I went to a session on Cloud, given by VMware. Not surprisingly, the general theme was that Server Virtualisation is the first step on the journey to cloud computing. Some other points:
- Cloud isn’t a new technology, it's a different approach to delivery. It enables the shift from in-house capital intensive IT, to the consumption of utility-based computing resources on an as-needed basis with an appropriate pay as you go model.
- Cloud mimics the delivery of a utility eg electricity. For example, if you had your generator you’d have to deal with maintenance, capital expenditure, consumables, and wondering with whether it could cope with the surge when you turned the Christmas lights on.
- Cloud has 5 characteristics:
- On demand, network access, resource pooling, elasticity, pay as you go.
- There are 130+ data centres in central government containing 90,000 servers running at 7% utilization.
- A combination of virtualisation and cloud should drive down IT costs which you can reinvest in other parts of your business, and it should also increase agility.
- Automation v important. Amazon have 1 engineer for 1500 servers.
- The New world is using mobile devices. Users are demanding access to apps and data on the move. Desktops are expensive to refresh. Solve this problem by unlocking data from the desktop and putting it in the cloud whilst keeping it secure.
Some notes I took at the time:
- We've lost the argument about connecting things to the network. People are bringing their own devices. Applications are increasingly being delivered by a browser.
- Smartphones and tablets are scaleable and increase productivity. They are cloud ready, and they are cheap compared to a corporate laptop.
- Do they cause problems? Operating systems change frequently. Windows tends to be stable, but these update themselves.
- Then there’s app stores. How do you stop people downloading stuff like Angry Birds to corporate devices (why would you want to?)
- Most organizations Acceptable Use Policies are inadequate and poorly used. Most were not written with mobile devices in mind.
- Executive teams are prepared to accept the rise of these devices. There are 70m Blackberries in world and 90m iPads. There’s been a massive growth of not-enterprise ready devices. Will the use of them get regulated, eg by ICO? They will unless we take this seriously and deal with it. Hmm, I don’t agree with this. You can tell this session is being given by a security vendor.
- Mobility and consumerisation will only work if it's secure. Secure working practices require a whole company approach. Can't just be legal dept or IT dept.
- Consider the implications of the power of the device you've got. It's a tool to do your job. Treat them as tools of the job. You must demand individuals are accountable for their actions. Consideration must be given to what happens when things go wrong. In the main, failure is almost human not technology.
- He’s skeptical of cloud because of security.
So, one session on how cloud and mobile is going to save us, and one telling us it all needs regulating. Well I suppose that’s balanced