The Cloud Dating Game…
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Host: Glad to see my viewer and contestants all returned from our commercial break. Now we move on to question 2.

Lucky Business: Cloud Business two, I am looking not only for VDI technologies but also for a SaaS and PaaS set of solutions that will enable my workforce. We talked in the last question about them being distributed. They also range, our office staff tends to be less computer savvy, our field staff tends to be extremely computer savvy. What type of training solutions do you offer today?

Cloud Business Two: Thank you for the question, we offer CBT, ILT both online and classroom as well as SPOT training. Each of our instructors has credentials both as a technology specialist but also as a trainer.

Lucky Business: Thanks Cloud Business Two, Cloud Business One the same question please.

Cloud Business One: We find Cloud based training to be the most effective and offer a variety of cloud hosted CBT training modules for our customers and their end users. You can use the training right from your computer any time you want to.

Lucky Business: Thanks Cloud Business Two, Cloud Business Three the same question please.

Cloud Business Three: wow I hate to do this again, but can I ask some clarifying questions?

Lucky Business: you sure can.

Cloud Business Three: What modalities of training have worked for your organization in the past during migrations? Do you prefer Instructor Led Training (ILT’s) or Computer based training (CBT) or does your organization need a hands on white-gloves approach?

Lucky Business: that is a great question. I guess in the past we have struggled with training. We haven’t really been able to deliver the best training to our users in a way that they could leverage easily. We have struggled with migrations as well in part because we can’t deliver effective training. IT is perceived as a drain rather than a value right now, which is why we are looking to the cloud to solve all our problems.

Cloud Business Three: First of all in that scenario I wouldn’t recommend you simply leap to the cloud. There are a number of things you need to consider. For example while a migration featuring white-glove processes is more expensive, your users may in the end perceive it as a more effective way to migrate. You can then focus your training on the power users and they can in turn provide additional support for the rest of their teams during the transition. The other side of training is you have to consider the effective modality of the training to be delivered. Many companies rush in with easy training answers and that isn’t the right way to approach this. I would recommend starting with a few varied training exercises to see which modalities fit your workforce knowing that your work force may approach things from two different ways.

Lucky Business: Thanks Cloud Business Three you’ve really given me something to think about. Perhaps we have been going about this all wrong.

Fade to black – commercials again (well we have to pay for this show somehow)


Welcome back to the cloud dating game
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Cloud Business Three: Thanks for that information can I ask one more question?

Lucky Business: Certainly.

Cloud Business three: Do you have mobile applications today?

Lucky Business: Actually we don’t. Our IT team has been swamped with the Windows 7 upgrade and just hasn’t had time to move anything to our mobile platform.

Cloud Business Three: Interesting, but you do in fact have a mobile platform?

Lucky Business: Yes, we are considering one of two mobile platform or PaaS vendors for mobile applications.

Cloud Business Three: Excellent, sorry for the extra questions we are very able to move forward and help you. The first thing we would do is to do an assessment of your current state environment. Once we have established what your solution looks like today we would then talk about what is next. By what is next we would be looking at the upgrades you are considering in your overall solutions. Such as are you considering an upgrade to Windows 8 or another version of a productivity suite. Then we would talk about the how of your actual migration. Every migration is unique, but all migrations have common ground. We would establish the common ground of your migration before we embarked with you on your journey to the cloud.

Lucky Business: Thank you Cloud Business 3, that was an excellent answer.

Host: Now let’s move on to question 2…


The cloud dating game…
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Today our lucky business is from Sioux Falls South Dakota and is seeking to move their entire business to a cloud based solution. Our contestant will pick from three different companies that offer cloud solutions based on a series of questions.

Host: Welcome Lucky Business to the show please.

(studio audience applauds)

Host: And now welcome our three cloud businesses!

(studio audience applauds)

Host: OK lucky business you are allowed to ask a total of 6 questions of each of the cloud companies, but first could you tell our studio audience a little about your business problem that you wish to cloudify?

Lucky Business one: Sure Bob, I would be happy to. I am a mining company from South Dakota. I have a series of mines pulling various natural resources from the ground. I also have a team of people who roam the world looking for new properties for us to acquire with additional mineral resources. We are looking to move everything to a centralized cloud solution that is managed by someone who understands IT, so that we can focus on pulling more ore from the ground.

Host: Thank you very much. You may begin your questions now…

Lucky Business one: thanks again Bob. Cloud Company One, I have a distributed workforce and would like to have support for a number of remote mobile devices for that workforce. I need to be able to have each of my workers access email, collaboration on documents and also securely share both financial and scientific information with other members of our distributed team. Can you tell me how you would do that for my company?

Cloud Business One: Well we would move your internal system to our cloud based hosting model. We offer an Open source email solution and collaboration engine that will provide you with the security you want and the collaboration you need. We allow you to send and receive up to 25 gigabyte emails. That should support the vast majority of your financial and scientific information transfers. We also offer integration with a number of external vendors who provide additional financial and scientific solution support.

Lucky Business: Thank you Cloud Business One, Cloud Business two the same question please?

Cloud Business Two: Thank you for asking! We leverage a series of COTs solutions from a single vendor to provide you with a unified inbox, collaboration and infrastructure experience that will provide you users with a best of breed solution in every area. We have multiple points of presence around the world and would be able to provide you with the best solution available on the market today.

Lucky Business: Thank you Cloud Business Two, Cloud Business Three that same question please?

Cloud Business Three: Well that is a tough question. Can I ask you a couple of questions to clarify what you need?

Lucky Business: Please do.

Cloud Business Three: What do you mean by a distributed workforce? Are they all in offices that have Wide Area Network connectivity or are they on Satellite phones using that for both voice and data in the middle of the desert?

