The keys belong into the hands of the users: TeamDrive receives fourth ULD data privacy recertification in a row

The confidence in an encrypted communication for the transmission of sensitive information over the Internet is becoming increasingly important. Here, the Independent Regional Centre for Data Protection of Schleswig-Holstein
(Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein (ULD)) lead by Thilo Weichert is a pioneer when it comes to independent verification and certification of privacy and security-related issues in the field of information technology. In recent years TeamDrive has established itself as the Dropbox alternative for the enterprise and in terms of safety sets consistently on an end-to-end encryption. The vendor from Hamburg, Germany and Gartner Cool Vendor 2013 in Privacy successfully received its fourth ULD data privacy recertification in a row.

The keys belong exclusively into the hands of the users

As part of the recertification the security of TeamDrive in version 3 was increased again. In addition to the 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption, the security has been further enhanced with an RSA 3072 encryption. The importance of the end-to-end encryption of all communication still rises. This means that the whole process, which a user passes through the solution, is encrypted continuously from start to the end.

In this context it is very important to understand that the private key which is used to access the data and the system only may exclusively be owned by the user. And is only stored encrypted on the local system of the user. The vendor may have no ways to restore this private key and never get access to the stored data.

Despite all the promises, encryption is useless if providers like Dropbox or Box have the key and can decrypt all the data. The control over this exclusively belongs into the hands of the users. This must be taken into account by each company when choosing a trusted vendor.


Cloud PR Disaster: Google's light-heartedness destroys trust.

It is common in companies that only certain spokesperson are chosen that may speak in public about the company. And it is tragic when favored few to make statements leading to question marks and uncertainty. Google has entered the second time within a short time in such a faux pas. After Cloud Platform Manager Greg DeMichillie peculiar had commented the long-term availability of the Google Compute Engine, Google CIO Ben Fried commented on Google’s own use of the cloud.

We’re the good guys – the others are evil

In an interview with AllThingsD Google CIO Ben Fried talked about the dealing of Google with bring your own device and the use of external cloud services. As any IT manager may have noticed, for quite some time Google promotes its Google Apps for Business solution by hook or by crook. The more surprising is the statement of Friedman regarding the use of Dropbox, Google strictly prohibits for internal purposes.

The important thing to understand about Dropbox,” […] “is that when your users use it in a corporate context, your corporate data is being held in someone else’s data center.

Right, if I do not save my data on my own servers, but with Dropbox, then they are probably in a foreign data center. To be more accurate in case of Dropbox on Amazon S3. This applies also for the case if I store my data on Google Drive, Google Apps, or Google Cloud Platform. Then the data is located at? Right, Google. This the cloud model brings along.

Fried, of course, as already DeMichillie, didn’t mean it like that and corrected himself by e-mail, via AllThingsD.

Fried says he meant that the real concern about Dropbox and other apps is more around security than storage. “Any third-party cloud providers that our employees use must pass our thorough security review and agree under contract to maintain certain security levels,”

So, Fried was actually talking about the security of Dropbox and other cloud services, and not the location.

Google is a big kid

I’m not sure what to make of Google. But one thing is clear, professional corporate communication looks different. The same applies to building trust among corporate customers. Google is undoubtedly an innovative company, if not the world’s most innovative company. This light-heartedness of a child, Google and its employees need to continually develop new and interesting ideas and technologies, is also the greatest weakness. It is this degree of naivety in the external communications, which will make it difficult for Google in the future when there’s nothing fundamentally changed. At least when it comes to have a say in the matter within the sensitive market for corporate customers. The major players, most notably Microsoft, VMware, IBM, HP and Oracle know what businesses need to hear in order to appear attractive. And this not includes the statements of a Greg DeMichillie or Ben Fried.

Another interesting comment on Ben Kepes Forbes‘ article „Google Shoots Itself In The Foot. Again„.

„[…]Do you really think that Google management really cares about cloud app business or its customer base? Somebody at Google said that they have the capacity they built for themselves and they have the engineering talent so why not sell it. So Brin and Page shoke their heads and they was the last they ever wanted to hear about it. There is nothing exciting about this business, they do not want the responsibilites that come with this client base and they really don’t care. I bet they shut it down.


