Cloud Pleasing

Cloud Pleasing

Technology vendors have wised-up and are rushing to the cloud to give customers what they want. 


You want cloud?  


You got cloud!


Cloud Computing with the virtually infinite promise for flexible, cost-effective, on-demand computing–all centrally managed by the vendor–you can sleep easy at night, oh baby. 


CIOs love it. 


The only problem as everyone moves to the cloud is the promise of the cloud continues to fall short


Now how unpopular a thing to say is that? 


Take out the guillotine…


Seriously though, it was supposed to be flexible, but it isn’t so much as vendors contract with customers for multi-year deals and customers find switching vendors not quite so easy…anyone hear of vendor lock-in?


Also, cloud was supposed to be more cost-effective, but vendors still need to make their margins, so longer commitments, service bundling, minimum fixed costs, and variable month-to-month pricing–sure helps things add BIG DOLLARS for the cloud vendor. 


Then you have vendors that simply call everything cloud…ah, “cloud washing” that is.  If you think you are getting cloud (even if it ain’t so much so), yippee are you happy…you have drunk the cool-aid and it is sweet.


Technology leaders swooping into a new job want to come in with a bang…”Hey, look what I did to modernize, transform, reinvent, revolutionize…and save money too–thank G-d, they hired me.”


So cloud, cloud, cloud…it sounds so CLOUD PLEASING, I mean crowd-pleasing. 


Whether in the specific situation it’s better or not, that’s not the point, stupid. 


At least, it’s out of our hair–let the vendor worry about it!


One, two, three…everyone say “CLOUD!” 😉

Rejuvenate Like A Starfish

Good video on centralization vs. decentralization.

A spider is the model of a centralized organism or organization–cut of the head and the thing is dead.

But a starfish is the epitome of one that is decentralized–if you cut off one of the arms (it doesn’t have a head) of a Blue Linckia starfish, it just grows another one. And if you cut off all five arms, it grows five new starfish.

So when it comes to organizations, do you want one like a spider, where all power, decision-making, and talent is concentrated at the top, and if you lose your senior executive(s), you’ve lost the innovation or operational effectiveness of the entire organization (think what happened when Apple lost Steve Jobs as an example)?

Or do you want to be an organization that is more decentralized (less hierarchical) like the Starfish–where talent is widely dispersed and work is delegated to the many within. Here the organization’s very survival is not threatened when something happens at the top or to somebody.

In most cases, there is no perfect spider or starfish organization, but more of a hybrid model, where some functions (like HR, finance, communications) are centralized and others are decentralized (based on specific business expertise).

To me the main point here is that an organization is made up of many individuals, and everyone in the organization is valuable; no one person can do everything and we should leverage each person according to their strengths and help them on their weaknesses. This gives each individual and the organization the best chance of rejuvenation and survival. 😉

>Zipcar = Cloud Computing

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No, not exactly. But they actually do have a lot in common in that they are both about sharing resources and using them to achieve cost-savings and flexibility.

An article in Fortune Magazine (September 14, 2009) on Zipcars really got me thinking about this.

With cloud computing, we are sharing our IT infrastructure, storage, and/or applications with others and using the services of cloud providers. It is one big virtual environment, where instead of everyone having their own technologies and applications, we make use of shared resources and we meet our information technology needs on demand and pay only for what we use.

Zipcars has the same-shared model as the cloud, and shifting toward this new paradigm is going to help preserve the environment.

Usage: Like cloud computing, Zipcars provides for the use of automobile when you need one and you pay by the hour or day, according to what you use. It’s flexible, saves money, and cuts down on the number of vehicles on the road and therefore on the pollution associated with them.

Cost: Both Zipcars and cloud computing cost pennies on the dollar. For a basic $50 membership and $11.25 an hour you can drive a Zipcar (note: drivers who give up their own cars save an average of $800 per month). For 12-25 cents per month you can store a gigabyte in the cloud or for 10 cents-$1.25 an hour you can process tasks on the Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2).

Functionality: Zipcars move people around and cloud computing moves data.

Centralization: Zipcars are co-located in “company created ‘pods’ or group of cars in parking lots or garages,” and cloud computing services are centralized in data centers of large cloud providers (like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM)

Market: Zipcars has grown already to 325,000 members and is growing 30% a year with a overall market for shared vehicles expected to balloon to $800 million over the next five years (Fortune), and business IT spending on cloud computing is expected to rise from $16 billion last year to $42 billion by 2012 (IDC).

Users: Major companies (not just individuals) are using Zipcars—so far “about 8,500 companies have signed up, including Lockheed Martin, Gap, and Nike.” And brand name companies are signing up for cloud computing, such as NY Times, NASDAQ, Major League Baseball, ESPN, Hasbro and more. (http://www.johnmwillis.com/other/top-10-entperises-in-the-cloud/).

Going green: Each shared Zipcar “takes up to 20 cars off the road as members sell their rides or decide not to buy new ones.” Each move to cloud computing makes some or all of organizations unique servers, storage devices, and applications obsolete.

The trend: With the transportation market, the future will be “a blend of things like the Zipcar, public transportation, and private car ownership (according to Bill Ford), and with the IT industry, the future will be a combination of cloud computing, managed services, and in-house IT service provision.

Zipcars and cloud computing are benefiting from the new shared services model driven by cost-savings, flexibility, efficiencies of allotment, and eco-consciousness. These are driving change in our usage of transportation and computing for the better.