The Oprah-Scoble-HARO-You-Name-It Effect

From Z. Kelly Queijo:

In the world of celebrity endorsement, it's pretty well known that if Oprah likes you or your product, then you've hit the jackpot. On a television special by CNBC, "The Oprah Effect" is defined as when "web sites crash and sales soar."

Celeb mentions were made for cloud computing.

Here in Blacksburg, Virginia, the impact of "The Scoble Effect" was felt on Monday, June 2, 2009 when the number of page views to the post on Handshake 2.0, "Reading Up on Robert Scoble," accordingly to bitly.com, jumped from a dozen, to hundreds, to over 2000 in minutes thanks to a retweet by Scoble himself. A quick tweet from @handshake20 to Typepad included the phrase, "We've been Scobleized."

Cloud computing handles traffic spikes and protects against a server crash. When riding the crest of the wave that's going to result in exposure for a business that's of tsunami proportions, what's definitely not wanted is a server crash. Peter Shankman, founder of The Geek Factory and HARO (Help a Reporter Out), emphasizes that companies really need to talk with their webmasters before even thinking about advertising on his site. “We crash servers all the time because people aren't ready for all the web traffic we generate.”

Amy Africa, owner of Eight by Eight, who advertised the launch of her new blog (Amy Africa's QLOG) in the morning edition of HARO, reports her ROI resulted in a sale within the first 13 minutes, plus a terrific media lead. That first sale was more than ten times the cost of the ad. 

The value in promotion, whether through paid advertising or mention by a celeb, will be completely lost if a web site can't handle the traffic. In the recent series on Handshake 2.0 about cloud computing, topics ranged from what is a cloud to how cloud computing maximizes server resources.

Managing the “You-Name-It” effect is a perfect example of when web sites must be set up to tap available resources and prevent that wave of traffic from crashing a site. So, before advertising on a site on HARO, going on Oprah, or engaging with Scoble, a to-be-celeb is well-advised to take Peter's advice and talk with the webmaster. The most important question to ask?  "Are we in The Cloud?”

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Feel free to read more about The Cloud in Handshake 2.0's series on cloud computing.

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Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0. You're invited to follow her on Twitter at @zkellyq.

ENERGY STAR Ratings Coming to a Server Near You

From Z. Kelly Queijo:

In a report to Congress, the EPA stated that the energy used by volume servers in data centers more than doubled from 2000 to 2006 and accounts for more than 50% of a center's total power consumption. Projections are that energy use by US data centers could more than double again by the year 2011, representing $7.4 billion in annual electricity costs.

ENERGY STAR, data center efficiency, and green computing To help circumvent this escalation, the EPA announced the release of the ENERGY STAR Enterprise Server Specification Development Process in May of 2009. Data center servers will soon carry EPA ENERGY STAR ratings just like the power-hungry appliances in our homes.

The following companies, with offices in Blacksburg, Virginia, represent industry leaders helping data centers worldwide to “go green” with power-saving solutions:

EnergyWare provides efficient green computing solutions, which lower costs and increase the value of enterprise IT infrastructure in a supercomputing environment. 

Bob Summers, CEO of EnergyWare:  “Our software solution enables existing and new data centers to reduce energy consumption by 25% or more while improving reliability and maintaining performance. This scalable approach is seeing market traction in the banking, oil, insurance and cloud computing vertical markets where operational cost is a significant portion of the bottom line.” 

Librato is a leader in data center resource management software that enables companies to reduce operating and capital expenses by dramatically increasing utilization rates.

Colin Grant, Senior Director of Engineering at Librato: “There are too many pressures such as controlling carbon emissions, forcing a radical improvement in data center operations. If a data center does not have an active policy of moving towards flexible and dynamic utility computing then it will go the way of the mainframes and dinosaurs.”

MiserWare
MiserWare is a leading provider of intelligent software power management (ISPM™) technology that manages the power consumed by the components inside a server that can deliver 25% or more energy savings without the need to power servers off and without compromise to service-levels, throughput, or performance.

Kirk Cameron, CEO, MiserWare:  “There's a definite need for the kinds of things that we do and the software that we create. We're a part of the solution. When you need high performance you can also have energy performance.”

EnergyWare, Librato, and MiserWare are the energy stars of Blacksburg.

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Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0. You're invited to follow her on Twitter at @zkellyq.

