Cloud Computing

Diversification? Microsoft’s Cloud OS Partner Network mutates to an “OpenStack Community”

At first sight the announcement of the new Microsoft Cloud OS Partner Network sounds indeed interesting. Who doesn’t want to use the Microsoft public cloud directly, as of now can select from one of several partner to access the Microsoft technologies indirectly. It is also possible to span a hybrid cloud between the Microsoft cloud and the partner clouds or the own data center. For Microsoft and its technological extension within the cloud it is indeed a clever move. But for the so-called „Cloud OS Partner Network“ this activity could backfire.

Microsoft Cloud OS Partner Network

The Cloud OS Partner Network consists of more than 25 cloud service provider worldwide, which, according to Microsoft, focuses especially on hybrid cloud scenarios based on Microsoft’s cloud platform. For this purpose, they rely on a combination of the Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. With that, Microsoft tries to underwrite its vision to establish its Cloud OS as a basis for customer data center, service provider clouds and the Microsoft public cloud.

For this reason, the Cloud OS Partner Network serves more than 90 different markets with a total customer base of three million companies worldwide. Overall 2.4 million server and more than 425 data center build the technological base.

Among others the partner network includes provider like T-Systems, Fujitsu, Dimension Data, CSC and Capgemini.

Advantages for Microsoft and the customer: Locality and extension

For Microsoft, the Cloud OS Partner Network is a clever move to, measured by the distribution of Microsoft cloud technologies, gains more worldwide market share. In addition, it fits perfectly into Microsoft’s proven strategy to serve the customer not directly but over a network of partner.

The partner network also comes towards the customer. Companies who avoided the Microsoft public cloud (Windows Azure), due to data locality reasons or local policies like data privacy, are now able to find a provider in their own country and do not have to dispense with the desired technologies. For Microsoft, another advantage is the fact, not coercively to build a data center in each country, but to concentrate on the existing or the strategically important once.

With that, Microsoft can lean back a little and let again make a partner network do the uncomfortable sales. The incomes come, as before the age of the cloud, over selling licenses to the partner.

Downside for the partner: Diversification

You can find great stories about this partner network. But the fact is, with the Cloud OS Partner Network, Microsoft creates a similar competitive situation you can find in the OpenStack Community. Especially in the public cloud, with Rackspace and HP, there exist just two „top provider“, who only play a minor part in the worldwide cloud circus. Notably HP fights more with itself and is therefore not able to concentrate on innovations. However, the main problem of both and all the other providers is that they are not able to differentiate from each other. Instead, most of the providers stand in a direct competition to each other and currently not diverge significantly. This is due to the fact, that all set on the same technological base. An analysis on the current situation of the OpenStack community can be found under “Caught in a gilded cage. OpenStack provider are trapped.

The situation for the Cloud OS Partner Network is even more uncomfortable. Unlike in OpenStack, Microsoft is the only technology supplier and decides where it is going on. The partner network need to swallow what is set before them and just can adapt further technology stacks which lead to more overhead and thus further cost for development and operations.

Except for the local markets, all Cloud OS service provider are in a direct competition and based solely on Microsoft technologies are not able to differentiate otherwise. Good support and professional services are extremely important and an advantage but no USP in the cloud.

If the Cloud OS Partner Network flops, Microsoft will get away with a black eye. The great harm the partners will carry home.

Technology as a competitive advantage

Looking at the real successful cloud provider on the market it becomes clear that those who have developed their clouds based on an own technology stack and therefore differentiate technological from the rest. These are Amazon, Google or Microsoft and precisely not Rackspace or HP who both set on OpenStack.

This, Cloud OS partner like Dimension Data, CSC or Capgemini should keep in mind. In particular CSC and Dimension Data have big claims to have a say in the cloud.

Cloud Computing

HP Cloud Portfolio: Overview & Analysis

HP’s cloud portfolio consists of a range of cloud-based solutions and services. The HP Public Cloud is a true infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering and the current core product, which is marketed generous. The HP Enterprise Services – Virtual Private Cloud provides a hosted Private Cloud from HP. The Public Cloud services are delivered exclusively from the US with data centers in the west and east. Even if HPs sales force is distributed around the world English is the only supported language.


The IaaS core offering includes compute power (HP Cloud Compute), storage (HP Cloud Storage) and network capacity. Furthermore, the value-added services HP Cloud Load Balancer, HP Cloud Relational DB, HP Cloud DNS, HP Cloud Messaging, HP Cloud CDN, HP Cloud Object Storage, HP Cloud Block Storage and HP Cloud Monitoring are available with which a virtual infrastructure for own applications and services can be build.

