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The Inadvertent Cloud User

The Inadvertent Cloud User

The Inadvertent Cloud User

In our vast population, I have found that knowing about something seems to make people believe you are in expert in that subject and forever branded as such. For example, remember when you said one time when you were eight that you wanted to take pictures and every year since then your grandmother has been buying you cameras and film thinking you are the next Ansel_Adams. Of course if you get that reference you must be a photographer and are now defined only as such. So it is funny, especially in such a technologically driven age, when people are asked about a technical question about computers they will either be a normal person and help if they can or cower in fear. The cowering always amazed me. I assume these people must think that if they show the slightest bit of computer knowledge they will be forever branded a nerd. Thus, they will be doomed to work in a dark dusty basement for the rest of their lives surrounded by the computer towers they claim they know nothing about with Marlon Brando lying on his back in a dark room reciting next to you, “The Horror, The Horror.” Regardless, here are a few examples of inadvertent cloud users who claim to not get into that, “computer stuff,” whom I have come across with since my recent interest in the world of cloud networking. LET THE IRONIC SITUATIONS COMMENCE!!

1. The Student

Ohh college life, it is a time when you get to define yourself in a crowd full of twenty year olds who are also trying to be themselves but also wanting to fit in. The pull to push ratio is in constant flux, and no one has time to admit to clichés of technology knowledge when you are a theatre major. Of course, the ironic part being that you might need some knowledge with computers since a theatre major might get you the job of flipping a we buy gold sign on the side of the road. Well, I digress. I was helping edit a paper of said student, and this person had it on their tablet. I asked said person if they had a cloud storage service set up so I could access their work on a laptop to do my edits. “Oh no, I am not actually into all that computer stuff,” said the person, “I just use Google Docs to write all my papers on so you can just log on with my account and edit it.” To that I just smile to myself wondering if they knew what I was originally talking about in the first place. You know that nice superiority feeling you get that everyone hates but you. So refreshing!

2. The Small Business Owner

I always loved the phrase that business moves at the speed of you, but then you have to move at the speed of business. As we all know business is fast so you better keep up with the rest or the dust of business will leave you choking from the amount of speed it has to kick up dust and shake things around. Business! So it came to my surprise that a recent employer of mine needed me to have some past advertisements so I could come up with a new line of content. Of course, they didn’t have them on hand in the meeting, to which I ask if they have a cloud I can connect to and pull the work from there. “Oh no, no, no we are not a big enough company for all that, but I will just put what you need in our Dropbox and you can pull it from there after the meeting.” To which I nod and paint a fake smile on once again because this is someone who wants to pay me, so no back talk. Of course, now I wonder if cloud networking is a niche term since this happened twice.

3. A Parent

So what do parents love to do more than anything else that you dread will happen every time you see them? The chance to talk about their children! To be fair it is no different from that one thing that you have allowed to take over your life and nestles itself into the center of your universe. You know that one thing you live for, let me help you, it is that attractive cloud blogger’s weekly post. Really it is because you love his charming personality or his overt humbleness that causes you to stand back in soak in each delicious word. So, as you have predicted by the third section… “Oh I just got these new pictures in of my kids done by the photographer you told me about.” I grab her tablet and ask if they are on her iCloud. “Ohh I don’t know how to use all that techie stuff I just have them all saved on Snapfish. Just go to the website and login in but let me find where I wrote my password down.” A laugh of disbelief escaped my mouth thinking there cannot be this many people who don’t know what a cloud is, and I know now this is not niche because they are on every Apple product. So I add another stress wrinkle and wait and log onto her website.

4. The Roommate

This section is really going to be the litmus test if my roommate actually reads my work or not like he says he does. Well let me first say that moving is frustrating, and I am so sick of living out of boxes that I wish there was a cloud for all my physical stuff to where I could press a button and everything is delivered for free to my new place. I know what you are thinking, they are called moving companies, but I said for free. I am a writer in a world of non-readers. I need things to be cheaper. So as my roommate and I are getting this new house ready, I needed to look at the paint colors, he choose. The problem was they were on his laptop, which he didn’t have, so I asked if he had his cloud set up. “Uhh I don’t use the cloud system I rather just save all my stuff in my email that way I can get it on any device.” Well I convince him that is what the cloud does but sure enough he doesn’t want to upload anything to a network for anyone to see. With that my annoyance on the subject has reached it limit and now I am painting the walls whichever way I like and I am thinking all black everything. The walls, the ceiling, and the carpets, everything black to match my faith in humanity and their technological evolution…

I wonder when the day will come when cloud networking will stop being that techie thing that I don’t anything about. To something like Facebook how a teenage girl emerges from the shadows and say, OMG really, every time you tell someone that you are not on Facebook or Twitter. Then she will fall back into the shadows only to berate you later for being weird. Maybe one day my teenage berating dream will come true, maybe one day.

