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A one-page consolidation of news, posts and other items that are important to the TCBC community.

News & Notes

All the news that fits (the TCBC mandate), from the pages of InsightaaS.com

New in Cloud

From the TCBC group discussion on LinkedIn

Note to readers: The cloud industry moving towards greater openness and interoperability through broad support for APIs. LinkedIn, though, is moving in the other direction: content posted to LinkedIn groups is very difficult to echo on other platforms.

At TCBC, we respect the fact that LinkedIn provides a convenient and common area for group interaction - but we also understand that visitors to this site expect to see the full range of TCBC-related content and discussion. Accordingly, we are trying to manually synchronize our LinkedIn group with the posts on this page. We apologize in advance for any inconsistencies, and urge you to read/post wherever you find it most convenient - in either forum, we'll find you and respond!
  • 25 Jun 2015 6:32 PM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)

    I had an opportunity to co-present with Jonathan King (VP Platform Strategy and Business Development at CenturyLink) yesterday, and as is always the case when I hear Jonathan speak, I came away feeling like I had opened a new window into how, where and why IT is evolving.

    In this case, there were three highlights that have stars and exclamation points in my notes. The first is a rethink of what "DR" means. Jonathan talked about substituting the word "stress" for "disaster," and applying DR principles to mitigating other kinds of challenges, such as security incidents and performance issues. I think this is an incredibly useful re-interpretation. DR has often been kind of marginalized in IT planning, especially within SMBs, as it is hard to allocate cycles and budget to a situation that might never come to pass. By broadening the definition, we increase the use scenarios - and may help stimulate approaches that can be more broadly adopted and applied than has been the case in the past.

    The second highlight was a definition of "hybrid" that I haven't seen before, one which speaks to management orientation rather than technology: the idea of a hybrid approach involves optimizing core technologies and increasing agility. Jonathan's presentation included examples of the differences in these two objectives, and of the benefits derived from coordinating them (e.g., Big Data). There is a lot of talk about Gartner's Bi-Modal concept, which is similar, but I liked the way that Jonathan positioned his take on the issue.

    The third and most compelling highlight concerned the impact of organizational structures on cloud success. Jonathan cited several references, especially "Team of Teams" by General Stanley McChrystal, that provide examples of how organizational strategies can affect agility and absorption of new ideas.

    I found this point especially valuable. I've used a simple diagram for many years that has three lines: one that moves sharply up and to the right, representing the ability of technology to effect change; one moving more gradually up and to the right, representing the ability of people to absorb change; and a third that echoes the second, labelled "the actual rate of change." The point has always been to show that improvements in technology (changing the slope of the first line) don't necessarily translate into improvements in business performance. Until Jonathan's presentation, I had never looked at how the slope of the *second* line could be altered. I think this is a really important issue - one which I'll be interested in exploring in future cloud discussions!

    PS - here's a version of the image I found on my hard drive, which helps illustrate this last paragraph: 


  • 09 Jun 2015 6:57 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    In August 2013, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) issued a widely-cited report on the impact of the Snowden revelations regarding the NSA's PRISM program on US-based cloud computing suppliers. The report - "How Much Will PRISM Cost the U.S. Cloud Computing Industry?" - pegged total losses at $22-$35 billion over a three year (2013-2016) period. 

    Today, ITIF issued a new document, "Beyond the USA Freedom Act: How U.S. Surveillance Still Subverts U.S. Competitiveness." The key talking point around the report is "the economic impact of U.S.surveillance practices will likely far exceed ITIF’s initial $35 billion estimate." How much more is unclear; the analysis does not provide any hard numbers quantifying the increase. However, it's a good report for those who are looking for anecdotal evidence of how PRISM has hurt US suppliers (and helped non-US firms), why US-based companies are investing in international facilities (along the lines of the recent Microsoft announcement of new data centres opening in Toronto and Montreal), and how the chill from PRISM is spreading beyond IT to other sectors of the economy. 

    If you haven't followed the discussion, or didn't see today's new release, both reports are worth a review. They are available on the ITIF website: http://www.itif.org/. If you'd prefer not to navigate through the site, here's a link to the new document: http://www2.itif.org/2015-beyond-usa-freedom-act.pdf ...and here's one to the original, which provides the initial cost estimates:http://www2.itif.org/2013-cloud-computing-costs.pdf


  • 03 Jun 2015 6:55 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    I hadn't been to Louis Columbus's excellent blog for a long time, so when I stopped in today, I saw that I was several posts behind in my reading. I thought I'd share the two most recent posts here. 

    The first, "Five Ways Cloud Service Providers are Making Manufacturers More Competitive (http://softwarestrategiesblog.com/2015/04/25/five-ways-cloud-service-providers-are-making-manufacturers-more-competitive/) is based on research from Bain & Co., looks at how CSPs are supporting increased agility in manufacturing firms. Inspired by The Phoenix project, I've been writing a whitepaper on the "IT factory" that looks at the parallels between data centers and manufacturing environments, so this post had a particular impact on me - it discusses how data centre-delivered cloud services empower "real" manufacturers! Extra points for pointing out the tie to DevOps, which is at the core of The Phoenix Project, too. 

