Friday, March 18, 2011

Top ten take-homes from CloudScape-III

After a day or so to reflect on the CloudScape-III event in Brussels earlier in the week, for me some particular ideas and themes seemed to emerge. As a cloud newbie, a few interesting new terms leapt out at me as well - so here, in no particular order, are my own personal ‘top ten take-homes’ from Cloudscape-III…

No 1. Cloudbursting – if you run out of computing resources in your own data centre or private cloud, you can ‘burst out’ the additional workload to a public cloud, using external resources as you need them.

No 2. Cloud curtain – one of the barriers to cloud adoption. Users find it difficult to know for sure what is going on with their data behind the cloud curtain and have a tendency to feel worried about security and lack of control.

No 3. Privacy and trust – as Luciano Floridi of the University of Hertfordshire pointed out, despite their connotations as moral values, privacy and trust are essential and quantifiable frameworks for tackling the legal and global security issues around clouds.

No 4. X as a Service (XaaS) – terms such as Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service are commonly used in cloud circles, but the model is starting to leak into almost any area – storage, communications, network and monitoring are some examples. At Cloudscape-III we heard about Government as a Service from Ian Osborne of Intellect, as an alternative term for e-Government. Science as a Service next perhaps?

No 5. The Goldilocks Model – not too hot, not too cold, just right! In cloud computing, Tim Cowan of Sidley Austin and the Open Computing Alliance introduced us to the RAND ( report on how to regulate in this area. Do nothing, and you end up with a borderless world; do too much in terms of regulation and everything is too scattered and silo-ed. The ‘just right’ scenario gives you the connected world – open, collaborative and showing tangible public benefits.

No 6. Big Bang migration – this is something you won’t see in the area of grids and clouds, particularly in the European Grid Infrastructure (, according to Steven Newhouse of Discussing virtualisation, he outlined that the resources we have today can be used just as well on the VM services now starting to emerge.

No 7. Inflection point – Morgan Stanley has investigated internet trends and located a point in 2012 where they expect shipments of smartphones to overtake PCs, the so-called ‘inflection point’. Karl Mayrhofer of Fabasoft highlighted this switch as being of particular significance for SaaS – the cloud is mobile and should be accessible from anywhere. Services need to be smartphone and mobile device friendly.

No 8. Standards – not always everyone’s favourite topic but where would the WorldWide Web be without TCP/IP and HTTP? The question at CloudScape-III was when standards best fit into the development cycle – without standards, you have no interoperability but impose standards too early, and you risk stifling creativity and competition. Where is the sweet spot?

No 9. The Digital Divide – this refers to the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ when it comes to access to ICT. It exists within and between countries (Wikipedia map of the global digital divide). In theory, cloud computing has the potential to bridge this gap, since your access to computing resources is less restricted by where you live. However, as Luciano Floridi pointed out, it could also exacerbate the problem, as access needs to be affordable, accessible, safe and reliable - and you still need to have core IT skills available.

No 10. Cloudonomics - the basic economic ideas behind the increasingly successful cloud business model, driven by economies of scale, the benefits of a dispersed model and on-demand services. Find Weinman’s definitions of the 10 laws of cloudonomics at

So these were the top ten ideas I took home to think about... I'm looking forward to CloudScape-IV!

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