Saturday, 23 May 2009

Heading into the clouds

I am taking my first steps into the Intalio Cloud. As an individual and for my small business, I like the concepts of cloud computing and use the Google family of services as part of my normal daily operation. This started as a Google Doc. Having an interest in the use of BPMS to formalise operations within and between organisations, I have been following the Intalio BPMS offering for some time and, despite some ragged edges, I find it a good approach.

Intalio Cloud is an interesting prospect. Where do you place it in the taxonomy of the cloud? Is it providing storage, compute power, platform, value added services ... ? Not only all of the above but apparently a range of hardware and services so that you can be your own cloud provider. An interesting scalability equation, I can operate somewhere in a blackbox datacentre with 2 users for free ; expand into a productive organisation at $x per user per month; form my own cloud service datacentre (using surplus power and cooling capacity of NZ South Island) all without changing the operational business processes.

So I will be doing a bit of tyre kicking and a much thinking about the security and other risks associated with putting the fundamentals of business operation out into the cloud. One problem with adopting a business solution in the cloud is that you may not pay much attention to what is going on to give you the results. You may trust that availability of the underlying components in the black-box data centre will be sufficient for your needs as you grow, and that your operation is secure. That last one is a bit problematic ... out of the box Intalio has you logging on with userid/password across http rather than use encryption (even https would be a great advance).

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