Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on The Open Group's efforts to help IT and businesses understand how to best exploit cloud computing.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group. Follow the conference on Twitter: #OGSEA.
Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.
Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the ongoing activities of The Open Group’s Cloud Computing Work Group. We'll meet and talk to the new co-chairmen of the Cloud Work Group, learn about their roles and expectations, and get a first-hand account of the group’s 2010 plans.
We'll look at the evolution of cloud, how businesses are grappling with that, and how they can learn to best exploit cloud-computing benefits, while fully understanding and controlling the risks. The Open Group's Architecture Practitioners and Security Practitioners conferences are this week in Seattle.
In many ways, cloud computing marks an inflection point for many different elements of IT, and forms a convergence of other infrastructure categories that weren’t necessarily working in concert in the past. That makes cloud interesting, relevant, and potentially dramatic in its impact. What has been less clear is how businesses stand to benefit. What are the likely paybacks and how enterprises can prepare for the best outcomes?
We're here with an executive from The Open Group, as well as the new co-chairmen of the Cloud Work Group, to look at the business implications of cloud computing and how to get a better handle on the whole subject.
Please join me in welcoming David Lounsbury, Vice President for Collaboration Services at The Open Group. Welcome, David.
David Lounsbury: Thank you, Dana. Happy to be here.
Gardner: We're also here with Karl Kay, IT Architecture Executive with Bank of America, and one of the co-chairmen of The Open Group’s Cloud Work Group. Welcome to the show, Karl.
Karl Kay: Thank you, Dana.
Gardner: We're also here with Robert Orshaw, IBM Cloud Computing Executive, and also the co-chair of the Cloud Work Group. Welcome to the show, Robert.
Robert Orshaw: Hi, everyone. Thanks for inviting us.
Gardner: Let's start out with a look at cloud generally and take a state of the art on this one -- not necessarily the state of the art of technology, but of the adoption. Let's start with you, David Lounsbury. What's being done with cloud adoption and where are there some gaps in understanding or even expectation of paybacks?
Lounsbury: One of the things that everybody has seen in cloud is that there has been a lot of take up by small to medium businesses who benefit from the low capital expenditure and scalability of cloud computing, and also a lot by individuals who use software as a service (SaaS). We've all seen Google Docs and things like that. That’s fueled a lot of the discussion of cloud computing up to now, and it's a very healthy part of what's going on there.
But, as we get into larger enterprises, there's a whole different set of questions that have to be asked about return on investment (ROI) and how you merge things with the existing IT infrastructure. Is it going to meet the security needs and privacy needs and regulatory needs of my corporation? So, it's an expanded set of questions that might not be asked by a smaller set of companies. That's an area where The Open Group is trying to focus some of its activities.
Gardner: Robert Orshaw, congratulations on being named to the group as a co-chair. How do you think things are different now than what people expected a few years ago in terms of how cloud is rolling out and being adopted?
Orshaw: A few years ago, there was a tremendous amount of hype, and the dynamics, flexibility, and pricing structures weren’t there. It's an exciting time now that you're seeing that from a flexibility, dynamic, and pricing standpoint, we're there. That's both in the private cloud and the public cloud sector -- and we'll probably get into more detail about the offerings around that.
A tremendous amount has happened over the past few years to improve the market adoption and overall usability of both public and private clouds.
Gardner: Karl Kay, as an architect, what is it about cloud computing that appeals to you specifically, and what do you need to do in order to convince the business side of some of those benefits?
Kay: Certainly the leading items like cost savings and time to market are two of the big motivators that we look to for cloud. In a lot of cases, our businesses are driving IT to adopt cloud as opposed to the opposite. It's really a matter of how we blend in the cloud environment with all of our security and regulatory requirement and how we make it fit within the enterprise suite of platform offerings.
Gardner: David Lounsbury, that’s an interesting observation -- that it's the business side that wants to do this. What do you suppose is holding back the IT side? What do they need to put in place around security, ROI, or spending requirements?
Lounsbury: This is interesting, because I've actually wondered about, and welcome Karl’s view on, whether this is replicating the adoption curve we saw, way back when, in the PC days. People had enterprise IT suites and then said, "I could do the same thing on my laptop or on my personal computer" and it came in that way.
Of course, we have all had interactions with Google Docs -- or name your favorite cloud computing thing -- and have said, "How can I use that at work?" Of course, good business people think about, "There is this new capability out there. How do I turn it into a competitive advantage for my company?"
So, you bring that in, but there is a whole different scale that has to occur when you go into an enterprise, where you have got to think of all the users in the enterprise. What does it take to fund it? What does it take to secure it, protect the corporate assets and things like that, and integrate it, because you want services to be widely available?
