And I thought “The Cloud” was just a fad…..

Mobile Cloud AppsIt’s true, I actually wrote that in a blog post back in March 2010 called Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It’s….The Cloud! Until now I’ve not really given it to much thought. Obviously, working at VMware I needed to understand vCloud Director, but that was only really from a functionality/design perspective. However since starting my new role at Canopy I’ve begun to take more notice of “The Cloud” and what it has to offer to both consumers and also to businesses. Whilst working for a Canopy I’ve found it very easy to get immersed into a bubble and end up only paying attention to what the company offers as products/solutions. So much so, I began to lose the bigger picture and stopped thinking about what other cloud products/solutions there were out there, not just for businesses but also to us, as consumers.

It wasn’t until a few days ago when I was sipping cocktails on Sentosa Island when I realised, without really noticing it, I was already a heavy consumer of “The Cloud”. However my consumption wasn’t of solutions like SaaS,PaaS, IaaS etc which I used to class as “typical” cloud offerings. My consumption was, in my eyes more subtle. This maybe because there wasn’t a large initial cost on purchase which I personally associate with the “typical” cloud services. There also wasn’t a massive operational change, which is another invisible cost that I also associate with “Moving to the cloud”.

“New Phone, DM me your numbers!”No Contacts

Let’s look at my mobile (cell) phone (Android). If I want to make a call on my phone, I can search my contacts for the person I want to call. All of the contacts on my phone are automatically sync’ed to my Google account. If I loose my phone, I still have all of my contacts. How many times do you see Facebook posts which read something like “New Phone, DM me your numbers!” ? This is no longer an issue for me. All of my contacts are sync’ed to “The Cloud”.

Another good example; My friend accidentally drops his phone in his beer (it happens!). The phone is now dead. He turns to me and says, “I’ve just lost all the photo’s of my son’s birthday”. – This something that happens far to often. It doesn’t have to. I have setup a FREE Dropbox account and installed the Dropbox app onto my phone and configured every photo to be sent to my Dropbox account after it is taken. If I lose my phone, my photo’s are still available to me via the Dropbox website.

I’m not going to keep throwing examples at you as I am sure you get the point. But I will give you a quick list of some of the “Cloud” services that I use as a consumer on a regular basis (I have purposely not included Cloud services I use for my job at Canopy).

  • Google Apps (Chrome, Calendar, Contacts, GMail) – Used hourly
  • Spotify (Pro) – Used maybe 12 hours a day
  • Evernote (Pro) – Used this on a hourly basis
  • Dropbox – Used daily
  • Flickr (Pro) – Used daily
  • Netflix – Used daily
  • Feedly – Used daily
  • Sticher – Used weekly
  • Tripit – Used weekly

I am very surprised at the amount of “Cloud” based services I already use without really noticing. I was also surprised that I actually pay for some of these services. In the past I’ve always been reluctant to pay for these services, I’d always make do with the free offerings. However it’s got to the point where I use them so much day-to-day, it is actually beneficial for me to pay for these premium services.

I think my use of Cloud services has stemmed from my use of mobile devices. I have a phone, a couple of tablets, laptops etc. I want my data to be accessible to me regardless of where I am or what device I am on, so I look for services that can allow me to do that. In an ideal world I would like to be able to do my day-to-day work tasks from any device – anywhere, however I don’t really want to use a VDI to allow me to do this.

I think I am nearly there!

Step Back

I invite you all to take  a step back, flick through the app’s you have on your mobile devices, TV’s, computers and take a look at how many Cloud services you are actually using. Did it surprise you as much as it did me?

Cloud computing is clearly not a fad, I actually think it is the future. We will continue to see more and more of our data move off of our devices and be stored in cloud services allowing us to access it whenever and where ever we are in the world. This future excites me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Bureaucloud – Cloud Infrastructure on Demand *Free Trial*

Last week I was introduced to a new UK based PAAS provider Bureaucloud. They are currently offering free trails for prospective customers and as I was looking for some cloud hosting for a new personal project I've been working on, I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to try out this new provider.

I thought I would feedback my experience to you guys as I was really impressed!

The Bureaucloud Platform

Of course, when enquiring about the free trial I dug a little to find out a more about the platform and what the hosting platform was running on. I managed to speak to directly to the founder, Tim Boeckmann who give me a brief technical overview:

The solution is built on Cisco, HP and Netapp, with robust high-speed network connectivity, latest HP 64-bit servers and 15K FC disk. VMware where possible, Veeam for backups. The platform has been fully stable since May without any network downtime.

The platform is hosted in West London, at Telecity Powergate (a tier 3 DC with all the iso accreditations you might expect). This is the perfect compliment for anyone looking at hybrid cloud solution between East and West London due to the excellent connectivity into the datacenter.

Our experience is looking after all size enterprise environments from a service provider perspective including migrations, strategic planning and growth. We understand the needs of a small business by being one. We have worked with virtualisation for many years.

The Cloud solutions used on the platform is vCloud from VMware. As you can imagine I was delighted at this as I already know my way around this product and If the infrastructure is configured correctly it should be a solid, stable platform.

My Bureaucloud Experience

So after grilling the founder I was happy and signed up for a free trial. Within an hour I had my account details, I was logged in and firing up my vApp. ONE HOUR! Happy Days to that. During the configuration of a my vApp I had an issue with the networking, I contacted their support team which had it fixed very quickly. Maybe TalkTalk should take note? 🙂 (Personal grudge.)

My vApp has been running for about a week now with no problems, not that I would expect any as the platform is running on vSphere 5 and vCD1.5. If the service continues at this level until the end of the free trial, I will continue to use them to host my servers. Their prices are competitive I'm sure you'd agree and I was really impressed with their support team.

Bureaucloud Summary

These guys are offering a free trial….. If you are looking for Cloud provider what better way can you try out their service. Give them a go, I'm very happy so far. But I'll let you know if that changes. 😉

Keep an eye on their blog page  for a new post that will go up shortly, they are having a Christmas Competition. One lucky new client will win 4 days consultancy around "Cloud Strategy and Migration".

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It’s….The Cloud!

 

Cloud

Why, oh why, oh why, has every man and his dog started calling everything Cloud? Cloud Hosting, Cloud Apps, Cloud Services? Is it me, or was it only 6 months ago that these were called Virtual Hosting, Web Apps, Web Services? What's changed? In my eyes, nothing! I hadn't really noticed this until the other day when I was attending a "Cloud" seminar.

Cloud Hosting: What makes it Cloud? It's just Hosting on a Virtualization platform. Cloud Apps: Why are they Cloud Apps? They are just applications hosted over the Web, no? If we follow this trend we'll soon be calling WebMail, CloudMail!

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WAN VMotion – A Step Closer to a Private Cloud?

VMware has just released a joint Proof of Concept with Cisco titled VMotion between Data Centers.

Just lately I’ve been doing a lot of extra reading about how Cloud computing is shaping and evolving and I believe this to be another step taken by VMware to closer themselves on becoming a “Private Cloud” solution. Will we soon be seeing Virtual Infrastructures spanning separate Data Centers?

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Cloud Computing in Plain English

I have just sumbled across “TWO” really easy to understand video thanks to Mike D Petrillo’s Blog and @HighTechDad on Twitter. I’m starting to hear more and more people talking about the Cloud and i’m finding that a lot people are not really exactly sure what “Cloud Computing” is.

 
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