Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Opinion

For Cloud Computing Solutions, Look for Business Outcomes, Not Definitions

Maturing cloud technologies help organizations build solutions to meet their business needs

A couple of weeks ago, I attended IBM's Cloud Innovation Analyst Forum in Chicago. The event kicked off with a panel discussion where company customers, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Top Coder and Colleagues in Care, discussed their experiences with solutions powered by IBM cloud technologies. The benefits that the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee gained in reducing SAP client set-up time by 90% was especially impressive and went right into the heart of the problem of supporting 80,000 students in multiple campus settings. Reducing backup time by 99% overcame time constraints and helped reduce their risk as well.

Interestingly, some of the analysts in the audience expressed concern about whether this was really a cloud solution. In fact, we often hear that using virtualization and application service provider (ASP) or other hosting models does not qualify as a cloud solution. To an extent, these concerns are right as SaaS providers do utilize different architecture models, like web services fine-tuned to provide multi-tenancy applications with a low entry point for consumers. As an example, SalesForce has entry points as low as $50 a year for basic contact management capability that can be enhanced with full web service capabilities for approximately $300 a year.

From an IT perspective, cloud computing is really a management layer, mostly on top of virtualization, that supports a portfolio of service capabilities like security, elasticity, provisioning and configuration management. Customers can pick just one or several of the capabilities that most appropriately address their specific challenges, allowing them to harvest low hanging fruit with the least effort.

As a result, cloud computing has grown from its infancy to an adolescent with a wealth of benefits that customers cannot ignore. If they choose to craft a solution that does not meet a formal or full definition of cloud computing, that should not dissuade them or their technology providers in spreading the word of the value they gained.

After running 300+ CloudCamps all over the world, their co-founder, Dave Nielsen, came up with a simple definition of cloud computing. Is it OSSM (aka Awesome) in the sense of having the characteristics of: On-demand, Self-Service, Scalability and Measurement? Many or even most solutions typically have some measure of all of these. However, if your solution is less than OSSM in that it does not meet all of these requirements, it is something worth implementing in order to meet business challenges.

Today, cloud computing is moving into a more mature stage. Customers are no longer asking "What is cloud?" but "How do I leverage it?" In the case of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the maximum benefit was successfully provisioning and backing-up self-service SAP instances to students. Small customers and departmental applications may not need a Cadillac version of a cloud computing solution but could gain significant advantage over competitors by just finding the path of least resistance. While leveraging new technologies, customers look to gain maximum benefit and do not (and should not) prioritize meeting cloud definitions while optimizing the IT environments.

In conclusion, let's accept that cloud computing has gone beyond its initial phases and has evolved to a fairly mature level. It is time to get past the definitions and celebrate the value that the technology brings to individual customer solutions. It is time for customers to ask whether every investment they make takes advantage of at least some benefits of cloud technology.

Disclosure: IBM paid for a one night stay in Chicago

PS: If interested in keeping up with the maturing and evolution of cloud computing, please attend the Cloud Computing bootcamp in NYC held as a track with CloudExpo. The agenda is constantly transforming along with the ecosystem.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

Latest Stories
With more than 30 Kubernetes solutions in the marketplace, it's tempting to think Kubernetes and the vendor ecosystem has solved the problem of operationalizing containers at scale or of automatically managing the elasticity of the underlying infrastructure that these solutions need to be truly scalable. Far from it. There are at least six major pain points that companies experience when they try to deploy and run Kubernetes in their complex environments. In this presentation, the speaker will d...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it's important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. "Fly two mistakes high" is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Le...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
CI/CD is conceptually straightforward, yet often technically intricate to implement since it requires time and opportunities to develop intimate understanding on not only DevOps processes and operations, but likely product integrations with multiple platforms. This session intends to bridge the gap by offering an intense learning experience while witnessing the processes and operations to build from zero to a simple, yet functional CI/CD pipeline integrated with Jenkins, Github, Docker and Azure...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Dhiraj Sehgal works in Delphix's product and solution organization. His focus has been DevOps, DataOps, private cloud and datacenters customers, technologies and products. He has wealth of experience in cloud focused and virtualized technologies ranging from compute, networking to storage. He has spoken at Cloud Expo for last 3 years now in New York and Santa Clara.
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.