Archive for the 'SaaS' Category



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)

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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

Sunday Mix

Sorry, been too busy in the last weeks. Will see if I can improve on posting frequency, too many things pile up. But here we go:

New York Times (registration required): Meetings Are a Matter of Precious Time True, so true.

Waferbaby asks people “What do people use to get the job done?” Insights from John Gruber (daringfireball.net), Alex Payne (Twitter) and others. Interesting.

Dare Obasanjo discusses an important difference: Platform as a Service vs. Utility Computing.

  1. Utility Computing: In this approach, a vendor provides access to virtual server instances where each instance runs a traditional server operating system such as Linux or Windows Server. Computation and storage resources are metered and the customer can “scale infinitely” by simply creating new server instances. The most popular example of this approach is Amazon EC2.
  2. Platform as a Service: In this approach, a vendor abstracts away the notion of accessing traditional LAMP or WISC stacks from their customers and instead provides an environment for running programs written using a particular platform. In addition, data storage is provided via a custom storage layer and API instead of traditional relational database access. The most popular example of this approach is Google App Engine.

His conclusion:

As it stands today  platform as a service offerings currently do not satisfy the needs of people who have existing apps that want to “port them to the cloud”. Instead this looks like it will remain the domain of utility computing services which just give you a VM and the ability to run any software you damn well please on the your operating system of choice.

However for brand new product development the restrictions of platform as a service offerings seem attractive given the ability to “scale infinitely” without having to get your hands dirty. Developers on platform as a service offerings don’t have to worry about database management and the ensuing complexitiies like sharding, replication and database tuning.

An important distinction if you ask me and a clear crossroad if you want to go into cloud services.

If you want (or have) to enable a web-application with offline-capabilities, Google Gears is often the tool of choice. Eduard Martini gives some good insight on O´Reilly InsideRIA: Google Gears—A Great Tool to Enhance Web Applications. Recommended.

Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst at Forrester gives a great overview of the Social Network Industry on his private blog:  Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Jan 21, 2009

And Nicole Simon explains why LinkedIn will fail in the german market: Linkedin taking the traditional approach in Germany and why that will fail (as usual)

Most of the time, they just make a translation and try to tell everybody how awesome they are everywhere else, as if this is enough.

Jason Scott: Fuck the cloud:

So please, take my advice, as I go into other concentrated endeavors. Fuck the Cloud. Fuck it right in the ear. Trust it like you would trust a guy pulling up in a van offering a sweet deal on electronics. Maybe you’ll make out, maybe you won’t. But he ain’t necessarily going to be there tomorrow.

Yeah, you should know where to place your bets. And backup is not for the fainthearted only, also real men do backups (off the cloud, in this context).

Dare´s take: Asking “should we trust the cloud” is like asking “should we trust horseless carriages”

We all love HAL, our friend from 2001: A Space Odyssey from Stanley Kubrick. Find the HAL project here.

Looks like the new POTUS is not hesitant to use juicy languange. Find some examples here, from an audiobook that he read in. (via)

Whoever wanted to know how David Allen gets things done, here a movie on Youtube (via):

Tabbloid. Converting personal feeds into a personalized magazine. Free. From HP. Not tested yet, though.

From the TPI blog: Quick Savings AND Minimal Operations Risk? Try Facilities Management Outsourcing

TPI has also a german blog now, from the office in Frankfurt.

Garr is great to find (and comment on) extraordinary presentations. This time:  Bill Gates at TED 09: How do you make a teacher great?

TED is the best and most inspiring conference series in the world, if you ask me. Fantastic speakers, great presentations. Awesome.

Tim Ferris explains how to learn any language in three months. Interesting approach to attack the challenge.

Jahresende-Links

So, jetzt zum Jahresabschluss die gesammelten Links der letzten paar Wochen. Sorry, aber wegen zu vielen Reisen vor den Feiertagen und PC-Abstinenz über Weihnachten etwas verzögert:

Nicht ganz neu, aber passend zur aktuellen Eskalation im Nahen Osten: Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War

The present article proposes an evolutionary psychology based model of social prediction, particularly for wars and related social disruption such as riots and suicide bombers.