Cloud Computing = Green Computing

From Z. Kelly Queijo:

"It's like keeping the squabbling kids in the back seat apart no matter how long the journey, or how loudly they scream."

That's how Colin Grant, Senior Director of Engineering at Librato, describes his company's products - resource management software for data centers. Librato's software enables two or more applications to be consolidated on the same server with guarantees that no single application can impinge on any of the others.

Green computing results from Librato's resource management software for data centers.In addition to maintaining peace among competing applications, Librato's products can also rebalance unused resources from one application to another based on load and demand. “The flexibility of being able to reuse servers for different applications at different times significantly increases utilization and consequently reduces operation expenses,” notes Grant.

And the effect on the cloud computing industry? Green – both environmentally and financially. “If nothing else, less energy is spent powering wasted servers that generate heat that, in turn, have to be cooled using additional energy. Powering and cooling a data center is a significant portion of a data center's runtime costs,” says Grant.

Controlling costs, like controlling kids in the back seat, could make you feel the way you do when you look at a cloud floating by – peaceful – contented…

And knowing that your system is operating efficiently makes that cloud green, which is a good thing when it comes to computing in the cloud.

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Thanks to Colin Grant for this informative paper.  Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computingby Michael Armbrust et al., February 10, 2009 (.pdf).  For more about cloud computing, feel free to view Handshake 2.0's series on cloud computing.

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Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0. You're invited to follow her on Twitter at @zkellyq.

Librato is a leader in data center resource management software that enables companies to reduce operating and capital expenses by dramatically increasing utilization rates. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California with offices in Blacksburg, Virginia and Pune, India.

Cloud Computing – Just Draw Me a Picture

We began our series on the business of cloud computing, "Handshake 2.0 Takes on the Cloud," with this imperative:

"Tell me what I need to know about The Cloud in terms I can understand and that I can do something about – or not – for my business, for my customers, and for the greater good." 

Our series addresses those issues and more.  At the end of this post, we've compiled the links to all posts in the series.  To close, we quote John Keats:

"'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

We offer the following images in hopes that, about cloud computing, they are "all ye need to know."

 

A vision of cloud computing from Handshake 2.0

Cloud Computing
The cloud allocates just enough computing power
for you to do what you want to do.

A vision of cloud hosting from Handshake 2.0

Cloud Hosting
Hosting in the cloud gives you more power for heavy traffic
and lower costs for light traffic, all dynamically adjusted.

A vision of Software-as-a-Service, SaaS, from Handshake 2.0

SaaS
Instead of running on your computer, Software-as-Service (SaaS)
applications run in the cloud, taking instructions from your computer,
then sending the results as output to your computer.
What you wanted to do is done.

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Our Handshake 2.0 series on cloud computing ran June 12-June 22, 2009.  We've compiled links to the entire series here, each opening in a new window:

Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud - a series on the business of cloud computing Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud - Introduction
Welcome to The Cloud - The Cloud Computing Story
The Cloud I Want - How The Cloud can serve the greater good
Cloud Computing for Small Businesses: More With Less
The Benefit of The Cloud for Businesses: Pay-for-Use
The Cloud is Everywhere and Nowhere at the Same Time
The Cloud:  Immediate, Scalable, Billed by the Hour
The Cloud Can Offer Small Companies an Advantage Over Large Companies
The Cloud:  Bring on the Bursts and the Limitless Software Choices
Cloud Computing – Just Draw Me a Picture – Conclusion (this post)

For contributing their expertise to this series, we thank Cameron Nouri of RackspaceDavid Catalano of ModeaJim Schweitzer of Vision Point Systems, Rob La Gesse of Rackspace, Barry Welch of Internet Databases, and Calvin Ribbens and Osman Balci, Computer Science at Virginia Tech.

Thanks to Alex Edelman for providing context for the series in Welcome to The Cloud, The Cloud I Want, and sketches and captions for the images, Kelsey Jade Sarles, graphic artist, for the series logo and the final images above, and Catherine Fong for her research.

The Cloud: Bring on the Bursts and the Limitless Software Choices

Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud Thank you so much to Cameron Nouri of RackspaceDavid Catalano of ModeaJim Schweitzer of Vision Point Systems, Rob La Gesse of Rackspace, and Barry Welch of Internet Databases for sharing their knowledge of cloud computing with us for our series Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud.

