To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. In the photograph a formation can clearly be seen in the shape of what looks like Britain and Ireland drifting over the English countryside. The other week, during a discussion with a client, I was described as a ‘veteran of the IT industry’.
When I started in the industry, terminal sessions and mainframes were the norm, and the possibilities for IT were exploding with PCs, desktop applications and networks, all in their infancy but opening up new possibilities of enabling data manipulation like never before. It soon became apparent that one of the challenges with these early ‘Cloud’ services was the lock-in factor; businesses were encouraged to throw away their own solutions in favour of a centralised service, with the promise of standardisation, reduced operating costs and increased control and flexibility.
For many organisations the quick wins, in terms of cost savings, centralisation etc., were of value and the same applies to Cloud services today. The way in which we can access these Cloud services may have changed, but the principles and the underlying benefits and disbenefits to suppliers and customers still remain the same.
Whilst all of the above can be true, the important thing when considering the Cloud as part of your sourcing strategy is to clearly and honestly evaluate the benefits and disbenefits. Security can never be better than keeping your data segregated and isolated (ask our own MoD).  Not knowing where your data is held, who is looking after it and how it is accessed, will always bring risks.
Adopting a Cloud solution may bring a lower cost in one area, but could result in an increased reliance and cost to another, for example networking performance or reliability.
Cloud to Cloud application migration is immature; how exactly can you move to a different service provider if things are not performing as expected and what do you move?
The sourcing of a Cloud service needs to be part of a cohesive strategy, setting out to source Cloud whilst ignoring all other options makes no more sense than completely dismissing Cloud options. Ensure that the evaluation is correctly aligned to your business priorities – it is not about replacing like for like; understand what is really important to the business. Service, service, service – delivering service to the business is reliant on supplier’s support capabilities. Undertake a proper evaluation and sourcing strategy exercise to ensure Cloud and any other option is fairly compared. Do not get distracted by the hype of Cloud, make use of its benefits like any other sourcing option to best fit your business and situation. The difficulty facing many organisations is pulling together all the options; knowing which way to go is not just a technical decision, it needs to be worked through with the business and IT in partnership. The key is to develop a thorough sourcing strategy which realises the potential of Cloud, while ensuring benefits and values that are required to enable business performance are not compromised now or in the future. If this article resonates with you and you would like advice specific to your situation, contact Quantum Plus and we will be more than happy to help. Criccieth sea level (174Kb) Taken late evening, so the photo is fairly ropey, but I like the optical illusion here. Aircraft hall (225Kb) Not for any particular aircraft, but just to get an overview of just how jammed in they all are.
Rose (158Kb) They had some very nice roses - this is probably the best photo that came out. Striped lawn (285Kb) From the top of the central tower, looking down at a nicely striped lawn.
Towers and skyline (121Kb) And again, slightly different angle, and including more of the background view. Castlerigg stones (171Kb) It's actually not a true circle (it's flattened on one side), and some of them have fallen over, but you get the idea from this.

