Global Analyst Insights by Rene Buest

Top Cloud Computing Washer – These companies don’t tell the truth about their products

By on July 23, 2013 in Cloud Computing

Since the beginning of cloud computing, the old hardware manufacturers are trying to save their business from sales slumps by selling their storage solutions, such as NAS (Network Attached Storage), or other solutions as “private cloud” products to position against real flexible, scalable and available solutions from the cloud. The Americans call this type of marketing “cloud-washing”. Of course, these providers use the current political situation (PRISM, Tempora, etc.) in order to promote their products with further strengthen. Tragically, young companies also jump on this train. Because what the ancients can, they may eventually can do, too. Wrong! What these providers not interested at all. They reckless ride roughshod over the real provider of cloud computing solutions. This is wrong and a distortion of competition, as they advertised with empty marketing phrases, that demonstrably can not be met. At the end of the day, not only the competition of these providers and the cloud is seen in a bad light, but also the customer buy a product with misconceptions. One or the other decision-makers will surely soon be experiencing a rude awakening.

Background: Cloud Computing vs. Cloud-Washing

In recent years many articles on the topic of cloud-washing have appeared here on CloudUser. A small selection, mostly in German:

What says Wikipedia?

Private Cloud according to Wikipedia

“Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level and degree of engagement to virtualize the business environment, and requires the organization to reevaluate decisions about existing resources. When done right, it can improve business, but every step in the project raises security issues that must be addressed to prevent serious vulnerabilities.

They have attracted criticism because users “still have to buy, build, and manage them” and thus do not benefit from less hands-on management, essentially “[lacking] the economic model that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept”.”

Cloud characteristics according to Wikipedia

Cloud computing exhibits the following key characteristics:

  • Agility improves with users’ ability to re-provision technological infrastructure resources.
  • Application programming interface (API) accessibility to software that enables machines to interact with cloud software in the same way that a traditional user interface (e.g., a computer desktop) facilitates interaction between humans and computers. Cloud computing systems typically use Representational State Transfer (REST)-based APIs.
  • Cost is claimed to be reduced, and in a public cloud delivery model capital expenditure is converted to operational expenditure. This is purported to lower barriers to entry, as infrastructure is typically provided by a third-party and does not need to be purchased for one-time or infrequent intensive computing tasks. Pricing on a utility computing basis is fine-grained with usage-based options and fewer IT skills are required for implementation (in-house). The e-FISCAL project’s state of the art repository contains several articles looking into cost aspects in more detail, most of them concluding that costs savings depend on the type of activities supported and the type of infrastructure available in-house.
  • Device and location independence enable users to access systems using a web browser regardless of their location or what device they are using (e.g., PC, mobile phone). As infrastructure is off-site (typically provided by a third-party) and accessed via the Internet, users can connect from anywhere.
  • Virtualization technology allows servers and storage devices to be shared and utilization be increased. Applications can be easily migrated from one physical server to another.
  • Multitenancy enables sharing of resources and costs across a large pool of users thus allowing for:
    • Centralization of infrastructure in locations with lower costs (such as real estate, electricity, etc.)
    • Peak-load capacity increases (users need not engineer for highest possible load-levels)
    • Utilisation and efficiency improvements for systems that are often only 10–20% utilised.
  • Reliability is improved if multiple redundant sites are used, which makes well-designed cloud computing suitable for business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Scalability and elasticity via dynamic (“on-demand”) provisioning of resources on a fine-grained, self-service basis near real-time, without users having to engineer for peak loads.
  • Performance is monitored, and consistent and loosely coupled architectures are constructed using web services as the system interface.
  • Security could improve due to centralization of data, increased security-focused resources, etc., but concerns can persist about loss of control over certain sensitive data, and the lack of security for stored kernels. Security is often as good as or better than other traditional systems, in part because providers are able to devote resources to solving security issues that many customers cannot afford. However, the complexity of security is greatly increased when data is distributed over a wider area or greater number of devices and in multi-tenant systems that are being shared by unrelated users. In addition, user access to security audit logs may be difficult or impossible. Private cloud installations are in part motivated by users’ desire to retain control over the infrastructure and avoid losing control of information security.
  • Maintenance of cloud computing applications is easier, because they do not need to be installed on each user’s computer and can be accessed from different places.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s definition of cloud computing identifies “five essential characteristics”:

  • On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.
  • Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).
  • Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. …
  • Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
  • Measured service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Top Cloud Computing Washer

Protonet

The latest stroke of genius comes from Hamburg’s startup scene in Germany. A NAS with a graphical user interface for social collaboration in a really(!) pretty orange box is marketed as a private cloud. Of course, the PRISM horse is ridden.

ownCloud

Except for the name basically there is not much cloud in ownCloud. ownCloud is a piece of software with which – not easily – a (real) cloud storage can be built. For this, of course, an operating system, hardware and much more is needed.

Synology

Synology writes itself, that they are “… a dedicated Network Attached Storage (NAS) provider.” Fine, but why to jump on the private cloud train? Sure, it’s currently selling well. If the cloud is soon the qloud, Synology will definitively sell private qlouds.

D-Link

D-Link is also not bad. In a press release from last year it said generously:

D-Link, the networking expert for the digital home, enhanced the cloud family by adding a new router: With the portable DIR-506L the personal data cloud can be easily stick in your pocket.

and

D-Link continuously invests in the development of cloud products and services. … Already available are the Cloud router … multiple network cameras and network video recorders …

D-Link now even cloudifies network cameras and network video recorders to increase sales over the cloud train. Mind you, at the back and costs of the customers.

Oracle

Oracle loves hardware and licenses. This initially one could see clearly. Preconfigured application servers to rent for a monthly fee and then be installed in the customer’s data center were marketed as infrastructure-as-a-service. However, slowly the vendor catches up. It remains to be seen what impact the cooperation with Salesforce will have on Larry Ellison. He will certainly still annoyed that he simply no longer observes the Sun cloud technology after the acquisition.

Further tips are welcome

These are only a few providers that use the cloud computing train to secure their existing or even new business model. Who has more tips like these can send them with the subject “cloud washer” to clouduser[at]newagedisruption[.]com.

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About the Author

About the Author: Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies. Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as Silicon.de and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of CloudUser.de and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn. .

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