What Questions To Ask The Personal Cloud Panel At Forrester's IT Forum

I’m excited to be returning to the ideas of the Personal Cloud report that I published last July. In that report, I described how computing by individuals will shift from being device-centric, as it is today, to be being information-centric across devices and online services. Think of Personal Cloud as the following idea:

Federated sets of Internet-based digital services for individuals that act as a permanent and flexible resource to:
1) organize and preserve personal information, documents, media, and communications;
2) deliver that information on demand to any device or service; and
3) orchestrate integration of personal information across all digital devices and services.

Personal cloud service providers will build a combination of a data center cloud software platform, browser-based code to enable rich Web experiences, and device-level player or presentation code for richer experiences than the browser can provide, including offline access. And they will create an ecosystem of complementary software and service providers on top of their own offerings.

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 27th, I’ll be hosting a panel on Personal Cloud at the Forrester IT Forum with three executives at companies that are building elements of the personal cloud ecosystem:

Adam Gross, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Dropbox 

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Google And VMware Advance PaaS For Enterprise - Who Will VMware Partner With Next?

Today, Google announced Google App Engine for Business, and integration with VMware’s SpringSource offerings. On Monday, we got a preview of the news from David Glazer, Engineering Director at Google, and Jerry Chen, Senior Director Cloud Services at VMware.

For tech industry strategists, this is another step in the development of cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Java Spring developers now have a full platform-as-a-service host offering in Google App Engine for Business, the previously announced VMforce offering from salesforce.com, plus the options of running their own platform and OS stacks on premise or in virtual machines at service providers supporting vCloud Express, such as Terremark.

What’s next? IBM and Oracle have yet to put up full Java PaaS offerings, so I expect that to show up sometime soon – feels late already for them to put up some kind of early developer version. And SAP is also likely to create their own PaaS offering. But it’s not clear if any of them will put the same emphasis on portability and flexible, rich Web-facing apps that Google and VMware are.

So Google aims to expand into enterprise support – but will need more than the planned SQL support, SSL, and SLAs they are adding this year. They'll also need to figure out how to fully integrate into corporate networks, the way that CloudSwitch aims to do.

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How Can Telecom Equipment Makers Take Advantage Of Cloud Services?

I've had a couple of interesting discussions about telecom and network equipment makers in the last few days. How can they take advantage of the cloud mania? Here are some quick thoughts:

1. Offer their equipment on a pay-per-use basis. Requires them to assume capital risk and bulk up the balance sheet. Might cannibalize gear sales. The usage pricing should be attractive for occasional use, but unattractive for constant use.

2. Create a cloud service that complements and advantages their telecom gear. Since the equipment sits in telecom operators and service providers around the world, work with customers to create a service that builds on data collected, with permission, from the experience of those customers.

3. Explore whether there's a service-only offering that is attractive to operators and hosters. Can a telecom equipment vendor offer capability as a cloud service, rather than as an on-premise product? There's probably something, but I don't know the market well enough to know. But I can't imagine cloud services fully replacing on-premises equipment.

What are your thoughts on how telecom equipment makers can take advantage of cloud services opportunities?

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What Survey Questions Should We Ask IT Infrastructure Buyers?

Every spring I’m faced with the wonderful opportunity – and challenge – of choosing the best questions for Forrester's annual 20 minute Web survey of commercial buyers of IT infrastructure and hardware across North America and Europe.

Clients can see the 2009 survey instrument here. In that survey, we learned that only 3% of firms were using cloud-hosted servers and that 79% of firms prioritized IT consolidation and virtualization but only 23% prioritized internal/private cloud efforts.

As technology industry strategists, what themes or hypotheses in IT infrastructure do you think we should focus on? What are the emerging topics with the potential for large, long term consequences, such as cloud computing, that you’d like to see survey data on? Please offer your suggestions in the comments below by May 21!

This year, I’m proposing the following focus areas for the survey:

  • New client system deployment strategies– virtual desktops, bring-your-own-PC, Win 7, smartphones, and tablets
    • Hypothesis:  Early adopters are embracing virtual desktops and bring-your-own-PC, but the mainstream will proceed with standard Win 7 deployments
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