The HP Cloud infrastructure based on OpenStack and is multi-tenant. The virtual machines are virtualized with KVM and can be booked in fixed sizes (Extra Small to Double Extra Large) per hour. The local storage of a virtual machine is not persistent. Long-term data can be stored and connected on an independent block storage. Own virtual machine images cannot be uploaded to the cloud. The load balancer is currently still in a private beta. The infrastructure is a multi-fault domain, which is considered by the service level agreement. A multi-factor authorization is currently not offered.

The HP Enterprise Cloud Services offer a variety of solutions geared to business. Including recovery-as-a-service, Dedicated Private Cloud and Hosted Private Cloud. The application services include solutions for collaboration, messaging, mobility and unified communications. Specific business applications include HP Enterprise Cloud Services for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, HP Enterprise Cloud Services for Oracle and HP Enterprise Cloud Services for SAP. Professional services complement the Enterprise Cloud Services portfolio. The Enterprise Cloud Services – Virtual Private Cloud is a multi-tenant and by HP hosted Private Cloud and is aimed at SAP, Oracle and other enterprise applications.


HP has a lot of experience in building and operating IT infrastructures and achieve the same objectives in the areas of Public and Private Cloud infrastructures. For this HP depends on own hardware components and an extensive partner network. HP has a global sales force and an equally high marketing budget and is therefore able to reach a variety of customers. Even if the data center for the Public Cloud are exclusively in the US.

In recent years HP has invested much effort and development. Nevertheless, the HP Public Cloud compute service is only available to the general public since December 2012. Due to this, HP has no significant track record for its Public Cloud. There is only a limited interoperability between the HP Public Cloud based on OpenStack, and the Private Cloud (HP CloudSystem, HP Converged Cloud) based on HP Cloud OS. Since the HP Public Cloud does not have the ability to upload own virtual machine images on the basis of a self-service, customers currently cannot transfer workloads from the Private Cloud to the Public Cloud. Even if the Private Cloud is based on OpenStack.


The INSIGHTS Report “HP Cloud Portfolio – Overview & Analysis” can be downloaded for free as a PDF.

Cloud Computing

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.

Cloud Computing

Multi-Cloud is “The New Normal”

Not least the disaster of Nirvanix had shown that one should not rely on a single cloud provider. But regardless of spreading the risk, the usage of a multi-cloud strategy is a recommended approach which already is conscious or unconscious practionzed.

Hybrid or multi-cloud?

What actually means multi-cloud? Or what is the difference to a hybrid cloud? Well, by definition a hybrid cloud connects a private cloud or an on-premise IT infrastructure with a public cloud to supply the local infrastructure with further resources on-demand. This resources could be compute power, storage but even services or software. Is a local email system integrated with a SaaS CRM system it can spoken about a hybrid cloud. That means a hybrid cloud stands not just for IaaS or PaaS scenarios.

The multi-cloud approach extends the hybrid cloud idea by the amount of connected clouds. Exactly spoken, this can be n-clouds which are integrated in some kind of forms. Here, for example, cloud infrastructures are connected that applications can use different infrastructures or services in parallel or depending on the workload or the current price. Even the parallel or distributed storage of data over multiple clouds is imaginable to ensure the availability and redundance of the data. At the moment multi-cloud is intensively discussed in the IaaS area. Therefore taking a look on Ben Kepes‘ and Paul Miller’s Mapping Session on multi-cloud as well as Paul’s Sector RoadMap: Multicloud management in 2013 is recommendable.

What is often neglected, multi-cloud has a special importance in the SaaS area. The amount of new SaaS applications is growing from day to day and with that the demand to integrate this varying solutions and let exchange the data. Today, the cloud market moves uncontrolled into the direction of isolated applications while each solution offers an added value, but in the result leads to many small data silos. With this kind of progress enterprises already fought vainly in pre cloud times.

Spread the risk

Even if the cloud marketing always promise the availability and security of data, systems and applications, the responsibilty to ensure this lies in the own hands (This refers to an IaaS public cloud.). Although cloud vendor mostly provide ways and means using IaaS, the customer has to do things on its own. Outages known from the Amazon Web Services or unpredictable closures like Nirvanix should lead to more sensitivity while using cloud services. The risk needs to be spread consciously. Here not all eggs shut be put into one basked but strategically distributed over severall.


