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18 June, 2008

Jumping on the Cloud Bandwagon

Let me get the usual, blah blah blah about how I’ve neglected my blog and am really sorry to all of my faithful readers, all 6 of you. I start out with great intentions of having an active blog and what happens? I get distracted. Instead of writing, which I enjoy, I end up doing other stuff like watching Doctor Who and Top Gear. One can not live by the Mac alone you know. Yet those two shows can take up an awful lot of one’s day. Both were started back in the day of the Mainframe for Camalus’s sake! There are a lot of shows to watch. Yet those distractions are nothing compared to my biggest time sync. Which is?

Startups. I’ve gone off and joined 3 other people to set up a little ole startup. I’ve ditched my day job and jumped feet first into the life of the unemployed.. er um, retired. No that’s not quite right. I am now an entrepreneur. Un entrepreneur. Un imprenditore! I say “Startups” (notice the plural) because… well… I have too many ideas to just go and do one. So, I might as well spread the love and throw my time to a few adventures in business creativity.

The one I want to tell you about is called Cirrhus9 (guess who came up with that name?) and is focused on helping companies take advantage of Cloud Computing.

Unless you have been living in Petts Bottom (a lovely place by the way) then you have probably heard of Cloud Computing.

The term is being thrown around like a rider from a bull. IBM, HP, Amazon, Google, you name it; they all have their own definitions for what Cloud Computing is. Usually it implies the use of someone else’s infrastructure for your own compute and storage needs. Sometimes it includes very specific infrastructure and applications. In one case it is simply hardware upon which you overlay your software. In others, it is a development framework running within some massive data center. Sometimes it is code for SaaS - Software as a Service which is simply an application hosted on the web.

I consider it to be a form of Utility Computing; a service that you pay for based on usage. The key is that you are using someone else’s infrastructure; the servers, network, storage and the glue or middleware to hold it all together. That infrastructure is running the services (applications, web sites, storage) you need. You get charged for only what you use. The beauty is that you can scale up and down as needed. Running a website getting about 100 hits a day? One small server will do. Offer free chicken dinners and watch your hits go to over a million per day? Scale that bird up to meet the demand.

Sounds mundane doesn’t it? I’ve even been told by a number of really ancient friends that it reminds them of the good old days in the ‘70s when you were charged to run your “Hello World” program on the company’s main frame. …
Why does everyone compare every new technology to the main frame? When Enter the Haggis comes out with a new song on the bagpipes about unrequited love, I don’t say “It reminds me of Jim Croce’s Time In a Bottle” do I? No, I don’t. So, you friends that keep saying that the last new thing was The Mainframe, would you please throw away your Time in a Bottle 45?

Glad I got that out of my system. Back to Cirrhus9 -- What we are building is a service that helps companies evaluate the potential of Cloud Computing. Right now we are focusing all of our effort on Amazon’s definition. They provide the infrastructure and you can pretty much install whatever (worthy) operating system you’d like. This is different from the Google Cloud where they provide you with a scalable development environment and you develop and deploy whatever application you like. The operating system layer is hidden from view.

Each has strengths and weaknesses. Our vision is to someday take advantage of both but right now we have hooked our mainframe to Amazon’s. I’ll be blogging about Cloud from time to time at Cirrhus9’s website so go ahead and check it out.

But don’t give up on me here. I’ll be back next time with some Mac related stuff. I’ve got some musings on iPhone 3G and Snow Leopard. So until next time….

e tutto per oggi!

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