Cloud and legalities 30 Sep 2009Posted by Tony Law in Consumerization, ITasITis, Managing IT, Tech Watch.
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Just come off a Bright Talk webinar, part of a day on issues around Cloud. Miranda Mowbray of HP Labs, Bristol, gave a comprehensive round-up of legal issues which might arise through organisations’ use of externally-sourced Cloud services (everything from basic infrastructure like EC2 up to full-featured applications such as salesforce.com). Sherlock Holmes, apparently, would recognise the issues from Baskerville Moor.
It reminded me of attending a conference in the early days of the Web, where I heard the first attempt to figure out what the regulatory issues might be for pharmaceutical companies, with our heavy and very country-specific regulatory issues to work through. As so often, we’ve been here before: legislation necessarily lags behind technology, and case law has not yet started to accumulate.
The recording is available on the Web and there’s a published paper too. So I won’t attempt to precis it here. Suffice it to say that the issues range from “Where’s my data held?” (and that includes my account and usage data as well as the data I’m handling in the cloud) to “What happens if …” questions (the service goes down, the provider goes out of business, and much more). In particular, beware: most terms and conditions mean that it’s the user, not the provider, who normally carries the responsibility for continuity of service and for backup.
A great deal was packed into thirtyfive minutes and although Miranda Mowbray is not a lawyer (so the advice, of course, is “If in doubt, consult one!”) she clearly has a good grasp of the issues that may well arise.
Something to reference in the end-user guide on “Signing up for web-based IT” which I’m working on. Watch out too for a posting here in a day or two about analysis of “Distribution characteristics” for business and business applications, a piece of work I did many years ago which is highly relevant to today’s developing cloud environments.
• Cloud Computing and the Law, BrightTalk webcast, 30 Sep 2009
• Miranda Mowbray’s home page at HP Labs
• The Fog over the Grimpen Mire: Cloud Computing and the Law. Mowbray, M., SCRIPTed Journal of Law, Technology and Society vol 6 issue 1 (April 2009) pp.132-146 (the link is directly to a PDF of the document)
Three to watch 17 Sep 2009Posted by Tony Law in Insight services, ITasITis, Technorati.
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Outsell offer a list of “30 to watch” in the information industry, and none of them are insight service firms serving enterprise IT.
Here are by suggestions: just Three to watch.
Altimeter Group: Charlene Li’s firm, just on a year old, has acquired three new partners. One of them is one of the foremost thought leaders in ERP, R “Ray” Wang, also from Forrester. Ray was recently named Analyst of the Year by the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations. This will clearly take Altimeter from being a one-person enterprise focused on “Social and emerging technology” towards a wider-based insight firm. Very definitely, watch this space.
Ovum Knowledge Centre: Datamonitor have completed their transition to unite the technology insight services of Ovum, Butler Group and Datamonitor Technology under the Ovum brand. Interestingly, the prime URL now reflects “Ovum Knowledge Centre” rather than just “Ovum”. Butler have been trying to break into the US market without success for some time; it will be worth watching to see whether the reorganisation finally creates a competitive global player.
Corporate Integrity: Mike Rasmussen left Forrester only a couple of years ago and his Global Risk & Compliance insights are in demand. The events of the past twelve months highlighted the disastrous consequences of a failure to understand and manage risk. For a one-man-band, Mike’s profile and reach are exceptional.
• Altimeter Group
• Press release Altimeter Welcomes New Partners, 27 Aug 2009
• Ray Wang named IIAR Analyst of the Year 2009, Institute of Industry Analyst Relations, 25 Aug 2009
• Ovum Knowledge Centre
• Press release Datamonitor Group to integrate its three technology businesses, Datamonitor, 14 Aug 2009
• Corporate Integrity
• 30 to watch for 2009, Outsell, undated
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Just come off a call with a group which meets regularly by phone to think about the issues of moving corporate IT services to the cloud.
The debate is moving on. Originally, it was triggered by the emergence of Amazon’s EC2 and S3, and similar services, which enable individuals to have easy by-the-drink access to high powered and flexible compute and storage power.
Then, it was key questions about how to enable enterprises to move services to “the cloud”: what do you move and how, and what are the risks that have to be understood and managed?
Now, there’s an understanding that a hybrid model will have a lot to recommend it. Cloud services offer flexibility, and that’s more important than cost saving. The question is no longer “In-house or cloud” but “How do we integrate cloud with in-house, for flexibility and overflow”. You set up multiple-hosted services so that when in-house runs out of capacity, the request is routed seamlessly to a cloud resource.
Someone on the call characterised this as “Scaling out, not up”. And it requires a different mind-set when applications are created. Something which recalled to my mind the “reverse assumptions” for heterogeneous wide area distributed systems, created by the UK/European ANSA project something like 20 years ago. I said I’d re-publish them. Here they are.
|When building a distributed system, a number of assumptions which are commonly made when engineering systems for single hosts not only become invalid, but have to be reversed. The most important of these are:|
|•||local >> remote
more failure modes are possible for remote interactions than for local ones
|•||direct >> indirect binding
configuration becomes a dynamic process, requiring support for linkage at execution time
|•||sequential >> concurrent execution
true concurrency requires mechanisms to provide sequentiality
|•||synchronous >> asynchronous interaction
communication delays require support for asynchronous interactions and pipelining
|•||homogeneous >> heterogeneous environment
requires common data representation for interactions between remote systems
|•||single instance >> replicated group
replication can provide availability and/or dependability
|•||fixed location >> migration
locations of remote interfaces may not be permanent
|•||unified name space >> federated name spaces
need for naming constructs which mirror administrative boundaries across different remote systems
|•||shared memory >> disjoint memory
shared memory mechanisms cannot operate successfully on a large scale and where remote operations are involved.