The best-of-breed strategy is the most widespread approach within IT enterprise architectures. Here multiple integrated industry solution for various sections within a company are used. The idea behind best-of-breed is to use the best solution in each case, an all-in-one solution usually cannot offer. This means one assembled the best services and applications for its purpose. Following this approach in the cloud, one is already in a multi-cloud scenario what means that approxiamtely 90 percent of all companies using cloud services are multi-cloud users. If the used cloud services are integrated remains doubtful.

Which is recommended on the one hand, is on the other side unavoidable in many cases. Although there are already a few good all-in-one solutions on the market. Nevertheless, most pearls are implemented independently, and must be combined with other solutions, for example email and office /collaboration with CRM and ERP. In respect of the risk this has its advantage, especially in the cloud. If a provider fails only a partial service is not available and not the overall productivity environment.

Avoid data silos: APIs and integration

Such best-of-breed approaches cloud marketplaces attempt to create, by grouping individual cloud solutions into different categories to offer companies a broad portfolio of different solutions, with which a cloud productivity suite can be put together.

Nevertheless, very highly controlled and supposedly integrated marketplaces show a crucial point with massive integration problems. There are many individual SaaS applications that do not interact. This means that there is no common database and for example the email service can not access the data in the CRM service and vice versa. This creates, as described above, individual data silos and isolated applications within the marketplace.

This example also illustrates the biggest problem with a multi-cloud approach. The integration of the many different and usually independent operating cloud services and their interfaces to each other.

Multi-cloud is “The New Normal” in the cloud

The topic of multi-cloud is currently highly debated especially in IaaS environment to spread the risk and to take advantage of the cost and benefits of different cloud infrastructures. But even in the SaaS environment the subject must necessarily become a greater importance to avoid data silos and isolated applications in the future, to simplify the integration and to support companies in their adaptation of their best-of-breed strategy.

Notwithstanding these expectations, the multi-cloud use is already reality by companies using multiple cloud solutions from many different vendors, even if the services are not yet (fully) integrated.

Cloud Computing

“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 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, 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.

Cloud Computing

Enterprise Cloud Computing: T-Systems to launch “Enterprise Marketplace”

According to Deutsche Telekom it already could reach about 10.000 mid-size business for its Business Marketplace. Now a similar success should be achieved in the corporate customer environment. For this the Enterprise Marketplace is available to purchase software, hardware or packaged solutions on demand and even deploy firm-specific in-house development for the own employees.

SaaS, IaaS and ready packages

The Enterprise Marketplace is aimed to the specific requirements of large business and offers besides Software-as-a-Service solutions (SaaS) also pre-configured images (appliances) and pre-configured overall packages which can be integrated into existing system landscapes. All services including integrated in-house developments are located in a hosted private cloud and are delivered through the backbone of the Telekom.

Standard solutions and in-house development

The Enterprise Marketplace offers mostly standardized services. The usage of these services includes new releases, updates and patches. The accounting is on a monthly base and based on the use of the respective service. T-Systems also provides ready appliances like a pre-configured Apache Application Server which can be managed and expanded with own software. In the future customers will be able to choose which T-Systems data center they would like to use.

Within the Enterprise Marketplace different offerings from the marketplace can be combined e.g. a webserver with a database and a content management system. Furthermore own solutions like monitoring tools can be integrated. These own solutions can also be provided to the remaining marketplace participants. Who and how many participants get access to the solution the customer decides on its own.

In addition the performance of each appliance in the Enterprise Marketplace can be individually customized. Therefore the user can affect the amount of CPUs as well as the RAM size and storage and the connection bandwidth. In a next expansion stage managed services take care of patches, updates and new releases.

Marketplace with solutions from external vendors

A custom dashboard provides an overview of all deployed or approved applications within the Enterprise Marketplace. Current solutions on the marketplace include webserver (e.g. Apache and Microsoft IIS), application server (e.g. Tomcat and JBoss), SQL databases, Microsoft Enterprise Search as well as open source packages (e.g. LAMP stack or Joomla). In addition T-Systems partners with a number of SaaS solution provider who have been specifically tested for use on the T-Systems infrastructure. This includes among others the tax software TAXOR, the enterprise social media solution tibbr, the business process management suite T-Systems Process Cloud as well as the sustainability management WeSustain.