"Amazon is just a webshop!" – "Europe needs bigger balls!"

This year I had the honor to host the CEO Couch of the Open-Xchange Summit 2013. This is a format were Top CEOs are confronted with provocative questions on a specific topic and had to answer to the point. Among the guests on the couch were Herrmann-Josef Lamberti (EADS), Dr. Marten Schoenherr (Deutsche Telekom Laboratories), Herbert Bockers (Dimension Data) and Rafael Laguna (Open-Xchange). This year’s main topic was cloud computing and how German and European provider to assert oneself against the alleged overwhelming competition from the US. I’ve picked out two statements mentioned during the CEO Couch, I would like to discuss critically.

Amazon is just a webshop!

One statement has got me worry lines. One the hand VMware already had underlined that it seemingly underestimates its supposed biggest competitors, on the other hand its absolutely wrong. To call Amazon today still a webshop one must close its eyes very wide and hide about 90% of the company. Amazon is today more than just a webshop. Amazon is a technology company respectively provider. Rafael has illustrated this very well during his keynote. There are currently three vendor who have managed to set up their own closed ecosystem of the web services over the content to the devices. These include Google, Apple and Amazon.

Besides the webshop Amazon.com further technology and services belong to the company. Including the Amazon Web Services, content distribution for digital books, music, movies (LoveFilm, Amazon Instant Video), ebook reader Kindle and Kindle Fire (with an own Android version), the search engines A9.com, Alexa Internet and the movie database IMDb.

Above that, if you take a look at how Jeff Bezos leads Amazon (e.g. Kindle strategy; sell at cost price; sales over content), he focuses on the long-term growth and market share, rather than to achieve quick profits.

Who wants to get a good impression of Jeff Bezos‘ mindset, I recommend the Fireside Chat with Werner Vogels during the 2012 AWS re: Invent. The 40 minutes are worth it.

Europe needs bigger balls!

The couch completely agreed. Although Europe has the potential and the companies to technically and innovative play its role in the cloud – apart from privacy issues, compared to the United States we eat humble pie, or better expressed: „Europe needs bigger balls!“. That depends on the one hand with the capital that investors in the U.S. are willing to invest, on the other hand, to the mentality to take risks, to fail and to think big and long term. At this point, European entrepreneurs and investors in particular can learn from Jeff Bezos. It’s about the long-term success, not about the short term money.

This is in my opinion one of the reasons why we will never see a European company that, for example, is able to hold a candle to the Amazon Web Services (AWS). The potential candidates like T-Systems, Orange and other major ICT providers that have data centers, infrastructure, personnel and necessary knowledge, rather focus on the target customers they have always served – the corporate customers. However, the public cloud and AWS similar services for startups and developers are completely neglected. On one side this is alright since cloud offerings on enterprise level and virtual private or hosted private cloud solutions are required to meet the needs of enterprise customers. On the other hand, nobody should be surprised that AWS currently has the most market share and is seen as an innovation machine. The existing ICT providers are not willing to change their current business or to expand it with new models to address another attractive audiences.

However, as it also my friend Ben Kepes well described, Amazon is currently quite popular and by far the market leader in the cloud. But there is still enough room for other provider in the market who can offer use cases and workloads that Amazon can not serve. Or because the customers simply decide against the use of AWS, since it’s too complicated, too costly or too expensive for them, or is simply inconsistent with legal issues.

So Europe, put on bigger eggs! Sufficient potential exists. Finally, providers such as T-Systems, Greenqloud, UpCloud, Dimension Data, CloudSigma or ProfitBricks have competitive offerings. Marten Schoenherr told me that he and his startup process of developing a Chromebook without Chrome. However, I have a feeling that Rafael and Open-Xchange (OX App Suite) have a finger in the pie.


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

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


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.


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 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 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.


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 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.


Cloud Computing ist not simple!

