds.  A rough consensus view seems to be that clustered NAS systems will be a common cloud storage architecture; the Google-type clustered server+DAS infrastructure is unique to Google and its particularly search-focused needs.  A clustered NAS system is more generally applicable and needs to have a very large and global namespace for its files and an infrastructure for organising millions of files, file protection and access".   For more, read the article Storage in the cloud:  Doppler shift or marketing gloss?

There are many,many other articles including,  Reuters and San Jose Mercury News

What Analysts Are Saying

Forrester is actively researching cloud computing. 

  • James Staten, an IT operations and infrastructure analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., said "Cloud computing looks very much like the instantiation of many vendors' visions of the data center of the future; it's an abstracted, fabric-based infrastructure that enables dynamic movement, growth, and protection of services that is billed like a utility. It also has all the earmarks of a disruptive innovation: It is enterprise technology packaged to best fit the needs of small businesses and start-ups–not the enterprise".  Quote is from their March 7, 2008 report Is Cloud Computing Ready For the Enterprise
  • Mervyn Adrian, an analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., said, "This is the next generation of computer architecture, and IBM wants to get in front of it." He noted that many students use Google applications and said that "IBM wants to leverage that." – Quote came from the Wall Street Journal article at this link.   

IDC

  • Frank Gens, an analyst with market-research concern IDC in Framingham, Mass., said "the companies also are united by a rivalry with Microsoft, and they'd like to influence the future of online business before Microsoft extends its influence."  IBM and Google stressed that much of the infrastructure will be open-source programs that are freely available, rather than proprietary software programs such as those sold by Microsoft".   Quote comes from the Wall Street Journal Article at this link.  Frank Gens has also been quoted as saying "In some ways, the cloud is a natural next step from the grid-utility model.   What’s different is the Google programming model, and that really opens things up.  You don’t have to be a Stanford or Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. to program cloud applications" Quote found at this NY Times article.
  • IDC's recent report:  IDC Predictions 2008: The Post-Disruption Marketplace Takes Shape  included a reference to cloud computing.  "IBM (and Google) announced "cloud computing" offerings this fall: online access to Internet-scale computing and programming resources, particularly useful for supporting Web 2.0 applications.  Look for other players, including HP and Sun, to expand their offerings for flexible online access to computing resources.  Telecom operators will be an important channel for this especially to the SMB space.  And with their well-publicized massive investments in "mega" datacenters, look for Google and Microsoft to make their mark in this space as well"

Gartner  (October 2007)  "Watch for vendor rhetoric around cloud computing to expand during 2008 as more infrastructure and application platform vendors jump into the game.  Participating vendors, technology standards and a rich set of enterprise offerings are unlikely to stabilize before 2010".  Quote found at this link.

  • David W. Cearley and Tom Austin of Gartner  "Cloud computing, as the term is popularly used, refers to the delivery of a range of IT capabilities (such as infrastructure applications) as an externally sourced service".  Read more at this link.
  • Martin Reynolds, an analyst at Gartner.  "The big goal is how the technology industry can encourage the next generation of computer scientists to figure out how to build software that can run in these massively parallel environments."  ALSO "It's a fundamental shift in computer science.  What we are looking at here is an exercise to try and make parallel computing applicable to every day computer problems.  In the long run, about five to 10 years, these programs will start to show results."   Found this quote at this link.    Read more about Gartner's reaction on IBM Blue Cloud initiative at this link.

David Mitchell, an analyst at Ovum, There are few important elements that I see in this.  This is a move beyond grid or utility computing, blending in elements of Web 2.0 and social networking – aiming to unlock a greater amount of innovation, driven by the social elements that are key to unlocking innovation.  This moves utility computing further up the technology stack than before.”   He added, “The ability to rapidly provision new capacity is increased substantially, lots of different configurations can be deployed quickly – the integration of Tivoli products is one of the key enablers here.  The degree of technical flexibility is strong.  The other Tivoli element to the announcement is that there is fine grained tracking of usage, that can be used as the basis for different types of charging and pricing regimes.”  Found this quote in the San Jose Mercury News article

Zeus Kerravala, SVP of Enterprise Research at Yankee Group Research"As the data center continues to evolved, the network will as well.  The virtualized data centers of the future will be built on pools of resources that will be interconnected by the network.  In essence, the network will become the backplane of the virtual data center and play many roles.  The network will be application fluent and be the service orchestration engine that will govern what resources go to which applications.  The network is where many SOA services will reside and the network will automatically provision resources when and where they are needed."  Quote comes from The Future of the Data Center.

