Thursday, July 31, 2008

Microsoft: "Cloud Computing is the Plan"

From the Wireless Business & Technology Cloud Computing News Desk :

"Ballmer highlighted software-plus-service, associating it with a 'platform in the cloud and delivering applications across PCs, phones, TVs, and other devices, at work and in the home' (Microsoft’s Mesh widgetry) and promised 'more about our cloud platform initiatives and the next versions of our Live and Online technologies' at the company’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) at the end of October."

CC Tidbits

Interesting tidbits from Maureen O'Gara in Apple, Google, Yahoo & Cloud Computing:

  • Industry gadfly John Dvorak is advancing a theory culled from the blogosphere that Microsoft wants Yahoo for some all-important patent or another that would give it an edge in cloud computing, SaaS and portable search advertising.
  • Appirio, the two-year-old start-up with products and professional services using software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) from Google and that are supposed to jumpstart enterprises on the on-demand path, has gotten a $5.6 million B round from Sequoia Capital, the VC behind Google, Yahoo, LinkIn and PayPal. Appirio’s widgetry is also supposed to connect the Amazon, Google and salesforce clouds. It got a $1.1 million A round from and angels.
  • Apple’s first flirtation with the Cloud has turned stormy. The Wall Street Journal’s great and powerful technology critic Walt Mossberg, a known Apple devotee, has panned its $99-a-year corporate-style synchronization service as unreliable. MobileMe, which includes 20GB of online storage, web-based apps and an online photo gallery, is supposed to synch people’s e-mail, contacts, calendars and bookmarks across Windows computers as well as Mac, iPhones and iPods. Mossberg says it’s problem-ridden and “ragged.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Correlative Analytics: Cloud Computing Google Mindshare

Correlative Analytics (A.K.A. "The Google Way of Science") postulates that extremely large databases of information, starting in the petabyte level, may be sufficient to skip the theory part of the scientific method. This line of thought promises that "googling" can now be used to make predicted observation on the nature of all sorts of things. Although I'm not a scientist, I thought that a Google "Mindshare" Analysis on cloud computing would be interesting.

First, I googled "cloud computing" and came up with a little over 1 million documents. I then "and-ed" that term with others I've routinely seen within the cloud computing space. The results were then used to come up with each terms "Cloud Computing Google Mindshare".

I'm sure that this snapshot doesn't say much, but as a baseline for a future Google Mindshare analysis, it could be valuable.

How do you think this could help in understanding the cloud computing marketplace? Please comment.

Term Cloud Computing Google Mindshare
Amazon 81.56%
Google 42.75%
Microsoft 40.73%
Yahoo 26.06%
IBM 22.29%
HP 16.15%
Intel 16.06%
Rackspace 8.83%
Cisco 8.22%
3Tera 5.55%
MobileMe 2.27%
Reuven Cohen 1.60%
Eric Schmidt 1.34%
Akamai 1.13%
Mosso 1.00%
Nirvanix 0.99%
DoD 0.88%
Boeing 0.78%
Gigaspaces 0.74%
DHS 0.41%
DISA 0.40%
Appistry 0.36%
Enomalism 0.31%
BAE 0.29%
Lockheed Martin 0.28%
Geva Perry 0.25%
Intelligence Community 0.24%
Northrop Grumman 0.21%
Raytheon 0.17%
Peter Laird 0.15%
BAH 0.12%
Bob Lozano 0.12%
General Dynamics 0.11%
Appirio 0.10%
XAP 0.09%

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What is Cloud Computing? -- Another view

Irving Wladasky-Berger, chairman emeritus of IBM's Academy of Technology, recently wrote and article on cloud computing titled "What is Cloud Computing, Anyway?". The following is my interpretation of a few of the excellent points he made:
  • Well designed cloud computing applications completely hide the underlying software and hardware
  • Cloud computing is part of the evolution of the Internet
  • Cloud applications scale up to support billions of users, a scale far bigger than what has been done to date
  • Cloud computing represents the "industrialization" of IT infrastructures and datacenters
  • Enterprises need to embrace cloud-like methodologies now !!

