Archive for March, 2008

Cloud commentry

I posted my thoughts on some comments received, as well as a few emails I got offblog, as a response in this thread.

AMD Appoints Nigel Dessau as Chief Marketing Officer

Well there you go, I mention Nigel in a blog entry on Amazon and Clouds, and a couple of days later Nigel is named as new CMO for AMD. Nice one Nigel, look forward to seeing you here in Austin!

 Business Wire Coverage

More on blue clouds

Thanks for the comments and emails on my recent posts on cloud computing wrt IBM, I’ll post some more useful discussion, feedback shortly but am bust traveling now. This flashed past my screen this morning though, net net, it is a press release announcing that our HiPods team is opening a cloud computing center in Dublin. Worth a brief read.

And so on Amazon and clouds

Here is the post I mentioned in yesterday’s Clouds and the governor post. I’ve deleted some duplicate comment but wanted to publish some of the things left over.

It was an unexpected pleasure to catch-up with Redmonk maestro and declarative liver(?) James Governor over Christmas, while back in the UK. It wasn’t a tale of Christmas past, but certainly good to see him at Dopplr mansions in East London. Sorry to Matt and the Dopplr guys for busting in on them in my xmas hat and not introducing myself.

James and I didn’t have much time together, I’d just got through handing in my IBM UK badge, and returning all three of their laptops, bidding fairwell to Larry, Colin and Paul, and wanted to head off to see my parents. We squeezed in a quick coffee and a chat, James was keen to discuss his theory on Linux distributions, I didn’t have any reason to really pitch for, or against this and just told him what I knew. We didn’t have time for much else, we did discuss erlang briefly both as a language, but also on explotation of multi-core, multi-threaded chips, and I’ll come back to that one day. What we didn’t get to discuss was Amazon, cloud computing and James on/off theory on IBM and Amazon.

There is no doubt in my mind that on demand computing, cloud, ensembles, call it what you will computing is happening and will continue apace. I’ve been convinced since circa ’98, and spent 6-weeks one summer in 1999 with now StorageTek/Sun VP, then IBM System z marketing guy, Nigel Dessau getting me in to see IBM Execs to discuss the role of utility computing. After that I did a stint in the early Grid days, and then on demand architecture and design.

So, whats this with Amazon? Yes, their EC2 and S2 offering are pretty neat; yes Google is doing some fascinating things building their own datacenters and machines, so is Microsoft and plenty of others. One day, is it likely that most computing will come over the wire, over the air, from the utility? Yes.

Thats not just a client statement, there is plenty of proof that is happening already, but a server or applications statement. Amazon API’s are really useful. I wish we had some application interfaces, and systems that worked the same way, or perhaps as James might have it, we had Amazons web services, perhaps without the business that goes behind it. Are we interested in Amazon, don’t know, I’m neither in corporate or IBM Software group business development.

It comes back to actionable items, buying, partnering or otherwise adopting Amazons web services, really wouldn’t move the ball forward for the bulk of our customers.

Sure, it would open up a whole new field of customers who are looking for innovative ways to get computing at lower cost, so are our existing customers. This would be of little use short term as there are few tools built around. I work at a company that helps customers. There are some things we are doing that are very interesting for the future, but what is more interesting is bridging from the current world and the challenges of doing that. Like every new technology, cloud computing will have to be eased into. We can’t suddenly expect customers to drop what they have and get up into the clouds and so that means integration.

Clouds and the governor

I’ve been meaning to respond to Monkchips speculation over IBM and Amazon from last year his follow-up why Amazon don’t need IBM. James and I met-up briefly before Christmas, the day I resigned from IBM UK but we ran out of time to discuss that. I wrote and posted a draft and never got around to finishing it, I was missing context. Then yesterday James published a blog entry entitled “15 Ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing”.

The straw that broke the camels back was today, on chinposin Friday, James was clearly hustling for a bite when he tweeted “amazed i didn’t get more play for cloud computing blog”.

Well here you go James. Your analysis and simple list of 15-reasons why it is not a cloud is entertaining, but it’s not analysis, it’s cheerleading.

I’m not going to trawl through the list and dissect it one by one, I’ll just go with the first entry and then revert to discussing the bigger issue. James says “If you peel back the label and its says “Grid” or “OGSA” underneath… its not a cloud.” – Why is that James? How do you advocate organizations build clouds?
Continue reading ‘Clouds and the governor’

Chinposin Friday

Cathcam chinposin on flickrI never really got casual Friday. Here at IBM, Friday pm is Think Friday, no repetitive meetings, time to think and urgent meetings only. Yep, I wear my jeans in on Fridays and try to catch up on email, not much time to think. Casual Friday for me though is more than clothes, it’s a state of mind thing for me, that stems back to my time at Chemical Bank out on Long Island, NY in the early 1980’s.

When we started at the data center, the place was still a building site and we wore what we liked. Over the next 15-months though things quietened down, other people started working in the office and a bunch of mid-20’s mainframe geeks with t-shirts, sometimes shorts etc. stuck out a bit for a bank. Then the day came, my boss, Phil Gross, pointed out we were possibly amongst the highest paid people in the building, we were paid to think smart, and so we should dress smart. From then on it was back to normal shirt/tie etc, apart from the twice yearly lobster parties in the parking lot. One day perhaps we’ll get John McNic to start a web site with pictures, hopefully I’ll be retired by then…

So now we have chinposin Friday. If you are on twitter or flickr, post a picture that reflects you in a chinposin mood. This week I’ve been reflecting on my past and my future, so this chin pose is a good summary. Great fun, pretty simple, some people have been doing very funny things! Here’s to chinposin.


About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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