Monday Oct 12, 2009

The Cloud Trilogy Episode 2 - The Savvy Grannies

So if you want to know more about the Cloud ask the Savvy Grannies, this is brought to you by Ioko and Sun to help understand Cloud Computing.

Thursday Sep 24, 2009

Elasticity and Efficiency for Private Clouds

This Sun BluePrints™ article provides an overview of Sun's VeriScale architecture. The article includes details of VeriScale's defining principals, underlying components, interactions, and advantages. Applicable real-world scenarios are also described.

The article addresses the following topics:

  • Requirements of a Scalable Datacenter" describes the requirements that are addressed by the VeriScale architecture.
  • VeriScale Architecture Overview" describes the automation layer and functional components of the VeriScale architecture.
  • Project OpenSolaris™ Dynamic Service Containers (OpenSolaris DSC)" describes the components of OpenSolaris DSC that are used by the VeriScale architecture.
  • Service Delivery Network (SDN) Architecture and VeriScale Automation" describes how the SDN architecture is used to implement the VeriScale automation requirements.
  • Network Optimization Through Distribution" describes how the VeriScale architecture can be used to distribute and optimize application deployment and load-balancing.
  • Proof of Concept for the VeriScale Architecture" describes a proof-ofconcept (POC) that was implemented to verify the feasibility and utility of the VeriScale architecture.
  • The VeriScale-Enabled Business Process" describes how the Veriscale architecture concepts can be applied to business processes in a software intensive enterprise.

Tuesday Feb 17, 2009

Sun Microsystems, Cloud Computing and the premier European VC event 'Entrepreneur Country'

Entrepreneur Country At Sun UK we recently supported and attended "Entrepreneur Country" a major European Start Up and VC event.

Acting as a rallying cry to the entrepreneurial, VC and Start-up communities, the event affirmed that now is the best time to start your own company and that entrepreneurs were key to the recovery of the economy from the recession.

Almost 300 of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, including Caffè Nero founder Gerry Ford and Betfair co-founder and Chairman Edward Wray, shared stories of success at the event. Roman Stanek, a founder of NetBeans, and now founder and CEO of Good Data Corp and successful serial entrepreneur, said "tough times create tough companies", whilst Gerry Ford, urged us to "be restless and relentless" in the pursuit of success. The seminars were held at the Institute of Directors (IoD) in central London and coincided with the official launch of Entrepreneur Country online.

Other highlights of the day included keynotes from Sir Paul Judge (from the Enterprise Education Trust on ‘Risk and Enterprise’), Glen Manchester (Founder and CEO of Thunderhead), Ed Wray (Co-Founder and Chairman of Betfair), Niall Harbison (Founder and Chef at, and David Courtier-Dutton and Paul Brown (from SliceThePie).

The event was organised and hosted by Ariadne Capital, an entrepreneurial investment and advisory firm. Ariadne was set up by current CEO Julie Meyer; probably best known as being a founder of First Tuesday, the largest global network of entrepreneurs (which many credit for igniting the Internet generation across Europe).

The agenda also included two panel sessions discussing Online Gaming (and virtual worlds) and Cloud Computing (and, to an extent, it's impact on the entrepreneurial, VC and Start-up communities and how they might best capitalise on it). The later of which I had been asked to take part in of behalf of Sun. Cannily I kept mental notes and have been able to write the session up as a separate blog post "Cloud Computing panel interview with Sun Microsystems at 'Entrepreneur Country'" (for further background material on Cloud Computing you may also want to check out my "Cloud Relationship Model" article). The questions we were asked included:

  1. Surely we’ve heard all of this before in various forms and guises? What is different this time? Why will it work? ...response #1
  2. For this stuff to become truly embedded it will need to move from the man in the street to the corporate. Corporate CIOs are a risk averse bunch especially when you move into some sectors (e.g. Financial Services). What will influence the CIOs' buying decision? ...response #2
  3. It was all very easy when you went out and bought or developed software, installed it yourself, ran it yourself, etc. Does working in the cloud bring new issues with regards to data ownership, IP rights, other legal issues, etc.? ...response #3
  4. What is your vision for the future and where this goes? ...response #4
  5. An audience driven Q and A session including responses to "What do you think of Microsoft's Azure Cloud initiative?" and "What is Sun's Cloud Computing strategy?" ...response #5

I really enjoyed the day and had a productive time networking and meeting people, all of whom shared with me their vision, enthusiasm and wonderful business ideas. I met people from MovieStorm, TechnologyDen, NewVoiceMedia, Broadcom UK, SaaSPlex, Spinvox, Teamer, and a quite a few others too. Some of these companies had been funded by Enterprise Ireland and it was very good to see them there as well as representatives from the UK's Technology Strategy Board.

Accompanying the days themes of Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurism were handouts, books and other resources, and I picked up a copy of Jeremy Coller's new book "The Lives, Loves and Deaths of Splendidly Unreasonable Inventors".

