An interesting time to write about cloud, what with the ash cloud from Iceland volcano grounding air travel in and out of Europe to complete halt. Usually the views from my office window are dominated by planes which are either taking-off or landing at the London Heathrow. But for the fourth day now these familiar sights are missing instead being replaced by airport buildings which appear cold in rare sunny English afternoon. In addition to the obvious travel chaos for thousands of stranded passengers, the volcano cloud has brought more bad news for the already struggling air travel transport industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that airlines are collectively losing £130m per day in lost revenues. If the disruption persists for several weeks, total losses could run into billions, having a catastrophic effect on an industry already set to lose £1.4bn this year, according to a report from BBC. But before we label this ash cloud as a bad cloud we have to be careful as this bad news for airlines is turning into a good news for the rail and ferry operators in the Europe with EuroStar which connects London with Brussels and Paris completely booked and the ferry operators such as P&O releasing more vessels into the service to expand their capacity (and profits!).
Good or Bad the volcano cloud has certainly managed to eclipse a few important strategic news and events. Of note are Nick Clegg continuing to rise above both Mr Brown and Mr Cameron in pre-election opinion polls here in the UK, Goldman Sachs attracting more investigations and headlines for wrong reasons (again!) and the topic of this article which is a few interesting developments in Cloud offerings from the IT industry. Fujitsu has recently announced the availability of four new and one upgraded software products for building private cloud environments. Developed around the advanced technologies that Fujitsu employs in its own cloud services, the new products will be offered as a package for building private clouds that incorporate products from Fujitsu’s global partners. The new line of software products will virtualize customers’ ICT resources and automate the deployment and operation of standardized development and execution environments. They will create an environment where users are able to visualize service catalog and operational status. By linking data to public clouds, the software products will also support the optimization of cloud applications. More on this can be read at the official press release from Fujitsu.
Another interesting related piece which I came across was from the CIO debate series on the topic of cloud. The CIO magazine reports that, many CIOs it has interviewed actually view adoption of cloud computing as the next stage in their outsourcing plans. The article goes onto claim that, the cloud is turning the traditional IT services industry on its head labelling cloud as a boon for many IT departments willing to forego customization: They help IT organisations chip away at hefty capital expenditures from back-end infrastructure to customer-facing software and everything in between. A recommended reading I think, which can be found on this link.
My personal thoughts on this matter are a bit of a mix bag. An area of proposed research for me is going to be in the area of what this will mean to SOA and the BPM paradigm? Both SOA and BPM promised enterprise agility, faster time to market and the ultimate ease of bringing custom products and functions to market. Cloud kind of works for this and also against this as I see it, an Enterprise can leverage cloud as a delivery mechanism for SOA and the above Fujitsu product can be one way to achieve this. But in a sense, it can also works against SOA paradigm by claiming that, does it matter how you build your applications or products anymore? If it is not build from the fabric of reusable services, how does it matter now if you are a consumer? I can see the attraction of SOA if you are a service provider though. Certainly the topic demands a bit more research.