Lucky Business: Great question Cloud Business Three. About a quarter of my workforce works at the various stationary mines that I own throughout the US. There are WAN connections to each of those locations and few of the workers located there travel, ever. I have a couple of overseas locations that include WAN connectivity as well but the majority of overseas users have very different bandwidth. Some are as you asked on Satellite phones, some are are standard cellular phones and others connect from hotel networks. Does that help?

Cloud Business Three: It does. I have another question. What if any time constraints do you have around the data you are moving? Do you have competitors in your business doing the same things?

Lucky Business: Another great question Cloud Business Three. We in fact often operate under significant time constraints.

More to come…


Solution seeking partner for bursting at a utility pricing level…
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The great compute cycle date. “Seeking compute cycles willing to be used occasionally for a low cost low term relationship.” I suspect that ad isn’t that far away in the personal compute or cloud section of the classified ads. “Seeking DDCS with automated fault tolerant data infrastructure for short term data processing relationship (where DDCS means a Dual Data Center Solution).

“Data seeking compute power” to continue my date ad theme from earlier. Where we move the compute power to the data rather than the other way around. I talked to a hardware vendor who talked about an interesting solution to that problem (and I have to stop here due to NDA issues) but suffice it to say I wonder if we aren’t chasing the wrong problem.

“Mobile platform seeking virtual machines for offloading remote compute power.” is another I see in the ad section soon. Where mobile devices become more critical the value will be offloading the processing to someone else.

“Database seeking open relationship based wholly on month to month utility pricing” is another one I see coming soon. The ability to offer a portable and flexible computing solution will be a driving force in the future of cloud computing.

I know, tongue in cheek today, my apologies for that. Sometimes my brain comes up with very strange stuff. That’s my story and I am sticking to it…


A new day is dawning…
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For a long time I have wondered about some things we used to say (the hardware will catch up). I’ve realized recently in working as much as possible on the smaller tablet platform that in fact smaller more agile applications are more effective. Sure, the ability on my laptop to easily cut and paste comes more from my inability to leverage my own fingers and more reliance on a mouse than anything.

There are jobs that my laptop is better for. I am building a virtual cloud environment to use, Frankly you don’t do that on an iPad. An iPad is a consumption device. Now, with the new Intel chips you can cut your lab down to a single high end device (32 gigs of ram on a portable device – wow what a brave new world). But the laptop of today offers the power of the desktop and the ability to be portable.

Which leads me back in a round about way to my original assertion, that in fact the time has come where the hardware and the software don’t need to catch up. In fact, in many cases, the two need to become more specialized. I was a Microsoft loyalist for 15 years. Before that I was an Apple loyalist for 12 years. Now I am looking for the best possible solution in all cases.

Sure Windows 8 looks impressive. But so does iOS 6. The iPad is simply one application (MS Office) away from being the laptop killer. Android tablets are catching up and the screens on the portable devices are better today than ever.

Its time however to being considering what a device needs to do for the user. The time of the consumer is here and probably now will stay. As an IT professional I have to being considering the reality of consumption based hardware and creation based hardware.

In fact as an IT person I probably need to start looking at the user population and begin splitting users into consumption and creation groupings. There are many things you can create and generate on an iPad that can be easily reused. There are things that require a more powerful and controlled/managed system as well. But I suspect the reality of tomorrow isn’t that all of us will have more powerful laptops. I suspect the IT reality of tomorrow is that more of us will have portable devices (mobile) and fewer of us will have the more powerful (laptop/desktop) computers. The move from client server, and mainframe to the desktop is now slowly reversing. In the future we will all interact more with the server and less on the client for processing power. This means that the consumer will require more server power and the producer will require less server power and more local power. But the two camps will be distinct.

We are at the cusp of a new day…


Happy Birthday (a day late) to a man who changed the world…
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Yesterday was Nelson Mandala’s 94th birthday. I was going to post something yesterday but frankly I couldn’t find a path between the words and the keyboard.

I first heard about Mr. Mandala in 1975 in Freshmen world history. It was a struggle for me to understand what he went through. I supported the movement at Indiana University in 1980, where we asked the University to stop investing in companies that did business in South Africa with the Afrikan’s regime.  But I struggle with the pain he suffered. Not that I did anything about his pain, I remained remote from that world and didn’t get involved.

Lately I have been thinking about that. About what it means to step in and be responsible. As a human being I believe marriage is a union of any two people. It doesn’t matter who or what the people are only that they care enough for the other person to commit their life to them.

I believe that we (human beings) are destroying our planet (46 mile chunks of Greenland at a time). This isn’t simply the massive pollution we’ve created it is the co2 and other non-visible pollution.

It is my responsibility based on the lesson’s of Mr. Mandala to act on these beliefs and make sure I leave the world a better place then when I entered.


Random thoughts on screens and the future…
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To connect or not to connect is not actually the question. Wither tis nobler in the minds of men…

How many screens would Shakespeare have connected to? I have been playing with various productivity devices and of course the reality is that by playing with them I am actually less productive in the short run due to the overall impact of learning new systems, screens and input models.

However, the reality of the devices today is that you can in fact pick one up regardless of the OS and pretty much move forward. Sure there are a few buttons that are unique to each solution but the reality of a home button is it takes you home. Soft keyboards vary considerably but you can get small Bluetooth keyboards for less than 70 bucks now so that removes that frustration/aggravation from tablets.

The screens themselves have improved considerably and watching videos, television or other things like reading work very well. I still like the kindle fire for reading it’s the best I believe.

What I would like to propose though (going back to the connections and what is beyond the cloud series ) is the concept of screen transfer. While whispernet (kindle) is a great tool for reading on multiple devices there are times I would like to throw a book to my television. Beyond the cloud – its coming!