On the night we went to an associated networking dinner where I fell deep into conversation with a number of people including Paul Flanagan, Executive for Digital Entertainment at Ariadne, Declan Cunningham, Director at Ariadne, and Tom Salmon, founder of AfterShow and Traffic Digital.

The event was supported by the Sun UK Internet Business team, led by Paul Tarantino, with additional support from Simon Culmer, Director of Sales from the UK executive management team, as well as myself. Here's the official write up, a variety of photos taken and also a selection of video recordings.

Thanks to Rebecca Temple, Manager of Portfolio Marketing at Ariadne, here's a variety of some of the other coverage of the day, much of it focused on the business messages we heard:

Please note that this article was originally written and posted at my blog and I've included it as a guest article here too for those interested in the 'Entrepreneur Country' event. The original article is hosted here:

All the best,

Wayne Horkan

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    Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

    Sun Storage 7000: que disent ceux qui l'ont testé ?

    Vous êtes plusieurs à m'avoir demandé des témoignages utilisateurs sur notre nouvelle gamme de stockage, Sun Storage 7000.

    Voici donc les échos du Web sur cette nouvelle gamme de produits :

    • PC Pro verdict: "The 7110 is the storage host with the most since it offers NAS and IP SAN support - all as standard"  Le 7110 obtient le label PC Pro RECOMMENDED

    Friday Feb 06, 2009

    What can you expect from a cloud?

    What can a cloud bring you more than a traditional type of hosting?

    The short answer: the advantages of virtualization without the inconvenient.

    The detailed answer...[Read More]

    Tuesday Jan 06, 2009

    Cloud Relationship Model

    Hiya All, welcome to my first guest post at Startup Essentials; today I'm going to be talking about the cloud relationship model I've developed and it's use as an artefact when discussing cloud computing.

    I wanted a simply model which I could share with people and use as a discussion point, whilst still capturing the major areas of cloud computing which I considered most pertinent.  I developed a model about six months ago and have since found it useful when talking with people about cloud computing.

    Here's the model and I'll go though it's major elements below.

    Major Cloud Communities

    In the cloud there are three major participants:

    1. the Cloud Providers; building out Clouds, for instance Google, Amazon, etc. Effectivetively technology providers.
    2. the Cloud Adopters / Developers; those developing services over the Cloud and some becoming the first generation of Cloud ISVs.  I have included Cloud "Service" developers and Cloud ISV developers together. This group are effectively service enablers.
    3. Cloud "End" Users; those using Cloud provisioned services, often without knowing that they are cloud provisioned, the most obvious example of which are the multitude of Facebook users who have no idea there favorite FB app. is running on AWS. These are the service consumers.

    I think it's important to talk about these communities because I keep hearing lots about the Cloud Providers, and even more about the issues and 'needs' of the Cloud adopters / developers, but very little in terms of Cloud "End" Users.  In a computing eco-system such as this where "services" are supported by and transverse technology providers, service enablers and service consumers an end to end understanding of how this affects these reliant communities is required. Obvious issues such as SLAs for end users and businesses which rely upon high availability and high uptime from there cloud providers come to mind; however other "ilities" and systemic qualities come to mind such as security, and that's before looking at any detailed breakdown of functional services.

    The point here is that the cloud adopters / developers and interestingly the cloud "watchers" (i.e. the press, media, bloggers and experts) would be mindful to remember the needs and requirements of genuine end users; for myself it'd certainly be invigorating to hear more on this topic area.

    Billing / Engagement Models

    Simon Wardley, a much more eloquent public speaker than myself, does a wonderful pitch which includes a look at the different "as a Service types" which he boils down to being a load of "\*aaS" (very amusing, and informative, try and catch Simon presenting if you can).

    I wholeheartedly agree that there is a large amount of befuddlement when it comes to the differing "\*aaS" types and sub-types, and new ones are springing up relatively frequently, however I also think it's important to not ignore the differences between them.

    For me, and many others, I think first popularised by the "Partly Cloudy - Blue-Sky Thinking About Cloud Computing" white paper from the 451 Group, the differing "\*aaS" variants are identified as billing and engagement models.  That white paper also postulates the five major Cloud Computing provider models, into which the majority of minor "\*aaS" variants fall.  They are:

    1. Managed Service Provision (MSP); not only are you hiring your service from the cloud, you've someone to run and maintain it too.
    2. Software as a Service (SaaS); pretty much ubiquitous as a term and usually typified by, who are the SaaS poster child.
    3. Platform as a Service (PaaS); the application platform most commonly associated with Amazon Web Services.
    4. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS);
    5. Hosting 2.0

    One of the best breakdowns and visual analysis of this space is the model in Peter Laird's "Understanding the Cloud Computing/SaaS/PaaS markets: a Map of the Players in the Industry" article which is well worth a read.

    Major Architectural Layers

    Also included in the diagram are the major architectural layers that are included in each of the above billing / engagement models offered by the Cloud providers. They are:

    1. Operations; and this really is operations supporting functional business processes, rather than supporting the technology itself.
    2. Service layer; made up of application code, bespoke code, high-level ISV offerings.
    3. Platform layer; made up of standard platform software i.e. app. servers, DB servers, web servers, etc., and an example implementation would be a LAMP stack.
    4. Infrastructure layer; made up of (i) infrastructure software (i.e.virtualisation and OS software), (ii) the hardware platform and server infrastructure, and (iii) the storage platform.
    5. Network layer; made up of routers, firewalls, gateways, and other network technology.

    This rather oversimplifies the architecture, as it's important to note that each of the cloud billing / engagement models use capabilities from each of the above architectural layers; for instance their can be a lot of service simply in managing a network, however these describe the major architectural components (which support the service being procured), not simply ancillary functions, effectively what are the cloud providers customers principally paying for. 

    Delta of Effort / Delta of Opportunity

    This is much more than the 'gap' between the cloud providers and the cloud users, wherein the cloud adopters / developers sit, the gap between the cloud providers and the end cloud users can be called the delta of effort, but also the delta of opportunity.

    It is the delta of effort in terms of skills, abilities, experience and technology that the cloud adopter needs to deliver a functional service to their own “End Users”.  This will be potentially a major area of cost to the cloud adopters. But it's also the delta of opportunity;in terms of 'room' to innovate.

    The more capability procured from the cloud provider (i.e. higher up the stack as a whole), the less you have to do (and procure) yourself.  However the less procured from the cloud provider the more opportunity you have engineer a differentiating technology stack yourself.  This itself has it's disadvantages because the cloud adopters / developers could potentially not realise the true and best value of their cloud providers infrastructure.

    I suspect that there is an optimum level, around the Platform Layer, which abstracts enough complexity away (i.e. you don't have to procure servers, networks, implementation or technology operations staff), but also leaves enough room to innovate and produce software engineered value.  Arguably the only current successful cloud provider, based upon market share, perception, revenue and customer take up, is Amazon Web Services (AWS) who provide a PaaS offering.


    Hope you enjoyed the article, in summary if developing cloud services or even building out a cloud infrastructure I would recommend that you focus on your users and if your a cloud provider, your users' users; remembering that only a certain percentage of those users will be customers (I won't getting into discussing Chris Anderson's 5% recommended conversion rate for the long tail, however I would recommend understanding what some of those calculations might be).

    If you're looking to develop services over the cloud, think carefully about where you and your teams skills lie, and where would you most want them focusing there efforts; working on installing and tuning operating systems and application platforms or writing business value focused applications and services, before choosing at which level to engage with your cloud provider(s).  

    I haven't mentioned enterprise adoption of cloud based services, and that's because I'd like to post that in the near future in a different article.

    Hope you enjoyed the article and all the best,

    Wayne Horkan

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    Monday Jan 05, 2009

    A peine annoncé, déjà vendu

    Que cette année 2009 qui débute vous soit bénéfique !

    D'ailleurs, si vous cherchez à tirer profit des opportunités générées par les changements que nous impose la conjoncture, regardez chez Sun du côté du stockage. A peine la série 7000 a-t-elle été annoncée qu'elle a déjà été choisie par des acteurs du Web :

    iWeb, hébergeur en mode dédié ou partagé, a retenu le 7410 pour son stockage en réseau.

    Même chose pour Smugmug, startup qui propose de stocker vos photos en ligne (allez sur la page et faite une recherche sur "SSD STORAGE" ). Pour ne citer qu'une phrase de l'article de Smugmug : "we’re able to do obscene write workloads to these boxes".

    Pour en savoir plus sur la série 7000, vous pouvez parcourir cet article et cet autre sur ce blog.

    Et n'oubliez pas, si votre société à moins de 6 ans et moins de 150 employés, vous pouvez acheter ces produits au prix Startup Essentials.

    Tuesday Nov 25, 2008

    Test The Scalability Of Your Application

    Many of you come to me with questions about scalability.

    Can my application scale? Can it run on many servers and if so, what is the cost of deployment and administration? How do I check if my application supports load-balancing? How do I manage resources - CPU power, RAM, network bandwidth - allocated to my different customers?

    All these are very valid questions and in order to help you answer them, we developed EZstack.

    EZstack is an on-line offering that enables you to quickly deploy your web application into a virtualized environment and to perform functional tests on scalability: after deploying and within a single click, you replicate the front-end of your application and you turn on a L7 load balancing. You can then browse your application from your laptop and check how the whole system behaves.

    EZstack also comes with a cookbook, a technical document that describes how to implement a similar infrastructure in your own lab.

    Finally, EZstack gives you the opportunity to evaluate with your own application technologies such as Solaris zones/containers, ZFS, and the Crossbow project.

    So, if you are already a member of the Startup Essentials community, ask for your EZstack account by sending an email to

    And if are not yet a member of Startup Essentials, register now, it's free!


    Connecting the Startup Essentials community with all the events, information and resources required for them to grow and scale.


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