Frankfurt Story – Danke Robert, gut davon zu lesen, bin ja schliesslich in Frankfurt am Main geboren…

Wo ist das Geld geblieben? – Eine Spurensuche bei der Zeit

The benefits of a monthly recurring revenue model in tough economic times –  Jason Fried von 37signals. So wahr.

Palamida: In a Time of Less, Do More with Open Source: Top 25 Open Source Projects That Will Help Trim Development Budgets (via)

70 Tools Freelancers Rely on Most – auch was für euch dabei?

Und dazu Web Worker Daily: 6 Free, Open Source Resources for Web Workers

Die Jungs und Mädels von EDS sollten´s eigentlich wissen, zumindestens aber eine Meinung haben: How Will Cloud Computing Affect the Information Technology Outsourcing Marketplace? (via)

Endlich mal erklärt 😉 : But What Exactly “Is” Cloud Computing? (via)

Stefan verweist auf ein Paper zum Tema XML Performance. Lesen!

Das Wall Street Journal: Outsourcing: Not Immune to the Downturn, But Holding Up – gibt ja sicherlich noch eine Menge, die Outsourcing primär als Mittel zur Kostensenkung sehen. Der “Do my mess for less”-Ansatz geht aber schnell in die Hose, aber manch lernen eben nur durch Schmerz.

A B2B Recession Survival Kit: Three Not-so-painful Tips for Thriving in a Miserable Economy:

  • Survival Strategy #1: Cut the waste.
  • Survival Strategy #2: Harvest the “best practices” of other companies.
  • Survival Strategy #3: Ask customers what they want.

GMail Blog: SMS messaging for chat – wahrscheinlich (?) bis jetzt nur in USA

Stephen Fry reist mit leichtem Gepäck 🙂 : Gee, One Bold Storm coming up….

Ein paar Takeaways von Nick Carr:

Elliotte Rusty Harold: You cannot trust the cloud (via)

Traditional payware like Oracle, Perforce, and Microsoft Office had lockin issues, but at least you controlled the software. Vendors couldn’t (usually) shut you down just because they decided your app no longer fit their business model. Cloud vendors can, and you have little to no recourse when they do.

Boring meetings? Get a canary…

Dilbert.com

Royal Pingdom: Google Apps SLA loophole allows for major downtime without consequences (via)

Coding Horror: Hardware is Cheap, Programmers are Expensive

Not quite what I had in mind. Oder wie es sich anfühlt, bei Flickr gefeuert zu werden.

Lehman-Chef Richard Fuld: Der Mann, der die Welt in die Knie zwang (via)

The 10 Coolest Open Source Products Of 2008 – inclusive Identi.ca/laconi.ca (via Cem)

InformationWeek mit dem CTO of the Year: Werner Vogels von Amazon. (via Dave). Gratulation!

Drei Posts von Garr:

10 design rules to keep in mind
(1) Communicate — don’t decorate.
(2) Speak with a visual voice.
(3) Use two typeface families maximum. OK, maybe three.
(4) Pick colors on purpose.
(5) If you can do it with less, then do it.
(6) Negative space is magical — create it, don’t just fill it up!
(7) Treat the type as image, as though it’s just as important.
(8) Be universal; remember that it’s not about you.
(9) Be decisive. Do it on purpose — or don’t do it at all.
(10) Symmetry is the ultimate evil.

Robert Scoble polarisiert ja recht häufig, trotzdem (oder gerade deshalb) zwei Posts von ihm:

Alex Payne von Twitter:  How I Use TextMate

Dare kommentiert einen Artikel von Jeff Atwood: The Myth of the Open Source Business Model Sein Ergebnis:

There are basically three business models for companies that make money from Open Source software, they are

  1. Selling support, consulting and related services for the “free” software (aka the professional open source business model ) – RedHat
  2. Dual license the code and then sell traditional software licenses to enterprise customers who are scared of the GPL – MySQL AB
  3. Build a proprietary Web application powered by Open Source software – Google

As you scan this list, it should be clear that none of these business models actually involves making money directly from selling only the software. This is problematic for developers of shrinkwrapped, consumer software such as games because none of the aforementioned business models actually works well for them.