By Chris Kenealy

The Five Strange Uses Of Cloud Computing

The Five Strange Uses Of Cloud Computing

The Five Strange Uses of Cloud Computing

1. Slowly becoming the next Person on a Hoarders Documentary

There are many times where I find myself sitting at home writing in my dream journal about pointless concepts and not working. This might be because people think reading anything these days that is not a description attached to a streaming video has become as glamorous as a cassette tape of Westboro Baptist Church’s Sunday morning services. One concept in particular I have been fascinating about is what if your email account could manifest itself into a house. Now bear with me, taking how many emails you have, how valuable each one is, and how they are stored I wonder if this house made by your email account would look like a Cleaver Family home – all tidy, organized, and neat where everything has its place, and everyplace has its thing. I find it hard to believe that would be the case purely on how my email looks. My email house would be an old crazy cat lady’s home with piles upon piles of empty cat food bags stacking up over the years never cleaning up and just letting it fall into the background. The same thing can be said about the cloud. Let me prove it, let me know if you have, “Step by Step,” from New Kids on the Block stored on your cloud. Are you holding onto past parts of you that you never look or relate to anymore? Well then take it off it is 2013 it is time to do some spring cleaning! Well, actually give “Step by Step,” one more listen. Well, okay just keep that song, but only that album. To be perfectly honest I actually quit writing this article to go listen to, “Step by Step,” on YouTube. Ehhhh, I am such a hypocrite who cannot stop humming that song now.

2. BringiNew-Kidsng your Ex with you where ever you go

There is something remarkable about how today’s technology mixes with social media that has made it normal for all of us to be a little creepy when it comes to relationships. Now we can stalk a crush on the internet by trying to learn what they like and how to add similar tastes in music, movies, and lifestyles on our profile. The trick is to do this without it looking like we just put it up to impress that cute boy or girl and still have it look organic. Like when I say that I too like dubstep because some person I have a crush on does, but the rest of my music choices have been 1960s acoustic folk rock until now, or am I the only one who thinks about this instead of just calling the person? On the other side of the relationship, you can continue checking up on an ex to make sure they are miserable without you or dating someone much more unattractive than you. Oh, the sweet taste of crazy feels good with a dash of social media. Yet, with the cloud you can introduce a whole new level of strange with your own private mobile shrine to that ex that you are still hung up on who’s got, “The right stuff… baby.” Just think you can store all those pictures of when your ex did not leave you for that terrible person who does not love him or her like you do. Now you can keep thousands of pictures, homemade movies, and love letters with you at all time. It is like she or he never ever, never, ever, never, ever, ever, ever, never, never, never, never, never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever left. Ever… Again.

3. So this Cloud was made by Smartphone Companies Right?

Ever since I found myself writing for CloudTweaks I prided myself with trying to read up on the cloud as much as I could. So it may come as a surprise to you, and most likely my editor, that I may have not been the most knowledgeable on this subject before I started writing these articles. True story, I was surprised to find out the cloud I was using for my tablet and smart phone could be integrated with my laptop. I can already hear a thousand palms slapping the foreheads of a thousand IT personnel as they head to their next project fixing a fellow employee’s computer. Plus, I thought the cloud was the new kid on the block, but in truth it has been hanging tough for a long time now. So it was time to face the music of my own ignorance and realize I was one of those people who used the cloud in a strange way, the wrong way to be exact.

4. Making a Long List of Documented and Stored Felonies

Porta-potty

As Donnie Wahlberg knows it is not easy being, the tough one. Having to always maintain a five o’clock shadow and wear a bandanna around your head can get tiresome but under that rough and tough exterior we know there is a sweet soul with the voice of an angel. Of course not everyone can be D-Wahl, and that makes me wonder if everyone realizes that they should not store EVERYTHING on their cloud. The cloud is for nice wholesome pictures, movies, music, miscellaneous files, and comedy articles that you would not mind your mother looking through, and not a spot to stash your illegal activities until the heat is off. It seems that most people are felons these days, or soon to be and with mobile technology I wonder if people will be more or less careful with what they document on their devices. I find it so odd that a person might steal a  from a county fair much less record it and then save it as a proud trophy. Just remember children, just because you save it somewhere other than your person does not mean it cannot be accessed by the police. Let’s just hope this trend of doing something stupid and recording it is almost done. You know, I’d rather the cloud be the sweet one, and not an accessory to drunk and disorderly conduct.

