Archive for the 'SaaS' Category

It´s an accounting issue (3 + 4)

continued from here:

Agreement Language

There are several issues that must be considered around agreement language that can impact how the revenue is reported.

  • Gross versus Net Revenue reporting: Service provider costs, related party transactions and alliance agreements.
  • Pricing structure and embedded leases

Compliance and Controls

Compliance and control is important since it offers assurances to investors and more often than not, it is the law.

Points and Reminders:
• Clients and service providers need their accounting experts to sign off on any accounting treatments.
• Every contract can be different; slight nuances to contract language can alter accounting treatments.
• Recognizing and addressing these issues upfront, in the client’s sourcing strategy, improves their RFP and negotiation position.
• Everyone benefits from a clearly defined strategy.

And one last parting thought, “It’s an Accounting Issue.  No, it’s a Contract Issue.”

It´s an accounting issue (2)

continued from here:

Start-up & Transition and Asset Ownership

several issues that need to be considered around start-up & transition and asset ownership including:

  • Asset ownership:  Asset valuations, Lease Types
  • Start-up, Transition, Transformation and One-Time Charges: Expensed vs Capitalization
  • Restructuring costs

It´s an accounting issue…

John Klee from TPI starts a series of posts on Accounting Considerations in Sourcing Environments. This is going to be interesting:

What accounting issues can impact the Sourcing strategy and/or RFP structure?

  • Asset ownership:  asset valuations, embedded leases in service contracts, lease capitalization
  • Start-up, transition and one time charges:  expensed vs. capitalization
  • Potential alliance agreements:  Related party transactions, gross vs. net revenue recognition
  • Regulatory compliance:  Sarbanes-Oxley Act, SAS70, etc
  • Pricing structure:  service provider revenue recognition
    • After collecting cash, recognizing the revenue streams related to those collections is often a Service providers management’s greatest concern

Closed platforms are like ice cubes in a glass of water

Closed platforms are like ice cubes in a glass of water. They float for a while. They change the temperature of the liquid. Ultimately however, the ice cube eventually melts into the wider web.

Jean-Marc Liotier in a comment to an worth reading article in the LA Times about Twitter (which is down at the moment…)

(via)

Clouds on a sunny and hot day

eweek.com:  Informatica Launches Data Integration Service in the Cloud

Interesting:

PowerCenter Cloud Edition, which became available on July 23, uses Amazon EC2, Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon S3 (storage) to provide access to enterprise data sources such as relational databases, flat files and SAAS (software-as-a-service)applications.

Bruce Cleveland: The SaaS Business Model and Some Common Legal Questions – worth a read. I believe these kind of issues is way underestimated.

David Linthicum: Will Cloud Computing kill the Datacenter?

Probably not. While cloud computing is a great fit for some applications, and/or other architectural components, it typically won’t be a fit for all applications and/or architectural components. There will always be some data, services, processes, and complete applications that you want to keep within your firewall for a number of reasons, including: Compliance, privacy, fear, control, and cost.

Brian Sommer: Is Your IT Shop Mature Enough for Cloud Computing?

CIOs will need to marry their needs and business requirements with the true capabilities of cloud capability providers. I suspect that some providers offer a cloud ‘space’ and not much else. CIOs will likely need more. They’ll want to work with providers that can advise them on needed capabilities in their application portfolio, changes they’ll need to make in their applications, techniques and technologies required to make cloud apps integrate with legacy apps, etc. If a cloud provider just offers bandwidth and disk storage, their solution may be woefully inadequate.

Yes, that´s what it boils down to. Just the “cloud space” is not that a big step from managed hosting of individual servers.

Joe McKendrick: Do we need cloud oriented architecture?

Absolutely. More than ever, as environments get quite complex if a multitude of services, both external with multiple providers plus internal retained have to be integrated.

He is linking to a post from ZAPLinks Ronald Schmelzer: Who’s Architecting the Cloud?

