What can you get from listening at Vint Cerf…once?

Posted in Business,Cloud Computing by wikithink on December 3, 2011

I got an invitation from an entrepreneurial organization called Palermo Valley to listen at Vint Cerf. If you don´t know him, he is usually called the Father of Internet, because along with Robert Kahn, is co-designer of the TCP/IP Internet network protocol. If you don´t know about Internet protocols, it doesn´t matter, in a few words we can say that the TCP/IP protocol is the underlying infrastructure for Internet.

He provided us a lot of insights during the conference, as every guru in Technology, but one of the quotes that keeps jumping in my mind was: “Do not take Internet for granted”. He pointed out that we should not take Internet as it is now, as it will be in the future. We have to care of it, and ensure it is a freedom space and accessible for everyone in the Earth. And he gave the Argentinians an advice, “Go to your Internet Service Provider and ask if they have plans to implement IPv6, because as Internet users, we have to ensure our ISP has a plan to act in front of the growing Internet that would not have enough IP addresses to connect the millions of millions people to the Web”.

A few days after, I sent him an email to see if he can give me some inputs for my master thesis in Cloud computing and business, and I got a surprise when he responded to my questions! So I would like to share, what were the insights about Cloud computing from the Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

Hoping you will enjoy them!

1. In your opinion, what are the forces which are driving the clients to think about Cloud?
Primarily economics. Cloud systems are generally shared resources and reduce costs. Private clouds don’t necessarily have that property although they allow more efficient sharing so that the total cost of a private cloud may be less than the cost of a more conventional mainframe sharing system. Hybrid clouds can also reduce costs, especially for the portion of computing that can be done in the public system. Another element is that any one of the cloud types can allow the firm to acquire sufficient computing to handle the average required capacity, assuming that the peak loads are randomly distributed. The implication is that you do not have to dedicate capacity to the sum of the peak loads. This is a law of large numbers argument. In addition to that, a hybrid can allow the public cloud portion to handle surge capacity requirements that are uncommon (e.g. in the retail industry, during the end of year holidays). We are also seeing a lot of interest in the collaborative aspects of clouds in which multiple users can access the same information and even interact with it concurrently (e.g. common editing of a document, spreadsheet, etc). Software costs can also be reduced because maintenance of cloud-based applications can be much less expensive than PC-based. Updates take place for everyone at the same time. Security can be better with clouds, if the edge devices themselves contain little sensitive information. A lost PC or memory stick need not be such a problem if most or all data stays in the cloud.

2. From your conversations with the clients, which is the Cloud model that will be most used? Public, Private, or Hybrid?
I think it is likely that public clouds will be the most popular because of their cost characteristics (at Google many users get their cloud computing for free in exchange for exposure to paid advertising). However, there will always be reasons for hybrid and private models to be chosen, especially for largest businesses that can afford their own clouds and can use them effectively because of the scale of their requirements.

3. How do you envision the evolution to Software as a service?
It is clearly happening now and the Google Chromebook is an example, as are the iPads and competing devices. The primary deficiency of SAAS is its dependence on being connected via high speeds and low latency. That’s increasingly achievable but there are still times when one wishes to work in disconnected mode or is forced to (e.g. on planes and trains). Even that is changing and mobile access speeds are going up as well. I believe their will always be some value in being able to operate in disconnected mode but that the trends now are towards “always on” connectivity. SAAS has the nice property mentioned in the answer to question 1 that updates happen at the same time for everyone.

Thanks Vint for your inputs, they are really valuable for my thesis!



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