Cloud computing promises to be simple. Starting here and there a virtual server and the own virtual cloud infrastructure is ready. Those who think that I’m right with the statement are totally wrong. Virtual servers are only a small component of a virtual infrastructure at a cloud provider. A few virtual machines aren’t a cloud. The complexity sticks in the architecture of the application. And thus in the intelligence that the architect and the software developer included. That this is sometimes not implemented, the one or the other cloud user have showed us more than once impressively. Regularly the same suspects fail when their cloud provider is struggling with himself. Cloud computing ist not simple! I do not mean simple software-as-a-service (SaaS). I am talking about infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and here even granularity about the premier class named scalability and high-availability. And that’s what you should understand and fully take into account if you want to use cloud computing successfully, away from the marketing of the cloud providers.

Software-defined Scalability and Software-defined High-Availability

Currently new terms circulating through the IT stratosphere. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Software-Defined Data Center (SDD). A SDN introduces another level of abstraction above the network components. Typically, each router and switch has its own local software through which it is supplied with intelligence by programming. The network administrator tells the router, for example, under what conditions which packet should be routed or not. Within a SDN the task of incorporating a local intelligence for each component is eliminated. The intelligence moves one level up into a management layer in which the entire network is designed and each rule is defined centrally for each component. If the design is completed, it will be rolled out across the network components and the network is configured. With a SDN it should be possible to change a complete network design by „push the button“ directly without having to touch each individual component.

The idea of ​​the SDN concept must also be taken into account mandatory when using a cloud infrastructure. Because the use of a PaaS, but much more of an IaaS means a lot of self-responsibility. More than you might think at first glance. To start one or two virtual machines does not mean that one uses a virtual cloud infrastructure. There are and will remain two virtual servers. An IaaS provider only provides the components, such as the aforementioned virtual machines, storage, and other services plus APIs with which the infrastructure can be used. Bottom line, to put it simply, an IaaS provider only supplies its customers with the appropriate resources and tools in order to build their own virtual infrastructure respectively own virtual data center on the providers cloud infrastructure.

One must therefore ensure with software (the own application) that the cloud infrastructure scaled if necessary (Software-Defined Scalability, SDS) and in the event of a failure of a cloud infrastructure component a replacement component (eg, virtual machine) is started and is thus replaced (Software-Defined High-Availability, SDHA). The software therefore provides the scalability and high-availability of the virtual cloud infrastructure so that the web application itself is scaled and fail-safe, and uses the character of each cloud provider.

How a cloud computing infrastructure is used almost to perfection shows Netflix impressively.

Cloud Computing ist not simple!

Source: Adrian Cockcroft

Netflix the supreme example

Netflix is the world’s largest cloud service ​​by far. The video streaming service has become responsible for a third of all Internet traffic during peak periods. This user requests must be answered, of course, performant and at any time. Since its launch in 2009 Netflix sets on cloud technologies and has shifted its complete technology stack including the resulting infrastructure to the cloud of the Amazon Web Services in November 2012. Here about 1,000 virtual Linux-based Tomcat Java server and NGINX web server are running. There are also other services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and the NoSQL database Cassandra in conjunction with memcached and a distributed memory object caching.

However, this is only one side of the coin. More important is the use of multiple Availability Zones in the Amazon Cloud. Netflix uses a total of three Availability Zones to increase the availability and speed of the own service. Occurs a problem in an Availability Zone, the architecture of the Netflix application is designed that the service can continue to run through the other two. Here Netflix has not relied on the pure marketing promises from Amazon, but developed with the Chaos Gorilla its own software that is testing the stability of the virtual servers Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). In short, the failure of a complete EC2 Region or Availability Zone is simulated to ensure that the Netflix service continues to function in an emergency. One of the biggest challenges is in the fact that in the event of an error in an Amazon region, the Domain Name System (DNS) is automatically reconfigured so that Netflix customers do not notice the failure. The different DNS providers APIs make this task not easier. In addition, most have been developed that the settings have to be done manually, which does not make it easier to automate this.

Bottom line, it is to say that Netflix plans ahead for the error case and does not rely on the cloud. Because sometimes something goes wrong in the cloud, as in any ordinary data center. You only need to be prepared for it. Who is more interested in what Netflix makes to reach this state should read „Netflix: The Chaos Monkey and the Simian Army – The model for a good cloud system architecture“ (only in German).

