30 March 2012

Everyone Needs a Cloud – Even If They Don’t Think They Do

In this Uhuru podcast episode Jonathan Schnittger, a senior developer atiQuate, talks about even companies where cloud computing doesn’t make sense for their own products can still benefit from back-office cloud services like e-mail, file sharing, etc. Jonathan’s company creates security scanning software that has to be run on local networks which precludes cloud hosting. Many of his customers are using cloud services like Amazon. Even the large enterprises he works with are hosting more and more of their applications on the cloud. Desktop replacement with cloud services is another hot area Jonathan sees organizations adopting, but the solutions for this are still immature.
You can follow Jonathan on Twitter:

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Pioneer Of The PaaS

In this Uhuru podcast episode Wely Lau, a software architect at NCS Private Ltd, talks about his pioneering work with the Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS). He was using Azure as an early tester even before it was released! There have been growing pains along the way, but today Wely is building complex applications on Azure that save his customers loads of money. He describes one fascinating project where he reduced the time to process thousands of records to prioritize work for a shipping company from over 4 hours to 2 minutes by dynamically spinning up additional application instances as needed. This is the dream of the cloud – pay for what you need, when you need it, rather than having large sunk costs in systems that are only used on a periodic basis. Wely is also closely following other PaaS services such as Amazon’s new Beanstalk, and now the Uhuru AppCloud (of course!).
You can follow Wely on his blog:

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28 March 2012

PaaS Requires a New Set of Skills

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast Imran Ahmad, President of Cloudanum, tells about his experience helping major organizations roll out cloud computing projects. The new Platform as a Service space solves a lot of the cloud management issues Imran’s customers face, but it takes a new skillset and way of thinking of the cloud. Many of Imran’s clients are exploring Platforms as a Service (PaaS) but not one has rolled out a production service yet. Too many PaaSes require changes in how apps are written to be immediately applicable to existing applications.
I will just have to get Imran to try to Uhuru PaaS to see how it IS possible for apps to be deployed on the cloud without re-architecting.
You can read more of Imran’s ideas on his blog:

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Testimony of a cloud convert

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast show Tim Genge, a senior software architect at RealmSoft, talks about his recent conversion to the cloud. Cloud computing used to be nothing more than marketing double-speak as far as Tim was concerned. Now that he is running his own business and working with customers in the banking sector he “gets” it. Yes, many aspects of the cloud are similar to traditional client/server software models but the way in which people use it to transform their businesses is truly impressive.
Tim has been looking seriously at Azure as a platform for his software, but he needs it to run on a private networks as well since his customers won’t trust everything to the public internet. Tim also has a client-side component to his software which makes it difficult to find the perfect cloud solution since no one seems to focus on that area.
As an addendum to the interview, I should point out that after the discussion we clarified that Azure does NOT, in fact, have a local version that Tim’s customers can run on their local networks. Tim says he is going to investigate the Uhuru PaaS as an alternative .NET PaaS (which just happens to run in private networks just fine).

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27 March 2012

Software testing moves to the cloud

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast show Feza Pamir, the VP of Marketing at QASymphony, explains how his company uses the cloud to offer their own cloud service, to help software test teams manage bugs and the entire quality assurance process. QASymphony currently uses Amazon virtual machines for hosting their service but support local deployments on private networks and are looking at other service providers that might have different levels of security that would allow them to meet varying customer needs.
Feza makes it clear that choice in cloud hosting is critical because his customers have such different needs – even private clouds have a role to play since there are still situations where organizations need to keep data on their own network.
While platforms as a service, like Uhuru, are an interesting hosting option to Feza the technology his company has built has such a degree of low-level customizations that they need the greater control of configuring the operating system to their needs. If he had to do it all over again it would be nice to build the QASymphony applications in a way that would make them more compatible with PaaSes.

