The commoditization of technology has reached its pinnacle with the advent of the recent paradigm of Cloud Computing. Infosys Cloud Computing blog is a platform to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions with Infosys experts on Cloud Computing

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August 27, 2013

You can't compete with the clouds, but you can embrace and succeed!

 

I take my inspiration for my blog title from Forrester's James Staten who recently wrote about "You can learn from the clouds but you can't compete". James Staten talks about how data center operations can help achieve levels of excellence and success and prescribes that standardization, simplification, workload consistency, automation and maniacal focus on power and cooling can help one setup and run the best data center operations.

 

However, I think there is more to these large cloud providers than just learning some best practices. I was talking to an important client of Infosys earlier with whom we are currently enabling an cloud enabled IT transformation and she mentioned something that clarified to me what the real value of these cloud providers means. She said her aspiration is to set up and run a trust cloud ecosystem for her enterprise with a single point of accountability.  In spite of the sheer scale and magnitude of their investments, the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure, these giant behemoths of industrial scale infrastructure with their infinitesimal compute power, derive respect from the sheer agility and speed with which they are able to respond to their customer needs.

 

Of course, this happens because of a phenomenal level of simplification, standardization, automation and orchestration they run their operations with. Now imagine, how it would be if these principles of IT governance and operations management were extended to an enterprise. Vishnu Bhat , VP and Global head of Cloud at Infosys keeps saying "It is not about the Cloud. It is about the enterprise" and towards this if an enterprise were to simply focus on learning from these cloud leaders and work towards establishing an ecosystem of cloud providers, a hybrid setup, where their current IT is conveniently and easily connected to their private cloud, and public cloud setups. And this hybrid cloud environment is managed with the same level of agility and speed as an AWS is, that is when the possibility of true success and value from cloud starts to emerge.

 

Imagine a hybrid cloud within the realms of your enterprise that functions with the same speed, agility and alacrity of an AWS. Imagine exceptionally efficient levels of optimization of costs on a continuous basis by bringing in levels of automated provisioning of enterprise workloads, integrated federation and brokerage with on-premise core IT systems, extensibility with public clouds available for spikes, constant optimization through contestability and optimization, control and governance through single enterprise view, metering, billing and charge backs to business, clear points of accountability with easy governance of SLAs and liabilities, secure management of the cloud and compliance de-risking in keeping with the laws of the land. And all this from one ecosystem integrator with one point of responsibility, accountability. That's cloud nirvana at work!  I am eager to keeping telling clients on how to get to this state, how to learn from the cloud providers and contextualize these to an enterprise.

 

In my next blog, I will talk about an important aspect of cloud success - contestability, but before that, I would urge you to read my colleague Soma Pamidi's blog "Getting cloud management and sustenance right - Part 1". Till then, may the clouds keep you productive!

August 21, 2013

Getting cloud management and sustenance right -- Part-1

I have been in Australia in recent weeks as I work with a major client of Infosys' to help devise  the   cloud transformation for them. It is exciting, and all this effort in planning their transformation enablement with cloud only reaffirms a long time belief I have had - to get value from Cloud, one needs to get their cloud management and sustenance right. In this 3 part blog series, I will try and cover that. My secret hope is that it transpires into a model we can help clients with.

 

The promise of Cloud is that it just does simply reduce costs but also delivers business agility with flexibility. While enterprises are ramping up for the journey to cloud, achieving proper integration and delivery is of prime importance. It marks the steps to transition from 'asset-centric IT' to 'service-centric IT' in a systematic and progressive manner. It also presents a robust Cloud management framework that, with the right implementation partner can help the enterprise reap a rich harvest of business benefits.

 

Organizations are in various stages of consolidating their information technology (IT) infrastructure to a single or few centralized datacenters along with vendors and suppliers.  While such datacenter consolidation has yielded performance efficiencies and cost optimization, there has also been exponential growth in demand owing to the evolution of cloud solutions. Compared to traditional datacenters and hosting, cloud services offer higher elasticity, rapid scalability, on-demand pay-per-use models, and other innovative out-of-the-box, ready-to-use services. Today's enterprises are entering a new world where businesses are facing increasing pressures to offer efficient services, ownership and decisions are restricted to the services they consume.

