Domino effect in IT
Small errors in IT can quickly trigger a domino effect. IT damages are frequently caused by changes to an organization. For example, if two IT systems are integrated following a merger, new processes are introduced or updates are loaded. But a change of a vendor or the reorganization of internal roles also can have negative consequences.
These kinds of changes disrupt familiar processes – and then suddenly problems pop up. Resources might be missing, responsibilities and tasks are poorly defined or it’s not clear who’s in charge when key staff are gone. A lack of communication and disorganized information channels can mean big disturbances in the IT landscape during a change project. The causes are not spectacular, but the losses they cause sometimes are.
And nobody, however big or respected is immune from systems failure or hacking/security breaches. In 2011, Amazon Web Services went down and took dozens of sites with it and Sony suffered a catastrophic data breach. When Internet-scale systems fail, they do so spectacularly.
“As the trend toward wireless-enabled personal devices grows worldwide, the biggest energy drain in the wireless cloud will clearly come from mobile 4G LTE and wireless networks in general which are expected to account for 90 percent of energy use by 2015 compared to 9 percent by data centers. All together, the amount of energy used by the wireless cloud could increase by as much as 460 percent between 2012 and 2015. According to the report, that’s the equivalent of putting 4.9 million cars on the road. “Finding solutions to the ‘dirty cloud’ at the very least requires a broader acknowledgment of the cloud computing ecosystem and each components’ energy requirements,” the report says. “There needs to be a focus on making access technologies more efﬁcient and potentially a reworking of how the industry manages data and designs the entire global network.”—
“The cloud is not just about flexibility of access to compute power and storage and bandwidth, or about avoiding the thankless tasks of software installations, maintenance and upgrades; mobile is not just about ubiquity of access; cloud and mobile, together, are not just about the ability to “shift time” and “shift space”; social is not just about getting closer to the customer, about valuing relationships and capabilities; open is not just about the transformation of innovation, about partnering, about collaboration across boundaries. The cloud paradigm is about all of this. And about one more thing. The capacity to change. Designed as an integral function. Native. Changing capacity, scale, coverage, product set, devices, whatever. The cloud is about launching products, scaling them up, scaling them down, discontinuing them. The cloud is about entering …. and exiting … markets. The cloud is about delivering services to the device of choice; even if it didn’t exist when the original design was made. The cloud is about change. Not about the steady state. IT before the cloud was all about preserving and maintaining the steady state. And that’s why so many projects failed, and will continue to fail. A conflict of philosophy, as the agents of change try to batter down the walls of the mechanisms implemented to protect against change. The monolithic systems of the past, largely concentrated on the back office, were built to achieve entirely different objectives: stable, repeatable processes executed at the lowest cost possible, designed to rebuff change. The cloud is about change.”— J P Rangaswami, Thinking about change
Cloud computing, Changing the Way We Compute
Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.
So the question is, what is Cloud Computing?
New devices have Internet connectivity built into their DNA. This connectivity is called “cloud” because it can be accessed wherever you go via today’s powerful 4G networks or Wi-Fi. Thanks to cloud computing, you can now use your mobile devices to surf the Web, check email, update your status on social media networks or shop online. It’s not some futuristic thing for techies or geeks, it’s something that you’re already using and may not have even realized. According to Wiki, Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network. Nice isn’t it?
Today, with such cloud-based interconnection seldom in evidence, cloud computing might be more accurately described as “sky computing,” with many isolated clouds of services which IT customers must plug into individually.
So that’s just the beginning. Cloud computing simplifies the entire process, and in doing so, is revolutionizing the way we go about our business and our life. I’ll be posting more about cloud in th next days to come.
Manifeste pour un Cloud européen
Ci-joint un extrait du point de vue de Joseph REGER, directeur technique de FUJIITSU TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS édité dans Les Echos du 26/08/11
« Dans le discours qu’elle a tenu à l’occasion du Forum économique mondial à Davos en début d’année, la commissaire européenne Neelie KROES a insisté sur la nécessité, dans le contexte de l’agenda numérique pour l’Europe, de mettre en place une stratégie de « cloud computing » à l’échelle européenne.
