Friday, February 20, 2009

Net Neutrality and SaaS

When Google offered to ‘co-locate’ their edge / cache servers along with ISP locations, there was a big uproar saying Google is trying to violate net neutrality. The doubts raised were - The deal between ISP & Google may potentially lead to provision of ‘faster lane’ to Google Sites compared to Other Web Sites, And the ISP will have the liberty to prioritize Google traffic over others leading to discrimination!

Google then clarified there is no exclusive agreement in place that could lead to discrimination of Internet Traffic. But, with the advent of proprietary and commercial network Services [SaaS], the Net Neutrality would be subject to debate again in the coming future.

Already, Amazon bundling its Wireless services with its Kindle device is receiving enough criticism for providing exclusive network access to its customers.

In case of Enterprise SaaS consumers such as users of Amazon Web Services or, they would need to share the ‘Internet pipe’ along with other public users when it comes to consuming those services over the Internet. This would significantly impact the Quality-of-Service levels / SLAs of the respective SaaS providers.

Now, When SaaS goes mainstream and the adoption rate increases, the downtime and SLA violation may simply become unacceptable [because people would be paying for the SLAs] and that would force SaaS providers to adopt new strategies including a formal policy change in Net Neutrality and consequently the economics of SaaS consumption [who will pay for those prioritized pipe?. Amazon or Consumer? Will the policy be applicable to Global Customers and Global ISPs?]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

WebServices killed EAI. Cloud Computing/SaaS kills what?

Cloud computing/SaaS has the potential to virtually eliminate Internal IT completely from the enterprises. The widespread adoption of confirms the fact that operational functions - such as HR, Sales/Marketing – today has the ability to bypass Internal IT departments and go ahead to procure the On-Demand applications of their choice. Is it a threat to Internal IT? Ok, that is a different point of discussion altogether.

But, today, I thought I would write about the role of Technologies in the context of Cloud Computing Space. The very fact that applications being pushed out of the firewall to an external service provider literally ‘masks’ or ‘virtualizes’ the complexity in the architecture and technology behind those applications. The simple/direct consumers of do not need to know the complexities such as its architecture, technology, etc. They all need to know the consumption details of services.

In fact, Cloud proponents wish that Business users having the ablility to deploy, consume and compose Cloud Services, without needing technical help. And that’s where the real power of Cloud is waiting to be unleashed!

Here is another story from In a recent survey, CEOs perceive that packaged applications are more reliable than Internal IT developed. And they don’t really care what platform/technology the apps are running on. All they need is business performance and SLAs.

In conclusion, Business desires for Solutions isolated from the complexities of Technology and Platforms. That leads to the need for more ‘abstraction’. Just like WebServices came few years ago and provided the much needed abstraction behind heterogenous platforms, Cloud Computing/SaaS is destined to make significant changes in the Technology industry.

In the context of Cloud computing and provisioning business services to end-consumers, Does the end-consumer really care whether it is serviced by Java or .NET platform?. Not really?. Do they care if it runs on Linux or Windows ? May not be. Would they be worried if it runs on Open Source or Commercial platforms?. Again, Not seriously. It’s the SLA and the integrity of Services that matter to the end-consumer.

This trend will influence the procurement/adoption/experimentation trends of Technologies and Open source frameworks within the walls of Enterprise IT. We may not see wide-spread forums / communication across Enterprise IT users in the long run, as it will get influenced and diffused by Service Providers.

It is the Service Providers who will majorly nurture and develop the platforms and Technologies and not necessarily Enterprise IT shops. That’s a significant shift in the ecosystem of Technology. We could expect umpteen number of small and medium service providers providing pointed solutions in niche industry segments. And it is the Service Providers who will contribute and shape the Technology / Infrastructure & Framework landscape. And Enterprise IT will be forced to provide more value towards real business solutions.

And I also foresee significant consolidation in the Platforms / Infrastructure space. Why do we need various kinds of application servers in the Cloud, while the end objective is driven by performance?

A new market is emerging where we will see hybrid tools and technologies that will enable Enterprise IT shops to manage their data centre operations as well as their Public Cloud operations together from a single window. Am sure IBM is working on such a ‘Hybrid Tivoli’ tools and systems. In fact, one of the interesting note that I read was IBM is working on some sort of ‘Cloudburst’ feature where the load from Internal data centre is dynamically distributed to public cloud and seamlessly serviced! Wow!.

As I wrote before, We are going to witness a highly decentralized, but centrally managed ecosystem for Enterprise IT.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Amazon Kindle: Next Application Platform?

Am not going to write about Kindle 2, the recent upgrade from Amazon for its Wireless Reading Device. Of course, there are lots of interesting elements - The new version is unbelievably thin and packs lots of interesting features like Text-to-Speech translation.

But, I am interested in exploring how Kindle could evolve in future?

Couple of interesting directions:
- Kindle application could be made available in range of mobile devices including iPhone. Amazon is already talking about this move.
- Book Reading to go multi-channel. One could start a book in mobile, continue in computer and finish it in Kindle.
- What would happen if Kindle provides an app store like iPhone? What kind of new applications could emerge? It could lead to interesting applications that will make Book Reading experience all the more interactive. [I would like to annotate the book pages with a stylus, like we used to underline sections on paper books J]. Someone said they would even like to sync their enterprise document management system with Kindle!. Innovative!
- Kindle for Schools? There could be possibilities of offering personalized experience for Students to take their text books on Kindle and associated applications.
- The last thing that I would want to see in Kindle is to evolve into a multi-tasking PDA device.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Google tries to enter your House!

Google has announced that it is developing a software utility called PowerMeter to track the energy usage at your home, right from your personalized iGoogle portal. The PowerMeter application can provide real-time, granular data on the energy usage. For example, some of the metrics that can be tracked could be - How much does it cost to leave your TV switched on all day? Which appliance in Home uses more power every month? How does your energy consumption compare to your neighbors?

I read from Wired that similar applications have been attempted in the past. But, the key difference is that Google has enough clout to work with the Hardware manufactures & the Government to make it happen. The Hardware manufacturers produce the ‘SmartMeter’ devices that can interact with Home appliances and wirelessly interact with Google data center. Government can help in standardizing those meter and data formats involved in communication. According to the US Government stimulus plan, 40 million homes are scheduled to get these SmartMeters over the next three years.

I see opportunities for Significant shifts in this initiative:

- This could be the beginning of ‘Internet of Things’ – a beginning where information is extracted from every single real-life object, transmitted and analyzed to produce actionable intelligence.
- This initiative is being implemented from So, I am not sure about Google’s business intentions here. But, if they do have, this could be the door-opener for new market altogether – a convergence of Google’s Information Technologies with Automation and Control systems in the Real-world.
- I wish Enterprise IT shops take a lesson from here - If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it – I wish a CIO/IT management dashboard that provides real-time information on budget/value/quality of IT spending!