The Cloud, multiple Platforms within Platforms

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

I recently attended The Open Group India Conference in March. This was the first time that The Open Group India had launched such an event, and they had the ambitious target of visiting three cities in the week. The event itself was a platform for discussion of Indian perspectives on all aspects of Architect Best Practices, and in particular, the India market on Enterprise Architecture and Cloud Computing. It drew a significant cross section of public and private industry sector professionals at all the venues, with keen debate and presentations demonstrating industry-leading thought leadership and case study.

The highly successful event raised important questions and discussion on significant topics of the moment in architecture and the Indian perspective. One that stands out in Cloud Computing was the development of Cloud Architectures and the role of Cloud as a platform for services.

Significant Cloud Computing commentary from the Cloud panel sessions included:

  • The role Indian government IT services strategy development could play in applying Cloud Computing, Grid and SOA concepts to the public sector services to the federated and regional citizenship
  • How the Indian market could exploit the SMB and youth demographic that see the Cloud as a rapid resource delivery platform, and huge potential for services in the Cloud to local and international markets
  • The evolution of Cloud services, notably in Big Data and content as a service and in applications software development in the Cloud using PaaS. Both need further focus on master data semantics and interoperability standards to help versioning, persistence of data and support of multiple Cloud virtual environments to drive the potential reality going forward

The debate of Cloud Architectures and Platforms ran throughout the three-city Conference, with notable observations and lessons learnt, including:

  • Support of multiple locations by “location-aware Clouds” was an interesting aspect when developing shared platforms that need to recognize the delivery and localization of “last mile logistics” and end-user experience of the service. One-size-fits-all needed some abstraction of end point use in enabling adoption flexibility and relevancy
  • Cloud Architectures had to be “platforms” that “evolved” like the ecosystem that made up its internal and external components and services. This was a fact as many Clouds and integration adaptor strategies using open source and proprietary technologies where driving ahead with different standards and speeds of development. Understanding the solution options needed to “design for change” was a matter of urgency in architectural design practice for Cloud
  • Mobile Cloud, including the Internet of things (IoT) and the spread of mobile channel services everywhere, drew considerable interest as a strong potential second wave of the Cloud as it enters the next stage of added-value services, virtual communities and multi-Cloud service marketplaces

The underlying theme seemed to be the emergence of service platforms and services enabled by the Cloud and its pervasiveness into social media and social networks underpinned by Cloud infrastructure and data centers. Platforms enabling other platforms in a distributed regional, wireless, global bandwidth enabled world.

I remembered that, at the same time as the Indian event, there was a shining example of technological inspiration right above our heads orbiting 200 miles around the Earth: the STS133 mission and final space flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. This in itself was an inspiring magnificent achievement. The shuttle had flown more missions than any other — 39 in the 25-year flight history — but that was not the whole picture. Discovery was the platform that launched another platform, the Hubble Space Telescope, into the heavens. And look what discoveries came of that: the first pictures of the now-famous Eagle Nebula stellar nurseries, new insights into the distribution of galaxies and the universal constant, and the list goes on. One platform borne upon another; how much further will our children see tomorrow?

Cloud Computing will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices, case studies and the future of information security, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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