The entire article is well worth your time to read first hand

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dark Cloud Computing

In his blog article "The Rise of The Dark Cloud" Reuven Cohen wonders about a growing interest in covert computing. Although he briefly mentions malevolent uses of the net, the focus seems to be on a more active stance by corporations and governments to protect the Internet by covertly pooling resources in the form of a dark cloud or cloud alliance. The members would have a benevolent mission with an ability to counter or block network threats in a private, anonymous and quarantined fashion.

While this may sounds like a Internet United Nations Better Business Bureau, the underlying questions point right at the important of cloud computing for national security. As the world embraces cloud computing for its ubiquity, efficiency and cost savings, the world economic engine will become evermore dependent on cloud security and the active management of public-private cloud interfaces.

No wonder the US DoD is jumping on the bandwagon so quickly.

Friday, July 25, 2008

July Military Information Technology magazine

This month's issue of Military Information Technology magazine has the Army's Chief Information Officer, Lieutenant General Jeffrey A. Sorenson, on the cover. The enclosed special report, titled LANDWARNET Transformation, has a major article on net-centric operations by Bill Gerety, Dataline CEO and Major General US Army Reserve (and co-authored by yours truly). "Net-centricity: Adjusting the Focus" (MS Word version) discusses requirements for a successfully force transition to net-centricity and how cloud computing concepts can be used to support the effort. In view of DISA's foray into cloud computing, it makes interesting reading.

To quote from the article:

"In meeting these significant challenges, DISA has actively leveraged the fact that these requirements have parallels in the general information technology industry. This fact has led to the rapid adoption and implementation of many commercial solutions. Service oriented architecture (SOA), hardware virtualization, and grid computing are just a few of these. The latest of these adoptions seems to be Cloud Computing.

First coined by Sun Microsystems’s John Gage over twenty years ago Cloud Computing is now taken hold as the “next step in the Internet’s evolution. [1] This concept, however, is more than just the provisioning of computing resources (i.e. hardware, software, storage, services, etc.). The basic provisioning of infrastructure is the typical description of grid computing. Cloud computing is more in that it relates to the underlying architecture in which the application services are designed. The application not only runs in the cloud, but the cloud allows for the development, deployment, capacity growth, performance and reliability of the application as well.

When fully employed, cloud computing infrastructures, the middleware and the application platforms, should have the following characteristics:
  • Self-healing: In case of failure, there will be a hot backup instance of the application ready to take over without disruption (known as failover). It also means that if a failure causes the backup to become primary, the system will automatically launch a new backup to maintain required reliability policies.
  • SLA-driven: The system is dynamically managed by service-level agreements so that if the system is experiencing peaks in load, it will create additional instances of the application on more servers in order to comply with the committed service levels — even at the expense of a low-priority application.
  • Multi-tenancy: The system is built to allow the sharing of infrastructure, without the customers being aware of it and without compromising the privacy and security of each customer’s data.
  • Service-oriented: The system allows for the composing of applications out of discrete services that are loosely coupled and independent of each other (mash-ups). It also provides for reuse of services and prevents the changes or failure of one service to disrupt others.
  • Virtualized: Applications are decoupled from the underlying hardware. Multiple applications can run on one computer (i.e. VMware) or multiple computers can be used to run one application (grid computing).
  • Linearly Scalable: The system will be predictable and efficient in growing the application.
  • Data Management: The distribution, partitioning, security and synchronization of the system’s underlying data is actively managed"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"The Big Switch" and Intellipedia Highlighted

During last week's SOA-R session, Steven Armentrout referenced "The Big Switch" by Nicholas Carr as a very enlightened view of our changing world. On July 17th, Information Week's Richard Martin also referenced it:

"'One of the thorniest issues' raised by the rise of cloud computing, writes Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, a recent book about the shift of most common computing tasks and applications to the Internet, 'involves the variations in national laws governing the storage and use of personal and other information.'"

