$100 Billion Cloud Index

Still doubtful about the whole cloud computing thing? Here’s a new metric that should probably change your mind. The combined market capitalization of the Top 30 cloud computing companies is now north of $100 billion.



Tom Preston-Werner’s GitHub Is an Exceptionally Free Place for Open-Source Software | MIT Technology Review

San Francisco startup GitHub has all the hallmarks of the next big social network. The company’s base of 3.6 million users is growing fast, and after raising $100 million last year, GitHub was worth $750 million, at least on paper.

Yet GitHub is not a place for socializing and sharing photos. It’s a site where software developers store, share, and update their personal coding projects, in computer languages like Java and Python.

“It’s a social network, but it’s different from the others because it’s built around creating valuable things,” says GitHub CEO Tom Preston-Werner, whose company has been called “Facebook for geeks.”

GitHub’s mix of practicality and sociability have made it into a hub for software innovation. People log on from around the globe (78 percent of its users from outside the U.S.) to test and tinker with new ideas for mobile apps or Web server software. For Ethan Mollick, an assistant professor at the Wharton School, GitHub is one of a new class of technology platforms, including the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, that allow innovation without the traditional constraints of geography or of established hierarchies. “Virtual communities have more influence on reality now,” he says.

What all this could mean for software hubs like Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley isn’t yet clear. Certainly, in the post-GitHub world you no longer have to frequent the right coffee shops and parties in the Bay Area to make a name as a talented coder. Companies get founded on the site, and it’s a favorite hunting ground for recruiters as well.

The features of GitHub’s service and community that have driven its popularity could appear opaque to non-coders. The guiding principle is that any and all possible barriers to one person contributing to someone else’s project must be stripped away. That means avoiding e-mail and conventional management. “That idea of not having to ask permission to be involved in something is really big,” says Preston-Werner.

Preston-Werner says GitHub, launched in 2008, has been profitable, and signs up around 10,000 new users every day. The newest feature of its business model is to rent out a version to companies they can use internally. In Marissa Mayer’s first company-wide memo after becoming CEO of Yahoo last year, she listed GitHub as one of the ways she intended to fix her company’s stifling bureaucracy.

GitHub’s most important feature is the pull request. It allows a person to suggest a modification to the code of someone else’s project, and shows that suggestion to the project’s owner in a way that makes it easy for them to review the changes. A single mouse click can merge them into the project or start a discussion about the changes. If a person’s pull request doesn’t stick, they can “fork” the project to create a parallel version on GitHub with their idea included.

GitHub’s only physical location is an office in San Francisco where about one-third of its 176 employees work (the rest work from their homes, coffee shops, or rented desks in the U.S. or overseas). No one at the company has set working hours. Some show up at noon and work into the night, others arrive close to dawn and disappear by midafternoon. Only Preston-Werner, as CEO, has a formal job title. Everyone else uses generic or frequently changing descriptors such as “Bad Guy Catcher” or “Señor Open Sorcerer.”

GitHub now plays a major supporting role in the creation of widely used open-source software, and the company uses it to maintain and expand its own service as well. Although Preston-Werner may set the overall goal of such projects, details of how it will be achieved are left to his workforce. Teams of GitHub workers form on an ad-hoc basis, growing, shrinking, and melting away as the company’s needs change and people find new things to work on.

Meetings are seen as a tragic waste of time, and thanks to the pull request, fewer are needed. “I don’t think we’ll ever have to hire managers,” says Preston-Werner.

Preston-Werner hopes his philosophy will spread and that more kinds of work will happen on GitHub. The platform already has features targeted at designers working on images. Some journalistsacademics, and even the White House are also experimenting with GitHub to collaborate on articles and write research and policy documents. “Software is where we’re starting, but the vision can encompass a much broader scope than that,” says Preston-Werner.

Tom Preston-Werner’s GitHub Is an Exceptionally Free Place for Open-Source Software | MIT Technology Review.