 

Today's enterprises recognize that Cloud technologies are transforming IT and business models. With Cloud, organizations realize that it calls a new operating model which comes with its own set of challenges.

 

The increasing IT complexity makes it impossible to achieve desired benefits from a single cloud provider. The demand for superior services is forcing businesses to opt for multiple CSPs, transforming the existing IT landscape into a complex, hybrid cloud enterprise. This poses several challenges such as higher governance overheads, absence of a single point of accountability, complexity in managing SLAs, lack of standardized processes, tools and reports. In my next blog, I will speak about cloud governance and compliance and integration and orchestration management.

 

 

July 12, 2012

Big Data and the God particle (Higgs Boson)

The July 4th 2012 announcement from CERN on the possible evidence of the existence of the God particle or the Higgs Boson has sent ripples through the physics community. This is not just fundamental to explain the existence of gravity but a validation of the Standard Model of particle physics. It holds the possibility of opening up new frontiers in physics and a new understanding of the world we live in.

While we marvel at these discoveries, our physicist brother-in grapple with trying to understand if this discovery is truly a Higgs Boson or an imposter?  It is however very interesting to look at the magnitude of the data analysis and the distributed computing framework that was required to wade through the massive amounts of data produced by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The Big Data problem that the scientists at CERN and across the world had to contend with was sifting through over 800 Trillion (you heard that right ...) proton to proton collisions looking for this elusive Higgs Boson.  Additionally this particle has a large mass but is extremely unstable and lasts for less than a billionth of a second.  It cannot be detected directly and is identified through its footprint or the particles that it splits into. This results in over 200 Petabytes of data that needs to be analyzed.

 Right from the beginning CERN had set this up as a distributed cloud based tiered data processing solution. There were three tiers identified T0 being the tier that collects the data directly from LDH, there were 11 T1 nodes across the world getting the data from CERN and a number of T2 nodes (for e.g. there are 8 in the US) based on the areas of the data that particular groups of physicists were interested in analyzing.  From the T2 nodes people could download the data to their personal T3 nodes for analysis. This resulted in a massive highly distributed data processing framework that collects data spewed out by the LHC detectors at a phenomenal rate of 1.25GB/sec. The overall network can rely on a computation capability of over 100,000 processors spread over 130 organization in 34 countries.

From a technology perspective it is interesting that people have used some of the open source technologies that we use for big data processing in enterprises for e.g. the file system with the Hadoop echo system, HDFS (Hadoop Distirbuted File System) was the candidate for storing these massive amounts of data, ROOT another open source tool which is also used by financial institutions as well is used to analyze this data.

It is amazing that the analysis tools used to find the God particle is commonly available to be used by the enterprise to solve smaller Big Data problems.

To paraphrase Galelio "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them and Big Data can help"

June 27, 2012

Microsoft can extend its Windows run on the Cloud.

While I am preparing my trip for Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference (WWPC) 2012 happening in Toronto during second week of July, I was referring to the notes which I captured during the previous events.  What really caught my eyes were some key messages delivered during 2010 WWPC which happened at Washington DC. Steve Ballmer in his key note mentioned that Microsoft is transforming itself into a cloud services company and 70 percent of Microsoft developers are working on cloud services. This was followed by the message to partners to "Lead with cloud, Build, Tell, Sell and Support".  Microsoft's big bets on cloud were clearly evident throughout the partner conference in 2010 where 70% and more of the sessions were around Microsoft cloud products be it Public or Private Cloud and SaaS or PaaS offerings. It was the first wave of Microsoft message to partners to gear up to support its Windows run on cloud.  

If you look back, this strategy from Microsoft didn't happen overnight. The preparations started way back in 2005 when Ray Ozzie released an exciting internal memo to Microsoft employees outlining the competitive landscape, the opportunities and future steps for Microsoft's strategy to deliver on a portfolio of seamless software + services. I recollect majority of us during that timeframe ignored it and continued implementing Windows XP's, Windows Server 2003, Office 2003 and kept exploring the power of .NET applications and XML web services on premises.