We have an academic perspective to offer as well.  We asked, "From your point of view, what are – or will be – the benefits of cloud computing for small-to-medium businesses?"

Calvin Ribbens, Computer Science, Virginia Tech:

Cloud computing can potentially save small companies a lot of money, especially if their computing requirements are 'bursty,' i.e., occasionally they need a lot of computing power, but only occasionally.  It does not pay for companies like this to buy and maintain sufficient computing resources to handle their occasional requirement bursts.  So the cloud can be a nice alternative.

Osman Balci, Computer Science, Virginia Tech:

Cloud computing will enable small-to-medium businesses to use software as a service as opposed to purchasing software as a product. Cloud computing provides many benefits to businesses including lower cost of software use, limitless choice of software in the cloud, instant access to software over the network, no installation hassle, no compatibility issues, no support overhead, and reduced downtime.

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We're compiling links to Handshake 2.0's entire cloud computing series on our introductory post.

Catherine Fong contributed to this post.

The Cloud is Everywhere and Nowhere at the Same Time

Chatting in The Cloud with Chris Burgoyne From Jim Schweitzer:

Imagine this scenario: You call up your buddy on your favorite video chat software. When he picks up, you notice he's standing in front of a big painting that's filling up the background of the entire screen. Upon asking where he is, he tells you he's at a coffee shop at the mall where he is buying new artwork for the office. After a few minutes of chatting, he says he has to go and asks you to call him back in 15 minutes. Anxious to finish the discussion, you call him back and pick up the conversation where you left off. As soon as you're done, you hang up and walk down the hall to grab some coffee. Suddenly you notice your buddy sitting in his office hanging his new painting. What the heck just happened here?

This is The Cloud in action. Let's dissect the scenario.

When you clicked your buddy's name in the buddy list, your goal was to see and speak to him. This was a name-based transaction. The data, in this case, was the video and audio that made up both calls, and as far as you knew, the first call was just as valid as the second call. The Cloud is at work here – location becomes irrelevant because the reference queues (your buddy and the background view) are identical in all scenarios. In the typical Software-as-a-Service, SaaS scenario, the items held constant are the databases being accessed and the presentation of the web user interfaces, etc.

Location irrelevance is one of the foundations of the World Wide Web. Domain Name System, or DNS, exists to provide human users with name-based routing to avoid the need to access computing resources by specific addresses. In this regard, The Cloud is nothing new. The added concept is only that some businesses are deciding to take advantage of the Internet available outside their office walls for the housing of critical services that typically have been maintained in a specific location.

When is it appropriate to externalize critical IT services? Under what scenarios is it preferable to keep full control of a system in-house? These questions don't have universal answers. Businesses should conduct a risk analysis on aspects such as security, data sensitivity, performance, infrastructure, cost, intellectual property and training to determine their ideal mix The Cloud versus in-house solutions.

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Jim Schweitzer is the Operations Manager at Vision Point Systems, an engineering and technology consulting firm with offices in Fairfax, Virginia and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud

Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud From Anne Clelland:

Enough already.  Time to descend through the clouds and get grounded about The Cloud.

I've read the Wikipedia entries on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud computing, and The Cloud.

I've read Davey Shafik's Explaining the Cloud, Mary Hayes Weier's Research Identifies Misconceptions about Cloud Computing (I could relate to checking the "don't know" box), and this tasty tidbit, 10 Cloud Computing Companies to Watch, which mentions a company with a division in my own town.

And then there's this Building43 thing hosted on cloud sites and Robert Scoble mentioning London and "here" – Blacksburg, Virginia - in the same sentence.

Enough already.

Tell me what I need to know about The Cloud in terms I can understand and that I can do something about – or not – for my business, for my customers, and for the greater good.

That about covers it.

And Handshake 2.0 is going to cover it.  We're doing a series on The Cloud, starting Monday, June 15, 2009.  We've asked the experts and they've offered us rich insights about what we need to know.

But we'll begin with a story.

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Our series on cloud computing began June 12, 2009.  We've compiled links to the series here:

Handshake 2.0 Takes on The Cloud - Introduction
Welcome to The Cloud - The Cloud Computing Story
The Cloud I Want
Cloud Computing for Small Businesses: More With Less
The Benefit of The Cloud for Businesses: Pay-for-Use