I like Clouds

22 12 2010

OK, I like clouds. Nah, not those big ones that have been dumping lots of white stuff on us this week. But I do like the ones that prevented Punxsutawney Phil from seeing his shadow this morning – maybe once I dig out from this storm we’ll see that early spring! And I also really like the clouds that are enabling our new way of working, living, communicating. A couple months back I re-entered the workforce after a pleasant sabbatical – I had been considering opportunities in four different spaces – all places that have piqued my interest over the past few years.

  • I wanted to work in mobile, because we all are mobile these days, and as IDC predicts “shipments of app-capable, non-PC mobile devices will outnumber PC shipments within the next 18 months”.
  • OR I wanted to work in BigData. Back when I was in Sun storage I was awed by the challenge of storing data efficiently – as Eric Schmidt recently said “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003” and the challenges around storing, retrieving and anayzing data have increased exponentially.
  • OR I hoped for more work with social media. After spending most of my sabbatical designing and implementing social media strategies for non-profits, I had a taste of where the world is going from a communications perspective. Social media is turning it inside out.
  • BUT REALLY I wished for something interesting  in the cloud world – what a fascinating paradigm shift for the compute and data worlds. It simply doesn’t make sense for so many people in the world to be managing servers and storage systems – cloud answers a basic competitive advantage question.

And then I came across an intriguing opportunity at Nokia: to run product management for Nokia’s cloud services. A cloud that stores mobile app data… A cloud that delivers analytics… A cloud that enables social networking… So, I do like clouds. Just not those bad ones outside right now. D*mn gotta go shovel again. D*mn clouds.

The black line is the top of my patio table

Front sidewalk - where can I put the snow?


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Where data center meets the cloud

6 07 2009

I’ve seen lots of data centers. Big ones, small ones, pod-designs, diesel-powered, environmentally controlled. But I can’t say I’ve ever seen a data center like the one I encountered this week in Bermuda. We had climbed seven flights of winding stairs inside Gibbs Lighthouse – with only one flight to go – when we ran across a miniature data center about 100 feet above ground. It’s the data center that keeps the Gibbs lantern shining, so ships know they’re close to the lovely yet treacherous Bermuda shores.
185 Winding StepsThe Tiny Data CenterThe Huge Lantern

Here’s what I learned from the placards inside the lighthouse: From it’s start in 1846, the Gibbs lighthouse keeper wound a 1200 pound weight by hand every 30 minutes to revolve the lighthouse lens. The lantern itself was originally kerosene. In 1964 electrical equipment was installed, and today the whole lighthouse process works automatically: computers maintain the light, and the APC equipment and a diesel generator make sure it keeps shining even during terrible storms that bring power outages. Which is pretty important given that 39 ships were wrecked off the Western end of Bermuda in the decade before the lighthouse was constructed. Now that’s a mission-critical data center!

Additionally the lighthouse stands on a hill that is 245 feet, and the lighthouse itself is 117 feet tall, which is why it can be seen from 40 miles away. And I can personally attest to the fact that most of Bermuda can be seen from the top of the lighthouse. Gibbs Lighthouse – where data center truly meets the cloud.
Gibbs
My view from top, facing west





If cloud is the answer, what is the question?

2 06 2009

Cloud Question

Every year in our IT industry we enthusiastically embrace a different buzzword as the panacea of IT. Recall grid, virtualization and ILM – all laudable technologies that solve IT problems, but not fitting the definition of panacea. This year the buzzword seems to be cloud.

I’m an ardent fan of technological innovation – without it we’re missing one of the most important ways to truly change the world in which we live. And I believe cloud is game-changing technology. Being a true geek, I’m genuinely excited about the potential cloud offers in changing the IT landscape dramatically: if done right it doesn’t matter how compute, network, and storage interact inside a cloud… leaving broad room for innovation that would be considered too disruptive in today’s datacenter… paving the way for a new generation of applications that will solve problems many of us haven’t even thought of yet.

Yet cloud is no panacea. It takes hard work to solve IT problems: scale, security, compliance, data portability, privacy and so on. In addition the use of cloud requires changes to IT process and organization, with risk around every corner. But there’s reward in embracing clouds – reward in using IT to enable businesses to enter new markets more quickly, using cloud to reduce IT costs through economies of scale, and in changing those age-old financial conversations around capital and expense.

But it takes expertise, experience, and insight to figure out how to apply cloud technologies to meet the IT challenges of today and tomorrow. Which is why our Professional Services team, who have been working with customers to make their IT environments as efficient as possible, will also help customers figure out where cloud fits in their IT roadmaps. It’s a perfect match – PS experts who understand where cloud technology is going and who work every day to build efficient datacenters, helping to determine where cloud fits in customer’s IT roadmaps.

So if the question is “How do I get the most efficient IT environment to run and grow my business – both today and tomorrow?”, our PS experts can help determine where cloud fits in the answer – for both today and tomorrow.