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Posts Tagged ‘cloud computing’

A Dead Economist’s Argument for Cloud Computing

In 1815, after Duke of Wellington ends years of war between the United Kingdom and France by defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, the UK parliament passes the “Corn Laws” which prohibit import of cheap grain from France. The motivation is obviously to protect British land owner’s monopoly, but the argument for why the UK shouldn’t be buying French grain is based on Adam Smith’s principle of absolute advantage. British farmers can produce more grain than the same number of French farmers, so why would the UK be buying grain from France?

Portrait of David Ricardo by Thomas Phillips

Portrait of David Ricardo by Thomas Phillips

To refute this argument, a British economist David Ricardo described what is perhaps the most complex and counterintuitive principle in economics. It is called the theory of comparative advantage, and it feels more like a natural law than an economics principle. It is definitely worth studying in depth, but here we only have space for a brief example.

Imagine two castaways who must survive by fishing and gathering berries. One of them is competent, and it takes her 4 hours to catch a fish, and another 4 hours to gather 100 berries. The other castaway is anything but competent, and it takes him 6 hours to catch a fish, and another 6 hours to gather 60 berries. The competent castaway has an absolute advantage over the incompetent one in both fishing and berry gathering, and without considering opportunity cost it seems that she has nothing to gain from trading with him. But let’s see what happens if they specialize, and focus on what they each have a comparative advantage in. If she doesn’t have to fish, the competent castaway can gather 200 berries in her 8 hour workday. The incompetent one can catch 2 fish in his 12 hour workday. He will gladly trade one fish for 75 berries because he knows that he could gather only 60 berries in the time it took him to catch that fish, and she will gladly trade 75 berries for one fish because she knows that it would take her an hour longer to catch a fish than to gather 75 berries. They still work the same hours, each one still eats one fish per day, but he eats 15 more berries, and she eats 25 more berries each day. That’s the magic of comparative advantage. The extra 40 berries worth of value are created simply by specialization and trade. Read the rest of this post »

12 Technologies That Are Improving at Insane Speeds

Business Insider published an article titled “12 Technologies That Are Improving at Insane Speeds” describing a McKinsey report about technologies that are disrupting the global economy.  The image shown here summarizes the 12 technologies and provides a glimpse into the amount of technological improvement provided over the years.

Not surprising to me is that areas that affect Portal and Social are at the top of the list.  Mobile Internet is the first example of technology that has seen smartphones and tablets grow 600% since 2007.

One item that caught my attention is the topic Internet of Things.  McKinsey shows a 300% increase in machine-to-machine connected devices over the past 5 years.  For our portals, that can mean a ton of information to mine through business intelligence tools. It can also lead to more portal systems that open and expose the messaging between devices.

Finally, the statistic on cloud computing: it costs 300% more to own servers than to rent them in the cloud.  For a portal that has to integrate many internal and some external systems, the cloud both introduces and solves problems, such as how to integrate on-premise security with the cloud, how to integrate large volumes of internal data with large volumes of external data, and so on.

Other data in the report is equally fascinating to me, so I would encourage you to take a look at it too.


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Posted in Mobile, News

IBM Support Open Stack

I’ve started to hear more and more about Open Stack.  It was originally developed by Rackspace and then pushed into a standard at  From CRN we see that IBM is launching into support for OpenStack

IBM (NYSE:IBM) embraces OpenStack, the open-source standard used for building cloud-computing stacks, but believes a key piece of its cloud strategy is offering products and services on top of the platform.

“We believe open standards are critical for the industry, and we have a lot of synchronization with OpenStack,” Lauren C. States, vice president and CTO for cloud computing and growth initiatives for IBM Corporate Strategy, said Wednesday at the Cloud Leadership Forum in Santa Clara, Calif. “We want to capture the higher-value services that sit on top of the stack.”


States said IBM will be offering OpenStack-based cloud solutions in the near future. “We are working on integrating the OpenStack into our stack,” she said. “Stay tuned.”

See the CRN article for more.

So What Is Open Stack

So if you’re like me, this question pops up and I don’t necessarily see any one place that does a great job of explaining it.  Here’s my take on it.  Basically, it’s like what you see at Amazon EC2 where Open Stack provides a platform for computing (running code), storage, and networking.  For each of those, they provide a whole host of services to manage a project based on Open Stack.  For example, from the Open Stack Compute page at you see the following list that I shortened:


If you go to each of the other pages, you see similar information and even additional services like image and identity services. In short, it’s a great place to start creating software in the cloud.   The cloud itself provides all the key services for your platform and you don’t need to worry about anything beyond coding what you need.

Why Open Stack When I have Amazon EC2 and

There are a large number of similarities here.  Both provide a similar set of services although Amazon and Force have had more time to mature their IaaS offerings.  The key here is that it’s open source.  It gives a wide range of committed people and companies the power to see what needs to be improved and create those improvements.  In many ways you can think of it as Linux for the cloud.  With IBM behind it, I see a bright future here.

