History repeating: Why cloud computing could revisit the mistakes of the 1980s PC boom | TechRepublic

A conference speech I gave a couple of weeks ago is reported in a nice piece on TechRepublic…

History repeating: Why cloud computing could revisit the mistakes of the 1980s PC boom | TechRepublic.

But if you want to read a more detailed piece on this idea check out the original posting on this blog:

https://utilitycomputing.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/cloud-computing-%E2%80%93-it%E2%80%99s-so-%E2%80%9880s/

Our Fifth Report is out – Management implications of the Cloud

The fifth report in our Cloud Computing series for Accenture has just been published. This report looks at the impact Cloud Computing will have on the management of the IT function, and thus the skills needed by all involved in the IT industry. The report begins by analysing the impact Cloud might have in comparison to existing outsourcing project. It considers the core-capabilities which must be retained in a “cloud future”, considering how these capabilities might be managed, and the role of systems integrators in managing the Cloud.

Please use the comments form to give us feedback!

Cloud and the future of Business 5 – Management .

Our Fourth Report: Innovation: Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation –

Our fourth report on Cloud Computing is now available… This report looks at the future of business, mapping out the concept of the Cloud Corporation, and discusses the fragmentation and redevelopment of the technology supply industry. In particular we discuss how the industry may become layered and increasingly specialised – with organisations benefiting from the business agility and better alignment offered this will create.

Click on the image below for the full report.

Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation - Part Four: Innovation

Second Report is here! The Challenges of Cloud.

http://outsourcingunit.org/publications/Cloudreport2_Challenges.pdf

 
In this second (of five) reports for Accenture on Cloud Computing we explore the challenges faced by firms.



Unlike other reports we do not dwell on technologically deterministic problems alone (security being one example). Instead we extend this discussion to include issues such as institutional lock-in. Such lock-in occurs when an organisations adoption of a SaaS can lead their users to become quickly locked into the ongoing development strategy of that SaaS whether it aligns with the organisations strategic aims or not. It is hard to get users who like a SaaS to stop using it if it aligns with their desires and aims even if it is against overall company objectives.

We also discuss Service Level Agreements – discussing why the challenges are not what people believe. The key is understanding the challenge of multi-tenancy for a service provider.

Enjoy!

 

Our 2nd Report: Meeting the challenges of cloud computing – Accenture Outlook

http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-Outlook-Meeting-the-challenges-of-cloud-computing.pdf

Our second Accenture report on Cloud Computing is about to be published!  As a taster the above link takes you to a short synopsis (Published in the Accenture Outlook Points of View series). I will post a link to the full report when it is out.

While in danger of providing a summary on a summary, this second report builds on our first “Promise of Cloud Computing”  report to analyse the challenges faced by a move to cloud. We identify the following key challenges:

Challenge #1: Safeguarding data security

Challenge #2: Managing the contractual relationship

Challenge #3: Dealing with lock-in

Challenge #4: Managing the cloud

Once you read the paper I would love to hear your views – please use the add comments link at the bottom of this section (its quite small!) or email me directly on w.venters@lse.ac.uk

I would also suggest you also review the whole report when it is out – much of the important detail is missing from this shorter synopses.

SLA’s and the Cloud – the risks and benefits of multi-tenanted solutions.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)  are difficult to define in the cloud in part because areas of the infrastructure (in particular the internet connection) are outside of the scope of either customer or supplier. This leads to the challenge of presenting a contractual agreement for something which is only partly in the suppliers control. Further as the infrastructure is shared (multi-tenanted) SLA’s are more difficult to provide since they rest on capacity which must be shared.

The client using the Cloud is faced a challenge. Small new cloud SaaS providers, which are  increasing their business and attracting more clients to their multi-tenanted data-centre, are unlikely to provide usefully defined SLA for their services than that which a data-centre provider can offer where it controls all elements of the supplied infrastructure.  Why would they – their business is growing and an SLA is a huge risk (since it is multi-tenanted breach of one SLA is probably a breach of lots – the payout might seem small and poor to the client but is large for a SaaS provider!). Further with each new customer the demands on the data-centre, and hence risk,  increase. Hence the argument that as SaaS providers become successful the risk of SLAs being breached might increase.

There is however a counter-point to this growth risk though – as each new customer begins to use the SaaS they will undertake their own due-diligence  checks. Many will attempt to stress test the SaaS service. Some will want to try to hack the application. As the customer base grows (and moves towards blue-chip clients) the seriousness of this testing will increase – security demands in particular will be tested as bigger and bigger companies consider their services. This presents a considerable opportunity for the individual user. For with each new customer comes the benefit of increasing stress testing of the SaaS platform – and increasing development of skills within the SaaS provider. While the SLA may continue to be poor, the risk of failure of the data-centre may well diminish as the SaaS grows.

To invoke a contract is, in effect, a failure in a relationship – a breakdown in trust. Seldom does the invocation of a contract benefit either party. The aim of an SLA is thus not just to provide a contractual agreement but rather to set out the level of service on which the partnership between customer and supplier is based. In this way an SLA is about the expected quality demanded of the supplier and with the above model the expected quality may well increase with more customers – not decrease as is usually envisaged for cloud. SLA’s for cloud providers may well be trivial and poor, but the systemic risk of using Clouds is not as simplistic as is often argued.  While it is unsurprising that cloud suppliers offer poor SLA’s (it is not in their interest to do otherwise), it does not mean that the quality of service is, or will remain, poor.

So what should the client consider in looking at the SLA offering in terms of service quality?

1) How does the Cloud SaaS supplier manage its growth? The growth of a SaaS service means greater demand on the providers data-centre. Hence greater risk that the SLA’s will be breached for their multi-tenanted data-centre.

2) How open is the Cloud SaaS provider in allowing testing of its services by new customers?

3) How well does the Cloud SaaS provider’s strategic ambition for service quality align with your desires for service quality.

Obviously these questions are in addition to all the usual SLA questions.