How SMBs use (Cloud)startup software to save big bucks

Its a cliche to say Cloud is disruptive. Its already mainstream as evidenced by the adoption across the spectrum. I came across this article which expounds on this theme. Below are some excerpts:

CEO and founder David Soutar said that almost all of the software they used had come out of the startup community, and that because they can relate to how the development process works, they are willing to accept a few bugs here and there. But it also means that the businesses creating these products understand that startups don’t have a lot of money to spend, and price themselves accordingly.

“The companies that come from startup roots understand that as a startup company, you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

In fact, Soutar sees the minimal features of Google Apps and similar cloud services as being a cost saving compared to “installable” applications.

And there are areas where enterprise systems haven’t yet caught up. For example, WattCost is using Flowdock to tie everything together on the social media and, to a degree, customer relationships management side. It’s a combination of an internal instant messaging system and an inbox that can be hooked into other services like Twitter, Facebook, Zendesk, and GitHub.


Cloud Vs System Integrators…the UK Story

Its tough to pick out Cloud success stories in the government, given the privacy concerns of recent past. But the G-Cloud seems to have a way of bubbling up to the surface. Below is an excerpt from such a case study.

Faced with a £52m bill from a large IT vendor for hosting “a major programme” the UK government decided to turn to commodity cloud services.

The result? It picked up a comparable service from a smaller player for £942,000.

Commodity cloud services are delivering savings that put prices charged by large systems integrators to shame, according to the UK’s tech chief.

Spend on G-Cloud services is growing rapidly, passing £25m in May, but is still tiny compared to an estimated annual public sector IT spend of £16bn. However this could pick up even more sharply as long-term contracts with large systems integrators expire.

“The majority of the large contracts finish by 2014-15, so there’s an enormous amount of change underway at the moment,” said Maxwell.

Maxwell has plenty of government IT horror stories of his own, telling the conference it historically cost government £723 to process each payment claim made by farmers to the Rural Payments Agency.

“It would be cheaper to rent a taxi put the cash in the taxi, drive the taxi to the farm and keep a manual record than it would have been the way the outsource contract worked,” he said.

Read on @ http://www.zdnet.com/here-are-another-51-million-reasons-why-the-cloud-is-winning-7000017639/

All Paths taken by the CIO to the Cloud

Pacific Crest Securities recently published the results of a survey of chief information officers (CIO) as regards cloud computing. The study found that CIO’s are finding the “path to the cloud” is more complicated than just signing up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) or upgrading shares of EMC to Outperform from Neutral. Pacific Crest calls the revolution in cloud computing we’re experiencing “click to compute” and that there are ‘six pathways to the cloud’ including but not limited to SaaS and AWS: there’s also virtualization and automation, OpenStack, converged systems and services.

But EMC, as big as it is, hasn’t fallen prey to disruptive offerings from smaller, more nimble providers.  The traditional storage vendor has taken steps to diversify its portfolio and keep up with new technology.  When it comes to these six pathways to the cloud in particular, EMC has done a great deal in recent months to advance its efforts. Here is a collection of those recent advancements, broken down by “pathway”: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/06/20/emc-the-6-pathways-to-the-cloud/

Poll Results : And the Cloud Winner is…

I recently ran a 30 day Poll to evaluate the potential Dominant Cloud Player by 2015.


The results are in the graph below. AWS is the Winner by a mile. Though this was what I guessed would be the result, you would be surprised to see that people still expect an unknown (read dark horse) to emerge in this space to challenge the incumbents. Here’s to the disruptive force of the Cloud.


Are your Apps Tested enough for the Real World


An Internet record was shattered the other day and few Westerners took notice.

On November 11, 2012 – known as “Singles Day” and “Double Sticks” – during their annual half-off sale, one company, Alibaba, who runs the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, TaoBao.com, took in over US $3 Billion (RMB 19B) in revenue.

