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  • greenclouddc 7:26 pm on December 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cloud, , ,   

    Is IT’s future really in the cloud 

    Blue sky thinking in the boardroomIt’s been said that the future of IT is in software and cloud computing but it is also forgotten that cloud computing software must run on physical hardware and ultimately on physical hardware located in datacenters. In fact, Gartner’s latest datacenter forecast (Forecast: Data Centres, Worldwide, 2010-2015) has new figures to show that IT datacenter sales are heading in just one direction and that is up.

    Just consider some of the following and latest projections from Gartner:

    • Worldwide datacenter hardware spending will rise 12.7% from $87.8 billion in 2010 to hit the $98.9 billion (£62 billion) level by the end of 2011. Moreover, datacenter hardware spending is forecasted to reach $106.4 billion in 2012 and $126.2 billion in 2015.
    • Datacenter spending growth in emerging economies such as the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will be balanced by continued weakness in both Japan and Western Europe.
    • Datacenter storage will be the major driver for growth. In fact and despite the fact that only a quarter of datacenter hardware spending is on storage, approximately half of the spending growth will be from the storage market.
    • The largest datacenter category (those with more than 500 racks) will see its share of spending rise from 20% in 2010 to 26% in 2015. This growth will be driven by cloud computing along with a move away from internal datacenters to external datacenters.

    In other words, the future of IT might very well be in datacenters and datacenter hardware to run all of those cloud computing applications.

    Sources: eWeek and Gartner

  • greenclouddc 7:24 pm on December 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Accenture, Cloud, , , Microsoft, Report   

    The environmental benefits of moving to the cloud 


    A recent study, “Cloud Computing and Sustainability: The Environmental Benefits of Moving to the Cloud,” which was commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Accenture and WSP, has found that companies running applications in the cloud can reduce their carbon emissions by 30% or more verses running the same applications on their own infrastructures.

  • greenclouddc 6:51 pm on December 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cloud, ,   

    iStock_000016168528XSmallSecurity in the cloud is a big issue. How do you make sure that your piece of the cloud is secure? The answer is that you can’t. Not with 100% certainty.

    This raises some important questions for cloud customers. They need to take care of where they host their infrastructure and services. They definitely need to talk to their suppliers and understand what’s going on. It isn’t enough to just run a virtual machine and assume everything’s safe.

    Here are some of the things they should consider:

    • Are virtual machines or data storage volumes encrypted and/or dispersed to prevent unauthorised access?
    • Does each instance have its own private firewall (not just a perimeter firewall around the whole data center)?
    • Are network interfaces monitored for suspicious behaviour? Again, on an instance by instance basis and not just for the whole data centre? Is there auto-shutdown or other automated responses in case of a problem?
    • How are switches managed – through the same network (bad) or using serial out-of-bound connections (good)? If hackers can get into the switches, they can do a lot of harm.
    • Does the hosting company use virtual LANs? This is not a good idea. Every customer needs to be on their own physical LAN connection or something like Infiniband where traffic is physical separated.
    • Who monitors logs and other reports for suspicious activities? How often is this information checked?

    It is possible to build secure infrastructure in the cloud but it takes work and very few providers are doing it today. This makes it all the more important for customers to check for themselves.

  • greenclouddc 10:54 am on October 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Books, Cloud,   

    The Big Switch – Now, IT matters more than ever 

    Back in 2003, Nicholas Carr wrote IT Doesn’t Matter (PDF), a provocative article in Harvard Business Review and later expanded into a book. He argued that conventional IT failed to deliver a competitive advantage because it had become commoditised.

    Later, in his book The Big Switch, he implied that cloud computing was about to change all that, at least in the near future as technology continues to evolve rapidly.

    In particular, he discovers some interesting lessons from history:

    • The book opens with a brief history of the electricity business. Originally, businesses built their own generator plants but it quickly became much more efficient to build a few huge power stations rather than lots of small ones. There’s an obvious comparison between computer rooms in businesses and the vast data centres owned by companies like Google and Microsoft.
    • By the close of the 1960s, the average American company devoted less than 10 percent of its capital equipment to information technology. Thirty years later, that percentage had increased … to 45 percent.” Spending on software alone increased from $1bn in 1970 to $138 billion in 2000. Global IT expenditures leapt from less than $100 billion in the early 1970s to more than $1 trillion a year in the early 2000s.
    • “The PC democratised computing. It liberated the computer from corporate data centres and IT departments and turned it into a universal business tool. [but] … client-server computing has turned out to be the mirror image of mainframe computing. It has made computing personal, but it has also made it woefully inefficient. … [with servers typically] using less than a quarter of their available processing power.”
    • Carr also looks at the newspaper industry where newsroom staff declined by 4 percent 2001-2005. In publishing and broadcast, employment fell by 13 percent 2001-2008 – that’s 150,000 jobs in the US. But no increase in jobs in internet companies to compensate. Carr says this is what will happen to other companies: “many traditional businesses will find it impossible to compete against extraordinarily lean web operations”

    It’s an interesting book and well worth reading for a ‘long view’ on cloud computing. I don’t agree with everything he says but I admire his iconoclasm.

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