Top 10 Cloud Cases

I had the pleasure of being a keynote speaker at the Chinese Institute of Engineers Spring Fair Technical Symposium at the University of Arlington recently.   The energy and buzz of science competitions and experiments being conducted in the campus made it a very energizing experience.

Young minds, competing with robots, interesting projects made of aluminum, wood and all kinds of materials, gizmos, sharpening their skills and getting ready for the future took me back right to my Engineering days.  Only this time I was on the other side of the lectern and addressing a mix of students and working professional all ears to hear about Cloud Computing.

The proceedings were kicked off by Dr. Hans-Joachim Adler, a Professor and Director in the School of Management at UT Dallas, who shared his views on Cloud Computing, its evolution in the technology landscape and drew parallels between an electric grid and a computing grid – and predicted utility computing was here to stay.  He also commented how higher education is changing and remote learning would lend itself very well to Cloud Computing.

This set the stage for my session titled “Cloud Computing – a 360 Perspective”.   Picking up where Dr. Adler left off on the Grid Concept, I reviewed some technology trends reshaping businesses today where AT&T finds itself in the forefront of change:

  1. Powerful Mobile Computing Devices:
  2. The Mobile landscape has exploded well beyond the Smart Phone with Tablet Device Usage exploding and supplementing desktop/laptop usage. People consistently find creative ways to transfer workloads between Smart Phones, Tablets and Traditional Laptop/Desktop Computers.  Along with networking, demand in desktop virtualization solutions with a Cloud infrastructure has been a natural evolution path.
  3. Fast, Widespread Wireless and Wireline networks
  4. Due to the expanded mobile footprints of Mobile Devices, the boundaries of the traditional workplace are now extending into Coffee Shops, Wi-Fi spots and anywhere a fast network is accessible.  This creates a demand for a combination of a “networking-footprint” that is all-pervasive in our daily-lives
  5. Cloud Computing
  6. Even without newer trends such as Big Data and Non-Relational Databases that are hot-topics in Computing, data-center consolidation and re-engineering of non-Cloud infrastructure into Cloud is a major movement, that is seen by many as the equivalent of formation of utilities generating power.

Cloud and Grid Computing, in particular the concepts of data-centers connected to the Internet was a natural transition to discuss the role of the Network and its increased importance in Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud Architectures.  It is always interesting how everyone assumes a Fast, Highly Available, Non-Congested, Latency-free, Secure Network is always available to connect to the Cloud.  This is also a leading indicator of a Networking Maturity that is now table stakes in mindshare in a highly-connected, boundary less world.

As I shared value propositions of Cloud Computing and technology and business trends, a topic that seemed to especially pique the audience’s interest were my “top 10” Cloud Computing Use Cases (Figure 1) . These reflect some cases a business may consider in their movement to a Cloud Computing ecosystem and decide whether an IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS Service Model in a Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud makes the best sense for them.  In a follow-on posting, we’ll review each of these use-cases in slightly more detail.

Another larger question on a lot of people’s mind was the effect of Cloud Computing on different roles and career paths.  Presenting the viewpoint that disruption and opportunity go hand-in-hand, there were some very interesting questions. These questions centered around careers in Datacenters, Consulting, Business Processes and Agility in the Software Development Lifecycle, as people tried to map a potentially disruptive effect of Cloud Computing on their careers.

My session was followed by Rahul Bajpai, a Practice Leader from Deloitte Consulting who shared perspectives on Cloud Computing.  He discussed polarization in the industry across different cloud platforms and predicted some consolidation in the near future.  The individual keynotes were followed by questions in a panel format, where the audience was able to ask questions in a free-form manner.

Take a look at a few pictures from the event…


It was a relaxed drive back to Austin, and while I reflected on the audiences’ key concerns, questions and viewpoints shared by other panelists’ views and predictions, as I pulled into my driveway, I found Horace Greeley echoing through my mind…telling me to continue spreading the message “Go Cloud, Young Man”.

What roles do you see for Cloud, Mobility and fast wireless access today? What are some of the Use Cases you see for Cloud Computing in your world today? How is this combination changing the way we do business? We look forward to your comments.
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