Category Archives: cloud

Battlefield 4 + Epic Win * Fun = IBM Cloud technology IBM Softlayer

Battlefield 4 + Epic Win * Fun = IBM Cloud technology IBM Softlayer.


I have been interested in social, mobile, and cloud for several years, but only in the last year or two have I noticed that these areas have become closely intertwined. It’s as if they were destined to work together in a new paradigm. I almost can’t think of one without the other two. Mobile lets me be more social. Social led me to cloud. Cloud just is.

The Intersection of Cloud, Mobile and Social— Increasingly organizations are looking to tap the collective power of social, mobile and cloud technologies. We asked Ric Telford, IBM VP of Cloud Services, to share his perspective on the trend in light of IBM’s new social business software including SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite. University of Texas at El Paso is using the software to collaborate in the cloud using mobile devices. Cloud Computing Journal: What’s the connection between Social, Mobile and Cloud. Are they just three tech buzzwords? Ric Telford: Social, mobile and cloud are inextricably linked as three facets of the same movement – a new era of computing. Some call it the “third platform,” others “SoMoClo, let’s just call it “new era” for now. Cloud is the delivery, mobile is the ubiquitous access and social is the personal engagement. Cloud is scalable, flexible IT resources on-demand with the compute power to handle real-time analytics and Big Data; mobile is having simplified, user-friendly access anywhere. Social adds the power of collaboration. As one consolidated framework, this “new era” enables flexible delivery of services and expanding reach – bringing communication and productivity to whole new levels.

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IBM Technical World for Smarter Computing

IBM Technical World for Smarter Computing 

featuring Cloud, Power Systems and System z 

April 16-19, 2012

San Francisco, CA

IBM Technical World for Smarter Computing

Very excited about speaking at this show next week! I will be giving these talks on cloud computing:

  • cBU09 – Birds of a Feather: Cloud and Social Media – Tuesday 10:30 – Franciscan C
  • cBU06 – Planning Your Cloud Education – Wednesday 1:00 – Union Square 1/2
  • cBU07 – An IBM Cloud Offering Decoder – Wednesday 2:30;
    repeat Thursday 9:00 – Union Square 1/2

 I also plan on doing some live social media reporting. Look for my tweets @mirv_pgh.

Cloud Computing: My Very Short List

A coworker just told me that she knew nothing about cloud and wanted recommendations on where to start. Here is my very short list of links, for those who are otherwise tech savvy, just not about cloud:

The IBM Cloud blog:

The learning path on developerWorks:

The IBM Cloud YouTube Channel:

The developerWorks Cloud Computing Central community:

See also, my articles on Planning Your Cloud Education, and the IBM Cloud Offering Decoder.