5. The Fact that You’re Not Putting all my Articles on Your Cloud

This, so much, is not a strange use of the cloud as it is strange that it is a non-use of your cloud so far. Come on people let’s be honest with ourselves I am giving you a gift here. You should be storing this on your cloud so you are only a click away from the current smile painted on your face as you read this. Actually I am just trying every day, you know step by step, to further my writing career, because I genuinely want you to really want me in your world. See with the cloud’s abilities to store all your fav… You know what guys I am sorry but I cannot take it anymore, I just got to let loose some NKOTB. “Step by step, oh baby, gonna get to you giirrrrlll. Step by Step, oh baby, I really want you in my wooorrrlllldddd.

By Chris Kenealy

You can enjoy Chris’s humor articles on CloudTweaks each Friday… 

(Image Sources: Wikipedia)

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 9

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 9

Heroes of the Cloud – Part 9Cloud Heroes

A study of Cloud Computing should include not only the companies and entrepreneurs who have raised the Cloud from a concept to “the next big thing” in Information Technology. The study should also include those who have come to depend on the power of the Cloud.

Earlier in our look at the pioneers of Cloud Computing… (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8) we partially defined “The Cloud” as a metaphor for the Internet. Another very workable definition would be that the Cloud is a tool for handling Big Data. Big Data is loosely defined as data sets that include from a few dozen terabytes to several petabytes. How much information is that? If you carry your contacts, pictures, music, games and files on an 8G microSD card in your smart phone, then 131,072 of your friends would need to combine their phones to equal a single terabyte.

Spy movies and James Bond gadgets aside, the national intelligence services are built around information, that is to say data. To perform their mission, a huge amount of information must be gathered, stored, analyzed, and eventually disseminated to the proper parties. At every stage, the information must also be protected ion the interest of national security.

While all of the intelligence services are in the information business, perhaps the most data intensive is the National Reconnaissance Office. The NRO develops and operates “overhead reconnaissance systems”. In other words, the NRO runs spy satellites.

The NRO is a hybrid organization composed of military members, Central Intelligence Agency staff, and DoD Civilian personnel. The NRO’s Chief Information Officer, , was recently awarded a Life Time Achievement “Legacy” Award from CloudNOW.

CloudNOW (Network of Women) is a non-profit consortium of leading women in Cloud Computing. The award was announced in conjunction with the March 2013 Women’s History Month Celebration.

Ms. Singer has held a number of Senior IT Leadership positions in the Federal Government. Previous to joining the NRO, she was Deputy CIO with the CIA, responsible for ensuring that the Agency had the Information Infrastructure necessary to accomplish its mission. Ms. Singer also served the State Department as the Director of Diplomatic Telecommunications Services.

With her background in the Intelligence service, Ms. Singer is intimately familiar with Cloud Security concerns. She writes Recent trends in cloud computing demonstrate the architecture has matured and offers distinct advantages for cyber security defense.

By Peter Knight

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 7, Ladies Edition

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 7, Ladies Edition

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 7, Ladies Edition

When we think of the stereotypical IT worker, for better or worse, a certain image comes to mind. Fairly or not, we tend to think of some one who takes up IT as a profession as a grown up computer geek, either a very skinny or slightly over weight guy, in either case the result of too many hours in front of the screen resulting in not enough physical activity. This has also resulted in a need for corrective lenses, if your image of the IT worker included tape on the frame of his glasses, we will not argue.

A Man’s WorldJJ-DiGeronimo

The point is, although he may not be seen as the most masculine fellow, he will be in most cases a fellow, a guy, one of the male persuasion. There is a glaring gender gap in the IT world. The Department of Labor predicts that there will nearly 1.4 million computing and IT jobs available by 2020, so there is certainly an opportunity for women to join and advance in the IT world.

Whether they will or not remains to be seen. Since 1991, when women made up 36% of the IT workforce, the numbers have been declining. In 2011, less than 20% of the PhD graduates in computer science, computer engineering, and information science were female. Things were slightly more acceptable at the masteral level, with 30% of the graduates in those disciplines being women, but at the bachelor level only 13% of degrees were handed out to women.

