More on Cloud Brokers…
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Yesterday I talked about the cloud broker as the aggregation of more than simply cloud service providers. Over time this will allow organizations to moderate cloud costs more effectively by allowing them to take lowest cost technically acceptable options every time instead of only on those occasions when it is safe.

Infrastructure or in the cloud world IaaS is a red ocean. It will remain a red ocean for the future as well. Sure there are innovations that will change the oceans color for a short time, but those will be short lived.

The real value in cloud computing is the creation of aggregated services. This may include some concepts that aren’t actually wholly cloud today but may become that as we go forward.

Portability – it’s a cloud phrase and expectation but the reality of portability may be as much skills as anything. Migrating off SQL, DB2 or Oracle isn’t just a knowledge of how the two independent systems work its an understand of the capabilities of each of the systems. Each is highly effective and preforms well in specific areas. Each has areas of weakness. Building a replica solution to move your DB2 infrastructure to Oracle will reduce your performance. The cloud you choose and the solution you design is as much about that specific cloud’s capabilities as it is anything. Today cloud portability is a solution by solution problem that has nothing to do with the cloud until you are ready to migrate.

Security – it’s the number one problem with the cloud according to CIO’s – its one I’ve talked about many times. Who do you want cutting out that brain tumor in your head? The surgeon with over 1000 successful tumors removed or the surgeon doing his 3rd? That is often the difference when you start talking about the cloud security team versus the on-premise security team. The cloud team sees many more attacks every day. But security goes even further than that – down to the overall concept of end to end security. Regardless of where that end actually is (a Starbucks, a smart phone, my house).

Its why I have come to realize that market for Brokers is growing. I liken it to the middle ages when the pots, pans and books merchant went from town to town. They would get and bring anything if they were asked. They in the end were the lifeline between the towns bringing news, edicts from the ruler, essential supplies and luxuries. That is the future I see for Cloud Brokers.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The broker as the cloud neutral aggregator…
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I’ve written about the broad concept of a cloud broker before. I have come to realize that my vision for that and what has been defined are very different. A year ago I would have said this would be best served hosted by a Systems Integrator. I can now say I’ve changed that position.

What is a cloud broker?

  • Aggregator of services – as defined by NIST. I suspect however based on the original definition that we need a little more wiggle room. There will be many more services aggregated than I suspect people realize. Including:
          • 3d model share
      • Compute resource pooling
      • software purchasing/pooling
      • computer hardware purchasing
      • Network and bandwidth purchasing
      • Spot market for all available resources
      • Computer support services purchasing
      • Development support services purchasing

The broker in the end will become I believe a co-op. Like the cooperatives formed by farmers many years ago. Aggregated purchasing power gives more and more capability to brokerage members. The what of purchasing will grow. In effect this creates the model of a broker as independent. SI’s claim independence but they cannot truly be as they in the end are services driven. The broker would provide single pricing for a number of solutions that would allow organizations to better enable the solutions they have and help them stay “ever green.”

I would expect the broker solution would also enable security. Both from a pre- development through a deployment model. These shared security services would allow organizations to focus their security not on everything all the time, rather on the specific information that they couldn’t afford being lost.

This means that in the end the broker would have to be truly neutral (not vendor neutral) and be willing to make money as the secure aggregator of services. Done right this business model would benefit all three sides of the cloud triangle (Organizations, providers and users).


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Ramblings about Home Automation
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Many years ago I embarked on automating my house with X-10. It was very cool and I had a lot of things automated at the time but it took a lot to keep things going. Sometimes it felt like a Token Ring installation that was beaconing (what the network did when you exceeded the maximum number of devices on any one ring).

Many of the newer homes in the DC area start out offering a home automation system. They are hard wired into the house so once you are in the home its hard to expand them. There are a number of lower end and higher end wireless solutions in the space now.

Control4 to me seems to have the best blend of expansion, capabilities and in the end wireless functionality. Compared to what you could do with the old X-10 systems it is pretty amazing.

To me it feels like the dawn of home automation. You see it in all the movies now, the concept of an automated home (Almost Human did a great one about the system being hacked).

Google’s purchase of Nest really helps move that concept forward. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both offer incredible “living room automation” that the previous versions of the products also did not but as easily or as robustly. One remote to rule them all and in the living room bind them.

Western Digital offers the MyCloud series. Drives that share your internal content to a cloud service. You can then connect from any device to view your photos. Video’s are a little trickier (I am still converting mine to a remote playable format). Of course the problem with all the photos we have is more navigation than sharing.

Go-To-My-PC offers a great iPad/Android Tablet application that you install on your PC and your tablet and you can connect at will. Hop To and Parallel’s offer similar functionality.

Soon your automated house will be your remote asset. You won’t have to worry that you left the file on your computer at home. You simply connect, wake up that computer, grab the file and then shut that computer off.

Oh to live in interesting times.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

The 3d Application Store
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To innovate.

It is without a doubt the greatest gift humanity has. The ability to look at a blank piece of paper, a piece of marble or the way we do something and realize it could be done better, differently or that there is something there.