Richard also noted an earlier Wall Street Journal report:

"Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies are hesitantly harnessing the power of the cloud to better promote national security. 'Intellipedia lets 37,000 officials at the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other U.S. intelligence agencies share information and even rate one another for accuracy in password-protected wikis, some 'top secret,' reports Gordon Crovitz in The Wall Street Journal. "

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Does anybody really know what cloud computing is?

Less than 2% of the CIOs in an Infoworld survey said that cloud computing was a priority. The surveyed indicated that server virtualization and server consolidation are their No. 1 and No. 2 priorities. Following these two are cost cutting, application integration, and datacenter consolidation. At the bottom of the list of IT priorities are grid computing, open source software, content management, and cloud computing (called on-demand/utility computing in the survey).

Since cloud computing is all about virtualization and server consolidation these kind of numbers really concern me? Last week during the SOA-R education session, Bob Lozano of Appistry actually talked about how enterprises are integrating public and private clouds today in order to meet virtualization, consolidation and cost cutting goals. His full presentation is available in the SOA-R Interactive Networking Group wiki.

Elastra is also addressing this enerprise need. They are working on a version of Cloud Server for data center VMware environments, their "private clouds." The company's pitch is that IT departments need better tools to specify requirements and configure software to run on physical or virtual servers, regardless of whether the underlying systems are on premises or out in the public cloud. See John Foley's blog on Information Week in The Rise Of Enterprise-Class Cloud Computing.

Sam Charrington is even more definitive in the Open Web Developer's Journal:

"We're still relatively early in the cloud computing hype cycle but I strongly believe that in the future, most if not all server-side software applications will be deployed in a cloud-computing-like manner. That is not to say that all applications will be run in one of exactly five global clouds. On the contrary, every enterprise will have one or more 'clouds' into which they deploy applications."

CIO's should really re-think their views on cloud computing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Operation Golden Phoenix

This week, Dataline is participating in Operation Golden Phoenix. Operation Golden Phoenix is a four-day multi-agency collaborative training event designed to assist federal, state and local agencies with large and complex incident response scenarios. The exercise implements FEMA's concept of an all-hazards approach to emergency management fostering every level of government to partner to achieve common goals. It's designed to integrate emergency management planning into mainstream policy-making and operational systems. The lead agency for Golden Phoenix '08 is U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Many national and international participants and observers from over 100 federal agencies will attend. These include DHS, DOD (U.S. Navy), DEA, FBI, DOJ, DOE, Marine Corps Reserve, California National Guard, NGOs and industry partners.

During the exercise, a backpack-sized, Dataline solar powered mobile communications kit ( will be used to provide multi-path access to a MEDWEB ( telemedicine infrastructure. This will be a field test of the communications kit that features mobile, fast, reliable, secure communications capabilities over multiple WAN technologies as a telemedicine tool. During the exercise, patient registration tracking and triage system with subspecialty telemedicine reach back capabilities, and HL7/DICOM integration will be demonstrated.

This exercise is an example of how cloud computing techniques and infrastructures can be use to improve mission effectiveness in the national security arena. Successful deployment and employment of this type of capability in a joint DoD/DHS cloud can lead the way to enhanced homeland security.

For more on cloud computing in support of national security missions please see Cloud Computing in a Net-Centric Environment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

DISA Reaches out to Industry on Cloud Computing

In an interview with Computerworld , published in the New York Times, John Garing expanded on his goals for the DISA cloud computing initiative. Garing said that, "... he and his staff have met with their counterparts at businesses such as Google Inc., Inc., United Parcel Service of America Inc. and travel-reservation systems operator Sabre Holdings Corp. to talk about how the companies use technology. A pending trip to FedEx Corp. is scheduled for next week".