Simplicity counts

Maybe I’m asking too much. Finally, cloud computing is a relatively new concept. Nevertheless, Netflix shows impressively that it works. However, when you consider what huge efforts Netflix makes to be successful in the cloud, you just have to say that cloud computing is not simple, and a cloud infrastructure, no matter at which provider, needs to be built with the corresponding architecture. This means, conversely, that the use of the cloud must be more simply in order to achieve the promised cost advantages. Because if one uses cloud computing the right way, it is necessarily not cheaper. In addition to savings in infrastructure costs which are always reckoned up, the other costs as may for the staff with the appropriate skills and the costs for the development of scalable and fault-tolerant applications in the cloud should never be neglected.

The positive sign is that I see first startups on the horizon, who take care of this problem and have set the simple demand of finished cloud resources to their task, without worrying about scalability and high-availability as a user.


Dead PC market – Microsoft is the scapegoat!

To start off with, I do not agree with every decision that Microsoft takes and by far there are products which I consider critical too. But what happened here just shows how narrow-minded some arguments are. The background of the excitement are the conclusions of the market researchers IDC and Gartner on the current situation in the PC market. Both make Microsoft respectively Windows 8 responsible for the death of the PC. Lastly, even the investment bankers at Goldman Sachs and other financial analysts associated and come to absurd statements. Microsoft is here wrongly used as a scapegoat!

Background: Current data from the PC market

According to IDC, in the first quarter of 2013, only 76.3 million devices were shipped. This is a decrease of 14 percent. Gartner’s numbers a day later showing a decline of 11.2 percent, that mean 79.2 million shipped personal computers.

Quickly the culprit for this was identified. Microsoft, respectively Windows 8. IDC actually assumed that Windows 8 should ensure a revival of the PC market. However, Microsoft have worsened the situation, according to IDC, because the customer can not get used to the new tile environment, etc.

Meanwhile, the financial sector had responded. One financial analyst is quoted as follows: „The PC used in the business is a mature market with declining replacement investments and in the consumer market you need not have an Office, so no Windows and thus no Microsoft.“ Investment bankers therefore have advised their customers to sell their Microsoft shares.

For me, this statement shows, that investment bankers and financial analysts have no providence and even worse, have not a hunch of ​​the market, they are asked to assess. Instead of critical scrutinize the conclusions of IDC and Gartner initially, unqualified statements are made that will possibly have a financial impact on Microsoft and an entire industry.

Hybrid Tablets are the trend

The PC market is not dead, it has changed in recent years. And if one would argue from the perspective of Gartner and IDC, it would be Apple, who is, with the launch of the iPad, responsible for the death of the PC market.

Certainly, the situation is quite different. The PC is not dead, it has now begun to assume a different shape. In my five cloud computing, mobile and big data predictions for 2013, I pointed out that particularly hybrid tablets will move into the enterprise. Hybrid tablets are tablets with a clip-on or rotating hardware keyboard. This has the background, that tablets help us to use most of the IT, the Internet and other things more convenient. However, for the full application in the enterprise, but also in the private sphere, they are not suitable. At conferences and travels, I regular see users, who bought an external keyboard for their tablet. Hybrid tablets are the best of both worlds. The tablet with its touch screen and an easy to use interface, plus the traditional laptops and their keyboards. Writing long texts on a tablet with the virtual keyboard is no fun and exhausting what are also the reactions of business users. In addition, hybrid tablets will replace today’s conventional laptops. And what runs inter alia on these hybrids? Right, Windows 8 – and even MS Office.

That hybrid tablets are the trend has now also been recognized by Apple. There are initial reports that Apple has filed a patent for a „Hybrid Tablet Notebook„.

User behavior is changing

Just as the technology market develops, our lives and our way we consume technologies is affected. If Microsoft had in 2002 waives the keyboard on their tablet and set on touch instead of a pen and chosen a thinner form factor they had been turn the PC market upside down 11 years ago. However, it was Apple that could go one better at the right time and under the hype of the iPod and iPhone with the iPad.

However, we also see that Microsoft’s concept of a hybrid tablet from 2002 already was the right decision. One may therefore say that Microsoft has already back the right horse at that time. It was, as so often, just not the right time.