Two Women To Listen To

Many observers feel that Cloud Computing will could make a huge difference in closing the IT gender gap. JJ DiGeronimo, director of Global Cloud Solutions at VMware writes “Cloud computing presents an opportunity for women who are not as heavily focused on the architectural design, and how bits and bytes move through the organization.” DiGeronimo is a 20 year veteran of IT, often in entrepreneurial leadership positions. “We’ll still need women who are technical, but cloud provides the chance to also champion ideas and work cross-functionally to define how IT is delivered to business.”

Lauren Savage, senior vice president for IT Strategy and Governance at State Street Corp., sees the cloud as an opportunity for women to “take the reins.” “Women are definitely becoming more attracted to IT because they see IT becoming a critical function to business performance,” Savage says.

The IT World and the Cloud Community is ready for even more contributions from these innovative women, and others like them.

By Peter Knight

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 4

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 4

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 4

Cloud has been a metaphor for the Internet for almost as long as there has been an Internet. As early as 1961 there were predictions “computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility…”John_McCarthy_Stanford

MIT/Standford Professor John McCarthy had predicted eight years before the ARPAnet began laying the foundations of the Information Super Highway, and thirteen years before Tim Berners-Lee established the World Wide Web at CERN.

As ancient as the prediction seems, it sounds a lot like what is happening today in the “Cloud Computing Revolution”. The technology we recognize as the Cloud can be traced to the giant servers developed for the on line retailer Amazon. While modernizing their data centers in the wake of the “Dot Com Bubble”, Amazon began to realize that there was income potential in the vast server farms developed for the Amazon Store. Amazon Web Services officially launched in 2006 to provide cloud computing to external customers, or a “public cloud”.

Eucalyptus Systems

Eucalyptus Systems founder Rich Wolski was a lead researcher at UC Santa Barbara on the Virtual Grid Application Software Project (VGrADS). VgraDS, with funding from the National Science Foundation, investigated large scale computational grid applications, with real world applications in the field of weather prediction, among others. In the fall of 2007, as VgrADS entered its last year, Wolski realized that the project needed to investigate ways to combine the NSF Supercomputers, with the commercial public Clouds. Wolski recognized that Amazon Web Services was the most appealing public cloud for his needs. The open source Eucalyptus software was developed using AWS APIs (Application Programming Interface) as an industry standard.

Rich-Wolski

One of the most attractive elements of Eucalyptus is its Open Source nature, using elements which are freely available as part of Linux distributions. Eucalyptus is designed to be used as a “Linux tool” rather than a separate platform. The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (powered by Eucalyptus) was part of the Ubuntu 09.04 release.

Earlier in 2009, Eucalyptus began commercializing as an Open Source Company. Eucalyptus is a leading software platform for Infrastructure as a Service private cloud applications. Founder Rich Wolski has garnered praise from Cisco Cloud CTO and OpenStack senior director Lew Tucker, not as a competitor, but as a “passionate Cloud enthusiast who can work out magic in the essentials of cloud computing.

By Peter Knight

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 3

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 3

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 3

Lew Tucker

lewtucker-cloud

Cisco Systems was one of the companies which rode the wave of success popularly known as the “Dot Com Boom” of the late Nineties. Unlike many of the tech companies that fell to ruin when the Dot Com Bubble burst, Cisco has managed to remain relevant and innovating in the post-Bubble tech world.

There is a perception that Cisco’s core business is “routers and switches”, not the most exciting of hardware, yet indispensable on the working on the Internet, in fact, any computer network. As the battle for bandwidth developed in the first decade of the 21st century, Cisco was positioned to develop hardware systems that blurred the lines between routing and switching, in contrast to the earlier software based packet processing models.

When Cisco made the decision to become a player in the Cloud Computing Market, one of their first moves was to call on Lew Tucker. Tucker is one of the “old hands” with more than 20 years experience in the high tech industry, ranging from distributed systems and artificial intelligence to software development and systems architecture.

Before joining Cisco, Tucker had been the CTO for Cloud Computing at Sun Microsystems. When he got the call from Cisco, his reaction was that Cisco was a “switch and router company” while his Cloud building experience focused on “complex distributed computing systems”. Cisco countered that they are a networking company, and Tucker came to realize that their hardware based model could be an effective way to create fully automated Cloud systems.

Tucker is a vice-chairman of the OpenStack Foundation and has adopted OpenStack as the cloud platform for Cisco’s WebEx, a market leading Software as a Service collaboration Solution. Interestingly, Tucker is an unabashed fan of Rich Wolski, co-founder of Eucalyptus Systems, one of OpenStack’s leading competitors.