The questions that those bring are: Are there new kinds of cost and ROI decisions that you need to make? Do we have the tools out there to say how to do an ROI analysis for a cloud service, in the same way we would be able to do an ROI analysis for investing in a new set of blade servers within our company? That’s one dimension.
The second questions that we have seen from our members is, "What are the security questions I should be asking? Are they different from the ones that I've used before?" Cloud, almost necessarily, particularly if you have got a hybrid or public cloud involvement, isn’t going to be subject to the same level of perimeter security and privacy controls that you've put on your IT infrastructure. So what are the right set of questions for that?
The third, of course, is architectural. Cloud brings new technologies and new interfaces to those technologies and new business processes to use them, provision them, and things like that. How do I knit those into my corporate IT governance infrastructure?
Those are the kinds of questions that are being asked by corporations, as they move up. Now, I'll ask Robert, because he's on the side that’s providing many of these, and we could verify whether he is seeing some of those similar questions from his perspective as well.
Orshaw: Yes. In fact, in a former life, I was CIO of a large industrial manufacturing company that had 49 separate business units.
Cloud today can be an issue in the beginning for CIOs. For example, at that large manufacturing company, in order for a business unit to provision new development test environments or production environments for implementing new applications and new systems, they would have to go through an approval process, which could take a significant amount of time.
Once approved, we would have centralized data centers and outsourced data centers. We would have to go through and see if there was existing capacity. If there wasn’t, we would then go ahead and procure that and install it. So, we're talking weeks, and perhaps even a few months, to provision and get a business unit up and running for their various projects.
These autonomous business units that weren’t very happy with that internal service to begin with, are now finding it very easy to go out with a credit card or a local purchase order to Amazon, IBM, and others and get these environments provisioned to them in minutes.
This is creating a headache for a lot of CIOs, where there is a proliferation of virtual cloud environments and platforms being used by their business units, and they don’t even know about it. They don’t have control over it. They don’t even know how much they're spending. So, the cloud group can have a significant effect on this, helping improve that environment.
Gardner: Let's learn a little bit more about the Cloud Group. David could I could ask you to briefly describe The Open Group, its heritage, and what its role is, for those listeners who might not be that familiar.
Lounsbury: The Open Group is a member-based consortium with the vision of boundaryless information flow, how do you get the right information, to the right people, at the right time?
And we also have a byline of making standards work, and that, for me, is in the DNA of The Open Group. We want to consider things, not just from a technical perspective, but also from how businesses are going to adopt the capabilities and technology that are delivered by open standards and emerging standards like cloud.
Number of activities
There are a number of activities inside The Open Group. Enterprise architecture is a very large one, but also real-time and embedded systems for control systems and things of that nature. We've got a very active security program, and also, of course, we've got some more emerging technologically focused areas like service oriented architecture (SOA) and cloud computing.
We have a global organization with a large number of industrial members. As you've seen, from our cloud group, we always try to make sure that this is a perspective that’s balanced between the supply side and the buy side. We're not just saying what a vendor thinks is the greatest new technology, but we also bring in the viewpoint of the consumers of the technology, like a CIO, or as Karl represents on the Cloud Group, an architect on the design side. We make sure that we're balancing the interests.
Gardner: So, as you cross the chasms between these different constituencies and groups, it seems that with cloud we're now, in a sense, crossing the chasm between the expectations and requirements on the business side, and what IT need to now bring to the table in terms of making cloud computing safe or reliable for what they consider to be mission critical or enterprise ready.
Could any of you give me a quick history of how the Cloud Work Group came about and perhaps an encapsulation of its mission and goals.
Lounsbury: As I mentioned, The Open Group is a member-led consortium. Our members, over the past year or so, have been growing in interest in cloud. We did a number of presentations reaching back to our Seattle conference about a year ago on cloud computing. We've reached out to other organizations to work with them to see if there is interest in working together on cloud activities. We've staged a series of presentations.
The members decided in mid-2009 to form a work group around cloud computing. The work group is a way that we can bring together all aspects of what's going on in The Open Group, because cloud computing touches a lot of areas: security, architecture, technology, and all those things. Also, as part of that we've reached out to other communities to open a nonmember aspect of the Cloud Work Group as well.
The work group was formed in 2009 and, towards the end, we went through the necessary formation steps, setting up the governance, and as you have seen, electing the chair. From October 2009 onwards, we've gotten about 500 participants virtually, and that represents about 85-90 companies participating.
They went through a fast exercise to organize themselves into groups, and that’s happened. We've now got four of these approved -- four activities within the Cloud Work Group on the business artifacts. We've got business use cases work group. We've got our SOA and service oriented infrastructure (SOI) architecture merger work group -- I know that’s not quite the right name -- and also a group that's starting to look at security in the cloud.