Let’s look across to the automobile industry, we see similar changes. „Why are thousands of new cars secretly parking in Bavaria?“ Because the orders of the automakers to go back and the sales of new vehicles breaks. „Thousands of cars have to be swapped out to make room for newer models and keep the market alive.“

And why is that? Because the user behavior and the claims change. A high SAP manager has told me at CeBIT that in the interviews of young talents it’s not about whether and which company car to get since a long time. The question is, if you get an iPhone and iPad.

I’ve heard a lecture by a Roland Berger consultant a few days ago. The message was very clear, that the car market as we know it today is dead. Logically, new mobility concepts like flinc, Flinkster, book-n-drive or car2go are much more cost efficient. In many cases it is just not worth more to make large investments in an own car. In addition to the monthly cost of taxes and insurance, gasoline prices are one reason. Here you also can not make a single car manufacturer or model responsible for this mess. It’s about what the customers want.

We are currently experiencing the greatest technological revolution until today, which breaks down directly on our society. Starting from IT concepts (cloud computing, mobile, social media, etc.) the behavior of the users in other industries are also changing. And not a single company is responsible for that!


One third of German companies use the cloud. Really? I don't think so.

According to a survey of Bitkom among 436 German companies a third of all respondents use cloud computing in 2012. This sounds good at first and shows that the cloud adoption is going upwards in Germany. However, I assume that the number is sugarcoated. No, not by Bitkom itself, but because it is still unclear what cloud computing really means, and most of the surveyed companies have simply said yes, even though they are not using cloud. Support for my assumption I get from Forrester Research.

Survey results of Bitkom

That one in three companies in Germany relies on cloud roughly means a growth of 9 percent compared to 2011. Additionally, 29 percent plan to deploy cloud solutions. Another third sees cloud computing not on the agenda. The survey reveals that currently 65 percent of large firms with 2,000 employees have cloud solutions in the use. The middle class between 100 to 1999 employees is at 45 percent. Smaller companies with 20 to 99 employees cover a quarter.

Private cloud is preferred

Moreover 34 percent of surveyed companies rely on their own private clouds. Compared to 2011, a growth of 7 percent. 29 percent plan to use this cloud form.

Now, let’s come to my assertion that the statement that one third of German companies use the cloud, is sugarcoated. Because what I hear and see again and again, is now also publicly stated by Forrester Research, more precisely by James Staten, who even describes this as cloud-washing. 70 percent of „private clouds“ are no clouds.

70 percent of „private clouds“ are no clouds

The problem is mainly in the fact that most IT administrators continue to lack an understanding of what cloud computing, whether public or private cloud, really means. As James Staten writes, 70 percent of interviewed IT administrators are not aware of what a private cloud really is. Most named a fully virtualized environment already a cloud, which in general does not have the core features of a cloud.

Virtualization is not cloud computing

One has to make clear again at this point, that the mere virtualization of an infrastructure does not makes a private cloud. Virtualization is a subset of cloud computing and a key component. But: The areas self-service, scalability, resource pools, automation, granular billing, on-demand delivery of resources and so on, no ordinary virtualization solution is offering, and only is provided by a cloud infrastructure.

Frighteningly, some vendors are so perky and sold there former on-premise virtualization solutions now as a cloud. The „confession“ I have received from an employee of a very large U.S. vendor, who is now offering cloud solutions. The context in the personal conversation was about „We have adjusted our VMware solutions by simply written cloud on it to quickly have something „cloud-ready“ on the market.

German companies believe to have a „private cloud“

Similarly, I see it with German companies. I would not blame the Bitkom. Finally, they have to rely on the correct answers to the questions. And what should they do if the respondents due to ignorance may answer incorrect by claiming to use a private cloud, even though this is no more than a virtualized infrastructure without cloud properties.

With this in mind, you should see the results of this Bitkom survey critical, relativize it and acknowledge that not one third of German companies use cloud computing.

Update: 12.03.13

I do not want to give the impression that I take my statements out of the air. Yesterday somebody told me that their „Terminal-Server“ is a private cloud. Reason: There are so many definitions of cloud you can choose.

Update: 13.03.13

Also Exchange server with OWA are often named as a private mail cloud.


