End User internet

lament for a book #Amazon

It is with great sadness that I reflect upon Amazon’s announcement that they are now selling more eBooks than books you can pick up, touch, feel, flick through and leave on top of the pile by the bed in the hope that you will one day get around to reading them.

I am as guilty as anyone in abandoning the printed form for kindle running on my iPad but I don’t feel good about it. For some reason this is the one  casualty of the internet age that I am not happy about.  I don’t care about newspapers – I now get them online and through Twitter, Flipboard et al and don’t ever find myself thinking that this is yesterday’s news and out of date.

Books are the one thing I don’t want to let go of. I like the problem of having to go out and buy a new bookcase because we have run out of shelf space on the existing ones.  I like looking along the rows and seeing the different colours and sizes and wide range of authors and topics that display an active mind and wide literary interest. I even like knowing that I have a specific book somewhere but not being able to find it because I can’t remember exactly which shelf it is on in which room.

But because of the internet I rarely read anymore. Even the books I have on Kindle are out of copyright classics, free to download but stored electronically and not read. I just have them because I can and the one book that I have recently read electronically is Kipling’s Jungle Book and I also have a paper copy of this one (a timeless classic – read it if you haven’t yet – you don’t have to be a child to enjoy it).

The internet/world wide web/whatever you want to call it is a fantastic and exciting entity that provides me with a living.

It isn’t all good though and at this point I’d like us all to observe a few moments of silence to reflect on what we are giving up when rushing headlong into a world that steals our time and blurs the seasons into one confused timezone…

Business Cloud

Amazon is Down and What that Means for Public Cloud Confidence

Having noted the resilience of Wikileaks and thus the internet from concerted Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks we wake up this morning to a crisis in cloud confidence with the news that some of Amazon’s own European sites have been down. The reason cited? “hardware failure”.

As a network operator I know that no one is immune from such failures.  It is a surprise however that such a failure (we are not given any details) could bring a site such as Amazon down. The Amazon pitch is that their cloud is distributed over multiple sets of hardware and is supposedly able to live with the failure of any given server/drive.

The fact is that this puts out a message that Amazon’s service is not as resilient as they would like it to be.  It will quite possibly make businesses think twice about using a public service that is shared with so many other users.  If any one of those users is attacked it could affect everyone else with collateral damage.

I’m not sure that the cyber battles currently going on over Wikileaks can be described as full scale cyber warfare. The shot across the cyber bows is however going to make people think hard about their cloud strategies.

As a provider of services local to the UK  this actually does give me hope that the model of private clouds for business rather than the big scale low cost low margin world of Amazon et  al has the potential to be one of the winners.

Business Cloud google

Some Clouds are Better than Others

I’ve been thinking about clouds. It’s a very trendy thing to do at the moment. It’s something you notice about trade shows. A trade show will evolve its name in line with what the organisers think will bring in the punters.

For example in the UK “VoIP for Business” became “VoIP for Business incorporating Unified Communications” which then became “Unified Communications”. I fully expect Unified Communications to morph into “Unified Communications with cloudy bits”. It will probably be the same underlying list of exhibitors.

Anyway the popularity of the cloud buzzword is of course because the world is moving into the cloud. The cloud is still for most an ethereal place that is difficult to get the grey matter around. It appears on the advertising copy of so many vendors how do you decide how to take advantage of it. This is the case whether you are an end user, a business or a potential provider of cloud services.

Consumers will use a few branded services such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc. Business however needs something different, even it is just a better service level. So at the moment I think the business world is manoeuvring to understand how the bits of the fluffy jigsaw fit together.

They will end up dealing with specialist cloud integrators. This will provide the differentiation and some clouds will definitely stand out as being better than others.

As it stands you need to be able to keep your feet on the ground and head just above the clouds so that you can look around and see where these better clouds are starting to form 🙂