Tag Archives: gartner

Gartner and cloud computing, take 2.

Vern Burke, SwiftWater Telecom
Biddeford, ME

I just got through reading a post by Lydia Leong about the “impurity” of cloud computing defending the Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for “cloud computing IAAS and web hosting”. Where in the world do I start on this.

It’s certainly true that the same customers that want cloud computing services may want classic data center services as well, such as co-location or dedicated physical servers. It’s also probably true that providers that offer a broader range of both classic data center services and cloud computing services may be stronger as a business because of the flexibility offered by having a broader portfolio of services available.

The problem is, what we have here is an attempt to mix a wild collection of things together as being “one market”. How can you lump the suitability of a provider to host a web site with a provider to host an outsourcing of an entire enterprise data center? I was wrong in my post yesterday about the MQ, it’s not clueless, it’s schizophrenic from attempting to combine too many incompatible requirements together as “one market”. This gives you the odd result of penalizing the 900 pound gorilla of the cloud computing market.

The other problem is that the disparate elements that appear to be blended into this mess simply aren’t found in the title. Outsourcing an entire enterprise data center isn’t covered by the title, requiring dedicated private servers for non-web hosting purposes isn’t covered. They may be other things that customers who want cloud computing or web hosting services might want, but they can’t all be welded together in one big Frankenstein monster with that title. Putting a correct title on this that reflects what it really contains won’t help the schizophrenia but it would be more honest.

This thing is a mess, no matter how you slice it.


Gartner: clueless in the cloud.

Vern Burke, SwiftWater Telecom
Biddeford, ME

I’ve just been reading about the uproar over the Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for cloud computing infrastructure. I think they need some remedial education before they pass themselves off as cloud computing pundits.

Defining “cloud computing” precisely is something that people have been squabbling over quite some time now. This is because most of the people squabbling can’t separate the core characteristics that truly define cloud computing from all the little details that define the many flavors of it.

Even though people tend to disagree on what cloud computing really is, it’s pretty clear what it is NOT. It isn’t “classic” data center services. This is what had me shaking my head over Gartner declaring Amazon weakness because they don’t offer co-location, or dedicated private physical servers.

Having started as a classic data center provider here, SwiftWater Telecom, my own operation, provides both classic data center services such as co-location AND cloud computing services and the combination of these things gives us more flexibility to meet customer’s needs through combination. On the other hand, the classic side of the coin isn’t a weakness or a strength of the cloud computing side. It just means I have a wider range of tools to satisfy more customer needs.

After previously having gone around with Lydia Leong of Gartner about a hairbrained suggestion to chop public clouds into private ones (“Cloud computing: another ridiculous proposal.”), I can only conclude that they only have enough handle on cloud computing to be dangerous.

Trying to mix a requirement for traditional data center offerings in to the equation when
when the subject is supposed to be “cloud computing infrastructure” is the most clueless thing I’ve seen in quite a while.

Tuesday data center tidbits: got one! and money for nothing.

First up today is the piece about Google having to bury their data center fiber because hunters shoot it off the poles. Ah yes, beered up yahoos running loose in the woods with firearms, another criteria for choosing a data center location.

Next up is the piece where Gartner claims cloud brokering is the single largest revenue opportunity in cloud computing. If being a dubious value added middleman is the way to make the most money, then cloud computing is a big fat #FAIL.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center services today.


swiftwater telecom rcs cloud computing logo

Cloud computing and the great security debate.

I’ve been reading about the recent Gartner report on cloud computing security issues and here. I think there are a ton of holes in this report.

The first point is the statement that 60% of virtual servers are not as secure as the physical servers they replace and that’s not going to change until 2015. Really? Unfortunately, the articles don’t supply any basis for that claim or what is supposedly going to change in the next 5 years to change that. Gartner’s issue seems to be not having “information security professionals” involved in the virtualization project so it seems this number is based on project methodology and not a real analysis of virtual servers in the wild. Take this number with a HUGE grain of salt.

The second point is that supposedly the hypervisor (the core of the virtualization and cloud computing system) is a new platform that introduces new vulnerabilities and ones that havn’t been discovered yet. I’m not sure how they get “new” when the popular Xen hypervisor has been around for 7 years now.

It is certainly true that hypervisors may contain undiscovered vulnerabilities. Of course, so does almost any piece of software that touches the Internet (take a look at any of Microsoft’s bugfests). If you refused to use a piece of software unless it was guaranteed perfect, you’d never use any software at all.

The idea that network security appliances can’t see virtual machine to virtual machine traffic on the same physical host is simple to resolve with proper network design. The claim that virtual machines can’t be adequately separated is just plain odd. The blanket statement that the physical servers can’t provide adequate access control to the administrative interface is baffling.

Finally, there’s the “risk” that combining virtual servers on the same physical server can result in unauthorized access to data. Nobody ever provides a specific example of this claim, just a vague “well it COULD happen”. I would suspect that, since there’s a huge amount of virtual server and cloud computing being used (Amazon EC2 for example), if there was a major chance of this happening, we’d have already seen it.

So, what si the REAL virtual server or cloud computing security risk? The same thing it’s always been, bad system admin practices (understrength passwords, poor quality passwords, not updating buggy software), just exactly the same as it is for physical servers. It’s far more likely that a security breach of a virtual or cloud computing server is going to come from outside, just exactly as it would for a physical server.

Follow good administration practices, standard security practices for the virtual and control domains (Dom0 and DomU in Xen terms) just like a physical machine, and keep all software patched and up to date including the virtual machines and the hypervisor, and stop dreaming up boogeymen in the data center closet.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services and green data center services and sleep well at night.


swiftwater telecom rcs cloud computing logo

Thursday data center tidbits.

First up is reading about Via’s new mini server powered by the Nano CPU. It’s a cute little thing, undeniably low power, and I’m impressed to see 64 bit and hardware virtualization support, but just how much meaningful virtualization could you really do with a single 1.3Ghz CPU?

Second up is Gartner’s prediction that by 2012, 20% of all business will own no IT, it will all be in the clouds. You ARE getting ready for the onslaught, aren’t you?


swiftwater telecom logo