In its Jan 4, 2010 cover article, Barron's Magazine predicts that "Cloud Computing will be as revolutionary as the Internet itself." Tech tasks [like archiving e-mail] will shift into cyberspace.
As we begin the new decade, it appears that moving into the Cloud will be as important as moving towards the Internet was in 2000. "If you don't have a cloud story,' you better get one," advises Riverbed Technology's chief executive officer, Jerry Kennelly, echoing the importance -- and hyperbole -- accorded the Internet a decade ago.
Why is Cloud Computing going to be so pervasive?
Everyone wants to do more with less. Eventually this could mean that companies would own fewer computers and have less need to make major enterprise-software investments. Although they'll occur in steps over a decade or more, these changes are expected to remake technology as thoroughly as the Internet has -- with, perhaps, a lot less destruction of investors' assets. The consolidation of data centers and the outsourcing of information technology will prevail over the long haul.
If you would like to read the entire article, please click here. If you would like to learn how Sonian can help you "do more with less" by using the cloud, please look for our upcoming webinar entitled. "Growing your Data while Shrinking your Data Center."
How can your company get started with cloud computing?
According to a recent Forrester research survey of current cloud services consumers, these are the top 5 cloud computing benefits in order of importance:
budgets with application demand
peaks in demand for data center capacity
applications without raising the budget
without putting the data center at risk
Before choosing a cloud provider, Forester recommends that you ask each cloud provider the following questions:
- What are your
enterprise references and what kinds of applications do those
organizations run in your cloud?
- For which application
scenarios does your cloud environment deliver the maximum flexibility and
- What security and
reliability commitments do you make to your customers?
You may find the full article here.
If you would like to see how Sonian is able to provide these benefits, please watch our downloadable "4 Advantages of Cloud Powered E-mail Archiving" webinar.
AND THE WINNER IS:
Amazon boasts an impressive 82 billion objects stored in its AWS S3 cloud, so it comes as no surprise that it tops the cloud charts in 2009. Amazon won this year’s
cloud provider competition with it’s scalable, reliable, and inexpensive offering.
Other notable Sonian partners that made the list include
Rackspace, IBM, and Microsoft. Click here to see the full list of top cloud providers. Stayed tuned in 2010 as the battle of the clouds ignites.
Picture compliments of trendsupdates.com
As Greg mentioned last week on our blog, the Economist hosted an online debate concerning whether the cloud should be trusted. After the ten-day debate ended November 19th, the majority of the 2,500 voters agreed that "we should entirely trust the cloud." Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com led the cloud supporters and Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft led the skeptics. Even Elop, leader of the cloud skeptics, agreed that "the cloud can and ultimately will be trusted."
The debate showed that security concerns hold some companies back from gaining the benefits of the cloud. Those opposing the cloud argue that managing your own hardware is safer. However, are these on-premises options actually safer? Or do people just perceive them to be safer because they are located underneath their feet in the basement?
Benioff explained this perception vs. reality issue by comparing clouds to banks. Just like putting money in the bank, storing data in the cloud provides a much more "robust environment in which there is prioritization, expertise, and resources fuelled by economies of scale, conditions that do not exist in most companies." With cloud storage, you can access data from anywhere just as you can access cash from any atm. In contrast, keeping data in basement server rooms is much like keeping cash in basement safes. There is sometimes a perception that the safe in your basement is a more secure place for your cash, but the reality is that it's easier to break-in, harder to protect from natural disasters, and is not easily accessible. We should trust clouds with our data just as we trust banks with our money.
PUT YOUR MONEY IN THE BANK AND YOUR SERVERS IN THE SKY
IT consumers are rapidly grasping the reality that cloud computing offers a better service than the traditional basement server room. "The shift to cloud computing is building momentum
by every measure, and cloud computing companies are growing robustly while their client-server counterparts are not." More and more customers
trust the fact that "cloud systems typically outshine their own in terms of reliability and security." (Benioff)
This trust allows customers to gain efficiency, reliability, infinite scalability, and dramatic savings. As far as costs
go, "Nothing builds trust like charging
customers for exactly what they need and nothing more." With the traditional server system, many users only need about 20% of their capacity, but they needed to pay for the extra 80% because scalability was an issue. Throughout this financial crisis, many companies have been crippled by overbearing infrastructure costs. As they "downsized" their employees, they could not "downsize" their servers. The cloud's agility allows companies to come out of this recession stronger. With your data in the clouds, you can have 100 employees today, 10,000 employees tomorrow, and the storage capacity increase will be effortlessly instantaneous without any infrastructure investments.
