Services in the Cloud. Should you really Give a Crap - yet?

Services in the Cloud. Should you really Give a Crap - yet?

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(Thought that title might get your attention)

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Over the last month or so – I’ve had my head in the clouds working away on creating a scenario based demo for EnergizeIT that leverages the scalability of the cloud and “transportability” of existing .net code and “n” tier architecture. I’ve been living the life of an IT Pro influenced in a “Dev” world for the most part.  I don’t know how many of you IT Pros deal with in house developed apps and are considering Azure – but it got me thinking of a more general question I thought I’d ask you.

As IT Pros who save the world every day at work – what do you think about all this “cloud” stuff?

Like – seriously. Do you think it is going to impact you in the short term? Is it something that you can “ignore” because it’s a DEVELOPER thing? Are you worried about how it will affect your day to day work? How much change will it introduce when it does “hit” your environment – if it hasn’t already. I have my on theories on it and it’s affect on “life as an IT Pro” based on research I’ve been doing over the last while – but until now – I haven’t asked YOU.

What are “cloud services” and how will it impact you?

This shouldn’t be anything new to you for the most part – you can look at it in one way as a marketing term to spin a simple concept that has been around for ages - Hosted Services. Hosting has been around for a while. Initially as something that made sense was to host your public presence of website / eCommerce (remember that term?) at a hosting provider/partner and you maintained it as a separate entity – instead of having it hosted within your own premise and exposing parts of it to the public. Cloud Services like Azure introduce scalability and performance “elasticity” for applications hosted in the cloud. But the term “cloud services” really is more then just Dev and application stuff.

Now that we’ve talked about apps - what do you think is The Next generalised workload that is a good fit for hosting? Think for a moment about your environment – regardless of size – and what takes a good chunk of your time and would MAKE SENSE to have hosted by someone else but managed and controlled by YOU. What workload would that be? What workload would you consider to offload to the cloud if you have the power to make the decision right now. Am I blowing smoke? Would you / could you do it?

OK – now tell me with a comment posted below.

EnergizeIT will be talking about “the cloud” from one perspective (with a really COOL multi-faceted scenario based demo in the morning) and it will even show you some real world examples of how it might impact your “IT Pro world”. That being said - I thought I would start a thread of conversation specifically targeting NON application hosted / developer perspectives on “cloud services” for IT Professionals here on the blog and explore the “non-developer” (for lack of a better term) focused scenarios and what it could actually mean to you in your day to day activities / tools and even roles at work as an IT Pro.

I’m anxious to read your comments.

Rick-sig

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  • When I did a recent session on Azure for IT Pros, I started by explaining all the things that Azure takes care of, and the immediate (and planned) reaction was that of, "So it's going to do our jobs"...

    My subsequent angle was to explain that cloud hosting morphs (not replaced) IT Pro work of operations into consulting expertise.  There are changes coming, and as with other aspects of the IT industry, it should pay to keep on top of available options, enabling the IT Pro to be the go-to-person for solutions overall that include the benefits of Azure, and not just the monitoring and process operator.

  • Cloud, makes me think of old ASP (hosted Application Service Provider), where everything was supposed to run on a system far far away, I always thought that it never really took off. Back then the studies that I did found it to be too expensive at the time. It kinda dissappeared, now it is back. Is it still the same old, like Rick said, but with a new marketing twist? Good question. Are the prices today more affordable, or is virtualization at the corporate level giving the cloud a run for the money?

    I have one clint that is thinking about the cloud, but he has many worries about security, avalability, his in house custom program.

    How do I as an IT Pro answer his questions and give him the facts when I myself wonder about the validity of the cloud itself. How do I position the cloud on the small markets, with the 1 and 2 server shops.

    Sorry Rick, just ended up asking more questions than giving feedback.

  • The cloud I don't think is a replacement, I think it's an extension to the tools we have.  

    There are some instances of software that's already in the Cloud.  Websites and email.

    There are some instances that need to remain physical due to compliance issues.

    I don't think we're going to find EVERYTHING floating in the cloud.   But we will find there are instances of just Cloud, just Physical and a "meshing" of the two with technologies like "Live Mesh" which allow us to leverage both.

    I doubt there will ever be "One unifying Solution" but there are always a lot of tools that we can leverage in ways that suit us all best.

    Sean

    The Energized Tech

  • I don’t yet trust the cloud there are compliance issues, privacy issues, security issues and lack of control. I have been looking at exchange hosted continuity but there’s still the problem with privacy/compliance/security.

  • @Colin - great points - I have had similar concerns when talking with IT Pros that have a little - but not a lot of info on Cloud Services. i like your approach for the morphing of responsibilities instead of replacement. Good on ya!

    Rick

  • @Florian don't worry about questions - I like those! I'll be bringing up some posts about "cloud services" addressing your questions and your clients concerns about "Security and Availability" for both in house apps (Azure / Google Gears / Amazon) and hosted solutions (Hosted Exchange, Hosted SharePoint, Salesforce.com, Google Apps etc)

    Rick

  • @Sean oh ye of little faith. EVERYTHING will be in the cloud (seriously - NOT REALLY, unless you listen to other vendors) I agree with your balanced approach or hybrid solutions of meshed with on and off premise.

    Rick

  • @Mike - love your comments dude. There is some meat in there - Compliance, Privacy, Security - Control.  This should lead to some serious discussion for upcoming posts. Do you have the time to talk about specifics that you are concerned about?

  • @rick

    I like your "Colourful" title, it somehow seems so.... so... "Funny"

    Must have rubbed off on you bunch ;)

  • @sean - just trying to mix it up a bit. I've been far too quiet of late.

  • Privacy – I have no control over the security or encryption or even the option to use two or three factor authentication.

    Security-I have no control or overview of the security or traffic.

    Compliance- E-Discovery and the Pipeda act there are fines for non-compliance but there is no simple way to make sure everything is in compliance. Who is ultimately responsible?

    Control- I have no control over how the data is stored or deleted or retained. If your azure platform has an issue and is down for a day or two I have no control. I have no assurance that if the company fails to pay the bill one month that the data will not be held hostage or deleted.

    I will be off to bed soon it’s been a long day and I will be at HP Realize the Future tomorrow.

  • @rick

    Well you know I *COULD* resolve that whole "quiet" problem but I'm trying (REALLY TRYING) to be on my best behaviour. ;)

    I could sing a song if you like ;)

    "Trouble"

  • Interestingly, it is our IT Pro's in house that are discussing the move to the cloud more than us developers.  I actually think it has more promise for pre-built applications as opposed to custom built.  For instance, SharePoint vs a custom built CMS; Exchange vs (well, anything custom really), etc.  Much like buying a 3rd party tool vs building our own, it's a cost-benefit-analysis-game.  A lot of times it's cheaper to host our own custom built stuff, but cheaper to cloud-ize (new word?) a 3rd part app.

    I think Azure has promise, but really, it's just rent-a-cpu.

    Not to mention privacy, security, and legal concerns.  I think people miss the point a lot of times when it comes to securing their own infrastructure, let alone something that is in an unknown location, spread across an unknown number of regions.

    I quite like the cloud model, but we still have a long way to go.

  • @Mike thanks for the additional details. Privacy, Security, Compliance and Control – 4 things that are certainly top of mind when it comes to “services in the cloud”. I believe it will come down to some clear cut definitions of service and offerings that are in a language that IT Pros understand and can “translate” to CxO / non-technical speak that the business units and decision makers will understand.

    Rick

  • @Sean – please don’t sing. We do use comment moderation here. ;-)