Mike Fratto

Network Computing Editor

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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A Gmail Failure Is Not Cloud Failure

We need to clear the air about cloud services and hosted services (SaaS). A lot of people conflate Software As A Service (SaaS) with cloud service, and that is a wildly inaccurate view of the world. The moment that SaaS was included in any cloud definition, the definition of a cloud become entirely unusable. Anything can be a SaaS, therefore anything can be a cloud. When Gmail or some other hosted service has an interruption, it does not indicate a cloud failure. It's a service failure. The distinction is important.

We have applications services, aka SaaS, like Gmail and Salesforce CRM, that lets customers rent or lease applications. You don't necessarily get a whole lot of say about features and functions. While you can add users, documents and other objects, you don't really have any direct control over scaling. You use the application and if performance drops ito the dumper, you call support. We also have clouds like Google App Engine, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Cloud that are hosting environments for applications you write or install in the cloud providers environment. You can also host entire virtual machines on a cloud.  

In Cloud Computing Isn't The Emperor's New Clothes, I summed up, saying "taken together, cloud computing becomes a computing resource that lets application developers and managers focus on the things they need to do, like developing and managing applications, rather than worrying about the implementation details of which server and network to use."

If only product sets were that clear cut. Salesforce has a cloud service called Force.com, which is a Platform As A Service (PaaS). Salesforce also sells Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, which looks to me like their CRM apps renamed with "cloud" (My assessment could be wrong). Google has a bunch of applications like Gmail and their AppEngine. Amazon has AWS along with their storefront. I think it's confusing to conflate a company's SaaS offering with the cloud offering and call it all cloud. Thus a failure on one side of one type of service is proclaimed as a failure of "the cloud." That is inaccurate.

When Gmail suffers a service failure, it means exactly this: Google's hosted email had a disruption. This does not, as Ian Paul says, cast a dark cloud on cloud computing. InformationWeek's Michael Hickins points out, correctly, that "Gmail's Outage Says More About Google Than Clouds." Google is not the cloud. Neither is Amazon. These two companies are, arguably the poster children, or whipping posts, depending on the day, of cloud computing. But they are not the end-all and be-all of cloud computing. There are many other cloud providers like ElasticHosts, Force.com, GoGrid, GridLayer,  Rackspace Cloud. More popping up like mushrooms.

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