Friday Apr 18, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 4

This series of blogs has been exploring several aspects of Cloud computing which have the difficult property of orthogonality – a characteristic where two aspects of Cloud computing which would seem to work together actually follow separate and sometimes divergent paths. The tangible result of this orthogonality is difficulty coming up with an accurate assessment for a Cloud computing offering, since these multiple areas are not easily resolved into a simple value proposition. The last area in this brief list revolves around cost.

There is a widespread belief that Cloud computing means that IT will cost less. Through the magic of Cloud, the IT budget will shrink while still delivering everything your organization wants and needs. Some people justify this belief with the idea that buying in bulk gives Cloud vendors a cost advantage which they can pass on to their customers. You know – give it away and make it up in volume.

But, unfortunately, the reality is a bit different. Although Cloud vendors probably do get a better discount than individual customers, they still have to make margin themselves, which usually exceeds their lower cost advantage in one stroke.

Cloud vendors can reduce costs, though, by making it easier for them to scale the number of different distinct customer environments they can support with a smaller number of IT staff. There is no real magic in this – Cloud vendors use automation as one of the key ways to achieve this benefit.

[Read More]

Friday Mar 21, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 3

The next area of Cloud computing subject to the distorting effect of orthogonality has to do with the way many people want to start to use the Cloud. The most common starting place is to try to move existing applications to the Cloud.

People want to migrate an existing application to a new environment. Migration, by its very nature, is orthogonal. In a migration effort, you invest effort and resources and take on risk to achieve the goal of having the same application you used to have. So there are costs for the migration effort, without an direct benefit over what you have now from that effort. Of course, there are other benefits that come from a migration, such as a simpler or most cost-effective environment, but these are not directly related to the migration itself. This is the definition of orthogonality – benefits from one area and costs from another.

However, the hope that a migration to the Cloud will be effortless is founded on a basic misconception about the Cloud. The Cloud is not magic – reduced costs are not suddenly available through magic Cloud pixie dust. Although Cloud vendors may get their underlying components at a bigger discount because they buy larger quantities, this savings is offset by the need for these companies to make a profit on their services.

The way the Cloud saves money is through automation. Cloud vendors automate various IT maintenance tasks and operations, and, by doing so, can scale with less expense. Pretty much all the cost benefits from the Cloud stem from this core fact. Even a technical feature like multi-tenancy is a way to automate the support of many individual tenants on a fixed pool of IT resources.

The use of automation comes with a corresponding loss of flexibility. Automated procedures expect fairly standardized environments, or they may not work properly. The more productivity that a Cloud offering provides, the more automation, the greater the loss of flexibility.

[Read More]

Friday Feb 21, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 2

In the first part of this blog series, I described the orthogonal nature of costs and benefits with regard to Cloud computing. The mismatch between the forces that incur costs and rack up benefits has led to a general misunderstanding of this technology area. The first area for examination of this mismatch are the different audiences investigating Cloud computing.

The past couple of years have really reminded me of the early 90s, with Cloud taking the place of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). I distinctly remember being at the launch of Window 3.0, the first real GUI from Microsoft, the dominant client operating system. There were a bunch of crotchety old IT guys (who were probably younger than I am now) complaining about how they “weren’t going to buy 286s to run Windows”. And they were probably right. They didn’t buy 286s that year – they bought 486s in two years.

Because the wave of GUIs was an unstoppable tsunami. The client side of the environment went from green-screen/command-line to GUI in just a couple of years, whether IT liked it or not. The reason was simple: it was easier.

[Read More]

Friday Feb 14, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 1

Many years ago, I read an article in The New Yorker about a math expert who was working as one of the early quants on Wall Street. One phrase from that article has become a part of my vocabulary – “You are not even wrong”. By this, the mathematician meant that the person was so far off base on a topic as to not even qualify as being wrong – it’s like they had left the universe of correct and incorrect on a certain topic.

I have used it over the years as a sarcastic description of some opinion I felt was on the far side of clueless. But, in reality, the description is not just an ultimate putdown of sorts. This phrase can apply to any ideas which don’t really apply to a particular scenario. The person expressing the opinion is not necessarily unintelligent, or even uninformed. They are just playing on the wrong field.

I’ve been product manager for the Oracle Database Cloud for the past 3 years, and I find that this situation is wildly common when people talk about Cloud computing. Seemingly everyone is excited about the possibilities of the Cloud, but the overwhelming majority of people are looking at this technology area from an inappropriate viewpoint.

Put simply, most believe the Cloud is magic. And we all know there is no magic technology – even a great advance like Exadata is a result of a bunch of good decisions implemented well.

The problem lies in something I refer to as the orthogonal nature of costs and benefits. When two terms are orthogonal, there is no statistical relationship between them. In the same way, there are important facets of Cloud computing where the costs and benefits stem from different places – places which are rarely united in a single world view.

This blog is the first of five parts. In the next three parts (with the first of these three parts here), I will discuss three prominent areas of orthogonal costs and benefits, which will help you to understand how to properly evaluate the what, when and hows of Cloud computing for your particular organization. The final part will be a general prescription on how to move to the Cloud to maximize benefits and minimize both problems and disappointments.

Monday Apr 22, 2013

Not All Clouds are Created Equal

Fiction: All clouds are created equal.
Fact: Only Oracle offers the most comprehensive cloud on the planet earth.

The promise of cloud computing—greater agility, less risk, and lower costs—is real, but making good on that promise depends on the vendor you choose.

Time to sort through all the hype and find a REAL Cloud vendor that meets YOUR needs.

 Simplify IT and Power Innovation. Check out the new Cloud Solutions e-book now.

Friday Apr 19, 2013

See How Oracle ERP Cloud Service Can Transform Your Organization

Did you know up to 64% of IT budgets are spent running day-to-day operations? Imagine what you could achieve if these resources were focused on encouraging business growth and driving innovation.

A recent Tech Strategy article by Financial Executives International shows how you can transform back office operations, replace expensive, fixed capital investments with scalable, cost-effective solutions, and redirect resources to enhance operational efficiency and improve business performance.

To find out more – read the full article and explore a wealth of instantly-available resources showing how your organization can:

  • Reduce costs with fewer ERP systems and an Opex expenditure model
  • Improve operational efficiency and productivity with simplified business processes
  • Deploy enterprise-grade software quickly and simply
  • Extend functionality as needed to CRM, Human Capital Management and Supply Chain Management
Discover how you could refocus your IT spend on driving innovation with Oracle ERP Cloud Service.  Access article.
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