Demystifying Cloud

2016 will be the Year that People Finally Stop Immediately Associating Cloud with IaaS

Article written by Leo Reiter

Before I look into the proverbial crystal ball again, let's see how I did on my 2015 prediction, which was: 2015 will be the year that enterprise software ISVs embrace cloud licensing.  Well, while not universally true, we've seen good progress there.  It's hard to argue with the success of cloud licensing for major ISVs like Microsoft and Adobe, but technical computing, as usual, is lagging a bit.  However, while not exactly 2015, I happen to know (confidentially) that we will see some

Is Ubiquitous Internet Access Gating Public Cloud Adoption?

 
Article written by Leo Reiter
 
I recently had a friendly email debate with an experienced executive and investor who I respect tremendously. I argued that I would never pitch a private cloud idea to a venture capitalist knowing what I know now, and that new investment should go into public cloud technologies as a bet on the future. It’s true that private/hybrid cloud is strong today and will continue to be relevant, but the really explosive growth – the transformative growth – is in the public cloud space. As large scale computer systems and networks mature and we spend more time solving problems with them than putting them together, it’s only logical that we simply outsource their operation to others (who specialize in that sort of thing). Obviously private cloud operation is commonly outsourced/hosted as well, but the context of the discussion generally assumed such clouds would be operated on premises.

Inevitably the objection of ubiquitous internet access came up, as did my standard rebuttal of “not long ago we had the same concern about electricity”. I wholeheartedly believe this comparison is valid – Internet connectivity is as key to our progress today as electricity was a century ago – so I decided to do a simple comparison of the evolution of the two megatrends. Specifically, what are the inflection points we can compare? And… if we agree that the (developed) world assumes ubiquitous electricity, how long before the same can be said about reliable Internet connectivity?
 

Private Cloud or Public Cloud?

 
Article written by Leo Reiter

I’ll be very clear up front… I am not a big believer in private cloud (versus public cloud) for most organizations and use cases. But in the spirit of objectivity, let’s look at both approaches and when one makes more sense over the other. I reserve the right to offer my biased but carefully thought out perspective along the way, because well, this is my column after all!
 
Let’s start at the beginning…
 
What is Private Cloud?

Private cloud, unlike public cloud, begins with dedicated infrastructure. Customers leveraging private cloud enjoy the benefits of not having to compete with other “tenants” for resources. The flip side of this (among many other issues) is that capacity is fixed, until it’s explicitly increased, but more on that later.

How are Cloud Applications Different?


Article written by Leo Reiter

One of the most often misunderstood concepts in cloud computing is the architecture of the applications themselves. Cloud applications are different than traditional workloads in many ways, and getting the architecture wrong can mean the difference between something that scales while delivering reliable service and something fragile that falls terribly short.
 

Cloud “Hosting”?

Software Licensing and its Impact on Cloud Strategy


Article written by Leo Reiter

With so much to think about regarding providers, platforms, and delivery models, it’s often easy to overlook the most critical part of any cloud computing strategy: the applications. After all, without applications, there’s simply no use for any computing, whether it’s cloud-based or not. Once we start to focus on applications, the complexities and intricacies of software licensing immediately become “front and center”.
 
In an ideal world, all cloud applications would be open source and providers would get paid on usage, which they would apply to system and software support. But in the real world, we often depend on vendors and thus have to pay careful attention to their proprietary software licenses. Not only is this understanding critical for compliance, but it can also steer cloud adoption strategy itself. Let’s consider the 3 primary ways vendors license software and how this plays in cloud computing…
 

Containers Explained


Article written by Leo Reiter
 
It’s hard to spend any time in cloud computing today without hearing or reading about containers. Let’s understand what they are, and why they are disrupting the landscape so much…
 
Containers, the “Elevator Pitch”

Containers take individual applications and their dependencies (libraries, configuration files, etc.), and package them up for easy deployment on any virtual or physical infrastructure. Unlike virtual machines they do not capture full operating system “images” (complete with device drivers, boot loaders, etc.). This makes them much lighter weight, faster to launch, and easier to move, without giving up many of the benefits of virtualization. Simply stated, containers are much more agile and scalable for today’s most demanding applications.

Choosing the Right Class of Public Cloud Service


Article written by Leo Reiter
 
If you’re in the market for public cloud services, it’s extremely important to understand what class of service best aligns with your needs as a buyer. Most public cloud services can be categorized into one of three classes:
 
Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is something we all use almost every day, sometimes without even realizing it. It combines preconfigured software “best practices” with automated workflows to solve end user problems directly. SaaS hides the underlying complexity of infrastructure orchestration and application management. It also reduces integration effort with existing systems and tools, since it simplifies workflows for specific use cases. The result is immediate value without costly setup woes, combined with straightforward ways to pay for service. Examples of SaaS providers include Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com. SaaS is typically billed on a monthly recurring basis, per user, since the details of the underlying infrastructure are not exposed. Buyers range from individual end users (consumer or professional) to departments (who purchase in volume).