BriefingsDirect now presents a sponsored podcast discussion on the ongoing activities of The Open Group’s Cloud Computing Work Group. We'll meet and talk to the new co-chairmen of the Cloud Work Group, learn about their roles and expectations, and get a first-hand account of the group’s 2010 plans.
Join us as we examine the evolution of cloud, how businesses are grappling with that, and how they can learn to best exploit cloud-computing benefits, while fully understanding and controlling the risks. These topics and ore will also be under discussion at The Open Group's Architecture Practitioners and Security Practitioners conferences this week in Seattle.
In many ways, cloud computing marks an inflection point for many different elements of IT, and forms a convergence of other infrastructure categories that weren’t necessarily working in concert in the past. That makes cloud interesting, relevant, and potentially dramatic in its impact. What has been less clear is how businesses stand to benefit. What are the likely paybacks and how enterprises can prepare for the best outcomes?
We're here with an executive from The Open Group, as well as the new co-chairmen of the Cloud Work Group, to look at the business implications of cloud computing and how to get a better handle on the whole subject.
Please join David Lounsbury, Vice President for Collaboration Services at The Open Group; Karl Kay, IT Architecture Executive with Bank of America, and co-chairman of the Cloud Work Group, and Robert Orshaw, IBM Cloud Computing Executive, and co-chair of the Cloud Work Group. The discussion is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Here are some excerpts:
Lounsbury: One of the things that everybody has seen in cloud is that there has been a lot of take up by small to medium businesses who benefit from the low capital expenditure and scalability of cloud computing, and also a lot by individuals who use software as a service (SaaS). We've all seen Google Docs and things like that. That’s fueled a lot of the discussion of cloud computing up to now, and it's a very healthy part of what's going on there.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group. Follow the conference on Twitter: #OGSEA.
But, as we get into larger enterprises, there's a whole different set of questions that have to be asked about return on investment (ROI) and how you merge things with the existing IT infrastructure. Is it going to meet the security needs and privacy needs and regulatory needs of my corporation? So, it's an expanded set of questions that might not be asked by a smaller set of companies. That's an area where The Open Group is trying to focus some of its activities.
There is a whole different scale that has to occur when you go into an enterprise, where you have got to think of all the users in the enterprise. What does it take to fund it? What does it take to secure it, protect the corporate assets and things like that, and integrate it, because you want services to be widely available?
Orshaw: A few years ago, there was a tremendous amount of hype, and the dynamics, flexibility, and pricing structures weren’t there. It's an exciting time now that you're seeing that from a flexibility, dynamic, and pricing standpoint, we're there. That's both in the private cloud and the public cloud sector -- and we'll probably get into more detail about the offerings around that.
A tremendous amount has happened over the past few years to improve the market adoption and overall usability of both public and private clouds.
In a former life, I was CIO of a large industrial manufacturing company that had 49 separate business units. Cloud today can be an issue in the beginning for CIOs. For example, at that large manufacturing company, in order for a business unit to provision new development test environments or production environments for implementing new applications and new systems, they would have to go through an approval process, which could take a significant amount of time.
Once approved, we would have centralized data centers and outsourced data centers. We would have to go through and see if there was existing capacity. If there wasn’t, we would then go ahead and procure that and install it. So, we're talking weeks, and perhaps even a few months, to provision and get a business unit up and running for their various projects.
These autonomous business units that weren’t very happy with that internal service to begin with, are now finding it very easy to go out with a credit card or a local purchase order to Amazon, IBM, and others and get these environments provisioned to them in minutes.
This is creating a headache for a lot of CIOs, where there is a proliferation of virtual cloud environments and platforms being used by their business units, and they don’t even know about it. They don’t have control over it. They don’t even know how much they're spending. So, the cloud group can have a significant effect on this, helping improve that environment.
Kay: Certainly the leading items like cost savings and time to market are two of the big motivators that we look to for cloud. In a lot of cases, our businesses are driving IT to adopt cloud as opposed to the opposite. It's really a matter of how we blend in the cloud environment with all of our security and regulatory requirement and how we make it fit within the enterprise suite of platform offerings.
The work groups are really focused on trying to deliver some short-term value. In the business use cases, they're really trying to define a clear set of business cases and financial models to make it easier to understand how to evaluate cloud with certain scenarios.
We're seeing a skill-set change on the technical side, in that, if you look at the adoption of cloud, you shift from being able to directly control your environments and make changes from a technical perspective, to working with a contractual service level agreement (SLA) type of model. So it's definitely a change for a lot of the engineers and architects working on the technical side of the cloud.
The Cloud Architecture Group is looking to deliver a reference architecture in 2010. One of the things we've discovered is that there are a lot of similarities between the reference architecture that we believe we need for cloud and what already has been built in the SOA reference architectures. I think we'll see a lot of alignment there. There are probably some other elements that will be added, but there's a lot of synergy between the work that’s already going on in SOA and SOI and the work that we are doing in cloud.
Number of activities
Lounsbury: There are a number of activities inside The Open Group. Enterprise architecture is a very large one, but also real-time and embedded systems for control systems and things of that nature. We've got a very active security program, and also, of course, we've got some more emerging technologically focused areas like service oriented architecture (SOA) and cloud computing.
We have a global organization with a large number of industrial members. As you've seen, from our cloud group, we always try to make sure that this is a perspective that’s balanced between the supply side and the buy side. We're not just saying what a vendor thinks is the greatest new technology, but we also bring in the viewpoint of the consumers of the technology, like a CIO, or as Karl represents on the Cloud Group, an architect on the design side. We make sure that we're balancing the interests.
We did a number of presentations reaching back to our Seattle conference about a year ago on cloud computing. We've reached out to other organizations to work with them to see if there is interest in working together on cloud activities. We've staged a series of presentations.
The members decided in mid-2009 to form a work group around cloud computing. The work group is a way that we can bring together all aspects of what's going on in The Open Group, because cloud computing touches a lot of areas: security, architecture, technology, and all those things. Also, as part of that we've reached out to other communities to open a nonmember aspect of the Cloud Work Group as well.
Orshaw: At the end of this, we'll have a complete model for both public and private cloud. It's an exciting endeavor by the team, and I'm excited to see the outcome. We'll have short-term milestones, where we'll produce, document, and publish results every two months or so. We hope, towards the end of the year, to have all of these wrapped up into these global models that I described.