|By Gregor Petri||
|October 5, 2012 07:00 AM EDT||
Although self-service - together with elasticity, pooling/sharing, etc. - is a defining attribute of cloud computing, many of the companies expressing an interest in cloud computing do not seem to be aware of that.
In fact, when asked: who do you expect to provision your services to the cloud?; who will monitor your services' performance and availability? and; who do you expect to take action if something goes wrong?, a majority of the companies asked look to be somewhat surprised by the question, as they simply assumed that their service provider would do so.
This is a bit like going to a supermarket (a typical self-service facility), pointing to the ingredients you like and expecting the cashier to clean, cook and serve them for you. The name we generally use for such a service however is "restaurant" and it comes with significant different expectations and pricing, as demonstrated by the price of a bottle of the wine in a restaurant versus that same bottle at a supermarket (which is one reason restaurants prefer to buy from exclusive wine merchants and not to put bottles or their wine list that are available in retail).
The supermarket versus restaurant analogy may sound like a silly comparison, but is useful to further illustrate the difference between cloud computing and more traditional IT services. It is not just that the product is vastly different: a raw steak on styroform and a brown bag with vegetables versus a prepared steak - cooked to our liking - on a nice plate, brought to our table with a smile./p>
The much more telling difference lies in what we would reasonable expect to happen if something goes wrong. For example: if a supermarket burns down, we would expect the supermarket to - first and foremost - concentrate on building a new facility so it can restore its service. We would not expect the supermarket to call us and help us plan tonight's meal or offer any alternatives on an individual basis. Likewise expect cloud providers to focus primarily on getting their cloud back up in case of problems.
However, if a restaurant burns down we would find it reasonable they would call people that have made reservations. And if we booked a wedding there for next weekend, we would expect the restaurant to help us find a new facility, help us agree the new menu with the new chef and reimburse any additional cost (unless we change the menu from steak to lobster).
Self-service in most cases means the provider is not aware of what the individual customer is using its product or service for. As a result it is not getting involved with individual outcomes (as it simply does not know those). This separation is also not uncommon in self-service infrastructure and even used as line of defense in case that infrastructure turned out to be used in "less than legal" ways.
Self-service supermarket have a lot of benefits that restaurant customers may also be interested in: choice, speed, price, no need to make a reservation, ample parking, to name just a few. So is there a way to eat our cake and have it to?
One option are self-service restaurants, like the ones you may find along most European highways. Service tends to be fast, no need to make a reservation and if the restaurant happens to be full, we just drive to the next one. Here self-service is the overriding attribute. It's a supermarket with cooked foods, in most cases without the price advantage. And we probably would not plan having something important, like a wedding (or another mission critical event) there.
An option closer to the desired experience may be eating at a full service restaurant that sources from a supermarket. Such a restaurant could source it ingredients on demand (by simply walking across the street), it could offer enormous choice and would in most cases not run out of ingredients. It would however likely have to pay retail prices for these ingredients (supermarkets margins are thin and they do not have a lot of room for additional discounts, especially if you don't buy in bulk). But retail prices might conceivably still be lower than what a restaurant would normally pay from it traditional channels (like the exclusive wine merchant).
As the prices of the underlying ingredients are now transparent, end-user pricing becomes an issue. Do we pay for an all in price a cooked meal (including seat and cutlery) or do we pay separate for cooking, serving and use of the facilities. In North America paying separate for service is still customary, and although not too long ago - in the southern parts of Europe - you would be charged separately for the couvert and the service, European restaurants now largely evolved to all-in-pricing. The drawback of such fully inclusive prices is that people compare it to the publicly known ingredient prices (a problem not unfamiliar to many an IT manages, who tried to explain the difference between the TCO based price of the fully managed PC their department offered and the price of that same PC in the local mall or - even more pronounced - from an on-line retailer).
But -just like cloud computing is not all about cost - eating out is not just about price, it is also about agility, productivity and resilience. By not having to spend time cooking, people can have more quality time or -more likely - spend more time at work: finishing that last assignment, winning that additional customer. This does however mean we are now dependent on the restaurant for a pretty essential part of our life: eating. So what happens if our restaurant - that now sources from a third party self-service supermarket- runs into problems?
As we are not buying this as self-service, we would expect the restaurant to care about the outcome (us being hungry or fed) and take DR measures in case something goes wrong. But in how far is it fair to expect that the restaurant can reasonably do this, as they are now dependent on the supermarket? Can the restaurant stay open if the supermarket closes for a holiday or if I order something after supermarket closing hours. Or is it relegated to being a middle man no longer able to control its own SLAs.
Having the supermarket and the restaurant under the same management (meaning the restaurant guys have keys to the supermarkets' back door) can help. But only if the supermarket manager allows his restaurant colleagues to interfere in his operations and impact his targets and quality (something not very common in larger organizations).
Smart restaurant would likely source from two or more supermarkets - preferably from separate chains, located in different streets. So it will be able to serve its customers even if one of them closes or burns down. And maybe that should also be the conclusion if you are looking (even though the definition would argue there is no such thing) for a non self-service cloud. In other words if we want to eat your cloud and have it too.
Disclosure: Before getting caught up in IT & Clouds, the author worked as a manager at the largest restaurant in the Netherlands, which indeed did burn down during that period but managed to restore it services within a week and keep it running throughout the reconstruction.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Oct. 13, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 681
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
Oct. 13, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 405
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Oct. 13, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 261
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and Embedded Systems worldwide. Supermi...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 188
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Oct. 13, 2015 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 854
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
Oct. 13, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 276
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 12, 2015 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 7,124
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Oct. 12, 2015 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 316
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Oct. 12, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 276
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Oct. 12, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 265
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Oct. 12, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,228
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Oct. 12, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 196
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 12, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 247
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Oct. 12, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,489
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Oct. 12, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 695
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Oct. 12, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 338
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Oct. 12, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 333
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Oct. 12, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 295
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Oct. 12, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 409
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Oct. 12, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 742