Gordon Haff,  Principal IT Advisor of Illuminata.  "It’s not just about the enterprise, just about the consumer, or just about delivering entire applications.  Software as a Service (SaaS), Hardware as a Service (HaaS), Data as a Service (DaaS), and Web 2.0 are all part of the cloud.  Even hosting providers are a sort of specialized, narrow case.  We take such a broad view because all of these intersecting sub-categories do share at least one common characteristic: the Network is the abstraction layer.  The network may not always completely mask the computing infrastructure behind it, but it hides considerable detail and mostly allows access through “Web-y” protocols, languages, and standards like HTTP, RSS, XML, Javascript, and REST."  Quote found at this link.

  • Gordon Haff was also interviewed in a recent IT Business Edge Article.  He says  "Few people argue with the basic premise that cloud computing can be a great tool for enterprises.  However, many issues must be worked through before it is called on to handle core applications and sensitive data.  IT and other decision makers must be confident of clouds' security and reliability.  Today, however, there are non-mission-critical applications that businesses — especially SMBs — readily send into the clouds."   To read the full interview, see the article:  Cloud Computing: Not Ready for Corporate Prime Time?

Richard Jones, vice president and service director for the data center strategies service, the Burton Group was interviewed recently for an article in the IT Business Edge.  He said:  "Organizations have to move from traditional client/server and SOA-based applications [that are dependent on static allocation of resources].  What's happening here is virtualization — granted, everyone is pounding on that term — helping to break those barriers down from the technological perspective."  For more information, read the article Cloud Computing Changes Are Political as Well as Technical.

What Others Are Saying

IBM has unveiled plans for “Blue Cloud,” a series of cloud computing offerings that will allow corporate data centers to operate more like the Internet by enabling computing across a distributed, globally accessible fabric of resources, rather than on local machines or remote server farms. IBM is currently collaborating on cloud computing initiatives with select corporations, universities, Internet-based enterprises and government agencies, including the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology, which this week announced a cloud computing project with IBM.  See the press release for more information.   Also see the IBM Press Kit

Marc Andresson in his blog post:  "I think there will also be a generational shift here.  Level 3 platforms are "develop in the browser" — or, more properly, "develop in the cloud".  Just like Internet applications are "run in the browser" — or, more properly, "run in the cloud".  The cloud being large-scale Internet services run on behalf of users by large Internet companies and other entities.  I think that kids coming out of college over the next several years are going to wonder why anyone ever built apps for anything other than "the cloud" — the Internet — and, ultimately, why they did so with anything other than the kinds of Level 3 platforms that we as an industry are going to build over the next several years — just like they already wonder why anyone runs any software that you can't get to through a browser".   Read full post  The three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet.   

William Vambenepe (an architect in the application and middleware management part of Oracle’s Enterprise Manager division) has a blog "IT management in a changing IT world".  On it he has a very interesting and relevant post titled IT management in a world of utility IT

National Center for Data Mining:   "Cloud computing is a critical piece of the infrastructure that allows companies such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon and Microsoft to provide their services.   A cloud provides computing resources or services over the Internet.  A storage cloud provides storage services; a data cloud provides data management services; and a computing cloud provides computational services.  Often these are layered to create a stack of cloud services that provide a computing platform for developing cloud-based applications."  Read more at The National Center for Data Mining (NCDM) website at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Princeton University Workshop  "Computing In the Cloud" was held Jan 14 -15, 2008.  "'Computing in the cloud' is one name for services that run in a Web browser and store information in a provider’s data center — ranging from adaptations of familiar tools such as email and personal finance to new offerings such as virtual worlds and social networks."  This workshop brought together experts from computer science, law, politics and industry to explore the social and policy implications of this trend.  The workshop featured many different speakers.  Check out the agenda at Computing In the Cloud.   The complete video from all sessions can be viewed/downloaded here.  

  • Princeton University Workshop Fourth Panel:  Computing in the Cloud: What's next?  "This panel explores the new services might develop, and how will today's services might evolve.  How well will cloud computing be likely to serve users, companies, investors, government, and the public over the longer run? Which social and policy problems will get worse due to cloud computing, and which will get better? "  Another source for the video for the fourth panel is at Jesse Robbins blog post here.  That video is helpful as it has tags associated with the content.

e-Science Institute Wiki.  An interesting academic discussion here:  http://wiki.esi.ac.uk/Cloud_Computing

Sun's Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer  is talking about the Red-Shift Theory.  See him talking about it at Sun's Analyst Summit 2007 on video here.  See also the Wikipedia entry for Red Shift.