Garing said that he wants to learn all he can from the companies, and that it's important to do so "because most of us are the prisoners of our own experience." From the meetings that have been held thus far, Garing is convinced that cloud-based IT services will be the future of military data processing. Cloud computing is "going to be the way it has to be," he said. "We have to get to this standard environment that is provisionable and scalable."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cloud Computing is $160B Market

According to the Financial Post, a Merrill Lynch Note estimates that cloud computing could be a $160B market by 2011. The companies that they see in the marketplace are shown below in a Markus Klems diagram

SOA-R Educational Series: What is Cloud Computing

On July 16th, SOA-R held it's first of six educational sessions on cloud computing for national security missions. Presenters during this first event were:

Steven L Armentrout, PhD
President & CEO
"Grids, Clouds and Computation: Getting to Ground Truth under Mostly Cloudy Conditions"

Bob Lozano
Co-Founder & Chief Strategist
"Private Clouds: Cloud Computing for Intelligence, Defense and the Enterprise"

Todd Wiseman
Manager, Federal Enterprise
"Implications of cloud computing"

Greg Boss
Cloud Infrastructure Architect
"What is Cloud Computing?"

Presentations will be made available at the SOA-R Interactive Networking Group wiki. (Registration required for access)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gartner: Cloud Computing Fraught with Security Risks

Cloud computing is fraught with security risks, according to analyst firm Gartner. Smart customers will ask tough questions, and consider getting a security assessment from a neutral third party before committing to a cloud vendor, Gartner says in a June report titled “Assessing the Security Risks of Cloud Computing.”

The seven key risks are:
  1. Privileged user access
  2. Regulatory compliance
  3. Data location
  4. Data segregation
  5. Recovery
  6. Investigative support; and
  7. Long-term viability

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Definition of "Net-centric"

Last week, the Google Cloud Computing Group debated the definition of net-centric. The key thought was that net-centric was nothing more than internet-centric or basically "online" and therefore it really meant nothing. I kind of disagreed with that view and thought that I should repeat my thoughts here:

"In a true sense you're right about the definition of net-centric. Truth, however, is in the eyes of your target audience. In the DoD, Homeland Security and Intelligence Community world, net-centric warfare and net-centric operations are not simply about the act of being on-line. It's about applying the information you can glean from being on-line and applying that information to a specific situation.

The Net-Centric Environment is a framework for full human and technical connectivity and interoperability that allows all DOD users and mission partners to share the information they need, when they need it, in a form they can understand and act on with confidence, and protects information from those who should not have it.

Network Centric Operations (NCO) involves the development and employment of mission capability packages that are the embodiment of the tenets of Network Centric Warfare (NCW) in operations across the full mission spectrum. These tenets state that a robustly networked force improves information sharing and collaboration, which enhances the quality of information, the quality of awareness, and improves shared situational awareness. This results in enhanced collaboration and enables self-synchronization improving sustainability and increasing the speed of command, which ultimately result in dramatically increased mission effectiveness. …The tenets of NCW address these means and postulate how they can increase mission effectiveness.

Our mission is to facilitate global realization of the benefit inherent in Network Centric Operations. To that end, we seek to enable continuously increasing levels of interoperability across the spectrum of joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational industrial and commercial operations. We will execute this mission in good faith as a global organization with membership open to all enterprises in quest of applying the vast potential of network centric technology to the operational challenges faced by our nations and their citizens.

So while being connected is a requirement for net-centricity, that in itself is not sufficient to realize the possible benefits of net-centric operations. In some ways, our approach is to take internet connectivity as a given. Our focus is to ascertain and solve the barriers associated with realizing the results of internet connectivity. "

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cloud Computing Journal Launched

"The world's first journal devoted to the delivery of massively scalable IT resources as a service using Internet technologies has been launched by SYS-CON Media. The all-new "Cloud Computing Journal" is the latest in a series of leading-edge additions to its 25-plus stable of online and print publications such as Virtualization Journal, Web 2.0 Journal, AJAX & RIA Journal, Open Web Developer's Journal, and iPhone Developer's Journal ."