Personally given a piece of blank paper my innovation has always been the picture of a house, a polar bear and a snow storm (the house is white FYI). Without a doubt I am one of the best artists when it comes to that particular picture.

Mostly, as with my blogs I tend towards filling paper with words and thoughts. Then I can create new things and innovate. The new space though is beyond the blank paper or the blank marker board. It is the very 3 dimensional space we live in.

I talked about this once before – a project I think has significant merit (as long as it is free or extremely cheap). An application store that serves up 3d models you can download and print to your printer.

Cost wise you would need to compensate model developers and you would also need to have model rules (no plastic guns etc). You could even set up fun adventures like the part of the month club. Or printing all the pieces of a model that you then put together. Cost would vary but based on the success of the iTunes store you would keep them free or 99 cents. Some more complex models (like a scale model of an airplane) could be free for a time. Like the release of a new Dreamliner 787.

The organization that builds this could in the end set-up a membership system so that allowed for rewards and other perks. Over time you could easily build and leverage models from the store and add points to your account. Or upload a lot of free models and get points for that as well.

There would be no need to a ranking system, if people find value and download the model you keep it, if no one uses it in a time period you archive it.

At some point I am going to write this up and post it on Kickstarter or Indiegogo…


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The problem of influence in IT program management…
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The concept of power and control.

It is one all of us struggle with at one time or another. All of us seek power. Sans access to power and control we can at times become disillusioned. The reality is that those who are in power keep the power close because just like those not in power they fear losing it.

This is a rather inane blog topic in that all of us know this. Its just something I needed to say today.

In the perfect world things would have a very linear span of control. In the beginning the business or organization would own what was required. From there specialists would step in to own the initial mapping of what was possible to what was already there and what fit into the overall plans for the organization. Wants mapped to needs and capabilities.

Reality is influence messes up every step of the way. The word neutral and solutions are often at diametric ends of the spectrum. Opposed with enough energy separating them that there is no path to connection. First off, its only fair that bias exists. It is a natural and logical process. I learned many years ago people buy things from people they know and people they like/respect. That allows solutions that aren’t neutral to be purchased.

Gaining influence is something companies strive for. If you are selling something you engage early and attempt to influence what happens next. If you are buying something you allow the suitors to propose their solutions. In all cases we as human beings are influenced by what happens next. I’ve read studies over the years that talk about the winning and losing of influence. That in losing influence it can take as much as 5 years to gain it back. I go back to the neutral comment. If things worked as they should you in fact would only lose influence on the project you lost not all projects.

It is an interesting problem to think about.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

What is going on with the IRS?
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I wonder about the credibility of the IRS right now. They gave bonus’ to people that hadn’t paid their taxes? How would the IRS react if companies gave bonus’ to everyone that got audited? To me that just seems well, wrong.

It isn’t an easy process enforcing the arcane and scary tax laws of the United States. In 1979 the national debate question was tax reform yes or no (basically). It remains an issue. Its time for a bi-partisan look at taxes – both sides agreeing that we need to make things better across the board for everyone. Right now I don’t see that happening. So we wait – at this point it would take them 2 years to implement any substantive reforms.

That is two years I don’t have personally. Oh well. The deeper the mess the longer it takes to clean up.

You have to worry about an organization that acts that way. Particularly when they can reach into my paycheck and take money away from me, both before and after I earn it.

It just makes me wonder sometimes.

Going forward I think I will go back to the beliefs of Tadeusz Kościuszko who fought (at great personal expense) alongside the founding fathers of this country but sought beyond simply freeing the majority. He wanted equality for those held and slaves, those who were oppressed and downtrodden. I suspect it is time that the IRS look at the world in a similar vein. You cannot in the end create system that isn’t equitable and expect people to say “That’s fine with me.”


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Open Source Solutions…
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The what and why of open source technologies. Its an interesting topic when you consider why organizations are embracing open source technologies. The first is of course organizational cost reduction.

Cost reduction represents an interesting argument. Open Source solutions require modification and normally don’t have the operational efficiency that COTs products have today. That said you can easily gain the operational efficiency over time but its important to note that your initial costs will be higher.

The next component is the concept of control. Control is an interesting concept and has as much to do with the closed books of traditional software development organizations. Open Source takes you were the broader community is going. COTs solutions go where that organization believes the greater community is going. If the right person is designing the COTs solution you in the end may end up in the same place. The reality of Open Source solutions however is you don’t have to pay with every major upgrade.

There are a number of other intangibles to consider in the world of Open Source solutions. The bulleted list below talks to many of them although by no means all of them:

  • Security: Everyone has the source code which in the end makes it much easier to find vulnerabilities. There is no commercial company to blackmail (I will release your zero day to the wild).
  • Innovation: There is a legend that in fact once you innovate you have to share – this is true in many cases but it is not true in all cases. Its all about the EULA. Enterprise EULA’s however tend to come from companies that have revenue goals against the software license.

I could go on forever. With Open Source you have to maintain developers or set-up a partnership with an organization that can provide those types of services. There is a cost to that going forward mostly in the area of customizing your solution to fit your overall changes to the code.

In the end it is a process and the shake out of this process over the next couple of years is going to be very interesting.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.