Later during 2008 Ray further advanced his software + services strategy and highlighted the power of choice for business while embracing cloud, which set the beginning for the enhanced set of products and services from Microsoft extending its powerful in premise story to cloud. This was followed with an announcement of Windows Live and Microsoft business productivity online services. This was the beginning of cloud being one of the mainstream focus. 

The 2011 WWPC which happened in Los Angeles highlighted Microsoft's huge investments on building data centers across the world and the product line enhancements to entice adoption. Today I believe Microsoft has become one of the largest and most influential players in the cloud for enterprise, SMB and consumer space.   Windows Azure today is mature and extensive, unlike the competitors provides both IaaS and PaaS capability. Microsoft has turned its most influential Windows based business productivity application "Microsoft office" as a cloud app. Along with this Microsoft also offers its most popular collaboration and messaging suite comprising of Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync  as a SaaS solution branded as O365.  To add to this is its recently unveiled SaaS offering "Microsoft Dynamics" CRM online. They also have the right synergy across public and private cloud for Identity, virtualization, management and application development.  Earlier this week Microsoft announced its acquisition of Yammer a social networking company to extend its cloud services with best-in-class enterprise social networking.  What more do we need to believe that Microsoft will extend its run on Cloud ?

I am sure the 2012 WWPC will have more exciting announcements re iterating their strategy as a cloud services company. 

April 4, 2012

Will the inclusion of cloud-computing in Industries may decrease the job opportunities in future?

We know that cloud-computing apart from providing benefits like reliability, availability, scalability, etc, it was also shifts some of the responsibility (from the infrastructure point of view) to the cloud-computing providers.

Once application/service deployed to the cloud computing infrastructure:

·         Network administrators need not to worry about the load balancing, bandwidth balancing, etc

·         System administrators need not to worry about updating the machines/servers with latest security and other patches, etc.

So from the application owner's perspective, he/she needs not to put much effort and money in this types of administrative works rather devote more on the application feature enhancement.

Does that mean personals involved in such administrative works are going to lose their job opportunities?

Continue reading "Will the inclusion of cloud-computing in Industries may decrease the job opportunities in future?" »

January 9, 2012

Enterprise Cloud Adoption Strategic Roadmap

Adoption of Cloud in an enterprise is more of a strategic decision than an operational or tactical. Cloud adoption needs to be seen more from enterprise architecture strategy perspective rather than an isolated application architecture specific strategy for the simple reason that it has several short and long term implications on enterprise strategy which may be beyond the specific application's business or technology footprint.

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November 7, 2011

Enterprise Cloud trends - "Cloud First" strategy

While we were working on the Cloud strategy for Infosys a year back we had lengthy debates on how an enterprise of the future looks like with their cloud vision in the coming years. Most of our forecasts on this are coming factual. My recent interactions with clients and partners clearly reveal that the Cloud adoption by enterprises is faster than what was being perceived by a larger community.

 

"Cloud first" strategy is being adopted by some of our leading clients and few of them have a very clear approach for their Infrastructure and application stack. Hybrid is the most common trend and Private Cloud plans are in place for the new and old gears. IaaS consumption from Public Cloud seems to be a short term strategy and PaaS is becoming more prominent for application development even though there is still some fear of vendor lock-in. This to me is the right strategy as more innovations are to happen in the PaaS space and applications can leverage the power of Cloud in terms of scalability, global availability, design for failures etc. more with platform as a service. Application portability gaps across platforms and on-premise setup will gradually diminish with parity amongst on-premise server operating systems and Cloud platforms being addressed with every new version release. Those who consider that an application developed for windows server is a platform "lock-in" may not agree with me on this view.

 

One of our clients who has adopted O365 has outlined the future strategy for portals with first choice as SharePoint Online and anything on-premise will be an exception (feature parity, data privacy etc). This shows that "Cloud first" strategy is becoming the norm within enterprises with clear directions for non-standard applications and short living workloads. This works well across organizations and industries for especially self-contained application workloads which have least dependency on data residing on premise. Additionally, these organizations could have security and compliance concerns in their data being exposed to the Public Cloud.

 

Next wave is around mobility and analytics. Will discuss this in my next post. 