    The second post, "The Top 100 Cloud-Based Enterprise Software Startups of 2015, reports on research co-authored by PwC (represented in TCBC by Matt Ambrose!) and the (US) National Venture Capital Association. (http://softwarestrategiesblog.com/2015/04/04/the-top-100-cloud-based-enterprise-software-startups-of-2015/

    In both cases - and typical of Columbus's work - you can get a good sense of the underlying content from the post, or follow links to the source material.


  • 29 May 2015 6:53 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    I know a bunch of TCBC members are interested in OpenStack, so I thought I'd post a link to this new piece by Wikibon. It intercuts observations on what's happening with OpenStack - DefCore, release management, work around containers, etc. - with a bunch of video interviews. Video isn't really my thing (I must be old school - I'd rather read!), but there's a lot of content here if you'd like to take the pulse of the OpenStack movement... 

    Here's the link - let me know what you think! http://premium.wikibon.com/openstack-as-the-integration-engine-for-modern-infrastructure/


  • 28 May 2015 6:52 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    Interesting item from DatacenterDynamics in today's North America Update e-newsletter (actually, it was published on May 19, I'm just a bit slow in catching up to it). The piece describes price reductions across five configurations, plus a new kind of offering - a "Preemptible Instance" that runs in idle periods at "a very steep discount (70 percent compared with a single instance price)." It remains to be seen whether the buyer community is eager to pay for workloads to be shuffled irregularly into Google's surplus capacity, but there may be (code for "there likely are, but I can't think of them just now") use cases where this will be compelling... 

    Here's a link if you want to read further: http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/app-cloud/google-drops-cloud-compute-prices-as-much-as-70-percent/93994.article


  • 22 May 2015 6:48 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    With great input from TCBC members (and a lot of work from Mary Allen and Steve Symonds), we've finalized our 2015/2016 focus areas/working group subjects, and also (with a little urging from several parties) have posted a page with descriptions of our major networking events for 2015 as well. 

    The focus areas are at this link. Members will be getting emails inviting them to join one/more groups, and to ask colleagues if they'd be interested in participating. Non-members are encouraged to contact us at working (dot) groups (at) businesscloud (dot) to if you are interested in learning more about TCBC activities and how to participate. 

    The events are listed at this link. Not a moment too soon, since the first event - the Cloud Bootcamp - is in less than two months! Members interested in attending can contact us at events (at) businesscloud (dot) to. TechConnex members, and anyone else interested in attending or sponsoring the event, can contact Ryan Ellis at ryanellis (at) techconnex (dot) to. 

    Feedback on both the focus areas and events welcome! Please feel free to post here or ping me via email, whichever you prefer..


  • 19 May 2015 6:44 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    Gartner just issued a release on a forecast for IaaS. It's an interesting read. It predicts growth of 32.8% in 2015 (and a CAGR of 29.1% for the 2014-2019 period), and claims as well that "the absolute growth of public cloud IaaS workloads surpassed the growth of on-premises workloads (of any type) for the first time." Curiously, though, in the midst of all of this growth, Gartner believes that "many service providers are shifting their strategies after failing to gain enough market traction," and VP/analyst Lydia Leong adds that "we urge buyers to be extremely cautious when selecting providers," with the implication that larger firms are safer (and therefore, presumably, better) bets. 

    I'm not sure I agree with this part of the analysis - it seems to me that the IaaS market is both growing and de-laminating, creating opportunities for suppliers focused on niche requirements - but overall, the release is well worth a read. Here's a link:http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3055225


  • 14 May 2015 6:42 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    Further to the 451 research highlighted here in the previous post, Luc Villeneuve, country leader for Red Hat (and TCBC member), has posted a piece entitled "What every Canadian IT Leader should know about open source." Luc offers responses to four common questions about open source, focusing particularly on "how will open source integrate with my current technology stack?" 

    Here's the link if you're interested: https://www.redhat.com/en/about/blog/what-every-canadian-it-leader-should-know-about-open-source


  • 11 May 2015 6:41 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    There has been a great deal of buzz recently - including from Geoff Sullivan of TCBC member Cloud A - regarding recent results from 451 Research's Cloud Price Index. In coverage of private cloud findings, 451 compares five approaches: OpenStack distributions from sources like Red Hat, DIY OpenStack, commercial/proprietary hypervisors and orchestration from VMware and others, managed private cloud, and public cloud from CenturyLink and others. 

    The 451 piece notes that "TCO is a subjective and somewhat controversial topic," a point that is proved by the controversy sparked when 451 found that commercial hypervisors/orchestration are less expensive than OpenStack alternatives when the cost of engineering support is considered. This isn't positioned as a condemnation of OpenStack or an endorsement of alternatives: the piece concludes that "OpenStack distributions and managed services all have their strengths and weaknesses – what matters are features, enterprise readiness, and having people in place that understand how to keep a deployment operational." What is important, though, are the ideas raised through the 451 analysis, which brings a unique perspective to an opaque issue. Well worth a read!http://www.insightaas.com/451-research-cloud-price-index-private-edition-part-3-the-best-value-tco-for-private-cloud/


  • 05 May 2015 6:38 AM | Michael O'Neil (Administrator)
    I'm a subscriber to (and avid reader of) the Veracap M&A Technology Media & Telecommunications Quarterly, which is the work of TCBC steering committee member Derek van der Plaat. The Spring version reached my in-box today, and it contains a really interesting "update on the non-bank funding market." Well worth a read for Canadian tech companies - especially those with cloud operations! Here's a link: http://veracap.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/TMT-Spring-2015.pdf


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