Monday, July 14, 2008

SOA-R First Session Presentations Announced

The presentations for the first session of the SOA-R Educational Series sesion have just been announced:

Steven L Armentrout, PhD
President & CEO

Grids, Clouds and Computation: Getting to Ground Truth under Mostly Cloudy Conditions

For the past decade - under the banners of distributed computing, cluster computing, grid computing and, now, cloud computing - network-centric computing architectures have evolved steadily toward the inevitable: computation delivered as an on-demand service. The economic, temporal and analytical benefits of this utility-style model are, indeed, compelling and now that secure implementations are available, Federal adoption has accelerated, albeit not as swiftly as the hype around it. This presentation will dispel many popular misconceptions about grids, clouds and computation. You will walk away with a greater understanding of the industry, as well as a checklist of considerations designed to help you effectively leverage "computation on demand."

Bob Lozano
Co-Founder & Chief Strategist

Private Clouds: Cloud Computing for Intelligence, Defense and the Enterprise

Seemingly from nowhere, cloud computing has become one of the hottest IT topics in 2008. For many IT practitioners, cloud computing represents IT services and infrastructure delivered by providers outside the enterprise via the Internet. While this will most certainly happen, many applications within Intelligence, Defense and Commercial Enterprises must remain within the firewall. For these organizations, the true opportunity represented by Cloud Computing is not simply the outsourcing of infrastructure, but the transformative effect the Cloud model will have within the organization. Every IT shop will become a cloud computing provider in its own right, operating a Private Cloud for its own applications. Today’s stove-piped application delivery models will give way to the cloud-based models of tomorrow. The rapid adoption of virtualization in the data center is only the first step.

Todd Wiseman
Manager, Federal Enterprise

Implications of cloud computing

Cloud computing or utility computing is not a new concept but is finally accelerating rapidly in today's marketplace due to a number of developments and forces. Google will demonstrate several examples of capabilities available today in the 'cloud' and where software-as-a-service is headed in the future.

Greg Boss
Cloud Infrastructure Architect

What is Cloud Computing?

This presentation will describe how the IBM HiPODS team leverages our world wide cloud centers to work closely with enterprise customers to developed best practices, workload patterns, and reusable assets for cloud computing. We will describe a high-level infrastructure framework and its underlying enablers, such as virtualization, automation, self-service portal, and monitoring. We will describe how IBM has pioneered these technologies and is using them internally in our own cloud implementation. We will also share examples of production cloud data centers that we have built for customers. Finally we will give a demonstration of a actual customer production cloud data center.

Cloud Storage as a Service

In SAN vs cloud storage - a gray or silver lining? , Joseph Hunkins review last December's observations of cloud storage by Chris Mellor of Techworld:

"Google does not use a storage area network (SAN). It has no world-wide network-attached storage (NAS) infrastructure. Instead it uses thousands of Linux servers with cheap disks - direct-attached storage (DAS) - and organises their contents inside its own Google File System (GFS).Cloud computing storage is the antithesis of traditional SAN and NAS storage. The good news is that relatively few organisations will have the size needed to build out cloud computing infrastructures. The bad news for SAN and NAS storage vendors is that they could be so incredibly massive as to trigger a significant migration of their customers to using storage-as-a-service on the massive clouds provided by Google, Amazon and others."

Of particular interest to me were his quotes on storage cost.

"Where SAN costs will run in the neighborhood of $20 per gigabyte, the (internal) cost of cloud storage by Google is reported to be about $1 per Gig. At Amazon E3 the cost is about $1.80 per year per Gigabyte of storage."

Meanwhile Symantec acquires Swapdrive announces it's new offering for cloud storage providers.

