Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

How Are You Building Your Cloud?

Mixing general purpose and purposeful solutions for the cloud

"What are the use cases you want to pursue with your enterprise cloud project?" The question seems innocuous enough, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is anything but. If you asked five people from different teams within the same company to each give you three use cases, you would end up with 15 different scenarios. Such is the case in the current enterprise landscape where points of view on cloud vary about as much as you can imagine. Each organizational fiefdom has its own set of pain points, challenges, and initiatives to tackle, and each one of those teams have an idea on how the cloud can help.

Being on the service provider side, listening to users roll off a burgeoning list of usage scenarios is equal parts exciting and disconcerting. I find myself caught somewhere between, ‘Wow, that sounds cool and fun!', and ‘How am I going to show that in an easy, yet valuable manner?' It is not an easy task. Lest you think I am out looking for pity, I sympathize even more so with the company. I especially feel for the person on the consumer side who gets the task of leading the ‘enterprise cloud initiative.' Talk about a thankless, exhausting, and challenging role. On a given day, the only team that is rallying behind you is the one who thinks you are about to implement the product they are championing!

Being a part of many of these endeavors, I like to think that I have picked up a lesson or two applicable to most cloud implementation projects. From the service consumer side, I feel compelled to warn about what seems to be transforming into an anti-pattern among cloud adoption. While it is fine, and in fact advisable, to have an enterprise cloud strategy, it is not usually so wise to attempt to fulfill that strategy with a single tool. This comes back to a question I have posed before: Do users need a single tool or a single pane of glass? Well, judging from the projects I have seen so far, users need a single pane of glass far more than they need a single tool.

The problem with adopting a single tool that purports to deliver on every one of the use cases for an organization's cloud strategy is that implies quite a bit of work on the user's part. It should be pretty obvious that as a tool's flexibility increases, its complexity usually does as well. From a cloud provisioning and management standpoint, this usually means that you will be doing a lot of scripting for installation, configuration, integration, orchestration, and management. It's not that these tools do not have their place, but my main caution to potential users is to carefully consider just how many use cases they can realistically address with this approach given their timeline. I have seen a few projects go way over their target dates due to severe underestimation of the effort required for this kind of work. Oh, and don't forget all those scripting, orchestration, and managmenet assets require care and feeding over time, so it's not just the initial effort to consider.

Given the potential pitfalls of a single tool approach, I usually advise users I work with to consider a careful balance of general purpose and purposeful solutions as a way to fulfill their enterprise cloud strategy. While purposeful solutions do not deliver the flexibility of its general purpose brethren, they typically provide much more out-of-the-box value. The design and implementation of these solutions focuses on handling a subset of use cases really well, thus severely reducing the time and cost of addressing those particular needs. Many of the assets users would otherwise build and maintain themselves, come embedded in the solution.

There is on big caveat to a blended approach. The integration between all of the different solutions must be easy enough so that the wiring work does not require as much effort as the single tool approach would. This is mainly a challenge to the service provider side of the house. I believe providers, especially those like my employer and others that address multiple different layers of the cloud, are starting to recognize this need. It is one thing to be able to answer an enterprise's cloud use cases with a set of products. It is quite another to enable an enterprise cloud with a single, well-integrated, consumable solution!

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.