By Peter Knight

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 2

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 2

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 2

Cloudscaling

As Cloud Computing becomes more pRandy-Biasrominent and influential, a few voices rise to the top to define what it means to operate in a Cloud environment.

One of the most respected and influential of these voices is Cloudscaling co-founder and CTO, Randy Bias. Bias is a recognized expert in IT Infrastructure and one of the leading innovators in the implementation of GoGrid’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model. GoGrid had launched the beta version public cloud in 2008 and is currently a leading host of Windows/Linux virtual machines.

Bias built one of the first multi-platform, multi-cloud management systems at Cloudscale Networks. He led the way to open licensing of GoGrid’s Application Programming Interface (API), which in turn inspired Sun Microsystems, Rackspace Cloud, Vmware, and others to embrace open licensing.

Along with Adam Waters, whose background is in IP networking, routing and datacenter operations, Bias founded Cloudscaling. The company serves enterprises, service providers, and web application providers with elastic cloud infrastructure. Elastic Cloud refers to services that have the agility and performance of Amazon Web Services, yet are deployable in the customer’s own datacenter, remaining under the IT teams control.

Cloudscaling has embraced OpenStack project as a core technology. Randy Bias is one of Open Stack’s eight gold-sponsor board members.

OpenStack

OpenStack is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) project based on free open source software. The software based on code contributed from NASA/Nebula platform and RackSpace’s Cloud Files platform.

The project is committed to an open design and development process and is scheduled for updates every six months. More than 150 companies have joined the project, including AMD, Intel, Dell, IBM, Vmware, and some significant players in the Linux scene, Canonical (Ubuntu), SUSE Linux, and Red Hat.

Part of OpenStack’s appeal as open source software is that the team has worked hard to make the APIs compatible with the other players in the Cloud Market, especially Amazon Web Services. Applications written for Amazon can usually be used on OpenStack with minimal porting effort.

Currently, The OpenStack Foundation is directed by Jonathon Bryce. Bryce’s older brother was one of the first 12 employees at RackSpace, and he was happy to bring his computer-savvy little brother along. In 2005, the younger Bryce left RackSpace to form his own Cloud Hosting Service, Mosso Cloud. Mosso continued run its servers from RackSpace data centers, and soon the company and its Cloud applications grew at such a rate that Bryce had been invited back to lead RackSpace.

It was Bryce’s vision that led to contacting NASA to share the development of what would become OpenStack, and Bryce was appointed to head the OpenStack Foundation.

By Peter Knight

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 1

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 1

Heroes Of The Cloud

Cloud computing is gaining an increase in recognition as “the next big thing” in the digital world which in turn affects the world and society as a whole. Cloud Computing is a relatively new concept with many still trying to get their heads around, but in all due time. Yet the industry has already developed a rich and fascinating history.

Over the next few days, we will be investigating this history in our Heroes of the Cloud series. It would be interesting and informing to focus the series on the people who are driving cloud growth, as a rule these pioneers are all young geniuses whose biggest contribution likely lies in the future. Instead, we will concentrate on the companies that these pioneers currently have on the ground. Along the way, we are bound to point out more than a few “geniuses worth watching”.

Nebulakemp-cloud

As the company says in their official blog, how can they avoid shooting for the stars when their story begins at NASA?

Nebula co-founder Chris Kemp got his start working at the local Apple Store. While still in University he created an on-line grocery shopping service for Kroger Stores, and has been involved with net-startups ever since. In 2006 he joined NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley help create public-private partnerships to make the space agency’s data more accessible to the public. Along the way Kemp formed partnerships with Google Earth and Microsoft, essentially bartering NASA data for funding.

It soon became obvious that NASA was going to need a private Cloud, and as CIO Kemp directed the installation of an Amazon Web Services-type infrastructure, housed in shipping containers and powered by excess electricity for the decommissioned NASA/Ames wind tunnels. The result was the NASA-Nebula project, which would eventually power other clouds for the Federal Government.

The software that NASA-Nebula had been using became unreliable, so in response to a communication from Rackspace hosting, an open-source cloud initiative known as the OpenStack Project was launched in July, 2010. Late in 2010, Kemp was placed in contact with Andy Bechtolsheim, the angel investor who helped to fund Sun Microsystems in 1982 and Google in 1998. Bechtolsheim was signalling his confidence that OpenStack had the potential to be as important in the coming decade as Sun and Google had been earlier.

One year after the launch of the OpenStack Project, Nebula Inc. was announced. Nebula’s stated mission is to enable all businesses to easily, securely, and inexpensively build large scale-out computing infrastructures.

By Peter Knight

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