The essence:

Given that too few cloud computing providers have your business in mind when they architect their solutions, and the ones that have a process-specific business model and approach aren’t concerned with your specific business, it lands upon the laps of enterprise architects within the organization to plan, manage, and govern their own architecture. Once again, the refrain is that SOA is not something you buy, but something you do. Perhaps we can start hearing the same mantra with cloud computing? Or will the cloud succumb to the same short-sighted, market pressure that doomed the ASP model and still plagues SaaS approaches? It’s not up to vendors to answer this question. It’s up to you… the enterprise architect. There are no short-cuts to EA.

Amen.


Cloudy summer

I admit it, posting was on hold for quite a while due to heavy workload and summer vacation. Now again some links about one of the topics I am interested in.

The Datacenter as Computer is a must-read for anyone interested in the topic, written by Luiz André Barroso and Urs Hölzle of Google. And it is easy to read (it took me just two afternoons on the beach…). Download the PDF here.

Michael Manos of Microsoft on their Datacenter vision: Our Vision for Generation 4 Modular Data Centers – One way of Getting it just right . .

The AWS blog is always worth stopping by to see what is going on at Amazon. Good stuff from July 13:  Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, and CloudWatch Resources

I believe Jeff Barr (who is also writing on the AWS Blog) is collecting links on AWS and related tools as awsbuzz on delicious. Recommended to follow.

Arstechnica:  Google reveals plans for Chrome cloud synchronization. This is not really surprising, isn´t it?

And Google is beating on the bush with “Going Google” and migrating away from e.g. Lotus Notes. I believe this is just for Mail and Calendar, not for Applications. Make up your mind yourself.

Pipes in Text

A few days ago, Stefan joined a rant of Peter Williams on Yahoo! Pipes lack of a text representation:

While for many models (and programs, and anything in between) having a visual representation is nice when you want to read (or view) it, visual authoring sucks in the vast majority of cases. Sadly, being able to efficiently edit something in a text editor, with versioning and diff support and so on is in general not what impresses those who make purchasing decisions.

This is so true.

One more day, and he links to a great presentation on Pipes and the Y! Query Language. Says Abel Avram in the post that directs to the presentation by Jonathan Trevor , captured at QCon SF 2008 (53 mins):

Yahoo Pipes uses a visual tool to specify a series of pipes through which input data flows and is filtered and processed in various ways. There are many data sources like personal data, CSV, feeds, web pages, services like Flick, Yahoo Search, and others. Processing is done through operators like: Filter, Loop, Regex, Sort, Union, and others. The result is shown in a web page, a feed, or given to an application. The service runs in Yahoo’s cloud, is free and does not offer security protection for sensitive data since anyone can copy and run a pipe made by someone else.

YQL is similar to Pipes but uses a textual textual language and can process both Yahoo web services data and any structured data with an URL. It has an SQL like syntax with three statements: SELECT, SHOW, DESC. This approach is more powerful and the applications created are protected.

Thanks, this is what a lot of people are looking for.

Cloud Computing Futures by Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research investigating Cloud Computing Futures:

To create novel data center solutions, designs must be based on comprehensive optimization of all attributes, rather than gradually accruing incremental changes based on current technologies and best practices. The Cloud Computing Futures team is tasked to invent on a large scale. Our goal is to reduce data center costs by four-fold or greater, including power consumption, while accelerating deployment and increasing adaptability and resilience to failures.

Great claim. Let´s see what Microsoft brings along. (via)

Google App Engine – out of Beta

O´Reilly Radar: Google App Engine Lets Your Web App Grow Up

After today developers can pay to have more storage, more bandwidth, more CPU time and send more email. The costs as of this morning are listed below with a comparison to the AWS equivalent cost.

• 10 cents per cpu core hour (AWS charges $.10/hr for a small, standard Linux instance and up to $1.20/hr for an XL, Hi-CPU Windows instance in EC2)
• $.10 per gigabyte transferred into AE (AWS charges $.10 for all data transferred into S3)
• $.12 per gigabyte transferred out of AE (AWS charges $.17 for the first 10 TB/month transferred out ofS3)
• $.15 per gigabyte stored per month (AWS charges $.15 for the first 50 TB/month stored onS3)
• .0001 dollars per email (AWS does not have an equivalent)

A huge concern with App Engine is platform lock-in. Google provides a lot of powerful, but non-standard APIs and features that make switching platforms difficult. Developers can extract themselves from App Engine via projects like AppDrop, but it is still risky to use their platform without an SLA. Without a guarantee Google could theoretically decide to raise prices unreasonably. Is it likely? No, but it is something that developers need to think about before committing to any platform.