Disgusting: Amazon treats people like virtual machines – the human cloud

This article is not directly about cloud computing, but if I look at the whole issue I see many similarities with the concept of the Amazon Web Services. Beyond that it makes me very angry, how a company like Amazon treats its employees – notabene HUMANS.


A recently published documentary by the ARD (video) has revealed the inhuman machinations of the world’s biggest retailer Amazon with temporary workers in Germany. That the working conditions in the Amazon logistics centers are generally described as very poor is no secret, there have been several reports about it. But what this report reveals is among all human dignity, for which all stakeholders including Amazon itself must be held publicly accountable.

The report reveals that the success of Amazon is generated on the back of temporary workers that must „live“ under worst conditions, and this here in the middle of Germany. Therefore the corporation collects Europe-wide contract workers and accommodate them in unused holiday villages. Amazon uses subcontractors e.g. for the recruitment and the „security“ of the temporary workers. In totally overcrowded buses, employees are brought into the distribution centers. If they come to late to the shiftwork – even without their own fault – they paid less. The documentary shows how a company like Amazon „… must bring along 5,000 people for three months and then get rid of.

Amazon treats contract workers like virtual machines

In order to get a little curve to the cloud, I see so many parallels between the disregard of human dignity through Amazon and the cloud computing concept as it operates by the Amazon Web Services. Simply swap the term „virtual machine“ to the word „human„.

Amazon requires, as the report good describes, „humans on demand“ and let them work through 15 days in a row. Amazon transfers the concept of the cloud, so the principles of „on demand“ and „pay per use“ in its retail business and in the logistics centers, and thus creates its „human cloud“. It is a very good analog example for the technical situation of the webshop during the Christmas season. Meanwhile, excessive resources for computing power are needed to keep the shop stable because of the high requests. The situation is similar in the logistics centers. If the requests at the webshop increase, the commissions are need to approved, accepted and prepared for shipment. If the requests decline, even in the warehouses less is going on. Accordingly, fewer people are needed, which are then no longer need to be paid. An example of an Amazon headman of the logistics center in Koblenz: „3300 employees work here, 3100 of them are temporary.“

Theoretically a nice idea Amazon, but that does not work! You can not boot up humans like virtual machines and then dispose them when they are no longer needed!


Office 365 Home Premium – Microsoft does not rely on software-as-a-service

Yesterday Microsoft has introduced its new Office for the retail market. The new Office 365 Home Premium promises to deliver new capabilities for direct connection to social networks, SkyDrive and Skype to facilitate communication with family and friends. In addition, each user has his personal office anywhere. Use it on a PC, tablet or smartphone – and even on the Mac. The control is done in addition to keyboard by touch or pen input. But who thought that Microsoft offers its new office to the idea of the cloud as SaaS (software-as-a-service), is mistaken.

Cloud but not software-as-a-service

Office 365 Home Premium is not SaaS or a cloud service in the strict sense, because the office is not provided or used over the browser. (Although there are the completely free Office Web Apps, which have directly nothing to do with Office 365 Home Premium.) Microsoft gives the reason that not all Office functions can be operated performant in the browser. Instead, Microsoft is going an „interesting“ way which is totally new. Microsoft Office becomes hybrid. Microsoft names this truly innovative technology as „Office streaming“. Through „Click 2 Run“ an office suite can be installed in minutes. The interesting thing is that Microsoft initially installed the statistically most used basic functions, so you can quickly start working with Office. So you are able to work with Office already during the installation. In the background the rest is installed. The cluo: If a function is called, for example of Word, while Office is still in installation mode, this function is prioritized accurately and directly streamed. (Whether this type of installation, a user really needs is another question, but the idea is good.)

Cloud is just in the backend

Office 365 Home Premium syncs all personal settings and documents automatically to the cloud. Thus all data are available on all connected PCs. This also works on other PCs, if you log on there with a Microsoft account of hotmail.com, outlook.com or live.com. Based on the new technology „Office on Demand“ the office is then streamed from the cloud for processing on the respective computer. „Office on Demand“ installs Office on the local system in a virtual environment. When the session is closed, the virtual environment and the Office with all the data completely disappears from the system. Thus, Microsoft would ensure privacy when using on other computers.

