With all the talk about “Cloud Computing” at the moment you’d almost be forgiven that SMBs would be dumping physical server purchases by the bucket load to move to the new promise land of public cloud services!
This is one case of where the hype does not match the reality as highlighted by this article on the Windows Server Division Weblog, which points out recent IDC stats showing the biggest year-on-year server shipments in more than 5 years! As the article points out is that this is explained by the fact that businesses are in a different stages of their adoption of cloud services. A typical Microsoft Small Business Server is a multi-role solution within a single physical server and even shifting email services to Gmail or BPOS, still leaves you with file sharing, identity management/security, print sharing, remote access & possibly remote access, software deployment, policy management of desktops and possibly some line of business application (LOB). You could move your storage to the cloud as well and sync the data locally and there are solutions to do that but about your LOB? It might well be a bespoke solution which is not untypical in many businesses and so there might not be a cloud service doing quite what you want.
Sure, the cloud market is going to grow dramatically in SMB but there is going to be a process of organisations shifting to that gradually. There is still demand for physical servers as SMBs adopt virtualisation as they need new hardware capable of supporting virtualisation technologies from VMWare and Microsoft to do this.
Microsoft’s move to providing Azure as a platform for providing an environment to build cloud services is absolutely right because competitors like Google, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com and others are pushing hard on this.
Google has opened its App Engine to everyone which allows developers to build applications on the same infrastructure as it uses for its applications. The service is free for up to 500MB of storage and 5 million page views per month after which you’ll have to start paying. You’ll also have to write your applications in Python as well but if you’re a developer of any worth you should be able to adapt to any programming language. Things just got a whole lot more interesting and it seems Google is saying to the likes of Microsoft, “bring it on”! Choice is good and healthy for customers and in truth for the competing companies as well but I’m sure they wouldn’t admit that!
Here are some articles from O’Reillynet to get you started on Cloud Development
I’m off to install Python on Ubuntu!!!
David Cameron has been laying into The Government for it’s naivety on IT Projects for the complete mess that is the NHS IT Project. He further lays into the highly paid Management/IT Consultants of the Big Consulting firms for selling a vision of Utopia that was never achievable.
Why not let Google run it? Well, he doesn’t actually say that but he seems to suggest a Google like approach might not be a bad idea! I bet you didn’t know that Cameron was a Software Architect, it’s a compulsory subject at Eton alongside Latin!
Joking aside, billions spent and what is there to show for it? One of the main companies involved iSoft was virtually out of business and the Government had to bail it out with a loan (public money to save a commercial organisation???). We’re often told how as small businesses where just no good, not professional enough, don’t make enough money, don’t know anything technically, etc, etc. But, we’ll give billions of pounds of tax payers money to the Big IT Consulting firms so they can completely f*!k things up and then get paid millions more for walking away from it. Rewarding failure? Hey, how does that work? However, the contracts are awarded to the same suspects time and time again. Every Government has done this and the irony is if the Conservatives where in power, they’d do exactly the same.
I have a friend and colleague working as a contractor on the NHS IT Project and from talking with him, things are bad. You’d think, Big Consulting Firms know what they’re doing, well not from an insider view!!!
Actually, Google is beginning to sound like an attractive proposition but it might stay in Beta for the lifetime of the Project! Oh well, at least the data will be safe
Looks like I wasn’t the only one wondering about Google’s Android VM and how this all fits in with SUN’s Java technologies. Miguel de Icaza has the answer, or more accurately he has a link to the actual article putting forward a convincing argument. Now, I’m wondering why Jonathan Schwartz was so congratulatory on his blog about gPhone when in reality it’s a direct competitor to SUN’s mobile offerings and market share.
I went to drop off some info to my accountant today and saw they were using Google Calendar. I’m not used it myself and was intrigued by it. They are basically 2 people and with one of them being out at customers most of the time. They said it was really useful and worked well for them. This is first use of this I’ve seen in a small business and the users were pretty happy with it. Google Calendar is in Beta (like many other Google Apps) but we’ll have to see if these services remain free forever? I did mention that Microsoft also has OfficeLive now as well!