Cloud computing at enterprise level

T-Systems with its Enterprise Marketplace already arrived where other providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, HP and Rackspace starts its journey – at the lucrative corporate customers. While the Business Marketplace primarily presents as a marketplace for SaaS solutions, T-Systems and the Enterprise Marketplace go ahead and also provide infrastructure ressources and complete solutions for companies including the integration of in-house development as well as managed services.

Compared to the current cloud players T-Systems does not operate a public cloud but instead focused on providing a (hosted/ virtual) private cloud. This can pay off in the medium term. Current market figures from IDC promise a growth for the public cloud by 2013 with 47.3 billion dollars to 107 billion dollars in 2017. According to IDC the popularity of the private cloud will decline for the benefit of the virtual private cloud (hosted private cloud) once the public cloud provider start to offer appropriate solutions to meet the concerns of the customers.

Similar observations we have made ​​during our GigaOM study “The state of Europe’s homegrown cloud market“. Cloud customers are increasingly demanding managed services. Although they want to benefit from the properties of the public cloud – flexible use of the resources, pay per use – but this at the same time within a very secure environment including the support for the integration of applications and systems by the provider. At present, all of this the public cloud player cannot offer in this form since they mainly focus on their self-service offerings. This is fine, because they effectively operate certain use cases and have achieved significant market share in a specific target customer segment. However, if they want to get the big fish in the enterprise segment, they will have to align their strategy to the T-Systems portfolio in order to meet the individual needs of the customers.

A note on the selection process of partners for the Enterprise Marketplace: Discussions with partners that offer their solutions on the Business Marketplace confirm a tough selection process, which can be a real “agony” for the partner. Specific adjustments specifically to the security infrastructure of T-Systems are not individual cases and show a high quality management by T-Systems.

Cloud Computing

A view of Europe’s own cloud computing market

Europe’s cloud market is dominated by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure, and Rackspace. So the same providers that serve the rest of the world. Each of these global providers has a local presence in Europe and all have made efforts to satisfy European-specific concerns with respect to privacy and data protection. Nevertheless, a growing number of local providers are developing cloud computing offerings in the European market. For GigaOM Research, Paul Miller and I explore in more detail the importance of having these local entrants and asks whether Europe’s growing concern with U.S. dominance in the cloud is a real driver for change. The goal is to discover whether there is a single European cloud market these companies can address or whether there are several different markets.

Key highlights from the report

  • European concern about the dominance of U.S. cloud providers
  • Rationale for developing cloud solutions within Europe
  • The value of transnational cloud infrastructure
  • The value of local or regional cloud infrastructure
  • A representative sample of Europe’s native cloud providers

European cloud providers covered in the report

  • ProfitBricks
  • T-Systems
  • DomainFactory
  • City Cloud
  • Colt
  • CloudSigma
  • GreenQloud

Get the report

To read the full report go to “The state of Europe’s homegrown cloud market“.

Cloud Computing

GigaOM Analyst Webinar – The Future of Cloud in Europe [Recording]

On July 9 Jo Maitland, Jon Collins, George Anadiotis and I talked about the opportunities and challenges of the cloud in Europe and countries such as Germany or the UK, and gave an insight into the cloud computing market in Europe. The recording of the international GigaOM analyst webinar “The Future of Cloud in Europe” is online now.

Background of the webinar

The European Commission unveiled its “pro cloud” strategy a year ago, hoping to reignite the stagnant economy through innovation. The Commissioner proclaimed boldly that the cloud must “happen not to Europe, but with Europe”. And rightly so. A year later, three GigaOM Research analysts from Europe Jo Collins (Inter Orbis), George Anadiotis (Linked Data Orchestration) and Rene Buest (New Age Disruption) – moderated by Jo Maitland (GigaOM Research) – looked at who the emerging cloud players are in the region and their edge over U.S. providers. They digged into the issues for cloud buyers in Europe and the untapped opportunities for providers. Can Europe build a vibrant cloud computing ecosystem? That’s a tough question today as U.S. cloud providers still dominant the industry.

Questions which were answered

  • What’s driving cloud opportunities and adoption in Europe?
  • What are the inhibitors to adoption of cloud in Europe?
  • Are there trends and opportunities within specific countries (UK, Germany, peripheral EU countries?)
  • Which European providers show promise and why?
  • What are the untapped opportunities for cloud in Europe?
  • Predictions for the future of cloud in Europe.

The recording of the analyst webinar

Cloud Computing

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.


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.