Monday, January 5, 2009

Techaha - "The Battle"

A tech-oriented cartoon from Dave Walker:
cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Patent Filed By Microsoft For Cloud Computing

On Christmas Day, 25DEC2008, a patent was issued to Microsoft for a "Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience." The exact words of the filing's abstract are as follows:

"A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected. The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed. An administrator may use a similar user interface to set performance levels for each computer in a network, allowing performance and cost to be set according to a user's requirements."

Okay, in other words, users would be able to acquire a PC for little or no cost and pay to use different programs as services (being charged as you use them), like a cell phone concept. This would be limitless cloud computing to for a fee.
According to Donald Melanson at Engadget (see his diagram of the concept above) stated it "sounds somewhat similar to the 'managed PC' that Microsoft developed with Korea's KT telecom a few years back." Pay-as-you-go would make computers quite a bit more affordable to the masses giving the hardware most likely longer life spans. A major downside to this whole idea is that it would allow Microsoft to exclusively set and control pricing on use of software used on a system such as this. But we all can relax for now as this was just a patent that was filed and Microsoft is probably trying to cover their bases since there has been a flurry of cloud computing initiatives going on. (source:

Friday, January 2, 2009

What Is "Cloud Computing"? & Related IT Issues

Cloud computing is Internet-based ("cloud") development and use of computer technology ("computing"). The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet, based on how it is depicted in computer network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals. It is a style of computing in which IT-related capabilities are provided “as a service”, allowing users to access technology-enabled services from the Internet ("in the cloud") without knowledge of, expertise with, or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them.Cloud Computing is a paradigm in which information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and cached temporarily on clients that include desktops, entertainment centers, tablet computers, notebooks, wall computers, handhelds, sensors, monitors, etc.

1. Invest some time in understanding the term “Cloud Computing” – there are several easy-to-understand definitions and movies that have come out that make Cloud Computing a bit more understandable. This one was done at the 2008 Web 2.0 Expo. Then came the GoGrid “Cloud Computing in Plain English”. Recently, there is a new “In Plain English” from the actual Common Craft folks (whom we got our inspiration from). And here is a more technical presentation that came out recently. Regardless, there are lots of sources out there for quick understandings. I have been maintaining a Bookmark RSS feed as well of many of the Cloud Computing blogs and sites. Subscribe to that feed for updated links. Also, read through the popular Cloud Computing Group on Google. Lastly, you can check Wikipedia for their ever evolving definition of Cloud Computing.

2. Do some research on different Cloud Providers – no Cloud Computing provider is the same, and the differentiation is continuing. Last year (2008), I introduced the idea of the Cloud Pyramid which has Cloud Applications (SalesForce) at the top, then Cloud Platforms (Google App Engine or Microsoft Azure) in the middle and finally Cloud Infrastructure (GoGrid and Amazon EC2) as the bottom foundation. Also hooked into it are Cloud Extenders (e.g., Amazon’s SQS) and Cloud Aggregators (RightScale). It’s pretty obvious that there are many choices to be made and that these are very specific to the type of business you are running. In fact, we will be further segmenting the IaaS (Cloud Infrastructure) section more over the next few weeks. Briefly, GoGrid is now being positioned as a “CloudCenter” (which is essentially, a DataCenter equivalent but in the Cloud). More on that later. In the meantime, compile a series of questions for yourself and for your prospective provider. We will get a list together of things you might want to ask (post to come).

3. Review your IT Budget – If you are like most companies out there, you are going through your 2009 budgeting (or have done so already and are probably on your 10th revision now). One way to make your CFO happy is to reduce your Capital Expenditures (CapEx). The easiest way to do that is to really take a hard look at Cloud Computing. If you can slash your CapEx spend by downsizing your physical server footprints, you can easily upsize that same footprint in the Cloud.

4. Empower your Programmers – Cloud Computing offers something new to Programmers: the ability to programmatically control their IT infrastructure. Using an API, Programmers can skin the functionality provided by Clouds as well as develop “intelligent” applications that scale dynamically, for example.

5. Empower your IT Staff – Be sure that you don’t ignore your IT Staff as you look at the Cloud as a physical IT infrastructure alternative. They have some best practices and standards that should be incorporated in what your IT strategies will be. Let them experiment with the Cloud so that they fully grasp what it can do for your organization. They may tell you that it is a great direction to go in, or, they may say that your current infrastructure simply cannot be ported to the Cloud. There may also be some hybrid solutions (like GoGrid’s Cloud Connect) that will give them the best of both worlds. (sources: by Michael Sheehan /