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IT Outsourcing

Cloud: will it soon be a resaleable resource?


March 23, I participated as Pentalogs’ CIO in a very interesting conference on Cloud computing, organized by IOC-Online. There were over a hundred CIOs in attendance at this quality event.The association of various solutions (Riverbed, Microsoft, Salesforce…) and experience of people (PSA, law firm, BNP Paris Innovation) showed the broad scope of the Cloud. The last part of this conference was a roundtable which was very representative of the cloud context: public / private / dedicated could, S.P.IaaS.The most representative of the PaaS model was the company “Lokad” that makes calculations for online provisions. Once they get initial data they start the necessary processing in Azure, loading the data, next launching the analysis, capturing the results, and finally stopping the process. At 15 cents an hour per instance, they take full advantage of the model “pay as you go”. To meet their delivery commitment (results given in 1hr to their client), for a classic model, they would require a heavy initial investment. To offer a provisional calculation, up to 100 processors can be mobilized, soon hundreds will be used to offer a faster delivery.The CIO of the STIME (a subsidiary of the “Mousquetaires” Group) referred to their solution as a “in-house” virtualization. Since they had taken the decision not to depend on one provider, they had to establish their system on a more robust reliable solution. They chose to customize the Sun VirtualBox solution integrating it with other open source elements. Thus, they can respond quickly to their requirements with a private / public cloud, for the implementation or storage and /or a combination of the two. This is certainly an evolution in the cloud. When you see the Riverbed product to be released next year with the concept of a “SAN as a LAN”, it is conceivable that we could have equipment on one side and storage on the other side.I wonder also if a stock market will be put into place as a means to purchase processing power on one side, storage on the other and bandwidth from the operators. It’s a bit like today with our energy suppliers (gas and electricity). We would arrive at a total virtualization. The idea is very interesting, but is this total abstraction going in the right direction?In fact, during this conference, a lawyer with a specialized law firm intervened to indicate a few of the precautions that must be taken in regards to outsourcing (SLAs, reversibility…). What guarantees can we have with brokers? Especially, when you impose (or you have imposed) rules concerning respect for the environment. The company Markess also intervened to present the results of their study on Cloud solutions. For the CIOs surveyed, data confidentiality, ensuring continuity and quality service are the three main challenges of cloud computing. It’s not going to be easy for the brokers neither.The brokering of a cloud is a good idea from the end-customers’ point of view who will always get the best price. To be able to offer this type of service, they will need:

  • Offers that must evolve in order to have a “resale” price (not yet seen to date)
  • Laws, to “impose” set standards. Europe certainly has a card to play in regards to this subject, but it might take a while.
  • Cloud concepts that are better controlled by those who understand the risks, the advantages and the cost.

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