Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cloud Computing Insurance? Lots of ways to look at it.

A couple weeks ago there was an interesting discussion on Twitter amongst the #clouderati about ways to manage risk in a public cloud environment. I believe it was a fragment off the discussion that James Urquhart (@jamesurquhart) started about how "Cloud is complex" and one from Alistair Croll (@acroll) about 2012 Cloud Predictions (see: #8)

Beyond the normal discussion about how companies need to "design for failure" (re: applications) when using public clouds, someone brought up that SLAs will need to evolve before companies can better mitigate risk. Most people tended to dismis this, since SLAs usually only compensate customers for the service value of the outage window (eg. $/hour of compute time), not for any value related to lost business due to downtime, lost data or a security breach.

So this got me thinking about what it might mean to obtain an insurance policy to protect against "loss" as a result of a public cloud service. My initial thoughts fell into a couple buckets:
  • What would/could be included in that "loss"?
  • Do companies today have any idea how to measure the value of what an individual IT service means to their business?
  • Are there any companies that offer an insurance policy that covers public Cloud Computing today?
  • How is data captured for companies offering Cloud Computing insurance?
  • Will Cloud providers sell their operational data to insurance companies? Should Cloud providers sell their operational data to insurance companies?
  • Are there markets and derivatives to Cloud insurance that could evolve if this model of risk management begins to grow?

Monday, January 2, 2012

[New] Cloud Computing Whiteboard Videos

During our year-end show for The Cloudcast (.net), my co-host Aaron Delp suggested that we should enhance the podcast by adding more whiteboard videos. I completely agree with him. Far too often, our discussions get overly technical and it can be difficult to convey certain concepts without a visual element. So over the holiday break, I did a brain dump of a bunch of Cloud Computing whiteboard discussions. They are posted on our The Cloudcast (.net) - YouTube Channel.

These will be the first of many videos that we'll post on this channel throughout the year. Just as we do on the podcast, I tried to keep these discussions as vendor neutral as possible; instead focusing on the key technology or business aspects of each session. [Feel free to distribute these videos if you find them useful.]

The first batch of videos includes:
One of the things we'll encourage our guests on The Cloudcast to do this year is make a short whiteboard video on a topic that we highlight on that week's show.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Are you doing enough for free in 2012?

About a year ago, I wrote a post about do'ers vs. did'ers, where I highlight that the most important people to identify during an industry transition are those that are doing new things. The people taking chances, learning new things and sharing them back with communities. 

Throughout the year, the #1 non-CloudComputing conversation I had with people was centered around them asking for advice about the next steps in their career. While most of these people were associated with the IT industry (various types of skills), the conversations also include people from other industries. I try not to give advice, but rather use discussions like that as an opportunity to teach or present a different point-of-view. In most cases, I would highlight a few things to consider:
  • In roughly a five year period - Google became #1 in search; Facebook became #1 in social networking; VMware gained #1 market-share in virtualization; both iOS and Android took over the smartphone OS and App markets; PC's are no longer the #1 "computing device". Bottomline - technology shifts are happening faster than ever.
  • Low-cost (or free) technology is available to let you create an online presence; fund an idea; start a company; create your own media and marketing brand; learn new languages; do in-depth research or start a global revolution. Almost everybody in the world has access to this technology and will be competing against you sooner or later. Bottomline - the barrier to entry is much lower than it was in the past.
  • If you're in the age-range of 35-45 years, it's very likely that you have only been working 15-20 years and still have 20-30 years of productive (salary-earning) years left. So even if you think you've accomplished something at this point, you have at least another half of your career left (and then some...). Do you still have the passion and energy to learn and get ahead like you did when you were just starting in the workforce? Bottomline - there's still a lot of mountain left to climb.