For developers of shrinkwrapped software, Open Source only turns piracy from a problem into a benefit if you’re willing to forego building consumer software and you have software that is either too complicated to use without handholding OR you can scare a large percentage of your customers into buying traditional software licenses by using the GPL instead of the BSDL.

Peter Thomas in der FAZ über Tilt-Shift-Objektive: Wie scharf ist das denn. Dazu den hervorragenden Post von Benedikt Hotze über Architekturfotografie mit Kleinbildkamera und Shiftobjektiv

Brent Simmons über Browser CPU usage:

The thing is, web developers should test their pages for CPU usage the same as app developers do. And anytime a page is idle, CPU usage should be at 0%. Same as with any other app.

eWeek: IBM Virtual Desktop Bundles Lotus, Ubuntu Linux to Freeze Out Microsoft (via)

Phil Fersht: Emerging from the rubble of 2008: BPO has a breakthrough year

Charles Miller: My 2008 end-of-year tech stock tips. (via)

A comment thread on a blog post I can no longer find a link to saw a rosy future for Microsoft because they spend nine times as much on research and development as Apple. There’s the problem. Microsoft pour R&D money into multi-touch interfaces and come up with a table that is relegated to tech demos and gimmicky election coverage. Apple put R&D money into multi-touch and produce the frickin’ iPhone.

Of course, Windows 7 will fix everything. We’ve never heard that before.

So, das solls mal gewesen sein. Bleibt nur die Frage, welches Netbook kleine 10″-Laptop ich mir zum rumspielen gönnen soll. Muss ist eine große Platte (160+GB), Aufrüstbarkeit auf 2GB RAM und eine gewisse Robustheit. Los, wer kann was empfehlen?

Google working to make the Client OS irrelevant

and, somewhat related to the previous post, another approach to tackle Cloud Computing and (in the long run) trying to dominate this field.

Google, presenting the Native Client.

Native Client is an open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web apps.

As of now, a research project in an early stage. But if this works out, an important step, way more that Chrome was before. If you make the client OS irrelevant, the native client will be the launchpad to the web. But this will be different to what we know. We have to see how this develops.  As Google is no charity, it may be another way to create a walled graden in the long run.

Any opinions?

Links on a grey Tuesday

Looking outside the window you get the impression today that it is already late afternoon. But its only 14.45. Early December, after all.

Two examples why it is always worth to have a look at Garr´s PresentationZen:

Lifehacker on GMail´s Canned Responses: Which Emails Should You Standardize?

The year is coming to an end and many salespeople have to make their budget. Vinnie on Top 10 Stupid Salespeople Tricks – a Rerun. Consider yourself warned.

Erick Mack and David Allen are preparing their Lotusphere session. Interesting to listen to the Podcast: Listen in as David and I discuss Notes and Lotusphere 2009

Blogger Obiutary: Doris Dungey, Prescient Finance Blogger, Dies at 47

The Aardvark no longer speaks. (via)

Joel Spolsky on his style of leadership: How Hard Could It Be? Recommended!

Wired: How Gadgets Helped Mumbai Attackers

Coding Horror: Tending your software garden

I had mentioned Dave´s post on listening lately, but there is more: Jay Rosen in an interesting thread on Friendfeed, where journalists argue why they do not listen to users. And Dave again: If you never listen you never learn. Full ack.

WebWorkerDaily reminds to take the Time to Think Twice About Free.

Powers of Empathy. Read the post and figure out, whose words are looked at. (via)

Looking to 2009: Phil Fersht chatting with Peter Allen of TPI

Another post by 37signals on their use of Amazon EC2: Using the EC2 environment for fewer moving parts

Und noch ein paar für die deutschsprachigen Leser:

Selbsttest – Welche Bürotypen nerven Sie? (via)

Alle Jahre wieder: Der verflixte Resturlaub