Castlerigg stone wall (168Kb) No, I didn't climb on it - this was taken holding the camera out over the top.
Stainton fell (132Kb) It's strange, but this really looks like either the shots above from Snowdon, or the shots of the Cuillin on sky.
Seathwaite stream zoomed way in (269Kb) A trick shot, this, given that the patch of water was in shade.
Furness clouds (139Kb) I seem to have a tendency to take cloud shots when interesting formations happen - there are some in just about all the other holiday sets as well. Furness abbey arches (197Kb) They went in for some substantial arches here - not a feature I've seen elsewhere (well, not five together like this). That sounds as realistic as an advertisement selling me toothpaste so good it’ll cook me breakfast. Well, I confess, the set-up I just described is a somewhat rose-tinted view, but the reality is really not that far off. First published in 1947, Varsity is the independent student newspaper for the University of Cambridge.
Now heading towards my mid 40’s, I was unsure whether to take this as a compliment reflecting my knowledge, or as an indicator that the years of working in the industry had taken its toll on my once youthful looks.  It was at this given point that it struck me, “maybe my ‘youth-fading’ knowledge and experience would be of interest to a wider audience”. Over the years we have seen all these evolve, but what strikes me about the last 25 years is how the same fundamental approaches are cyclical. Other ‘new’ Cloud buzz words have come and gone, all in some way or other meaning the same thing as those now attracting ubiquitous Cloud tag: ASP, SaaS, CaaS and not forgetting the ‘virtual’ tag, the list goes on. Many organisations soon discovered the ‘one size fits all’ mentality was not flexible enough for their changing needs, and then trying to break open the private Cloud to integrate new services, it became apparent how extremely expensive and in some cases impossible to exit; these challenges still remain today as they did then. However, for each of the above assumptions, there are additional points that need to be considered when using Cloud, which may end up costing your business a lot more than originally expected. The ‘one size fits all’ mentality to applications, means that compromises will always have to be made.
The cost to your business is not just about operating costs of one solution versus another, it is about making sure a fit for purpose service is delivered to users. I believe that Cloud services are finally starting to open up possibilities and opportunities, which all organisations should seriously consider knitting into a holistic IT landscape. Remember the flexibility you had to ask one of your team to quickly tweak something may be lost and will almost certainly not be as simple. If suitable and possible, make your selection exercise one that presents the business needs and allow suppliers to build the best fit option, i.e.
If you are moving to a completely new way of delivering a function, be sure to understand how you transition into and exit from the service and its impact to your business operations and data. I truly believe every medium to large organisation will find a hybrid model of Cloud and non-Cloud services of benefit. This (and a lot of the other Minster photos) were taken twice - I'd taken one set, then the sun came out . You go up by the side of the rose window, then across a walkway to get to the stair up the central tower.
All my shots of the interior roof of the minster came out wonky, except this one, which was actually taken from outside, in the sun, looking in through the door .
Imagine a tiny box sitting on your desk; just a keyboard, a screen and an internet connection.
The idea behind cloud computing is basically that instead of having your computer lug around all the hardware it needs to store and process information it will simply connect to an online server (the ‘cloud’) which manages these things for you.

Cloud computing turns the whole computer market into another utility, like water or electricity. Cloud computing is fantastic for those who will actually use it to its full potential, but for the average guy or gal behind a keyboard it won’t ever be worth it. Just like my kids are now buying the clothes that I used to wear as a teenager, the IT world has a habit of taking an old concept and seeking to recreate it with a new label.….one of the latest being the Cloud!
The oldest ‘Cloud’ like service probably is your telephony service provider; many readers might recall BT’s ‘featurenet’, one of the earliest implemented private Cloud services. A cheaper implementation may well mean a more expensive transition or migration in the future. However, many Cloud services are not set up to deal with this requirement or be audited to validate.
Clearly the 80-20 rule applies and ‘good enough’ needs to be understood, but still there are likely to be compromises. Is the supplier really geared up to provide the expertise and levels of response that your users expect?
Unfortunately in my experience, this is the weakest area of most Cloud providers’ offerings. We used the house as a base for several shorter trips out to various places around the country, including North Wales, York, some bits of Lancashire, and finally the Lake District (which is cheating a bit as we'd dropped them off at the airport by this point). Now imagine this new slim-line laptop has near unlimited hard-drive space plus processing power that approaches super-computer status. Without having to worry about hardware problems the computer you use will be smaller, cheaper, and never need to be updated – instead, you just pay for access to the ‘cloud’. This makes it perfect for emerging companies or business that need scalable computing power but can’t afford to pay for the initial infrastructure costs. The computing power already available to consumers far exceeds the needs of the average user and is much cheaper than cloud computing when bought in the small quantities most of us need.
Although cloud computing as a utility might have some unwanted side effects, the basic principle of relocating storage or processing power from your computer has already been put to some fantastic uses. It was developed to replace local telephone systems with a simple wire and phone to your desk; allowing centralised integrated voice functionality, removing the need for on-site equipment, and incorporating future flexibility to meet business needs. A reduction in on-site infrastructure costs could mean a significant reliance and increase in network costs.
Companies like Twitter have already found that it’s cheaper to pay for bandwidth and storage from distant hosting companies than buy their own servers. Cloud computing could even end up leaving the public worse off – if computing power becomes a utility then you can be certain that those who provide it will do all they can to maximize their profit. A quick fix in new capability as standardisation today could well mean less innovation and flexibility for workgroup specific specialisiation in the future.
For academic institutions the cloud can be even more beneficial – two CERN physicists have already set up a project known as ‘the Grid’, a European-wide network that pools the computing power of nineteen universities to process data produced by the Large Hadron Collider.
Whether it’s being used by universities borrowing processing power to map genomes for cancer research, or by teenagers shouting abuse at each other whilst playing video games online, cloud computing is certainly here to stay.

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