Check out the debate at: Economist Cloud Debate
Pictures compliments of syncweekly.com, softwareforcloudcomputing.com, www.brtechnology.com, and brajeshwar.com
How to Explain Cloud Computing and Hosted Email Archiving to the Computer Illiterate.
Over the holidays, you will do a lot of catching up with old friends and family, and if you work anywhere near "the Cloud" (which you should if your business uses computers), then you might find yourself trying to explain "the Cloud" to the technologically ungifted. Even people who work with "the Cloud" have a hard time explaining it to colleagues. I attended the America's Growth Capital 6th Annual East Coast Emerging Growth Conference back in October, and the moderator for the "Virtualization and Cloud Computing Panel" asked the industry experts to "define the cloud because I am sure not everybody in here really understands what it is."
(If I remember correctly) Michael Crandell from RightScale answered first, "Well I don't think anybody really knows how to define the cloud." Nobody on the panel, which included CEOs and Vice Presidents from emerging Virtualization and Cloud Computing companies such as Akorri, Fortisphere, LeoStream, and Silver Peak Systems, could disagree with him. I am not saying that these people aren't at the top of their game, I am simply showing that the idea of cloud-computing is so new, and evolving so rapidly that even industry leaders who are creating the very "cloud" above us have difficulty defining "it." So does this mean you should just give up trying to explain "the Cloud?" When your brother-in-law asks "what are you doing these days?" should you just tell him that you "make it rain" instead of getting into the complexities of a Web 2.0 profession? The answer is no, you should not.
I have devised a simple analogy for "the Cloud" that even your (great) grandparents could understand. I know this because I used this analogy when, over Thanksgiving, my grandparents asked me, "What are you working on these days."
-where do you think I got the idea for this blog post?
How I Explained Cloud Computing To My Grandmother:
Cloud Computing is the idea that you will be able to access all of your work, from anywhere, on any computer with an internet connection.
For example, what we do at Sonian is Email archiving. So we archive your email to the cloud. What is email? Email is electronic Mail. So it is just like the mail the postman brings you, only through the computer. For the purpose of this analogy, suppose email is mail brought to you by the postman. You follow me, Nana?
And what we do is store that mail so you can access it anywhere from anytime. In the case of our analogy, this means that instead of storing all your old mail in a big pile in the basement, you store it in a helicopter that follows you wherever you go - CloudCopter. Yes, Nana, a helicopter just like Jim flew in the war.
And the beauty of it, Nana, is that if you ever want to find an old email - excuse me - if you ever want to find an old letter, then you just tell the, we'll call them, CloudCrew what you need and they bring it right to you. Anywhere in the world. Even if you are at your timeshare in Florida:
And if your house burns down, CloudCopter has your letters stored safely in the sky. Perhaps even high enough to say that they are being stored in... "the Clouds."
To recap, Nana: At Sonian, the email we archive is like the letters you keep in laundry bins in the basement. And "the Cloud" we archive them to would be like storing your old letters in a lightning-fast super helicopter that has infinite storage space that you can access anywhere.
I could go on to talk about how operating CloudCopter miraculously costs less than storing her letters in the basement but Nana is asleep, and I think she is drooling a little bit.
So if you are confused, just remember: Cloud Computing is like a super lightning helicopter - called the CloudCopter - operated by a team of ninja-fast mail dudes called the CloudCrew. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Photos courtesy of cbc.ca, corbisimages.com, and minihelicopter.net
What exactly is cloud computing?
Everyone is hearing this buzz term, but nobody can define it. The truth is that the cloud’s definition is currently evolving so it’s more of an all-encompassing umbrella term. Software
as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service,
utility computing, and grid computing can all fall under this umbrella.
These are services that allow you to increase capacity on the fly without investing in new infrastructure.
However, cloud computing is not the same as the traditional managed hosting provider. The driving idea behind them is the same: we can outsource IT services to companies that can do them better and less expensively. However, the traditional model of managed hosting
forces companies to pay for a certain amount of dedicated servers. If
they don’t use all the servers they still have to pay for them. If they
need to scale up and add resources, the managed hosting provider will
have to go out and purchase more infrastructure to dedicate more
servers. They are restricted to the skills of that provider. The cloud
provides infinite flexibility, shorter contracts, immediate updates,
on-demand service, no upfront costs, and the lowest possible price
because you only have to pay for what you use.
How can the cloud offer such radical savings?
As well trained consumers in America, we immediately think there must be something wrong with it if it’s cheap (is there dirt on the collar? is the TV out of the box? is it used?). If this cloud storage option costs 80% less, what are we giving up?
We are not giving up anything. We are actually getter more while paying less(instant flexibility, on-demand service, reliability, increased efficiency, etc.)