This beats the total sales of ALL US retailers for Cyber Monday 2011 by $1.75B!

What kind of traffic is this? Well, a lot more mobile than in the past.

Here are some great stats:

  • 10 million visitors in the first 60 seconds
  • PC to mobile user ratio of 3:1 (up from 5:1 last year)
  • The first hour saw 7 million mobile users drive $16M (RMB 100M) in transactions
  • Total mobile transactions of $150M (RMB 940M)
  • 40% of China’s Internet users were active
  • Bank transaction flow exceeded six times usual traffic

So coming to the real question for the real world : Are your Web applications and Apps Tested enough?  The major obstacle to testing at scale is ready access to hardware to simulate large numbers of users. Fortunately, help is close at hand.

Harness the Cloud. Utilize the ability to quickly dig into performance data while tests run assures that time is used wisely to fix issues instead of chasing their source long after tests conclude.  With access to practically limitless scale for testing and technologies build for the big data collected during large tests, compelling tests can be quickly deployed to simulate any real-world condition. For example:

  • Study and establish user experience baselines with real traffic from multiple geographies
  • Hit peak and beyond-peak load levels with real mobile and web traffic
  • Measure mobile user experience and hammer sites with a mix of mobile and web business scenarios from buying gifts to trading stocks
  • Tune your end-to-end infrastructure and third-party services for peak performance under stress conditions

So, who can provide these capabilities to your organization immediately?  To know more, do drop me a note – nckumar@gmail.com with your requirements. I can discuss in confidence. No obligations. No commitments required.

Build Your Private Cloud in a Month

As with my other research on the Cloud, I tend to lead towards implementable strategies regards the Cloud. The article below details an interesting implementable Cloud strategy.

Private Cloud is not a product, but rather an approach for designing, implementing and managing your servers, applications and data center resources by reducing complexity, increasing standardization and automation, and provide elasticity – the ability to easily scale your data center up, down, in or out – to support evolving business and technical requirements.

Private Cloud applies the same principles used for scaling and managing the world’s largest public clouds to your private data center environment.  Now, you can have your very own cloud!

Week-by-week, we walk through the steps to envision, plan and implement your very own Private Cloud to take your existing data center to the next level and give you the tools and time back in your day for improving IT services and being able to change and shift with your business / IT needs.

Below is the weekly breakdown of each topic that we’ve written in this series to help you build your own Private Cloud.  Be sure to bookmark this page and check back daily to progress through building your Private Cloud this month!

WEEK 1 – Build Your Private Cloud Foundation with Windows Server 2012

WEEK 2 – Building Your Private Cloud Fabric with System Center 2012 SP1

WEEK 3 – Configuring and Optimizing Your Private Cloud with System Center 2012 SP1

WEEK 4 – Deploying and Servicing Applications in Your Private Cloud with System Center 2012 SP1

Congratulations! Your Private Cloud is built.

Referenced article @ http://bigdata.sys-con.com/node/2638689

A Brief History of Cloud Computing

There are probably as many definitions of Cloud Computing as there are self-acclaimed Cloud Specialist. Most of those definitions include pay-per-use, instant availability,  scalability, hardware abstraction, self-provisioning, virtualization and internet. A short but safe summary would be “Cloud Computing is a new way of delivering IT services: end users can deploy the services they need when they need them. Many of those services are available over the internet and users are only charged for what they consume.” The Cloud Computing market is typically segmented into public clouds (services offered over the internet), private clouds (internal enterprise) and hybrid clouds (a mix of both). The Public Cloud market is often sub-segmented into IAAS (Infrastructure as a Service), PAAS (Platform) and SAAS (Software).

