Migrations can cause bruising or worse…

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of migrating to the cloud. Its something that I have thought about in various forms (not always cloud computing) for a long time. When I worked for Microsoft I wrote a number of migration guides. I have worked with customers of virtually every size on virtually every size and type of migration over the years.

What I’ve discovered is that migrations are a fact of life. Because they are “part of life” people tend to let migrations trap them. They are expected, IT has to do them but in the end they aren’t the be all end all that many companies make them out to be.

Except that they are the be all end all. I’ve talked frequently about intelligent software. Software that understands what the options are and the limitations of the device you are using. The reality is that vendors have built solutions and the open source community as well that are compatible with older versions of their own solution.

That makes migrations painful. You can’t coexist with two versions of the same software easily. Apple has a great upgrade metaphor for its I devices (IPhone, Ipad etc.) but that is a one off user run migration and won’t work as an enterprise platform for migrations.

  • You can move to the cloud, which forces your migration issue to someone else’s plate.
  • You can upgrade as new features have business drivers that compel the change but you run the risk of unsupported solutions if you do that.

No matter what migrations impact the organization. The reality is the better you plan and prepare the better the migration will be. Unless we can convince vendors to build solutions that can live together with multiple versions of their solution installed.

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The chicken, the egg and who ran away with the business…

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Recently there have been a spate of articles about why IT and the business don’t get along. Each of the articles professes the insight as to why there is a separation.

I wonder however why there is a separation. More because of the nature of technology and the reality of consumerization of IT. I wonder if in fact there is a gap or simply reality.

It is an interesting problem when you consider it. The chicken (the gulf between IT and the business) and the egg (the reality of IT and the business).

IT is the guardian of corporate data. They are the gallant knights of solutions and operations. They build and manage solutions for the enterprise. But sometimes a piece of the enterprise needs to move faster than IT can.

Personally I believe the mission of IT (Secure, Operate and evolve) doesn’t fit today with the consumer reality (get it done and move on).

Users and by users I mean the business often forget that operations (backup, restore, secure solutions and helpdesk) all require a level of standardization that isn’t available in many consumer applications.

Try calling a corporate helpdesk and then email the tech support team for a consumer product. The helpdesk assigns a human and a ticket, your email gets an automated response. Sure most tech support orgs get rid of the calls in less than 48 hours but your helpdesk is focused on solving your problem much faster. That level of support requires a level of consistency and standardization that isn’t available if you take the consumer based throw it out and see if it works model.

On the other hand IT can and often is too slow. Back to the chicken and the egg metaphor and which comes first. Well the reality is that you get chickens from eggs and eggs from chickens. You need a stable place for both to grow and flourish. You need to remove predators (security), provide a warm and dry place for the egg to mature (operations) resulting in a new chicken.

As IT adapts to the extension of what it has done in the past and adds in the greater speed required now I think the value solution is to create a more pattern based operations environment that can be leveraged more effectively by developers.

As we consider the new applications IT will need to build, operations and agility will become the new buzz words. How can we build and deploy solutions quickly that will impact the business in a positive manner.

More to come…

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Shameless review Pentax wg-1 camera

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My father first bought a Pentax camera when we went to Thailand in 1972. He has had a Pentax for the most part since then (although moving into the digital world he ended up buying a Fuji, and he used my old Kodak for awhile).

I was intrigued by the new Pentax WG-1 camera. It seemed to offer a lot of things that various other point and shoots I’ve had in the past had. Burst mode, waterproof to 30 feet, video and shock protection.

It also add a GPS (which by the way if you are lost in the wilderness and need to find your way back to civilization this is not the UPS for you. My Delorme PN60 boots faster, gets a connection faster and frankly the battery lasts 2 times as long). It is however a nice tough to be able to geotag your photos.

The camera is also small and lightweight. It doesn’t weigh anywhere near where the other camera’s in that rough and tumble point and shoot class do.

What I like:

  • light
  • easy to set-up and use quickly
  • Takes SDHC cards so you can have more pictures
  • 14.1 megapixels
  • video
  • waterproof
  • shock resistant
  • cold resistant
  • rugged look and feel

What I don’t like

  • takes forever to catch a GPS signal
  • 14.1 on a point and shoot is not the same as 14.1 on a DSLR

Overall if you are looking for a camera that the kids can borrow, like the Olympus I reviewed over a year ago this is a great camera. It takes reasonable pictures and once the GPS signal is locked it does a good job with locations. All and all this is a pretty good camera.

