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27Oct. 2009

Cloud Computing -The Clouds Are Brewing, Are You Ready for the Storm?

I recently watched some “unknown guy,” you know that “unknown techie” person Larry Ellison, rant about the cloud for at least 5 minutes. I found it interesting for a couple reasons:

1) He isn’t wrong that the cloud, in essence, is based on traditional hardware infrastructure placed essentially into the net, and that a lot of people are abusing the terminology for commercial means.

2) He has a huge interest in Netsuite, which is a SAAS based cloud CRM provider, and Oracle. Both organizations are doing a lot in the background around Cloud. Don’t believe me? Visit the Netsuite website or ““.

Companies and luminaries in leadership positions will always say one thing in particular during periods of challenging competition or changing market landscapes. When you dig a bit deeper, these companies usually try to deny the newcomers as long as they can while hedging their bets in the background to protect their leadership position against the ever dangerous “game changer”.  This gives them time to position themselves as a prime player when the time comes.

Cloud computing is coming hard and fast. It’s a game changer.

Although the underlying technology components are the same, the ability to connect them over a public carrier network has increased its potential effect exponentially. The obvious truth is that the current catalyst for Cloud and the resurgence of centralized compute from a technology perspective, is the decrease in cost for network bandwidth. I recently downloaded an 8 Gigabyte file in less than an hour over a home-based broadband connection (21MBPS) . This is unbelievable when put in the context of connectivity not that long ago (ok, maybe I’m old)  – remember 28.8K Baud modems?

It’s no wonder that Cloud based services, like Microsoft Live Mesh, Sugar Synch, and Salesforce CRM, are able to provide ever richer and broader services “over the wire”.

Edge bandwidth to wireless devices right now is reaching upwards of 5 to 8 mbps in 3G HDSPA areas, making the new generation of netbooks, smartphones, and hybrid smartphone/notebook technologies, prime candidates to join the Cloud computingand social networking phenomenon. If Larry is ranting now, wait ’till billions of smartphones join the Cloud. I call dibs on the term “SWARM COMPUTING” for the surge of all these consumer grade devices to the Cloud. So, when Larry Ellison wants to rant about it, he can call my mobile.

In other words, the clouds are brewing,  make sure you grab an umbrella, there’s going to be a storm.

P.S. – If you haven’t seen  Larry’s tirade against “The Cloud” click here and enjoy the fireworks.

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  • Tim

    Actually, the cost position of bandwidth is deteriorating relative to compute and storage costs – see the Berkeley analysis (above the clouds), which updates Jim Gray’s analysis.

  • Kenneth Cheung

    Tim, Berkely’s updated analysis is an interesting read indeed. Perhaps I fixated on “cost” versus availability too much in my article, thus I take your point on the “cost position”. My point is simply that the bandwidth available between intercloud connections is simply grown to a critical mass that enables massive cloud computing adoption. I think the table on page 13 comparing what’s available for 1$ in 2003 vs 1$ in 2008 pretty much sums it up. Even more broadly – I think if WAN throughput availability hadn’t proliferated, we wouldn’t have a top 10 list of obstacles for cloud computing, let alone bandwidth bottlenecks being number 4 in this document.

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