Business Cloud internet Cloud Workshop: A Final Word from the CIO Council Meeting

So should you worry about using a service — one such as’s, for instance — in “The Cloud”?

Ten years ago Oracle was ahead of its time when it tried to kill off Microsoft with the Network Computer. At that time it was a combination of the cost and reliability of the underlying network together with the lack of applications to run on it that likely killed it off.

Today these barriers have all but disappeared. Connectivity is orders of magnitude cheaper and the number of uses for the network has exploded.

WordPress, for example, is the platform that I use to write this blog. WordPress has 6,760 plugins available for download and they have indeed been downloaded 52,448,569 times to date.

A plug-in or widget is a small application that is used to run on a platform to enable certain functionality. In the case of these applications provide the functionality in the right hand column – twitter feed, add/subscribe etc. I also use applications invisible to the reader such as wordpress seo, search engine optimisation.

I think nothing of using WordPress which is a totally cloud based application, unlike Dreamweaver for example, which at one time I used to use to design websites and which resided on my PC.

So as a final note on the CIO council meeting last week I thought I’d look more into their cloud offering. The platform has have 200+ native apps and 550+ partner apps. Not as many as WordPress but there again many of the WordPress plug-ins will never see the light of a real website and they are free.

The applications that are used, however, are of major interest to business, at least collectively. They must be because has 63,200 paying customers with 81M+ lines of code with 16M+ customizations – modification that integrate the platform with other services used by these customers.

New WordPress plug-ins appear daily whilst restricts itself to three releases a year – coming up to release number 30 this Autumn. In the business world a software release needs to be bug free as possible and fully tested which is certainly not always the case with open source equivalents.

So it is clear to me that the move to the cloud is well underway and anyone looking at their information roadmap strategy should have this at the forefront of their mind. Of course this isn’t going to kill off Microsoft anytime soon…

Business Cloud datacentre Cloud Workshop: More from the CIO Council Meeting

In considering moving some of their business operations to the cloud the CIOs round the table at last week’s cloud computing workshop voiced some interesting issues that they had had to get to grips with.

Firstly in running with a cloud based service a business is effectively entrusting key corporate data to a third party and effectively relinquishes control over it.

This means that you have to be sure of the integrity of the cloud. operates 3 global datacentres in North America, Europe and Asia. These are linked with multiple OC48 fibre connections and replicate with each other on an ongoing basis. Of course this doesn’t preclude a domino effect type disaster.

A prudent business will also store it’s own data elsewhere. Coincidentally Timico’s own cloud storage service backs up to two secure and geographically diverse locations so customers then have their data stored in three spots – our two and their own local storage. It would be over the top for us to shift data to the Far East 🙂

The nature of the concern voiced at the workshop was not so much the safety of the data but its retrievability in the event that a customer wanted to take it’s business elsewhere. So when looking at a cloud service the portability of your Bytes is important. Whilst simply retrieving stored data is straightforward (bandwidth permitting) retrieving the business logic built into may not be so careful planning is likely to be required.

Different cloud services almost certainly offer different applications and features and it will be a while before these harmonise into a single set of features in the way that PBXs and CRM packages have done over the years. At the moment though you are unlikely to be able to move to a like for like service. Choose your partner well at the outset.

Another comment from the floor related to the fact that although part of the sales pitch from a cloud vendor was ease of scalability typically this meant that they let you scale up easily but were not so accommodating when you want to scale down. It is understandable that service providers want to maximise their take but I tend to agree that people should be able to reduce their commitment as well as grow it. It should be a stimulus for the quality of a service to be kept up.

Our VoIP service does typically allow customers to do this with one month’s notice so it can be done.

Business Cloud internet Cloud Workshop: Report from the CIO Council Meeting

You may or may not have known that I am on the CIO Council of is a highly professional organisation that I believe really has its head screwed on.

This isn’t a sales pitch for them but I was sufficiently enthused by my Cloud Workshop day, held yesterday in the East Room on the 7th Floor of the Tate Modern Gallery on London’s South Bank, to gush in this post.

The meeting was attended by twenty five or so persons including some global cloud experts from our hosts but also by some heavy hitting CIOs from major international corporates.

What astounded me is the pace of the move away from Microsoft and towards Linux, Google Apps and, of course, Their cloud platform now has 750 Applications you can download. I don’t think anything in this cloudy world comes free but there are seriously well documented business cases and high returns on investment for treading this path.

In the interest of keeping my posts short I’m going to gradually trickle the seven pages of notes I made on the day into discrete bites on this blog.There are lots of really interesting tidbits. Like for example the market for cloud computing is worth $162Bn and that analysts claim that has a 2 year market lead on its competitors.

I’ll finish this one by thanking my hosts for a very rewarding day and a splendid meal afterwards held in the privileged environs of the Poetry and Dream Gallery on Level 3 which included a couple of Picassos (The Three Dancers) and a Jackson Pollock.