“We’re going to leverage our file system know-how to deliver next generation object storage for cloud computing,” said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president of the storage and availability management group. The system will mostly be used as the back end for Symantec Protection Network SaaS offerings, but will also be available to service-provider customers, according to Soderbery. Currently called Symantec Secure Scalable Storage (S4), the new system is slated for an alpha later this year, beta early next year and live availability for SaaS in mid-2009.

Bottom line is that cloud storage as a service is significantly cheaper than "build-your-own" SAN storage

Google: Model for the Systems Architecture of the Future

In December of 2005, Prof. Paul A. Strassmann of George Mason University, provided an excellent outline for cloud computing success in a netcentric environment:

Network-Centric Requirements (2010)
• Downtime (<> 1 Gigabyte/sec);
• Access (<> 8 sigma).

Network-Centric Principles (Google)
1. Build & operate protected information
2. Offer universal connectivity for:
– Collection, processing and storing of
– Provide secured communications.
3. Maintain shared data models;
4. Require continued upgrading & innovation.

Network Centric Architecture
Strategy: Occupy Internet
Labor and capital in network
Infrastructure is universal
Network controls in network
Pay for Use
Data assembled in context

These still ring true today.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My views on "Classification of Cloud Computing Stakeholders"

In "Cloudy Times", Markus Klems is having a good discussion on how cloud computing stakeholders classify the various infrastructure options. I then thought that it would be good for me to repeat my input here as well.

When asked this question, I first describe three layers:

  • Layer 1 - Hardware virtualization - This is the "bare metal" layer of storage and CPU virtualization
  • Layer 2 - Application virtualization - This is when you use web services or APIs to provide a specific function or capability.
  • Layer 3 - Process virtualization - This is when you string web services and APIs together to deliver value (function or capability) to an end user

Different infrastructure terms can then be used to describe how these layers are put together:

  • Layer 1 is grid computing, utility computing or IaaS. The specific descriptive term is a function of the business model used to deliver the capability
  • Layer 1 delivered with layer 2 is PaaS. A developer uses the platform services or APIs to create value for an end user
  • Layer 1 delivered with a software application is SaaS
  • When Layer 2 and Layer 3 are designed with web services and layered on top of a hardware infrastructure (virtualized or not), you have a Service Oriented Architecture
  • Layer 1, 2 and 3 delivered with services and/or APIs already organized in workflows and delivering value to an end user is Cloud Computing.

As always comments or suggestions for improvement are welcomed. The approach is admittedly simplistic, but it does help me sleep at night :-)

(Update: Michael Sheehan expresses a similar view in Cloud Computing: Introducing the Cloud Pyramid )

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Implemetation of Network-Centric Warfare

The Implemetation of Network-Centric Warfare

"Warfare is about human behavior in a context of organized violence directed toward political ends. So, network-centric warfare (NCW) is about human behavior within a networked environment. 'The network' is a noun, the information technology, and can only be the enabler. 'To network' is the verb, the human behavior, the action, and the main focus. So, implementation of NCW must look beyond the acquisition of the technical enablers to individual and organizational behavior, e.g., organizational structure, processes, tactics, and the way choices are made. In other words, all elements of the enterprise are in play."

A. K. Cebrowski
Director, Office of Force Transformation
Office of the Secretary of Defense

Personal Views on DISA, HP and RACE

DISA and HP are clearly on the path towards cloud computing. At it's core, net-centric operations requires the effective delivery of information to forward forces and the translation of that information into a competitive warfighting advantage. DISA's mission of supporting global net-centric solutions is well served by their recently launched cloud computing initiative. Although RACE is focused on delivering infrastructure resources, it still is a critical first step towards the realization of a cloud computing infrastructure. DISA, as the primary net-centric enabler, should next look toward providing the needed application layer. To this end, it should also look to industry for innovations in the emerging cloud computing arena. Best practices from industry leaders like Google , IBM, CISCO, and others can offer insight into supporting technologies, such as Web 2.0, IPv6, Everything-over-IP, converged routing, etc ., as well as, provide insight to how to truely provide information to forward forces.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DISA selects HP for RACE

Byte and Switch reported today that the Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed that HP will help the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) deploy a major cloud computing infrastructure. Grid Today reported that HP today announced that it will be supplying the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) with scalable technology to enable its Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to deploy a cloud computing infrastructure.