Personally, I’m intrigued by IBM’s Lauren States comment, “We are working on integrating the OpenStack into our stack,”  IBM has a lot of software out there. I work with the portal and social tools all of which could be candidates to move into a true cloud configuration.   I’d love to see something like that where you do more than just get an image running.  What if you could just start up your code and call your services like identity management, storage, etc.? that would be great.

So what’s your take on this?  What have I missed here?  comment on it if you have insights I obviously missed.


Mobile Collaboration market accordng to Forrester

Forrester has just released The Forrester Wave for Mobile Collaboration, which does a very good job of highlighting who the leaders are in this market.  The image below shows the Forrester Wave; you can access the full report at

What is interesting is that the report includes only those companies that have native applications on multiple mobile operating systems and have some sort of cloud-based solution.  Naturally this criteria is going to leave some companies out, like Apple, Microsoft, and RIM who target apps for one mobile OS.

Mobile Collaboration Wave

Mobile Collaboration Wave

The applications included in this Wave are somewhat of a melting pot.  Adobe’s Connect application is a leader and delivers web-based conferencing.  Comparing that application to Yammer, also a leader but more of a corporate-friendly Facebook, is kind of hard. is a file sharing and synchronizing application which is completely different than Connect or Yammer.

Still, the collaboration space is a very broad market consisting of a variety of application types.  It is good to see an evaluation of these different companies not based just on the product they deliver, but on many other factors, such as strategy and market presence.

Forrester rates the leaders in these categories as follows:

  • Current Offerings: Box, IBM, and Yammer
  • Strategy: Skype, Box, Cisco, and Yammer
  • Market Presence: Skype, Cisco, and Google

If you don’t have access to, you can read a quick review of this Wave on CMS Wire here.

Amazon’s New CloudFormation Services

eWeek has an article about Amazon’s new CloudFormation services. Think of it like this.  If you have an application, chances are that this application relies on a variety of database, application, storage, and other services.  When you want to scale up and down or you want to move things around, it can be a pain to bring up everything needed to run your application.  There exists a lot of dependencies.  Don’t forget to provision all the necessary services and make sure they are in the right order.

With that in mind, Amazon create CloudFormation services that lets you use existing templates or create your own to make management of the entire lot more simple and easier.  I’ve been thinking a lot about where the cloud has to go before we are all completely ready to jump on the bandwagon without looking back.  It would include:

  1. hardware high availability
  2. database high availability
  3. load balancing between your computing resources
  4. Plenty of storage and the ability to create the equivalent of a SAN
  5. Ways to put it in the equivalent of multiple data centers to handle regional issues.  (Have you ever tried to upload a document to a US data center from Russia??????)
  6. Ways to manage the variety of moving parts. (AWS Cloud Formation takes care of this one)

With AWS CloudFormation, customers describe “what” resources are needed, and AWS CloudFormation takes care of “how” those resources are provisioned. For example, AWS CloudFormation templates concisely capture resource relationships, such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances that must be associated with an Elastic Load Balancer, or an Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volume that must be in the same Availability Zone as the Amazon EC2 instance.

These templates free developers from having to think about and navigate these types of interdependencies. In addition, customers can use AWS CloudFormation templates to create identical copies of the same AWS infrastructure stack that will run over and over as needed, removing the need for developers to manually re-create an application’s stack for each deployment.

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Posted in News

2011 Enterprise Resets

Aaron Levie of fame posted a really interesting article on that disruptive technology called the cloud. It’s on Techcrunch.  I’m starting to see this a lot in the portal and collaboration world.  You should read the entire article. It’s well worth it.  Also, I couldn’t resist the Dilbert cartoon.

Cloud in the enterprise is a classic disruption story. It began as a way to deliver lower-end applications that we didn’t yet care about or know we needed. Most incumbent vendors ignored or tried to delay the early indicators. But that’s how all disruption stories start: from the low end, and as the technology matures – more security, uptime, traction – the wave builds momentum. Soon, the enterprise wakes up to the fact that this approach to doing business and IT is not only more time and cost effective, it’s transforming the way their organization operates.

If you had surveyed the market a year ago you’d have found many enterprises still wary about the state of cloud solutions for their business, but we’re now seeing the inverse become true: enterprises are no longer comfortable with investing in on-premise systems when trusted web-based alternatives exist.

Again, well worth it to read the entire thing.

And thanks to Erin for pointing me to it.

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Posted in News

Lotus Live and

So can you take two cloud or SaaS applications and make them work together? The short answer is yes.  I find it interesting because of all the social collaboration, email, web conferencing and other capabilities you get in LotusLive can be merged with the CRM capabilities of Even more intriguing is the possibility of integration with and it’s ever growing set of applications ranging from polls/surveys to Learning Management Systems (LMS).  Put the two together along with the implicit, “feel free to build more apps” message of’s app exchange and you have quite a range of capabilities.  I think I’m more excited about this integration than with integration to other cool things like digital signatures at LotusLive.

Cloud Computing ROI

I just got a white paper on  cloud computing payback o by Richard Mayo and Charles Peng of IBM.  They put some thought into it so it’s worth reading.

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Posted in News