Il s’agit maintenant de savoir quand nous serons en mesure de mettre en pratique ces bonnes intentions. L’espace économique européen est un système complexe, qui comprend un grand nombre de pays et donc tout autant de parties prenantes. Construire une infrastructure unifiée et stable : tel est donc le grand défi qui nous attend.
Et, pour ce faire, un certain nombre de conditions doivent être remplies. Notons, avant tout, la nécessité d’une législation unifiée concernant la gestion des données dans le « cloud ». La législation locale est aujourd’hui diamétralement opposée à l’idée de « clouds » transnationaux, que ce soit au niveau européen ou mondial. Au niveau européen, la tendance à la fragmentation devient un inconvénient majeur, au regard de la concurrence et de la situation géographique. Une législation moderne à l’échelle européenne est donc indispensable, par exemple en termes de conformité et de sécurité. Doit-on vraiment empêcher toutes les données brutes de quitter le pays, ou doit-on plutôt veiller à conserver les informations vraiment stratégiques à l’intérieur de nos frontières ?…
Dans le même temps, les fabricants doivent également établir des normes communes, en collaboration avec les gouvernements et les autorités de régulation. En effet, l’absence de normes complique la tâche des utilisateurs précoces du « cloud » car ces derniers font face à des besoins d’intégration accrus et à des coûts imprévisibles. Cette situation risquerait de les décourager dans leur volonté d’utiliser les services du « cloud ». De telles normes renforceraient aussi la fiabilité et l’acceptation du « cloud » sur le marché, renforçant donc ainsi le marché lui-même.
Parallèlement, nous devons trouver une solution à un autre problème : à quoi bon créer des normes si personne ne veille à ce qu’elles soient respectées ? Cet aspect est en effet également capital pour la mise en place d’un « cloud » européen. Et c’est pour cette raison que nous avons besoin d’autorités de certification indépendantes.
Les autorités de certification offrent les moyens et les compétences nécessaires pour faire respecter ces normes, et doivent être reconnues et acceptées par un public aussi large que possible. Elles doivent être réputées, et peuvent même nécessiter l’approbation d’une autorité gouvernementale. Nous sommes donc face à un paradoxe. D’un côté, le monde a peur de Big Brother et, de l’autre, une grande partie de la population a cette croyance inébranlable que les autorités gouvernementales prendront les bonnes mesures. Dans ce débat, les autorités, les institutions et les gouvernements doivent donner l’exemple à l’économie.
Quant aux entreprises, elles doivent déployer elles-mêmes leurs services « cloud » et trouver le moyen de les intégrer à leur parc informatique. Lorsque quelque chose ne fonctionne pas, les entreprises doivent cesser de demander pourquoi aux autorités et découvrir par elles-mêmes une solution au problème.
Dans cinq ans, de nombreuses entreprises ne se demanderont plus quels services peuvent être utilisés depuis le « cloud », mais quels services ne peuvent pas l’être. Bien évidemment, des arguments économiques concrets sont également en faveur de ce modèle. Si nous réussissons à créer ces conditions, le « cloud » européen présentera un réel avantage compétitif : il offrira la fiabilité et la sécurité, qui constituent les deux critères principaux pour l’utilisateur. »
F5 CEO talks about his stock's big drubbing
Chalk it up to the insanity of high expectations. But shares of hot networking equipment company F5, which has benefited from the huge growth in demand for cloud computing services, plunged 21% Thursday because the company had the gall to report that revenues grew only 40.7% from a year ago in its most recent quarter. Wall Street was expecting an increase of nearly 42%. The horror. The horror.
I spoke with F5 CEO John McAdam this afternoon and he was taking the stock’s sell-off in stride.
