Where is cloud computing in Ireland?

The offerings are global – and available (Amazon, Google, Salesforce, etc.).  There are attractions particularly in terms of avoiding major capital expenditure, scaling the infrastructure investment as demand for the business application grows. The 'private cloud' is now also an option.  There are concerns – how do I pick the right vendor, will it prove expensive in the long run?  However it seems to me that for a country like Ireland and for entrepreneurs here trying to build out businesses to kickstart our serious challenged economy, cloud computing offers a great way to push forward, with limited capital outlay but all the scalability to build web/ global business.

Dion Hinchcliffe's well thought out piece provides a more comprehensive list of some of the pros & cons.  Time to move forward.

What's in azure right now?

Attended great presentation by David Chappell at Microsoft in Dublin this morning.  Fascinating comparison of the offerings from SalesForce, Microsoft, Google and Amazon.  Interesting explanation of Microsoft's focus on providing a platform in this version of Azure to enable us to build the next 'Facebook'. 

Explained why cannot migrate classic enterprise applications to this Azure platform.  The Azure platform uses hierarchical database structures (scalable) – not relational database as would be required to support MSQ SQL Server based applications.

Interesting discussion about the difficulties of naming new Microsoft products/ solutions.

Storage and the cloud

In his article Scott provides very positive feedback on the data storage options with www.azure.com.  While Scott is careful to provide balance in picking out a number of specific strengths of the other reviewed solutions – Amazon and Google – he certainly makes a strong case of azure.  Would depend on what's more important in your own implementation.

Changing roles in the cloud

As a consulting & implementation partner we’ve been thinking through the impact of the cloud – how consulting services will be perceived in the cloud environment.  If you sign up to a utility type model then where are the traditional consulting services factored in?  I think there are a number of possibilities.  Potentially there will be more pressure on clients to accept more ‘out of the box’ functionality – with less consulting services.  Potentially, because the client is no longer looking at a large outlay on hardware and software licensing upfront, some projects may get started more easily.  Potentially there will be far greater opportunities to deliver truly web enabled business solutions, rather than solutions which are limited to the internal organisation itself.

The cloud – or business applications hosted and managed in the cloud – raises all sorts of questions for traditional IT organisations.  Seems to me there is already a move towards decentralisation – in the area of collaboration solutions.  Employees want to use social networking type solutions – and have interchange between corporate and non corporate type networks.   Would seem all businesses will need IT professionals with the skills and knowledge to know what is possible – to advise/ support the business in entering into different contractual arrangements.  However the traditional control model may no longer apply.

Microsoft in the cloud

The announcements around azure (www.azure.com) certainly seem to place MS firmly in the cloud – or should I say with a firm presence both on the ground and in the cloud(s).  Not before time.  The challenge from the likes of google apps continues to gather momentum.  And the economic slow down certainly asks of IT are there less expenseive options?  Recent BusinessWeek posting makes for interesting reading – in terms of serious business adopting linux and google apps type approaches.  However need to be clear on which version of linux, what's actually free and whether comparing like with like.  But it's no longer a debate.