According to Grid Today, HP will provide DISA a broad array of HP products, software and services to implement and support the cloud infrastructure. HP software featured in the solution includes HP Operations Orchestration, HP Server Automation, HP Service Manager, HP Operations Manager, HP Systems Insight Manager and HP ProLiant Essentials. HP will also provide ProLiant server blades, implementation services and on-site operations management.

Speakers for First SOA-R Event Announced

Scheduled speakers and topics for the first SOA-R Cloud Computing Education event are:

Steve Armentrout, Parabon, President & CEO
  • Grid to Cloud Computing

Greg Boss, IBM, Lead Cloud Solution Architect

  • What is Cloud Computing?

Bob Lozano, Appistry, Founder & Chief Strategist

  • Private Clouds: Cloud Computing for Intelligence, Defense and the Enterprise

Todd Wiseman, Google, Manager, Google Federal Enterprise

  • Implications of cloud computing

Registration is still available at

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cloud Computing Offerings - A Taxonomy

From "The various level of cloud computing" by Ross Cooney

Applications in the cloud: Software as a Service (SaaS). Examples include gmail, yahoo mail, Hotmail, the various search engines, wikipedia, encyclopedia britannica, etc.

Platforms in the cloud: Developers write their application to a open specification and then upload their code into the cloud where the app is run on the cloud infrastructure with automatic scale-up as application usage grows. Examples include Mosso, Google App Engine, and

Infrastructure in the cloud: Developers and system administrators obtain general compute, storage, queueing, and other resources and run their applications with the fewest limitations. This is the most powerful type of cloud in that virtually any application and any configuration that is fit for the internet can be mapped to this type of service. an example of this is Amazon Web Services

Cloud Computing Guides (updated 8/10/08)

InfoWorld Special Report on Cloud Computing

InformationWeek Guide to Cloud Computing

InfoWorld Cloud Computing Strategy Guide

Cloud Computing Product Guide

A Brief History of Cloud Computing

Business Week CEO Guide to Cloud Computing

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Microsoft announcing Cloud Computing offering

According to Information Week, Microsoft plans to make three important business software offerings -- Exchange, Office Communications, and SharePoint -- available in SaaS versions for business this year, but it's still very much a soft sell: Microsoft senior VP Chris Capossela told InformationWeek that cloud computing isn't going to be cheaper than on-premise software and infrastructure, because "You're going to pay forever. ... It's a subscription, for goodness' sake."

Microsoft says "Focus on SaaS"

Microsoft CEO Ballmer said he believed "the cloud," applications and other computing services offered by vendors, will grow at a faster pace than hosting opportunities for solution providers. And he said Microsoft can't afford to delay its cloud computing efforts while competitors push ahead. The CEO also said Microsoft has plans to re-engineer its server products as it introduces more cloud computing services, but he didn't offer details other than saying the company would "re-invent" its server technology for cloud computing in such areas as scalability, cost and geocaching capabilities.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Intel new CIO to examine Cloud Computing

In a ComputerworldUK article, incoming Intel CIO Diane Bryant says that she will network with fellow information chiefs, examine cloud computing and advocate using the chip giant’s internal operations as a test-bed for product development.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cloud Computing for National Security

As the national security community considers cloud computing as an IT infrastructure option, it is surely looking at the value of the cloud in an information sharing world. Implementation of the recently signed Presidential Memoradum on Controlled Unclassified Information is an imporant challenge that may be met by the deployment of a government cloud.