 

August 23, 2011

Practicing Agile Software Development on the Windows® Azure™ Platform

Over the years, several software development methodologies have evolved to help the IT industry cope with rapidly evolving business requirements. One such methodology is Agile... -an iterative approach to software development. Similarly rapid strides on the technology front are resulting in paradigm shifts towards software development and how IT delivers its services to business. Technologies in the form of virtualization and cloud are offering low entry barriers by making software and hardware infrastructure easily accessible and thus reduce the time to market. These are encouraging signs that help reduce the gap between business and IT. 

Continue reading "Practicing Agile Software Development on the Windows® Azure™ Platform" »

July 29, 2011

Big Data and Cloud Computing

It is well known that leveraging the Cloud for high computing work loads for a short span of time is a good business case.

Getting Business insights from Big Data is becoming main stream. Cloud is becoming an ideal choice for that.

Continue reading "Big Data and Cloud Computing" »

March 31, 2011

Is cloud computing same as putting things Online?

All those just boarding the cloud train, may have posed this question to themselves or to others who may have a know-how on cloud. Being a Cloud SME myself, I have faced this question several times. This post is an attempt to clear some of the confusion that exists around this specific topic.

Continue reading "Is cloud computing same as putting things Online? " »

June 27, 2009

The Cloud ROI Framework

Last week, I had an opportunity to discuss the cloud computing ROI model with a large banking major.  We did some illustration using the simplistic ROI framework and figured-out the savings to the scale of 90% on CAPEX and 50% OPEX cost Y-o-Y.

The numbers were attractive enough to get attention of “C” profiles, he was bit positively surprised. The first question he asked was: what’s the trap here? He understands the concerns of security and outsourcing in banking business better than me, so I need not attempt raising technical obstacles. I simplified the answer: It is paradigm-shift; IT needs to manage this change! To my surprise, the wave-length matched just here, and we had constructive meeting.

We discussed the future of IT is in cloud, it is a big wave like moving from DOS to Windows; Desktops to Internet and On-premise IT to Cloud; through iterative lean IT transformation. We were on the same-page throughout, we concluded meeting with a note saying that – enterprises will adopt cloud tomorrow if not today; but if they fail to do it, they will be forced to adopt.

Continue reading "The Cloud ROI Framework" »

May 26, 2009

How enterprises have benefited from the cloud ?

It was an interesting question by one of our Manufacturing clients, when we were discussing an opportunity to leverage Microsoft Azure .Net Service Bus for their innovative SaaS product offering.  The intent of the question was loud & clear from the tone backed-up by the data-points from recently published, highly debated McKinsey report – Clearing the Air on the Cloud – where the cost effectiveness of cloud for large enterprises was questioned.

We presented a bunch of case-studies to our client - some executed by Infosys and some publicly available on internet. As a most trusted transformation partner & technology advisor, we shared our viewpoints on each-one-of-them.

We also presented the counter argument from Booz Allen Hamilton on the referred McKinsey report. It helped turn the table – we were able to shape the discussion in the comfort zone to every stakeholder on the call – you know how difficult this is in short meetings!

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May 15, 2009

Hybrid Approach for Cloud Computing Adoption

Concepts of private and public clouds came into existence when cloud computing was an emerging trend trying to lay its roots into the large scale enterprise’s IT environment. The multi-tenant model of public clouds succeeded in attracting numerous small-scale organizations, which found the CapEx savings and reduced development time as alluring.

But large-scale enterprises see the public nature of cloud as a potential issue for adoption.  Moreover, the fact that the IT is out of the limits of their control further alleviates the threat to public cloud’s adoption.

With an aim to tackle the challenges of public cloud a concept of in-house private clouds caught pace. However though private clouds are supposed to emulate the public cloud functionalities, they introduce their own shortcomings of scalability and up-front costs.

Hybrid model combining best of both worlds can be a solution.

Continue reading "Hybrid Approach for Cloud Computing Adoption" »

May 14, 2009

Google App Engine - Where to start?

In my first blog Down pour or Drizzle to Enterprise?   I wrote how large enterprises can take a drizzle in the Cloud.

In this let us look one of the Cloud providers – Google App Engine (GAE).

Is Google App Engine ready for the Enterprise?

Where enterprises can start the adoption?

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