As an economics major,
the economy as a scale model for the cloud made sense to me and helped
me put my reservations to bed. Essentially, the reason the cloud costs
less and offers more is simple econ 101. There is a reduction in cost per unit resulting from increased production. When Google, Amazon, and IBM build massive data centers and link up computers all over the world to their clouds, the savings are incredible. It is an entire paradigm shift similar to the change from in house generators to the power grid in the early 1900s. You get better IT service and reliability from the cloud just like you get better electric service and reliability from Nstar.
How big are these clouds?
are not talking megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabytes. These clouds
can hold PETABYTES of information. To put this into comprehensible
English: one petabyte equals the enough text to fill 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets which if stacked end-to-end would circle planet Earth. The Amazon EC2 cloud processes more than 10 petabyes per day. The google data centers consume more power than the city of San Franscisco. All of the cloud data centers put together consume more power than the country of Sweden. Microsoft is currently building a 500,000 sq foot data center that might be one of the biggest.
Above all, I learned that cloud computing is here, and it's here to stay. Microsoft, Google, IBM, Salesforce
and a growing number of other companies have their heads in the clouds
for a reason. There are infinite possibilities for software
development, efficiency improvements, network management, collaboration, and data storage.
*Photo courtesy of iwebble.com
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've started to think about the things I am thankful for. No matter how long I think about it, I always come back to one thing: Cloud Computing. I am so thankful for Cloud Computing, that I've written down a few things to share with my family tomorrow at the dinner table.
Top 4 Reasons I am Thankful for Cloud Computing this Thanksgiving:
#4) Clouds are fast.
I believe the industry terminology is "Accelerated Deployment." I prefer "Clouds are fast." In fact, because I used the Cloud instead installing servers, I had the time to hunt my own turkey this year - and cook it over an open flame. Pig Roasts? Out. Turkey Roast? In. Talk about wave-of-the-future.
Creating, Installing, and Launching your own server system for email archiving can take anywhere from six months to a year. Archiving to the Cloud (with Sonian) takes a few minutes. Thank you Sonian, thank you Cloud.
Rudimentary diagram of server installation schedule:
Rudimentary diagram of email archiving to the Cloud:
#3) Clouds are HUGE!
The Cloud I'm talking about is like infinity huge. Archiving to the Cloud allows access to infinite scalability and storage. This means that if I run out of space for servers in my server-room, I don't have to install extras in the interns' cubicles, the space is already there. And if I need more power to retrieve messages with huge attachments, I don't have to tie up the servers' processors all morning while I do that, the Cloud allocates me the power I need, when I need it. This allows me and my company to re-allocate human and technical resources to things that matter more.
#2) It's inexpensive.
The good news is I just saved a bunch of money on my email storage costs by switching to Sonian. Cloud powered archiving offers a simpler, more predictable, and lower costing model than on-premises or installed solutions. On-premise archiving solutions involve a number of factors including the setup, installation, and maintenance of the hardware and software, storage capabilities, physical space needed to house servers, professional services, ongoing maintenance and support, etc. In comparison, a cloud-powered archiving solution like Sonian's involves a simple, low fixed cost mailbox on a monthly basis.
It's like the difference between renting out the warehouse next to your building to store all your old stuff, but you have to renovate, maintain, and pay rent and utilities on the warehouse. Versus having one of those storage-on-demand trucks coming to your home and taking all your junk away to be stored out of your site. Except the truck is a superfast lightning truck, and the lighting truck costs less than my lunch to rent for the month (compared to the warehouse which costs me more than my food budget for the entire year).
#1) And (***Drumroll please***) the number one reason I am thankful for Cloud-powered Archiving this Thanksgiving?...
...I can get to my emails from anywhere!
I used to use an installed email client, it was awesome. I could save contacts and make schedules and if I wanted to check my email from somewhere other than my home computer I was screwed. Now I got my head up in the clouds and I have Email availability and searchability ,24/7, from any internet connection. Sweet. With a Cloud-powered archiving solution, I can use one login and password to access my archives anywhere I can find an internet connection. Like the beach.
Cloud-powered archiving allows me to access my data from anywhere, so I can work from home today (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) and the Friday after Thanksgiving! -or at least know that I could work if you wanted to.
The Economist magazine hosted an online debate between Stephen Elop, President, Microsoft Business Division and Marc Benioff Chairman & CEO, salesforce.com.
The debate topic: The cloud can't be trusted.
Stephen Elop defended the motion and Marc Benioff opposed the motion.
Despite the "sensational" aspect of the motion to debate, the voters disagreed with the motion by a slight majority. A small win for the cloud and all the hosted applications sitting atop it.
