What is Cloud Computing?
I am frequently asked to describe what cloud computing is. One of the problems with the term cloud computing is that the term is used loosely to describe many types of computing models. Here I make an analogy comparing computing models to real estate. Ready, here it goes…
Owning a home – this is like a traditional (on-premise) small business computer network. The business owns the entire system and it is located on their premise. They pay for the house and all of its repairs and maintenance. The initial investment is high, but the owner has total control of the system and responsibility for its management. Highest up-front costs, unpredictable ongoing costs.
Owning a condominium – this is hosting. The business owns the equipment and runs it in a shared facility. They are responsible for purchasing most of the equipment and pay monthly fee to cover major infrastructure costs that are shared with their neighbors. While this still has the same high initial investment, the owner is no longer responsible for many of the maintenance or repair costs. Management responsibilities are also delegated in exchange for condo fees which are shared. High upfront costs, predictable ongoing costs.
Renting an apartment – this is Platform as a Service (PaaS) or utility computing. This is when the business has a long term agreement to use someone else’s equipment and infrastructure. The business will sometimes own soft assets like software and remote devices (think furniture and chachki), but the vast majority of the equipment belongs to someone else. The key point to this is that there is a long term agreement for a fixed set of outcomes. This model also reduces the initial investment. There is no large up front capital expense and all management, maintenance, and repairs are delegated. All in exchange for a monthly fee. Low up-front costs, higher predictable ongoing costs.
Renting a hotel room – this is true cloud computing. While the term is loosely used in the industry, it’s true meaning is short term and scalable. Some of these are free (like the old youth hostels and YMCA’s), there are some on a budget, mid-priced, luxury, short stay, extended stay. Regardless, in all cases, they are pure transaction oriented, pay for a night stay for a night. They are designed to be flexible and address short term needs. No up-front costs, highest on-going costs, short time commitments.
As you can see, no one model that fits everyone. As these models continue to mature and the technologies evolve, they will become more clearly defined. One thing is certain to me, technology will continue to move at an ever increasing pace. We need to remain aggressively thoughtful and purposeful as we continue to develop our services. It is very important that we match our Clients’ needs to the solution and not vice versa.
In email, a subject not only needs to be descriptive, it needs to be unique.
It all starts with a subject. Subjects are so important to frame an email or a conversation.
You start by offering a short description of what the conversation is about. A good subject should frame the conversation and prepare the other party for what you are about to say. A poor or missing subject leaves the other person struggling in the conversation to identify what the conversation is actually about.
With today’s technology, both email software and smart devices offer a feature called:
This is a great feature that groups messages by their subjects. It is very handy for keeping an email box neat and tidy. It also makes it efficient when managing long email threads. It is so good it is almost perfect. The technology works as designed, the problem is that people use the technology. Missing or generic subjects cause the system to group messages that have the same subjects but are not related. If someone sends me an email with no subject, it groups the message with the 500+ other messages I have with no subject and I get annoyed (don’t tell me I need to clean out my inbox because I have 23,466 messages, Randy Pausch says I can have as many as I want, that is what search is for). Same if I get an email that says…
A Client’s name
A person’s name
The list goes on and on…
These are all bad email subjects.
You see, just about any one or two word subject runs the risk of being lumped it with other emails defeating the purpose of conversation view. A little thought into framing the subject will help prepare a recipient for your message and allow for this powerful new feature to be extremely useful.
That was easy!
Bring Your Own Technology…
That seems to be the name of the game today. Consider it the invasion of consumerism into the enterprise and business IT space. It isn’t hard enough to integrate and support the business solutions in this space, now comes along consumer technology and everyone has the “business critical” device or application. Rarely do integration issues get considered (why wouldn’t it work?). Nor do support issues (how do you remote to them?). Not to mention the security concerns. These are some of the things we need to keep in mind when helping Clients incorporate these consumer technologies into their IT infrastructure. Technology comes in cycles and this period we are in is no different. It seems that the consumerism issue the industry is facing is the front side of the cycle. There seems to be more entertainment than business in a lot of what is going on. However, as the consumer technologies gain market share, you can see true business uses starting to percolate. I have no doubt some of these technologies will stick and become a part of the typical IT landscape and many will end up on my window sill. We will look back at the period we are in, laugh and say to the new young folks, “in the old days, we used to have to support all these…”
For now, we do the best we can to help educate our Clients on the front side to make good decisions, help them implement the decisions they make, and be there for them if anything goes wrong.
AS we consider BYOT, We remember our Core Value #1 – Attitude – WIT – Whatever It Takes.
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