Gardner: Karl Kay, what are your expectations? What are your hopes for what can be accomplished in the near term with the work group?
Kay: All the work groups are really focused on trying to deliver some short-term value and get the items out. In the business use cases, they're really trying to define a clear set of business cases and financial models to make it easier to understand how to evaluate cloud with certain scenarios. How do you determine whether it makes sense to build a consistency across that? They're working not only within their own group, but also working with groups like the Google Use Case Group and some of the other use case groups that are out there.
The cloud architecture group is looking to deliver a reference architecture in 2010. One of the things we've discovered is that there are a lot of similarities between the reference architecture that we believe we need for cloud and what already has been built in the SOA reference architectures. I think we'll see a lot of alignment there. There are probably some other elements that will be added, but there's a lot of synergy between the work that’s already going on in SOA and SOI and the work that we are doing in cloud.
Gardner: Robert, do you have any further comments on your expectations and where you think the group can go in the next year or two?
Orshaw: I'm excited about the way we've formatted this, because all of the groups are interrelated. We have a steering committee that brings these groups together to define the parallel points and the collision points between them.
For example, on all of these, we're starting with a business use case. Why, from a business perspective, would you use public? Why would you use private? What are the business benefits around that? And then, what are the reference architectures to achieve that? What are the security models necessary to achieve that? What's the SOA model associated with all of that?
At the end of this, we'll have a complete model for both public and private cloud. It's an exciting endeavor by the team, and I'm excited to see the outcome. We'll have short-term milestones, where we'll produce, document, and publish results every two months or so. We hope, towards the end of the year, to have all of these wrapped up into these global models that I described.
Gardner: How about the skill sets? As I've been listening to you describe some of the challenges, it strikes me that perhaps we are talking about different skill sets. Or, perhaps we're looking at skill sets we apply to architecture or other frameworks and can now apply to cloud. Is there a distinct cloud skill set, or are we really continuing on some sort of a maturation of the role of architect and IT leadership?
Orshaw: We have a great example of that in the work group and even with the co-chairs. I come from a business background. I ran an application service provider business. I ran IBM’s hosting and applications management business, and I'm a cloud business executive. Karl is a leader on the cloud architecture side, the more technical side. So, as co-chairs, we bring both sides to it. Then, throughout the subcommittees, we have varying skill sets that make up these committees.
On the business use cases, we have people both on the business side and the technical side, and that's scattered throughout the rest of the teams as well. It's a very nice balance. Karl, do you want to add few comments to that?
Kay: We're seeing a skill-set change on the technical side, in that, if you look at the adoption of cloud, you shift from being able to directly control your environments and make changes from a technical perspective, to working with a contractual service level agreement (SLA) type of model. So it's definitely a change for a lot of the engineers and architects working on the technical side of the cloud.
Gardner: Do you have anything further David on what's needed in the field in terms of skills, certification, or some advancement or changes?
Lounsbury: So many technological innovations start out as a bit of a "wild west." One of the things you have to think about is the body of knowledge that you need to have available to you in order to make effective business use of this. That’s why you see the emphasis on some of the artifacts that are being produced by the cloud group. We've got the business use-case template and financial templates under production, adoption strategy work, and some metadata to help you analyze and categorize stuff.
We're starting to build up that body of knowledge and separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of real business value and hype. That’s necessary. But, then you're also going to face the issue of how to determine the people who have that body of knowledge. That’s something for downstream, but it's something that every business person must be thinking about. I'm sure that every consultant out there just added "cloud computing expert" to their resume. How do you know who those people are?
But, that’s a thing for the future. Right now, we have to focus on getting that body of knowledge in place for business people to use and assess what's going on in cloud computing.
Gardner: I know it’s a bit early, but do we have any examples of enterprises that have already dabbled in cloud computing, experimented, and then adopted it at a certain level? Do we have any metrics of success or paybacks that we can take away from that as an indicator or bellwether of where others might be heading?
Wireless network example
Orshaw: We have almost 200 examples here, but I'll highlight one. SK Telecom, Korea’s largest wireless provider, has created a public cloud for their partners, where the partners can develop and then put into production WAP services for their wireless devices on that wireless network. It's a completely a public cloud that offers both a development platform and a SaaS model to the WAP devices and to their customers. That’s a terrific, terrific model.
There are examples of several large banks now signing up for the SaaS model of email and collaboration. Several very large corporations in the Fortune 100 are starting to use cloud for non-production environments of all types. As opposed to purchasing hardware and building it on their own data centers in the old traditional way, they're signing alliances with various cloud providers for non-production development platforms.
Gardner: Karl, do you have any favorite examples that perhaps illustrate in your mind the potential for cloud computing?