What we can take away from this debate is that there are entrenched corporate interests who want to diminish the cloud's ability to deliver quality IT services at better costs than what we have been doing in the past.
The vendors with no cloud strategy are confusing the buyers about the cloud. There definitely needs to be a quality discussion about security, reliability and true costs. The same debate needs to apply to the non-cloud, on-premises way of operating IT as well.
Comparing apples to apples shows that the cloud power can deliver better IT for less dollars.
What this means is there will be a shift in power and revenue flows; away from vendors who have no cloud strategy to vendors who figured this out early and made some smart moves. Hosted archiving is just one of a myriad of functionality that can achieve greatness with cloud-power.
Sonian manages “big data” using cloud-powered SaaS technologies designed to capture all your universal data. The cloud and big data are the perfect match for use case needs andcloud state of the art.
Periodically we’ll post interesting statistics about the cloud, universal data management, and where Sonian sees all this new technology heading.
This week’s interesting number: 5 Million.
In the Fall of 2009 an estimated 5 million students returned to educational institutions that migrated their collaboration systems (email, IM, etc.) to a cloud-powered hosted service.
Cloud computing is gaining traction in the commercial world, but can such an approach also meet the computing and data storage demands of the nation’s scientific community? A new program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Dept. of Energy will examine cloud computing as a cost-effective and energy-efficient computing paradigm for scientists to accelerate discoveries in a variety of disciplines, including analysis of scientific data sets in biology, climate change and physics.
Cloud computing refers to a flexible model for on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, services and software) that can be easily provisioned as needed. While shared resources are not new to high-end scientific computing, smaller computational problems are often run on departmental Linux clusters with software customized for the science application. Cloud computingcentralizes the resources to gain efficiency of scale and permit scientists to scale up to solve larger science problems while still allowing the system software to be configured as needed for individual application requirements.
To test cloud computing for scientific capability, DOE centers at theArgonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) will install similar mid-range computing hardware, but will offer different computing environments. The combined set of systems will create a cloud testbed that scientists can use for their computations while also testing the effectiveness of cloud computing for their particular research problems.
The program is called Magellan in honor of the Portuguese explorer who led the first effort to sail around the globe and for whom the “clouds of Magellan”–two small galaxies in the southern sky–were named.
One of the goals of the Magellan project is to explore whether cloud computing can help meet the overwhelming demand for scientific computing. Although computation is an increasingly important tool for scientific discovery, and DOE operates some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, not all research applications require such massive computing power. The number of scientists who would benefit from mid-range computing far exceeds the amount of available resources.
“As one of the world’s leading providers of computing resources to advance science, the DOE has a vested interest in exploring new options for meeting the overwhelming demand for computing time,” says Michael Strayer, associate director of DOE’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research. “Both NERSC and ALCF have proven track records in deploying innovative new systems and providing essential support services to the scientists who use those systems, so we think the results of this project will be quite valuable as we chart future courses.”
DOE is funding the project at $32 million, with the money divided equally between the Argonne and Berkeley National Labs.
At NERSC, the Magellan system will be used to measure a broad spectrum of the DOE science workload and analyze its suitability for a cloud model by making Magellan available to NERSC’s 3,000 science users. NERSC staff will use performance-monitoring software to analyze what kinds of science applications are being run on the system and how well they perform on a cloud.
“Our goal is to get a global picture of Magellan’s workload so we can determine how much of DOE’s mid-range computing needs could and should run in a cloud environment and what hardware and software features are needed for science clouds,” says NERSC Director Kathy Yelick. “NERSC’s users will play a key role in this evaluation as they will bring a very broad scientific workload into the equation and help us learn which features are important to the scientific community.”
Looking at a spectrum of DOE scientific applications, including protein structure analysis, power grid simulations, image processing for materials structure analysis and nanophotonics and nanoparticle analysis, the Magellan research team will deploy a large cloud test bed with thousands of Intel Nehalem CPU cores. The project will also explore commercial offerings from Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
In addition, Magellan will provide data storage resources that will be used to address the challenge of analyzing the massive amounts of data being produced by scientific instruments ranging from powerful telescopes photographing the universe to gene sequencers unraveling the genetic code of life. NERSC will make the Magellan storage available to science communities using a set of servers and software called “Science Gateways,” as well as experiment with Flash memory technology to provide fast random access storage for some of the more data-intensive problems.
The NERSC and ALCF facilities will be linked by a groundbreaking 100 Gb/sec network, developed by DOE’s ESnet (another DOE initiative funded by the Recovery Act). Such high bandwidth will facilitate rapid transfer of data between geographically dispersed clouds and enable scientists to use available computing resources regardless of location.
Source: Argonne National Laboratory