There was, and is, another one as well. When you’re creating an application – any application! – don’t assume it will always stay with the localised architecture you’ve created it in. The gotcha assumption these days is that the app is being created with links to a private cloud not the public one, so it’ll stay that way. Deal with it – interfaces, databases, security, the whole nine yards – as if, one day, parts of it will sit on public infrastructure.
• ANSA project, 1984-1998, document repository (now free access)
• ANSA: An Engineer’s Introduction to the Architecture, ANSA project, Nov 1989 (see section 2.1 p 3 for the reversed assumptions)
• Distributed architectures: reverse assumptions, still relevant, my previous post (ITasITis, Jan 2008)
Hype Cycle 2.0 … 11 Sep 2009Posted by Tony Law in Uncategorized.
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I absolutely love this version of the Hype Cycle which Euan Semple found from Geek & Poke:
The thing is, it’s a fair representation of it. Rather like the version of the Laws of Thermodynamics as a restatement of Murphy’s Law, which goes:
1 – you can’t win
2 – you can only break even at absolute zero
3 – you can never reach absolute zero
Doesn’t apply in enterprise IT, though, where absolute zero is sometimes quite common!
Gartner Hype Cycle Version 2.0, The Obvious, 26 Aug 2009
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I’ve undertaken a second major restructure of the Forrester Research section of the InformationSpan Analyst Blogs index. The Gartner section content has been updated, though there’s only one new Gartner blog this time. Also (update to this post) I’ve checked and revised my Other Blogs page entries.
Forrester organise their blogs in three main themes: enterprise IT; Marketing & Strategy (that’s strategy-for-marketing, not strategy in general); and Technology Industry (that’s vendors). Plus, there are a handful of more generic blogs including George Colony’s own. The InformationSpan index has now separated these categories; we include some cross-referencing between them.
A more significant development for InformationSpan users is that I’ve researched Forrester’s podcasts and added these to the index.
Most of Forrester’s podcasts are associated with specific blogs. Two of them (why only two?) have specific pages on Forrester’s own website. Most are served out either by iTunes or through a FeedBurner link. There’s at least one that’s available through iTunes but is co-hosted by Network World and doesn’t seem to be referenced on Forrester’s own site.
In other words, this is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. Like for like, it’s taken more sorting out than Gartner’s decision to index its blogs only by the most recent posting! While on the subject of Gartner: their own index to their titled blogs (that is, those not featuring a single analyst’s personal views) seems to have disappeared. So the InformationSpan index is now your best way to find these linked in one place!
Fortunately, there aren’t a vast number of Forrester podcasts so the research was feasible. No doubt I’ve missed one or two which aren’t in systematic places, and I’ll add these as they surface.
It would be nice if Forrester rationalised it, but in the meantime please visit InformationSpan and, as always, click on the link top right to the Analyst Blogs Index – or the one on this blog.
Tags: Cerf, Google, Kurzweil, Media-X, Moffett, Singularity University, Stanford
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Getting back to earth after a great summer culminating in the wedding of my elder son, I came back to the Guardian’s report of this summer’s Singularity University summer school in Silicon Valley. At first view, it sounds like geek heaven: nine weeks in the former Moffett Airfield base, with high profile names like Vint Cerf, Nobel prizewinners and investors; and covering topics from the sub-microscopic (nanotechnology) to the super-macro scale (space science). Participants paid US$25K to attend. What’s it about?
Singularity University (SU from now on) has as its masthead mission: “Preparing humanity for accelerating technological change”. At greater length, this becomes: to “assemble, educate and inspire … leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges”. The masthead is somewhat misleading; this is about leading and driving technology, not just reacting to it; but it is about using technology to respond to and overcome “some of the planet’s major problems”.
It was, the Guardian says, the brainchild of the legendary Ray Kurzweil (Chancellor) and space flight pioneer Peter Diamandis (Vice Chancellor). There’s significant support from Google and from Stanford University; Cerf, of course, is now on the Google staff and Stanford’s links include their Media-X research mediation network for industry.
I won’t go over the list of ideas and projects which the Guardian’s report describes; follow the link below to read the article, or go to SU’s overview video linked below.
But the article is perhaps misleading. When I read it, I had the impression of a one-off summer school. Far from it: SU runs ongoing executive programmes and graduate programmes, and the reported graduate session this year was a pilot for an annual event. The pilot was limited to 40 students. In future, the numbers will be treble this.
Check it out! And by the way, when you land on the home page, there’s a rotating series of photos from this year’s event. There are three panels at left. Two of them link to intake information. It isn’t immediately obvious that the third is the caption for the current pic. The Overview, from the top menu, provides a list of SU’s guiding lights.
The singularity, if I’ve understood it correctly (and only from the outline, not from reading the book), is the point at which human intelligence becomes primarily non-biological: the future Kurzweil envisages is one where the electronic brain-power we deploy comes to dominate human intelligence. So you might also like to look at Ray Kurzweil’s singularity.com website, with details of his book “The Singularity is Near” and links to notes which are, in his view, pointers in that direction.
• Singularity University
• A school for changing the world, The Guardian (Technology section), 3 Sept 2009. There are links to coverage in The Guardian’s weekly tech podcast, and to a picture gallery
• The Singulary is Near: book, and other resources