Amazon is pushing their Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, also known as "EC2", which allows scalable deployment of applications.  Current users are able to create, launch and terminate server instances on demand, hence the term "elastic".  See the Wikipedia entry for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

Dell has announced their Dell Cloud ComputingTM  Solution.  They say it is "designed to provide data center optimization, increased energy efficiency, and lower deployment and overall management overhead for customers whose IT infrastructure, or compute cloud, is the “factory” for their business. These data-intensive customers include major providers of goods and services over the Internet, financial services organizations, national government agencies, institutional university and laboratory environments and upstream petroleum producers."   Read their press release here.  For more information on Dell Data Center Solutions and the Dell Cloud Computing Solution, visit www.dell.com/cloudcomputing.

Microsoft:  Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft Business Division says:  "We are laying out a roadmap for new Microsoft Business Division services and investments designed to increase computing options and break down barriers for everyone from individuals to large corporations," Raikes stated. "The new offerings and programs … represent the next phase of the division's strategy for online services."   Quote from Microsoft Follows Google Into Cloud Computing

Cisco has announced a new high end switch for the datacenter.  Accompanying the announcement is their new software layer "Fabric" (See link to Business Week Article below).  Cisco's Press Release (links below) said:  "Cisco builds on its data center leadership and innovation with the introduction of the new Cisco Nexus family of products and additions to its Cisco Catalyst Series.  The Cisco Nexus family was developed to meet customer demands for more efficient and sustainable next-generation data centers.  New modular, fixed and blade additions to the Catalyst Series continue to build on switch innovations and an architectural approach specifically designed to unify all components of the data center."

Wipro Infotech president Suresh Vaswani   "The domestic and APAC arm of India’s third largest software exporter is also venturing into cloud computing.  “We plan to take two approaches to the market — firstly, tap the top 300-400 customers in a market and, secondly, offer cloud computing services to the mid-market customers"   ALSO…Says Mr Vaswani, "Though early days yet, many mid-market customers will start questioning why should they invest on their own infrastructure when they can avail of services like this.  Cloud computing is a future business driver for us.’’ Wipro Infotech plans to soon structure its business into `on premise computing’ and `cloud computing."  Quote from an Economic Times article at this link.

Salesforce.com  "Cloud computing, or Platform-as-a-Service, has enormous potential for the enterprise," said Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff in a statement.  "Cloud computing offers almost unlimited computing power and collaboration at a massive scale.  With Force.com Platform-as-Service, we are providing the necessary building blocks to make cloud computing real for the enterprise."  Quote found at this link.  

Shelly Palmer's:  Living in a Cloud – The Present Future of Wireless Connectivity.  Shelly Palmer is Managing Director, Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC    This paper written in 2006 is from a perspective of someone in the Media Industry.  Excerpt: "What are the probable futures of massive broadband clouds in America?  With the statutory transition from digital to analog television less than three years away, the possibilities may be endless, but the probabilities are much easier to calculate.  As the various frequencies that are currently occupied by analog television signals become available at auction, we should see an extraordinary amount of activity by the big Internet, communications, media, entertainment and electronics companies all moving towards a single goal – life in the cloud."  Get the article at this link.

Other Bloggers.   There are many bloggers talking about cloud computing.  http://technorati.com/tag/cloudcomputing

So that represents a little of the buzz that is out in the medial  There is so much more, but this gives you a feel for it all. I think you'll agree that Cloud Computing is a broad concept and that it will become a truly disruptive force in the years and decades to come.

IBM’s 5 in 5

IBM has a list it calls the Next 5 in 5.  This is a list coming out of IBM research that provides a list of five innovations that are going to change the way we live in the next five years.  The next 5 in 5 according to IBM are

  1. We will be able to access healthcare remotely, from just about anywhere in the world
  2. Real-time speech translation—once a vision only in science fiction—will become the norm
  3. There will be a 3-D Internet
  4. Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance
  5. Our mobile phones will start to read our minds

For more information, access the IBM 5 in 5 website where you can read up on each of the five and download a PDF.