Cloud Computing found its origin in the success of server virtualization and the possibilities to run IT more efficiently through server consolidation. Soon, visionaries came up with idea to bring virtualization to a next level by implementing some early storage and network virtualization techniques and thus making abstraction of the hardware in the entire data center. Add to this self-provisioning and auto scaling, and Cloud Computing was born. At the time it was called utility computing, however, and only Amazon – a bookstore – was good at it. Amazon saw a growing popularity of its EC2 (compute) and S3 (storage) and the Amazon API was being used by thousands of developers and many more customers to deploy and run infrastructure in the Cloud.

The first BYOC (build your own cloud) products that were brought to the market came from companies like Flexiscale (UK), 3Tera (US) and Q-layer (BE). They aimed at the ISP’s – who had an urgent need for innovation: ISP’s had entered into a price war amongst themselves and their market was now also threatened by newcomers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. The first new services those ISP’s offered were nothing more than virtual machines – allowing them to run their facilities more efficiently and still charge the same prices to their customers. Soon, companies like Savvis, GoGrid and Rackspace added interfaces that enabled end users to control their own infrastructure. In early 2009, Sun Microsystems launched the Virtual Data Center (VDC), a graphical interface with drag&drop that enables users to create and manage a full virtual data center in the cloud.

Currently, the battle has moved to the Private Clouds. Enterprises seem to be ready to cloud-enable their infrastructure either in a purely Private or a Hybrid (enabling cloud-bursting to Public Clouds for certain services) environment. All the leading software providers have announced their products and I expect an important role for integrators and telcos to help enterprises to pick a best of breed for their own implementation.

Implementing a private cloud affects the entire business, including the entire IT infrastructure (hardware, software, services) but also most business processes (e.g. regulatory compliance). As none of the big software providers have teams with experience in all those fields – except maybe IBM – enterprises will  have to rely on integrators to build their clouds. I do expect, however, that quite a few enterprises will build their clouds all by themselves (e.g. Wall Street banks).

So what is the benefit? What is the promise of Cloud Computing? That really depends on the point of view you are taking. The CIO should be able to serve his customer more efficiently. The user at home will probably not be aware but they already use Animoto, Gmail, Flickr and Facebook – all of this not possible without Cloud Computing. The test engineer in an enterprise will be able to deploy his servers in seconds – not minutes. The CFO will be able to negotiate better conditions with his energy supplier thanks to more efficient metering of energy consumption. The are plenty of scenarios of how Cloud Computing benefits users and providers. In my opinion however, it all comes down to using new technologies to really abstract the hardware and to make, supply and use software independently from the hardware it runs on.

Read on at http://java.sys-con.com/node/1150011

Cloud Success–Where Gmail Scores

Though small, here’s a feature introduced by Google which relieves a major pain point.

Google on Thursday announced a small Gmail update that lets you create Google Calendar events directly from your email.

Here’s how it works. Once you get the feature, dates and times within emails will be lightly underlined. All you have to do is click one to schedule whatever you want in reference to the email, without ever leaving Gmail:

calendar Google lets you add Calendar events directly from Gmail by clicking on a date and time, English only for now

After you click on one of these underlined dates, you’ll be able to see your schedule for the day, as well as change the title, date, or time of the event. Clicking “Add to Calendar” will do exactly what you expect, and the calendar event will include a link back to the original email.

If that sounds familiar, you’re not the only one experiencing déjà vu. When Gmail rolled out support for .ics events just under two months ago, the newly added event in Google Calendar also included a link back to the original email you received.

It’s a minor detail, but it’s very useful. The point is to make it easier to find where the event originated from if you ever need to double check. It also pulls Gmail and Google Calendar closer together, which is exactly what Google wants to do: if you’re using one, the company wants you to also use the other.

Today’s addition should be particularly useful to enterprise users who regularly have to schedule events they receive in their email. Instead of having two tabs open (Gmail and Google Calendar), they can now just have Gmail open and only fire up Google Calendar every once in a while.

Read on @ http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/05/02/google-lets-you-add-calendar-events-directly-from-gmail-by-clicking-on-a-date-and-time-english-only-for-now/