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The great balancing act

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The fine details of cloud computing.

You can put anything into a cloud environment with the following provisos

  • Can the solution be virtualized or does it require physical hardware (still “cloudable” but now in a different way)
  • Does the solution take advantage of bursting, elasticity and portable storage?
  • Does the application have unique security requirements

Just these three will delay or even hamper most cloud applications. Number two is a significant shift in fact developers will struggle with number two for the next couple of years I predict. Its not about changing the way they develop, its about adding the agility to the application so that it is smart enough to know what is happening.

The other side of cloud computing however is your chosen or preferred platform go forward.

If you platform is mobile, you need to think different than we think about applications and solutions today. Mobile is about speed. Small footprint data that can easily move up and down the smaller mobile pipes. No forced moved to wi-fi as that in the end reduces the value of a mobile solution.

Validation of the data and loss prevention also become critical with the mobile application. What do you do when the device is lost?

You can’t over secure the mobile device it in the end will produce worse results if there is more security than usability. So you balance the needs of security against the portability and usability that mobility provides.

It becomes the great balancing act.

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Cloud Ethics 101 (a learn as you go program)

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Clarity.

“People who cheat while playing online games likely don’t stop there.” The thing about cheating with online and in online games is you are more cheating yourself of an experience. But you have to worry about the ethics overall of a person who would cheat because they could. Sometimes smart people do dumb things like cheat because its simple. Not because they should but because they can.

More simply put this is an essay I am going to call the “Ethics of the social world.”

Perhaps I will become the miss manners of social computing.

  • If you cheat, consider why? Winning isn’t the point of social games. Having fun and playing the game is the point.
  • Don’t post a picture you wouldn’t show your mother. If its gross and you would show it to your mother, perhaps that is something else you need to work on.
  • Posting everything that comes into your head isn’t the best way to be a twitter star.
  • Twitter wars, really? Need I say more?
  • There are two sides to every negative post. Frankly if you post only one side then in fact you are wrong.
  • the internet is not the wild wild west. Act as though you will return to everywhere you go.
  • If you are selling cloud and a woman walks in wearing a black cape and a black hat, its not someone dressed as Zorro for Halloween it’s the Cloud Whisperer. Ask not for whom the Cloud Whisperer enters the room for, she is there for YOU! Tell the truth.

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The burp is coming…a prediction

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Over the years I have argued that the internet will have a burp moment. As my boss used to say years ago an “Ah #$#$ moment.” One of those moments wipes out 20 atta boys.

The impact of the burp will be significant. As someone who think about the future I wonder if the impact won’t actually slow the overall adoption of cloud computing. The reason I am thinking this right now is that the burp will cost some companies and some people some amount of data.

What they lose will not only be the data. Hopefully everyone understand the concept of backing up their data so it will be the confidence in the system that is lost.

That confidence is in the end the risk of the overall system failure. That people will no longer see the internet as “all being” and instead come to realize that like anything built in a Hodge-Podge manner the reality of failure is greater than the reality of success.

You throw enough bailing wire and chewing gum at something and eventually it will cease to work the way it did before. Add into that the rubber band effect and you have a nice little destructive burp.

It won’t start out large of course. It will start out as a small error in one segment or two possible. Perhaps for people to take me seriously I should put this into a Nostradamus type quatrain.

The ends will weaken

the middle bow

and the great beast know as the internet

will bow to the pressure

and collapse

You can see the ends weakening now. The drops are greater today than the were 10 years ago. Of course the potential content is also greater therefore of course the drops are greater. But reality is it doesn’t take a lot of water, just a weakness in the wrong levy at the wrong time. Where is that levy on the internet? Which one will break first?

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The Cloud Whisperer

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Cloud Hype.

I was thinking about a few scenarios for a new episode of my imaginary television show “The Cloud Whisperer.” Some of the shows I’ve kind of mapped out. At this point I am beginning to wonder if in fact I ought to make this into my next book.

Cloud Hype is the next episode in my head. I was thinking about all the different definitions of cloud computing, starting with NIST and heading downhill from there.

The Hype factor in cloud computing today is amazing. The reality factor isn’t quite as well, real. So the next episode of the cloud whisperer will be our heroine (podcast) dealing with cloud hype.

  • Save money
  • Reduce time to market
  • reduce complexity of solutions
  • Definitions

More to come!!!!!

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