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The database hitman tries the PaaS

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast show Anil Mahadev, a Principal Software Consultant aka DB2Hitman, shares his experience of working with the Uhuru PaaS. He was amazed with how quickly he was able to deploy a .NET app. Moreover, it was easy for him to configure his application to work with the Microsoft SQL Server service by following a few steps. By contrast, it took Anil a lot longer to get off the ground and running with Azure.
No question about it, Anil feels that the Uhuru PaaS is great for developers and test engineers. The big question is whether IT is ready to go the way of the PaaS.
You can listen to the entire interview here.

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25 March 2012

The health of the cloud

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast Terry Montgomery, a Project Manager at Health Roster, talks about his experience with managing IT projects in the cloud. According to Terry, the medical industry may be slow to adopt new technologies but the value of cloud computing is so compelling that they are moving fast. Amazingly, it is the small operations like physician offices which are leading in cloud adoption with products like practice fusion. Hospitals and large health-care organizations are dipping their toes into cloud computing with virtualization of their private data centers. Compliance issues, and HIPPA, may have created some initial caution with cloud adoption in health-care, but Terry sees that these issues are being addressed and that the industry is ripe for the cloud now.

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22 March 2012

The Virtual Machine perspective

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast show, Shalin Jirawla (a software engineering student) shares his thoughts about cloud computing. He talks about his interest in using the cloud for real-time computing applications. While Platforms as a Service are interesting to Shalin he feels that complete access to virtual machines is necessary for most of the things he wants to do for now. His experiments with Microsoft’s Azure haven’t been overwhelming.
That’s the kind of challenge Uhuru loves! Let’s just see if the Uhuru PaaS can’t help Shalin with his work…
Here is the full recording of the interview.

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21 March 2012

The next step of the cloud – making the office virtual

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast show Ben Yehooda (the CEO ofLevaman) talks about how his company is building cloud services to make the virtual office of the future a reality today. Just as the cloud has made it possible for companies to avoid having to build their own physical IT infrastructure, Ben is working hard to eliminate the need for physical infrastructure too.
Why can’t employees just work together remotely from wherever they are? Why invest in expensive office space? Ben explains why he thinks tools like Skype and Office 365 are limited in their abilities to re-create the vibrant office environments with serendipitous conversations and sharing of information.
Levaman practices what they preach. Their employees are scattered around the world and they have never owned a physical server.
You can hear ben talk about his vision of the cloud and virtual offices here:

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13 March 2012

VMware’s walk on the wild side – Cloud Foundry and Open Source

In this episode of the Uhuru podcast Dave McCrory and Patrick Chanezon, both senior staff at VMware, explain how the decision to introduce the Cloud Foundry Platform as a Service (PaaS) as an Open Source project has helped far more than its hurt. Dave and Patrick talk about how they had the first community bug fix pull requests within the first day of releasing Cloud Foundry to the Open Source community. After a year in the Open Source realm they feel Cloud Foundry has matured far quicker than it ever could have otherwise.
There is a certain logic here. For a technology like a PaaS aimed squarely at developers, sharing the source code and engaging the very people intended to use the service can lead to a lot of great benefits.
Still, it can be a little frightening to see the community take your life’s labours in directions you may not have intended, or dreamed, as the example Dave and Patrick site of Smalltalk support being added to Cloud Foundry illustrates, not to mention .NET support and other sundry enhancements that companies like Uhuru have added.
You can listen to the entire podcast here:

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Outsourcing Bad Idea No 16: A Gun To The Head.

In this Practical Software show, SEP group member Venkatesh Potdar, a Project Manager at Adtran, talks about how important it is to build a partnership with outsourcing teams. He points out that you can’t just throw things over the wall and expect success. This kind of collaboration requires trust and respect and simply won’t work with a gun to the head mentality, treating the outsource team like laborers to whom you can just issue demands.

Venkatesh also explains why it is sometimes better to just go the whole way to actually set up a permanent office abroad to hire your off-shore team as direct employees. If you are going to be making a long term commitment to a team that is sufficiently large anyway, then why not just bring them on as actual members of your company?

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