“I’m not looking for sympathy but we are to some extent a victim of our success. We have beaten guidance consistently in the past but we just didn’t do it this quarter,” he said. “We thought there would be a negative reaction but not to this extent.”
Investors clearly are nervous because F5 was one of the tech sector’s best-performers in 2010. Shares of the company, which was added to the S&P 500 in December, surged more than 145% last year. So you could argue that Thursday’s sell-off was justified. After all, the stock was trading a an exorbitant valuation of nearly 40 times fiscal 2011 earnings estimates. It now trades for a more reasonable, but still high, P/E of closer to 30 following Thursday’s haircut.
But F5, by far the worst performer in the S&P 500 Thursday, didn’t just hurt itself. It brought down a large portion of the tech sector with it. Companies ranging from fellow network equipment firms like Cisco and Juniper to other so-called cloud computing firms like Salesforce.com and Rackspace were all whacked.
McAdam thinks the sell-off was a bit much.
“We feel good about our business. All the market drivers — mobile traffic and data storage growth – are all intact,” he said. “If you look at cloud computing, it’s still so early in the evolution of this business.”
Along those lines, it’s hard to fathom why investors were so freaked out by F5’s sales guidance. The company said it expects revenue of $275 million to $280 million in the quarter ending in March. Yes, that’s a touch below the consensus forecast of $281 million. But even at the low end of F5’s range, that would be year-over-year growth of 33%. Impressive.
Still, analysts were divided on whether F5 deserved to be tied to tech’s whipping post. Alkesh Shah of Evercore Partners rates the stock “underweight” (Wall Street code for “sell”) and wrote in a report Thursday morning that the stock could fall as low as $82 a share and was worth no more than $115. It closed at about $109.
But Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Co. argued that the sell-off was an overreaction and upgraded the stock to a “buy.” He thinks the stock could hit $130.
That’s little consolation to F5 longs though. F5 was trading at about $138 prior to Thursday’s meltdown and its 52-week high is $145. Just goes to show that sometimes there is such a thing as being too good for your own good in the fickle world of tech. — Paul
Security With Cloud Computing
From today’s point of view, it seems really odd that some years ago lots of companies invested in expensive servers and needed a big IT team to manage them. The housing of such servers had to take place in a secure location and they had to be kept at a certain temperature.
You do not need to have graduated in business to realize that all of this had a negative impact on the companies using such servers and they were constantly looking for new solutions to make it simpler and more effective.
Nowadays, there is cloud computing and it has become the option everyone was looking for back in the days of the expensive servers. Cloud computing is not only less expensive - it is also user friendly, more efficient and a lot more secure. However, cloud computing should not be taken for granted by companies since doing it could lead to problems in the future.
There is good news – with cloud computing security has become a lot easier and more efficient and you just have to keep a few things in mind to make sure that your company will be functioning well and will have securely stored information.
- One of the things you should keep in mind is that even the best security settings that exist cannot make up for the databases that have been set up incorrectly or the codes that have been written poorly. The service provider should always do his best to provide security for its clients, but they also have to be given tools for their work; therefore, before starting to use cloud computing, make sure that you have made all the correct set ups.
- The main thing about the security of cloud computing does not differ from the security of the owners of home computers: there should be a back-up plan in the case that something bad happens. When you are making the choice of a cloud computing provider you should check the options he provides for the security and backups of your information. Any security strategy has to include this.
- If you are really concerned with the security of your information you might make the choice of investing in security assessment. You can get such assessment from a third party, which has no connection to the cloud provider. Doing this should give you peace of mind that your information will be kept safe.
- Always keep asking the potential suppliers questions. The companies that are professional will not have any problems answering your questions transparently and showing you their security arrangements as well as the processes for risk control they have in place.
- In case you are concerned with the sensitivity of the information that will be kept in the cloud then you could ask who will have access to it. The senior management of the company should have access to the data and in case of trouble they have to be able to react.