This may be a showstopper, at least for some. The lock-in is imho much stronger than for example with AWS. So choose wisely…

App Engine quotas here.

And Dare asks Is Google App Engine the wrong product for the market?

Below are the two categories of people I surmised would be interested in spending their hard earned cash on a book about cloud computing platforms

  1. Enterprise developers looking to cut costs of running their own IT infrastructure by porting existing apps or writing new apps.
  2. Web developers looking to build new applications who are interested in leveraging a high performance infrastructure without having to build their own.

As I pondered this list it occurred to me that neither of these groups is well served by Google App Engine.

Given the current economy, an attractive thing to enterprises will be reducing the operating costs of their current internal applications as well as eliminating significant capital expenditure on new applications. The promise of cloud computing is that they can get both. The cloud computing vendor manages the cloud so you no longer need the ongoing expense of your own IT staff to maintain servers. You also don’t need to make significant up-front payments to buy servers and software if you can pay as you go on someone else’s cloud instead. Google App Engine fails the test as a way to port existing applications because it is a proprietary application platform that is incompatible with pre-existing application platforms.

Saturday night mix

The PersonalMBA on “Experimenting with Delegation and Outsourcing“. Sure he is inspired by Tim Ferriss, isn´t he? But this might be an interesting approach, especially when you want to offload work to free up your capacity.

WebWorkerDaily: 6 Strategies Freelancers Can Learn From Corporate Cost-cutting. Yes, when everybody is tightening the belt, also freelancers have to adjust.

The Crisis of Credit visualized. Excellent.

Mindfuck Movies:

Some movies inform. Some movies entertain. And some pry open your skull and punch you in the brain. MATTHEW BALDWIN gathers up the films that have caused him to clutch his head and moan.

David Pogue shares his greatest hits from TED.

I had a separate post on better presentations a few days ago, but here are Edward R. Tufte´s Presentation Tips – not dependent on a particular tool.

Going for a Netbook? GigaOM with 5 Resources for Netbook Helps, Hacks and How-To’s

Louis Gray asks: Is there room for anyone else besides Twitter? Yes, there is, even though Dave Winer is still looking for Twitter´s WordPress. Look over to identi.ca, folks. I am @arminauth

Quite some commentary on the deal between IBM and Amazon to Deliver Software via Cloud Computing With Amazon Web Services.

Nick Carr: Another little IBM Deal

It doesn’t seem like such a big deal, and it probably isn’t. But you never know. The licensing of MS-DOS seemed like small potatoes when it happened.

Vinnie Mirchandani: Will IBM regret this also?

So, IBM now announces a relationship with amazon for its web services ostensibly to expose more of its software to the lower end of the market.  In the meantime,  it continues to do similar stuff in its own data centers for larger outsourced clients.

The question is will history repeat itself.

Dana Gardner: Who makes most rain from IBM-Amazon cloud deal? Oracle.

So we come to Oracle. Larry Ellison’s entertaining position on cloud is a hedge. He knows the substantial cloud economy is inevitable, and he knows its at least 10 years in the making. And he knows the transition will be ugly and bloody.

It’s too soon to tell whether the rainmaker-enabled marketplace approach of IBM (remember Java, Linux, n-tier) will beat out the shoot-for-the-moon strategy of Microsoft when it comes to the cloud. But I like Oracle’s margins better through 2016 as the battle ensues.

Twitter 10 Commandments from @thealmightygod:

I saw God the other day – he had just come down from the mountain (OK, so it was Camelback Mtn) and Tweeted to me in my sleep. He told me he had come to bring me the 10 Commandments of Twitter

The NY Times (Registration required) on Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu: A Software Populist Who Doesn’t Do Windows