Privacy in a Public Cloud

[This article was submitted for future publication on]
Remember the skepticism around onlineshopping and e-commerce sites back in the day when the web was young?Everyone was afraid of giving out their credit card information overthe Internet, for fear it would be intercepted. We eventually gotover that fear, thanks to encryption technologies such as SecureSockets Layer (SSL), which make e-commerce much safer today. Thatsame technology also plays a role in cloud security, and that is onething to consider, along with other security issues when moving yourapplication to the cloud.
Publiccloud versus on-premises
You basically have the same securityissues and considerations for deploying applications on the cloud asyou do for running them on premises. The difference is that on cloud,some of those issues are handled by your cloud service provider. Theimportant thing to consider is how far the cloud service provider’sresponsibilities extend, and where your responsibilities as theclient, or virtual machine (VM) instance owner, take over.
First, thoroughly investigate yourcloud service provider’s policies. Treat them like any otheroutsourced service. Check their references. Clearly define theservice level agreements (SLAs) in your contract. SLAs can coverthings like backups, up time, disaster recovery, change management,and so on. Audit your cloud provider or consider third-party auditsto ensure that those policies are enforced.
For example, the IBMSmartCloud Enterprise has many mechanisms in place to offer asafe and secure environment, such as:
  • Firewall and intrusion protection system (IPS) between guest VMs and the Internet
  • IP-filtering technology and multiple IP addresses per instance for enabling security zones
  • Optional virtual private network (VPN) and virtual local area network (VLAN) isolation of account instances
  • Encrypted connections: IBM is isolated from customer VMs through customer secure shell (SSH) keys and server passwords
  • Hypervisor-based (kernel-based virtual machine) isolation with client-configurable firewall rules
  • Public images patched and scanned regularly
  • Patch servers for private images
  • Root access for customers to guest virtual machines, allowing further hardening of VMs
  • No sharing of private images between accounts on the cloud
  • Access to the portal and APIs, which requires a user ID and password
Users must comply with IBM’s stringentsecurity policies, and are subject to regular security scans.
Not all cloud providers offer the samekind of protection, so do your homework!
Image— or instance — is everything
As a VM instance owner on the IBMSmartCloud, you have root access and control over that instance as ifit were one of your own on premises, and you are responsible forsecurity on the instance itself. That means that it is up to you toconfigure access to that resource, install and run anti-virussoftware on it, and so on. Treat it like any other client in yourenterprise; it is just as vulnerable to threats and attack. This blogpost lists several useful links to articles about securing andmanaging your instances.
Getstarted with the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise: This articledescribes how to securely connect to, configure the firewall of, andmanage (encryption) keys for your instances. You should take care ofthese tasks immediately upon creating your instances. Determine whowill need access to your instances, determine the firewall ports thatneed to be open or closed, and be prepared to use and manage keys foraccess.
Why key managementis important
IBM SmartCloud employs encryption soyou can control access to your applications and data in the cloud.However, encryption alone does not guarantee security. Keys must alsobe stored and managed properly.
Securemulti-user access to IBM Cloud instances with VNC and SSH:Provides a detailed description of how to configure cloud instancesand clients for secure access.
IBMSmartCloud Enterprise tip: Integrate your authentication policy usinga proxy: Describes how to create a proxy bridge between yourhomegrown applications and the IBM SmartCloud. This bridge can allowyou to implement finer-grained access control that cannot be directlyimplemented in the IBM SmartCloud portal. In other words, you can usethis technique to control not only who can access, but how, where, orwhen they can access data.
IBMSmartCloud Enterprise tip: Secure access for Android devices:Describes how to set up secure access to a cloud instance for Androidmobile devices.
Cloudsecurity considerations: This good general article is abouthigh-level cloud security concepts. This is just the tip of theiceberg, but it does give a very concise overview.
Extra credit
Model-drivencloud security:This article discusses the challenges of cloud application securitypolicy automation and describes how it can be achieved through amodel-driven security architecture and deployment.

Cloud for “Everyman”

[This article was submitted for future publication on]

There is a lot of discussion here aboutcloud for business, but what about cloud for Everyman – the averageJoe – the man on the street? How will cloud computing change lifefor the average person? In short, cloud has already changed thingssignificantly, and will continue to have an impact on our lives foryears to come.
Acloud of sound
There are numerous applications nowavailable for people to create, record, upload, and share music withthe world. As a musician, I think this is awesome and amazing. I canshare my favorite songs with my friends on social networks, and I canlisten to their favorite songs – all for the price of “a song”(essentially, for free). I wonder how this has affected the musicbusiness, and how it will impact the future of the music industry? Iimagine that it has provided more opportunities to musicians, andmade music more accessible to a wider audience. It has been a boon tothe independent artists and small record labels, but have the bigrecord companies suffered as a result? I grew up in an era ofmega-rock stars and arena tours, but those days are gone. They willbe the stuff of legends that I will tell my grand kids.
Acloud of words
If you want to publish your own book ormagazine, there are many options available to you, thanks to cloud.Actually, cloud has made the term self-publishing essentiallymeaningless. All of the publishing tools that you could possibly needare now provided on the cloud – everything from editing andproduction, to distribution and finding an audience. It has takenself-publishing quite a number of steps further than merely making abook. The distinction is more a matter of “corporate” publishing(the big companies) versus independent presses and smaller co-ops.For the rest of us, this means that if we have Internet connection,we can find something to read about anything. ANYTHING. The historyof the Belgian lute? How to make beef jerky? Card games of the middleages? It’s all there.
Acloud of images
…and most of those images are ofcats. Seriously. Do you know anyone with a cat who hasn’t posted aphoto of it on the Internet? But it’s not just about the Internet.The Internet gives us the network to share our books and music andimages with the world, but cloud gives us the tools andservices that make it possible for us to create those books, songs,and images. We are not merely uploading our photos, we are editingthem, collecting them into albums, turning them into videos withsound, and so on.
We will soon rely on cloud for allkinds of services. When we go shopping, the cloud will send couponsfor the products we want to buy directly to our smart phone or mobiledevice. When we seek medical care, our diagnosis will come from thecloud. When we are traveling in a foreign country, cloud willtranslate for us.
How has cloud changed your world?