“(1) This memorandum (a) adopts, defines, and institutes "Controlled Unclassified Information" (CUI) as the single, categorical designation henceforth throughout the executive branch for all information within the scope of that definition, which includes most information heretofore referred to as "Sensitive But Unclassified" (SBU) in the Information Sharing Environment (ISE), and (b) establishes a corresponding new CUI Framework for designating, marking, safeguarding, and disseminating information designated as CUI. The memorandum's purpose is to standardize practices and thereby improve the sharing of information, not to classify or declassify new or additional information.”

DHS has been working hard to develop and execute the appropriate business processes and associated workflows across multiple federal, state and local government information walls. Since the department inherited its IT portfolio from it's many predecessor organizations, virtualization of their infrastructure into a cloud seems to be a option worthy of study. Server and storage virtualiztion, however, is only the first step. Data and applications must also be virtualized through the adoption of a department-wide services oriented approach. A cloud platform with the appropriate embedded security capabilities seems appropriate.

In this secure cloud computing environment, access management, device management and user management will also be critical deployment aspect.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Is Cloud Computing applicable in national security and law enforcement?

Late last week I asked the following question on linkedIn

"Are Cloud Computing concepts applicable in secure national security and law enforcement arenas (i.e. Defense, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Justice)? If so, how? If not, why? "

The responses were very interesting:

Software Architect - I think they are certainly applicable. Speaking specifically of Amazon's Web Services, security is one of the main pillars of the platform and all of their services provide the ability to lock down access. ..... Auditing security on well-known cloud computing platforms is actually much simpler than in-house computing as knowledge of the systems in use is much more broad and transparent.

Sr. Advisory Architect - They already are, and have been for quite some time

IT Business Consultant manager - I can image that many business strategists or security architects who are new to the concept will balk at the idea of allowing information to live in a cloud they don't control and will likely propose some sort of "special cloud" of their own - thus defeating the ROI altogether

Senior Computer Systems Engineer - I have been asked to informally consult on this issue and I am a bit skeptical about the storage aspect of cloud computing. The client I was consulting for had some serious legal issues in relation to storing data outside certain geographical boundaries (where the cloud provider(s) where) which was a big obstacle from the very beginning.

Information Assurance Executive - Cloud Computing concepts in secure (trusted) information sharing environments are applicable however, involve some additional complexities that other environments do not. These environments should adhere to published data, security, infrastructure and interoperability standards (e.g. W3C, OASIS) and by default should be cross-domain (e.g. DoD, IC) compliant following prescribed national security requirements.

Team Lead - Compared to "on site" storage - I hear the argument that it is MUCH MORE secure in the cloud.

Serial Entrepreneur - Cloud computing is mainly about scale. Google and Amazon have such massive deployments that the operational costs of the resources dwarf most organizations. If we look at the governmental apparatus and think of it as a client of computational resources it is indeed very big. It would seem to me that given their possession of adequate scale they could simply run a private infrastructure for themselves and have their own cloud.

Director of Strategic Operations - I think we're going to see an increase in grid computing and cloud computing concepts as the costs drop and the benefits become more tangible. I think national security implementations are prime candidates for early adoption of such technologies - beyond whatever may already be in place now - simply because of the massive scale of the computing effort, storage, and general computational requirements of such massive data sets.

Information Technology & Services Consultant - The whiteboard used to iron out all the 'gotchas' in a Cloud Computing environment for secure national security and law enforcement arenas would stretch around the Bronx Zoo (i.e. the baseball stadium)...

All the responses can be read at LinkedIn answers .

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The size of Google's Cloud

From The Information Factories by George Gilder of Wired Magazine

"The facility in The Dalles is only the latest and most advanced of about two dozen Google data centers, which stretch from Silicon Valley to Dublin. All told, it's a staggering collection of hardware, whose constituent servers number 450,000, according to the lowest estimate.

The extended Googleplex comprises an estimated 200 petabytes of hard disk storage – enough to copy the Net's entire sprawling cornucopia dozens of times – and four petabytes of RAM. To handle the current load of 100 million queries a day, its collective input-output bandwidth must be in the neighborhood of 3 petabits per second."