Prices and goodies

Office 365 Home Premium includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and also Outlook, Access and Publisher. By subscribing a user automatically has to have the latest Office solution on the hard drive or on the road via“Office on Demand“. Other goodies: 60 minutes per month with Skype to landlines, additional 20 GB SkyDrive storage and use rights for up to five devices, laptops, tablets and smartphones, for both Windows and Mac environments.


  • Office 365 Home Premium: 99 EUR per year
  • Office 365 University: 79 EUR for 4 years
  • Office Home & Student 2013 for 139 EUR
  • Office Home & Business 2013 for 269 EUR
  • Office Professional 2013 for 539 EUR

Office 365-Business

From 27 February 2013 also new Office 365 business services with new functions will be available, which will probably also include a SkyDrive Pro version.

The strategy is consistent with Windows 8

That Microsoft does not rely on SaaS is a little surprising, but it fits into the Windows 8 strategy. The applications are mostly held locally to ensure the speed and necessarily not have to rely on a data connection. All personal settings and documents, if the user wants, are stored in the cloud in order to ensure the location and platform independent access. This is ensured by „Office on Demand“ and streaming.

Is the Microsoft Office suite still contemporary?

For me, the question arises, why Microsoft continued its commitment to this massive office suite and does not offer applications separately. I understand the strategy to give end users access to Outlook. Parents can e.g. organize the family. But who does that really? After Microsoft’s research probably some. So, reference customers were allowed to talk about their use cases during the launch event. I’m not so sure. If you look at the behavior of (young) users, who prefer to self assemble their productivity suite and do not want to get dictated by mom and dad. (The influence of their friends is much greater.) Dropbox for storage, Evernote for taking notes, Remember the Milk or Wunderlist for tasks, GMail or Outlook.com for e-mail are among the favorite candidates. The Cloud and Mobile apps make it possible.

Office is good, no question! But is this powerful solution still contemporary? Do users really want to get dictated what they should use or do they prefer to assemble their own solutions. Word and Excel are an added value for each personal productivity suite, but for that they must be offered separately, and I do not mean the Office Web Apps.


"Variable cloud contracts" Please What?

I’ve found an interview in the German CIO magazine with the title „We need variable cloud contracts„. Please what? Variable cloud contracts? These are three words which together don’t make sense and show that the cloud computing concept somehow has not arrived yet or, and this will be very awkward, the providers wrongly advised.

Fragmented: „Variable cloud contracts“

Let us disassemble this word-mesh and image it to the generally principles of cloud computing we have the following result:


Cloud computing is inherently variable. Even more variable than any form of outsourcing we have seen in the history of information technology. And that regarding on the time of use and as well as the accounting. See next item.


Resumed in a nutshell cloud (computing) means the flexible (variable) on demand use of (IT)-resources over a data link, preferential the Internet.

Flexible respectively variable means for a customer obtaining the resources, use them and „give them back“ when he wants (on demand). Beyond that the customer just pay for the resources he used within this period and which resources he truly used (pay as you go).

So, highly variable!


In classical thought, there are no „real“ contracts within cloud computing as we normally know. In the public cloud you just need a credit card. Of course you have a kind of a contract, but this is or should be designed by the providers side, so that you as a customer will receive the maximum of flexibility. That means that the accounting ensued e.g. per hour and no monthly or even annually contract is signed. If the infrastructure of the provider is no longer needed after a certain time the settlement ends.

The tangible statement

The statement in the interview reads as follows:

„Cloud computing is a trend you have to use. Essential for us is the contractual implementation. What the cloud does, is the quick usability of IT services and the availability is separated from the company. But it will be only interesting for us, if all relevant safety requirements are met, if you can switch from one provider to another and the contracts can be designed variably. This means concretely the related resources have to be adapted within 24 hours of both upward and downward.“

In particular the last (marked in bold) part is worrying!

„… if you can switch from one provider to another and the contracts can be designed variably. This means concretely the related resources have to be adapted within 24 hours of both upward and downward.“

This statement shows to me on the one hand, that the view of the market is missing. Because there are already enough (real) cloud computing providers where exactly this demand is possible. Mentioned here for example Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure or CloudSigma. On the other hand, this also means that so many providers continue to play a double game and define cloud computing by their own rules and so confuse the customers.