IBM Cloud Offering Decoder

[This article was submitted for future publication on]

Years ago, I had the opportunity tochat with a VP in charge of IBM software research, and I asked himpoint-blank, how are IBM products different from the competitors’? Heanswered simply that other products on the market were “uni-taskers”– having limited function – whereas IBM offerings were like awhole set of dependable Craftsman®tools. The uni-tasker might offer a quick and easy fix, but IBMoffers customers a range of options they can use to build the rightsolution.
I am reminded of this conversationagain as I look at the IBM cloud offering portfolio. In the cloudmarketplace, there certainly are a lot of uni-taskers, but the valuein the IBM cloud portfolio is that it is extensive, with offerings tomeet the needs of all kinds of businesses, large and small. However,having too many choices can be daunting. I am definitely in the campof “having a lot of options is a good thing,” but I can see howthis might cause some confusion and make things more complicated forcustomers looking for the right solutions for their business. That iswhy I give you my “cloud offering decoder” if you will.
Where do you fit into the cloud ecosystem?

By now, you might be familiar with the cloud delivery models:

However, whether you want to move a little of your business on tothe cloud, or a lot, cloud adoption patterns tend to fall into one ofthe following categories, depending on how you want to use cloud:

What do you want to do with cloud?
Cloud delivery model
Cut IT costs and reduce complexity
Cloud enable your data center
Accelerate application development, testing, and deployment
Leverage cloud platform services
Transform business processes, build your brand, innovate with speed and efficiency, drive sales and profitability
Use business solutions on cloud
Create, manage, and monetize cloud services
Become a cloud service provider
Cloud infrastructure

IBM cloud offerings are grouped around the following adoptionpatterns:

  • Cloud enabled data center (IaaS): Here are a plethora of offerings, ranging from IT services to help you plan your cloud strategy, to implementing an advanced cloud infrastructure.
  • Cloud platform services (PaaS): These are pre-built, pre-integrated IT infrastructures tuned to application-specific needs. The offerings here support development, deployment, and testing of applications on the cloud.
  • Business solutions on cloud (SaaS): The IBM offerings here cover business process design, social business, supply-chain visibility, digital marketing optimization, B2B integration, monitoring as a service, desktop cloud, and more.
  • Cloud service provider: Here you have everything you need to build the cloud infrastructure, enable and extend applications in the cloud, and so on.

In addition to these cloud adoption patterns, there are a numberof offerings to help secure, manage, and integrate a cloudenvironment. (A nice way of saying, “Stuff that did not fit intothe other categories.”)

Cloud-enabled data center
Cloud platform services
Business solutions on cloud
Cloud service provider
Cloud security, service assurance, hybrid cloud integration and management

IBMfall cloud launch
The IBMcloud computing webcast on Oct. 12 did an excellent job ofpresenting the IBM cloud offerings, and you can visit the IBMCloud Computing Briefing Center to access a replay of the event.After registering, be sure to explore the links under the Directoryin the virtual meeting center where you will find more detailedinformation about specific cloud topics and offerings.