Kay: That would be the development environment that Robert mentioned. Among most of our peers in the Fortune 100, almost everybody has some development project out there, and they're seeing pretty quick return on investment in terms of time to market, getting things up and running, flexibility, and not expending capital on short-term hardware. That’s a pretty powerful use case where it's easy to demonstrate value.
Lounsbury: Dana, if I could add one, the one thing we don’t want to ignore here is that the ability of cloud computing to enable new lines of business on a scale that might not have been feasible if you had to have your own dedicated infrastructure.
There was a great example from our Hong Kong conference -- which is available on The Open Group’s website, www.opengroup.org -- of a security company that put up web-enabled security cameras, very low cost items. They put them in a premises that somebody wanted to monitor. Then, they put the imagery from the security cameras up in the cloud. In the cloud, they could do analysis on motion, sound, and things like that to assess whether there was an intrusion or not.
It could be done at a much more sophisticated level than it could be in any single small security device. Of course, the cloud also made it much easier for them to make it available to anybody around the world who was allowed to monitor that premise.
There are lots of examples where that global scale delivery of more sophisticated service has really been enabled by the fact that there are computing resources and globally reachable infrastructure out there.
That’s going to be an area that you will see increasingly taken advantage of by enterprises, not so much for managing ROI or capital expenditure, but also just having the technology available to put these new business models and new business capabilities out on a global basis.
Gardner: That’s an interesting point, David. Perhaps many people approach this from an idea of efficiency, of repaving cow paths a little bit better, cutting costs, and maybe reducing IT by outsourcing certain aspects of it. But, you were also talking about being able to do things that couldn’t have been done before.
There is an extended process and innovation capacity here. Experimenting and getting ready will now put you in a position where you can take advantage of some of these new business models and do things that, as you say, couldn’t have been done before. Do you have any thoughts along those lines, some of the future implications of cloud computing?
Ability to scale
Lounsbury: Certainly, cloud brings the ability to scale, and scale quickly, that we haven’t had, at least not at a cost-effective level. There are a lot of opportunities to tackle problem sets that we wouldn't even tackle before, because it was cost-prohibitive. Now, with cloud, there's an opportunity to take on those problems, use those resources, and then release those resources back into the pool.
Orshaw: That’s a good point, because the fact that you've got that scalability without capital expenditure really lowers the risk of trying out a new innovative business model.
Lounsbury: Google is a perfect example. Their whole technology model doesn’t work without massive scale. There are problems other businesses have to which they can apply the same economies of scale in that same size. We can tackle those problems.
Gardner: So it's an opportunity to really reduce the risk from financial exposure, when you can try out new business models, but without necessarily having to build out the underlying infrastructure to do so.
Gardner: David Lounsbury, do you have any other thoughts about relaying what’s going to be happening at The Open Group’s conference in Seattle in February, in terms of the work group, and perhaps let people know how they might learn more or even get involved?
Lounsbury: The best thing to do is go to www.opengroup.org and you can see the Seattle conference prominently featured. We've got some great presenters there. We've got Peter Coffee from Salesforce.com and Tim Brown from CA. We've got an interesting a formal debate on, "Is the cloud more or less secure than enterprise IT," between Peter Coffee and the CISO of the University of Washington. We've got some technical discussions on cloud taxonomies from Hewlett-Packard and Fujitsu. So it’s going to be a really exciting conference.
We also have a "Cloud Camp" in the evening, so that people can come and discuss their cloud directions and needs in a more unstructured way. That is open to members and non-members. So, I just invite everybody in the area to make sure that they check out the site and sign up for it.
We have a public list for our Cloud Work Group. If you want to see what’s going on in the Cloud Group, we have got, what I call, our "cloudster's list," and you can sign up to from that site.
Gardner: Very good. I want to thank you very much for participating. We've been talking about the ongoing activity of The Open Group’s Cloud Work Group. Joining us has been David Lounsbury, Vice President of Collaboration Services at The Open Group. Thank you very much, David.
Lounsbury: You're welcome. Thank you for the invitation.
Gardner: We've also been joined by Karl Kay, IT Architecture Executive at the Bank of America, and one of the new co-chairs of the work group. Thank you, Karl.
Kay: Thank you for the opportunity.
Gardner: And also, Robert Orshaw, IBM Cloud Computing Executive and the other co-chair of the work group. I appreciate your input, Robert.
Orshaw: Yes, indeed. Thank you very much.
Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You've been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. Thanks for listening, and come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group. Follow the conference on Twitter: #OGSEA.
Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on The Open Group's efforts to help IT and businesses understand how to best exploit cloud computing. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2010. All rights reserved.
You may also be interested in: