The un-decisions of migrations…

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****((political note do not read if you are offended)) Did anyone think to ask Michelle Bachman – hey we didn’t have hurricanes and earthquakes in DC, until you started running for president. *****

Migrating to the cloud. I’ve been a migration person for years. I am not a deep in the weeds technical migration guru – although I know a number of those folks – they are very good at what they do. I am more of a deep planning and business value expert in the area of migrations.

This brings me to the recent spate of articles/blogs/whitepapers that have been published about the concepts of an IaaS cloud migration.

Reality is its not about the migration. You can pick up an entire organization and dump it into the cloud. That can be done. It is labor intensive and probably isn’t the overall right answer. The overall right answer I suspect heads closer to the broad concepts of what do you need to move, and why are you moving it.

There are a number of “limiting” factors in migrations. But there are also a number of considerations when you consider a migration. They (migrations) have long been seen as a negative thing. Are they really?

I find them as much to be a chance to clean up your mistakes from the past as they are anything else. A chance to make right what got “un-right” over time.

My new thinking is migrations are actually a series of un-decisions rather than a set of new decisions. Removing those things from your system that you decided on, that in the end just didn’t work.

more to come!


Its harder than simply saying “cloud me.”

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An organizations journey to the cloud can be interesting. It is fraught with risk and frustration. No matter what you have today, there is a reality of what you need. That reality will link you forever to the failing and dying technologies you build into your environment, before.

Its like a car that is well maintained and loved. Regardless of that unless you are lucky (or frankly driving a German car) that car will show signs of age. If they salt the roads where you live heavily – your car is more likely to rust etcetera.

So over time are your solutions. They won’t have the latest bells and whistles (GPS, Bluetooth, Satellite radio). Over time users will seek those bells and whistles (the cloud is a great example of department decay – IT solutions that are moved to the cloud because IT doesn’t move fast enough. LAN based solutions were sold at the departmental level 20 years ago because IT didn’t have control  over the LAN – they didn’t care- they just wanted control of the mainframe).

What can you do? In my book Transitional Services I talk a lot about the things that IT can do in the short run to solve some of the decay issues of deployed solutions. People forget that IT is mandated with keeping the business running (and all technologies of the business moving forward). As such risk isn’t a good thing overall. There are things that can be done – for example begin an R&D group. Not like IBM or Microsoft (who spend billions) rather enable small teams to work together to solve specific problems that are costing you money.

In the end it is harder than simply telling IT “Cloud US.” The various things that you built to make your organization more productive will take time to process and move. The reality of most solutions is that they will take time to migrate. The question is how much, and what is the value of that solution.

That comes back to something I have asked 100’s of business users of various customers I have worked with. How much money does that critical application you are talking about generate for your business. So far in over 20 years no one has ever given me a good answer (cost of development, maintained and operations, cost of improvements and bug fixes, cost of planning and time spent using the application result in a cost basis. Revenue generated by the solution – the cost basis results in the profit generated. Sometimes when people actually look at the critical applications they find that they make more money from Office Applications than they do custom applications).

The cost of the cloud is one of migration.

The cloud is coming (well Irene’s are actually leaving…)

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Some future and existing Cloud Applications that will have an impact in the next 6-12 months.

  • Exercise and helping people get in shape/consider their shape/maintain their shape. Garmin’s training center was the start of this revolution – Fitbit extends it even further.
  • Sharing sites with quality information for your friends and family. How about the “Facebook” disaster page. Where you can post when you are looking for someone. Everyone in the affected area is automatically grouped into that list so that if someone has seen your friend/partner/family member (and they don’t have access) the other person can let you know where they are.
  • Quick application consolidation tools (make an application that combines the output of a number of sources into a single feed) this is sort of Newsgator on steroids. But more customized and multiple types of data input.
  • ICloud, it brings the cloud to a world of people that haven’t had “cloud” experiences yet (they have, but now they will now what it is they are using).

There are more (I will talk about them again in the future I am sure) but these four are the quick hits I see right now. The buzz around Icloud is pretty high. Having used the Fitbit for the two months now I can safely say its pretty cool. The aggregation offered by ICloud will be a game changer. The cloud is here, it is coming and frankly it is a game changer.

.doc (now earthquake and hurricane veteran).

Cloud Computing, Crowd Sourcing a dream…

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Freedom of access.

I’ve talked a few times about the concept of expanding crowd sourcing to where it can benefit ideas and problems by throwing resources at them. It is an idea that offers the vale of cloud computing in a much broader open source manner.

With crowd sourcing of ideas you run the chance of the new Edison or Einstein picking up the pieces of your idea and making something great out of it. The problem of course is credit.

How do you deal with the egos of people?

You cannot manage a community  (because you are then no longer a part of that community.) you have to help the idea and community grow from within. But that means in the end no ownership.

It is not the purity of Marxism. Or for that matter socialism. There has to be a provision that allows for the advancer to get credit. There also needs to be a solution that supports the actual creation of the idea as well.

This ties together with the problems of Cloud Computing today.

  • Negative Culture (sentences that begin with Yes, But or No, that is wrong)
  • Me Culture (I am managing this therefore…)
  • False idol leadership (watch out for this one)

So, I throw this out as a concept to the Crowd for idea sourcing. How do we in a positive way solve these three problems?


The Cloud is not evolution or revolution…

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The Cloud

It has such an interesting name. Coming out of the architectural diagram used to denote that area of the “world” not bounded by the firewalls of the organization. We used a cloud as the representation of that we don’t control, as well as that component of networking that was beyond our network.

The Cloud

It is a community. A vibrant changing entity that grows as it will grow (there is a great quote that applies to so many people who run communities. The minute you manage a community you are no longer effective with that community.) The cloud is and of itself an extension of social computing, business, government and people. The old resource triangle morphing into a new paradigm. The community that is the cloud is filled with vendors who have roadmaps and a growing open source community. Neither is wrong, but neither is the path today. The reality remains the value proposition to the people leveraging and using the cloud.

Over the past few years I’ve seen a lot o smart people portray the cloud as an evolution. But is it really? I wonder about that evolution. What is the value achieved at the end of an internet pipe? Is our society changing around the “cloud?” becoming less competitive or for that mater less violent? Sure violence doesn’t go uncovered anymore. We know about it as it happens now. But has the evolution of our world happened? Yes within computing there has been a slight shift. Not a huge shift, more of a compilation of what was needed and what we used to use. We used to attach to single remote stores in the 70’s, they were called mainframes then. What is the difference between connecting to a mainframe and searching the internet via Google – yes, hey have a great search engine. But what is the real difference?

You connect to a central store. You use that store. Then you do your job. I believe cloud is the next step on the road to evolution. Not evolution itself. More a single step in a 1000 step journey that eventually will lead to evolution.

The problem with steps is when you trip its not quite as cool. You see evolution predicts failure. There entire species of animals that no longer exist because of evolution. They were unable to adapt and adopt the world around them. The cloud is more of a small step forward on an interesting evolutionary path.

Like all things, my prediction needs as much time to prove it or disprove it as everyone else’s does. So here is to tomorrow, we may be evolved, or one step closer.


Moving to the cloud and a few thoughts on personal clouds

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Moving towards the cloud for many organizations can be scary. The cloud represents the unknown in many cases and in all cases it represents the unknown.

But the cloud is less and more than many people think. Pursuing commercials from cloud companies (print, internet and TV) produces an interesting set of answers.

There are definitions of the “cloud” overall. There are clear definitions of “private clouds” and frankly everything that lies between.

But few if any talk about the value proposition for organizations as they move to the connected world of tomorrow. I think that ought to be a upcoming EPCOT ride (The connected world of tomorrow – they give you an umbilical cord and you stay connected to the revolving information – while that information is pumped directly into you via the cord).

The reality is the cloud is all around you all the time. For example, 10 years ago I had a cellular phone and a blackberry. I could exchange emails and talk to people directly. For awhile during that period I had a third device as well (a Skytel two way pager). I didn’t have GPS applications or news applications, or for that matter the ability to watch television or movies. I just answered calls, occasionally responded to pages (ok always responded to pages) and answered emails.

Even then I was moving in a personal cloud. The problem with a personal cloud is as much the synchronization as anything (in my book the “Syncverse” I spend a lot of time on that). The cloud is all around us, but sometimes there is no way to translate what is floating above us, with what we have available in our personal cloud.

More to come!


The culture of negativity

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Does a negative culture breed fear?

I have wondered that question for many years. A negative culture indicates something in an organization I just can’t figure it out. Negative cultures manifest themselves as intimidation, frustration and eventually workforce issues. No one wants to live in a “negative” world all the time.

So why do so many organizations breed that type of environment? One where some people are driven to well, act out in horrible ways.

  • First its not the organization it’s the people.
  • Second, the organization can provide a path but the reality is, no one is perfect and no organization is perfect. In the end organizations “have” people and that is an imperfect state.

What can we do about this? I watched an exceptional training piece the other day about workplace violence and watching for the warning signs. You see those warning signs in a negative organization all the time. You never think about them as negative, you just accept them (that is the way things have always been).

But in the end you can do something about it. When people leverage intimidation to influence you tell them no. Or better yet, don’t say anything and report them to an HR person. Let’s break the tide of negative and make work a fun four letter word again!.




Is that dark cloud following, you?

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Would your private cloud ever offer a windows into the world you live in? A view of the pieces of your life in a controlled or uncontrolled fashion? I have more than 75,000 digital pictures of my family. My daughter probably has another 2,000 pictures in her collection. What is the easiest way to move those pictures to the internet. Online backup services are way to expensive (its more than 60 gigs of data which is loosely 50 bucks a year – for that I can burn a bunch of blu-ray disks and not worry about the problem for 4 years and then just burn new disks).

Or would your private cloud be an accessible tool for you to use? My beloved wife is starting her practicum for her masters degree (final step before graduation) and I am going to try and build a solution that will allow her to access what she needs from her practicum PC and her Windows 7 phone.

I published a long time ago that I thought Windows Phone 7 was going to be the cloud client of the future (I don’t think that now – but I did then). I am beginning to suspect that the future of cloud clients is more about what you need at the time you are connecting rather than any one specific cloud connection.

The future will be a collection of devices rather than just the one. My new television and blu-ray player both connect to the internet. Roku, Boxie and other devices can now connect and play a variety of internet services via your television. Its only a matter of time before you can take them with you via a connected device.

Your personal private cloud may follow you everywhere. Of course then you run into the issue of messaging. Currently depression medication uses a dark cloud following the person around as they go about their day, I am not sure that is a good image for cloud computing going forward.


The personal private cloud…

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Expanding the personal private cloud a little. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile (or at least the last 5 or so days). The broad concept of what would you want with your own private cloud. The first thing is simplicity.

  • Program my router/cable modem
  • Setup the external access for me automatically
  • Allow me to create new accounts with various access rights
  • Make it simple for others to connect to my stuff
  • have a nice web front end
  • allow me to expand the solution as I desire.

Not to be a broken record but Windows Home Server is the only product that fits all of those easily – for the home user. It is easy to configure and manage and really is the ultimate (right now) personal private cloud server (PPCS).

Now if it could share office applications so you only had to buy one copy and let everyone use that copy in a managed fashion (metered software) it would be more valuable.

In my book “The Syncverse” to be published someday I expand on the topic of the personal private cloud with that broader concepts of keeping everything in sync and sharing things between people, organizations and eventually improving education, exploration and discovery. But that is for another time…


Storm clouds, operations and the cloud of clouds

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I heard the concept of storm clouds awhile ago. Storm Clouds are supposed to be clouds of clouds. It is an interesting concept although I would argue the name is a bit confusing. I would consider a cloud of clouds a “host.” But “host” in the internet and computing world has an already defined meaning.

Still storm clouds has a negative connotation. I have made this argument before and haven’t heard the “storm cloud” concept as much. Although I’ve noticed a recent spate of new products focusing on the concept of a cloud of clouds.

The question then becomes that of operations. Can you manage what you have today? That becomes the driver for a cloud of clouds. If you cannot manage what you have today, what does it matter going forward?

Operations is more than ITIL and process. It is a framework within the organization that grows both in a managed but also in an organic fashion. It is an extensions of Six Sigma and an adaptation of ITIL.

The thing is, you cannot succeed with operations if you don’t have process. Process is all about doing the right things over and over no matter how boring they are.

There is an innate balance within operations that provides a structure for the rest of the organization to move forward in and upon.

More to come.