For much of the past year I find that I’ve been struggling with putting some definition on “The Cloud.” This thought process began way back on November 5, 2010 when I hosted a VUC call that was a panel discussion intended to consider “The Cloud” in its many facets. That call featured a number of guests, each of whom had specific experience with cloud infrastructure, applications and services. Since that time I’ve been pondering what was said, and further, the evolving public perception of “The Cloud.”
So it was that while attending ITExpo earlier in the month I found myself spending much of my time there in the sessions that comprised the CloudComm Summit 4. During those sessions I had the opportunity to pose some of my questions to the assembled experts. In some cases their answers were enlightening, in other cases they seemed to be puzzled about the very nature of the questions. Even so, all of this has helped to crystallize my own personal definition of The Cloud.
One of Microsoft’s more recent marketing programs made considerable mention of “reaching for the cloud,” presumably with respect to some common end-user applications. I can’t help but feel that such public representations are less than helpful, perhaps even a little misleading.
Tuesday I had an opportunity to try Telesphere’s new VideoConnect service. VideoConnect is a video conference service targeting what’s loosely called the “SMB” sector. That is, businesses smaller than typically use hardware-centric telepresence or video conferencing solutions.
To understand VideoConnect to helps to first frame up Telesphere, who are a Phoenix AZ based provider of hosted Voice/UC services based upon the Broadsoft cloud. Telesphere’s service offering also leverages their private, managed MPLS network. That means that they provide a private connection to end-user sites, ensuring that their services are delivered without issues of QoS/QoE.
Long time telecom guru and advocate for on-premises PBX hardware Dave Michels recently posted an article called, “Capitalizing on the Cloud.” While titled in reference to The Cloud it’s actually a good primer on the underlying logic of capital vs operating expenditures. It’s a good read, highly recommended.
Further, although for my own situation I remain a proponent of hosted PBX services, I take Dave’s point as being sound. There are a lot of claims being made about hosted services of all sorts, whether cloud based or not. Such claims should be examined thoroughly. They may not be completely sound.
Dave has been doing some really good writing over the past year. It makes me wonder where he may come to rest his hat once his current walkabout has come to an end.
As I’ve been using the new HP 5102 netbook these past few weeks I’ve been surprised at just how much I am able to accomplish with very few applications loaded to the machine. I have DropBox, Seemsic Desktop and FireFox loaded, also ThumbsPlus for managing images…and that’s about it. Even so I’m spending a lot of very productive time with this little machine, mostly reading (Google Reader) and writing (Google Docs & WordPress.)
So much of what I do these days is “in the cloud.” Actually, I suspect that “in the cloud” is a mischaracterization of things. Let’s just say that they’re based upon web services as opposed to locally installed applications. I suspect that the same could be said of many iPad users.
There’s a considerable information in the combination of these sources. It now appears that running Asterisk on a cloud platform is moving from experimental to useful, even desirable in some circumstances.
In truth, it’s not really my cup of tea, a little beyond my SOHO scope. But it does seem to be a source of great enthusiasm in some circles.
Update 2/18/2009: Eric from rf.com has create a complete Asterisk image (AMI) on Amazon EC2 including timers. Here are the details.