Oracle’s Architect Day on Cloud Computing – a contradiction?

TechForum - Technology Forecast: Cloudy for 2010
Image by BasicGov via Flickr

Given comments by the Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison “Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?” and the recent closure of Sun’s Cloud, I figured this one should make for an interesting day. So I went along to the Grace Hotel, Sydney.

And I’m glad I did – the organised presentations and panel discussion demonstrated, that Oracle and Cloud are by no means a contradiction – in fact, it was nice to see and hear (at least) one vendor preaching some calm among the hype. And yes, the food was nice too.

According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle (as quoted by Oracle), Cloud Computing is at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and we are about to decent into the Trough of Disillusionment. But rather than writing off Cloud Computing altogether, there are a number of potential benefits to emerge on the Slope of Enlightenment.

Better and Flexible Pricing Models for IT

Enablement of IT departments to implement effective ‘charge back’ model for IT services. The difficulties to charge for technology services as per usage than per server have in my experience been a major show stopper for effective sharing of infrastructure – resulting in later expensive, but inevitable, consolidation projects. Avoiding them in the first place would be a far more cost-effective approach and a lot less risky.

Better Enterprise Architecture

Questions like security, privacy, vendor lock-in and what do we put in a public cloud are major concerns. But regardless of the applied technologies, it all starts and ends with effective governance. And effective governance doesn’t happen without a good approach to Enterprise Architecture. The Enterprise Architecture challenge is not just about effective and better implementations of current best practice, it is also the enhancements of the frameworks to cope effectively with cross-company collaborations (as noted by Philip Boxer in his blog, Asymmetric Design).

Cheaper Infrastructure – Upfront and Total

Tim Rubin, (Senior Enterprise Architect, Oracle) described the concept of ‘cloud bursting’ – e.g., where companies purchase additional capacity for the (few) times a year it’s needed. This would enable companies to size their own infrastructure (maybe as a private cloud) for the typical performance and load requirements (lower upfront) and ‘rent’ infrastructure for the peaks. Neither public nor private clouds are able to offer both, but the private cloud combined with the ability to burst into public clouds offers this opportunity.

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