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Change, Take Two

November 11, 2008 Leave a comment

As those of you that follow me on Twitter already know, last Friday (11/7) was my last day at Alfresco. Although my time there was very short, it was one of the most valuable experiences of my almost 20 year career. I learned more about the state of enterprise Java applications, the importance of ECM to almost every business, and the great advantage that open source has in the enterprise software market. Not bad for just short of six months. The company and its product are both incredible, and I owe a lot to the amazing field team at Alfresco, especially Matt Asay, Scott Davis, Luis Sala and Peter Monks.

Why am I moving on so soon, then? Well, I’m happy to say that I’m taking on the role of Marketing Manager/Technology Evangelist for Data Center Virtualization at Cisco Systems, Inc. (including Cloud Computing and Cisco’s Data Center 3.0 strategy, at least as it relates to virtualization). This is a dream job in many ways, as Cisco is still in the formative stages of its cloud computing strategy (for both service providers and end users), and I have the chance to be part of what will most likely be the most important producer of cloud and virtualization enabled networking software, services and equipment.

This is also an opportunity in which both my passion for blogging and my passion for cloud computing come directly into play. I am excited to work with both Doug Gourlay and Peter Linkin, who are incredibly smart people with a vision I can really get my head around.

Lest you fret that I’m going to go “all Cisco” here on The Wisdom of Clouds, let me assure you that this was pretty much the first point of negotiation when they approached me about the position. The Wisdom of Clouds (or whatever it morphs into–more on that later in the week) will remain my independent blog, in which I will endeavor to provide the same humble insight into the state of the cloud market and technology that I always have. Cisco specific posts will largely be confined to the Data Center group’s excellent blog, where I will become a regular contributor.

In the end, what sold me on joining Cisco was the excellent opportunity to explore the “uncharted territory” that is the network’s role in cloud computing. More on that in my next post.

Categories: cloud computing, personal

See You at Camp! CloudCamp, That Is!

September 30, 2008 Leave a comment

For those of you lucky enough to make the CloudCamp Silicon Valley cut (registration is full, except for a few lucky souls who attend SDForum’s Cloud Computing and Beyond conference on Wednesday), I look forward to meeting you. I am especially excited about connecting with folks like Geva Perry, Lew Tucker and Franco Travostino, but the entire field looks amazing. (Take a look at Franco’s latest paper to see why he’s on my list.) It should be a heck of an evening.

I’m hoping to present briefly about what the Stored Communications Act, the Patriot Act and Steven Warshak vs. United States of America are going to do to undercut any technical innovation in the cloud by U.S. companies.

Regardless, stay tuned for my report on the event soon afterward. My schedule has been packed lately, with my work at Alfresco combining with increased responsibilities at home to create a perfect vacuum of blogging time. However I have a couple of what I hope are really good posts in the works, and may have time to get caught up later in the week. In the meantime, I’ll continue to send links on my feed.

By the way, I am trying Diigo now for bookmarking, and they are supposed to have the best support for posting links to Blogger. However, while I can get manual posts to work, the automated daily feeds are failing without error (much as they do with the Del.icio.us experimental daily blog post). If anyone can help me figure this out, it would be greatly appreciated. I’ll check the comments on Discus (see below) and FriendFeed, so feel free to post either place. Or, contact me directly at jurquhart at yahoo dot com.

Categories: cloud computing, personal

Cloud Computing on Google Groups is Dead to Me

September 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Update: OK, I got a little emotional here. I am upset at the way this played out, but the title and some of the sentiment expressed are a little harsh. Perhaps, “Cloud Computing on Google Groups, I’m moving on” would have been more appropriate. Also, while I will be moving on (unless invited back), the group will no doubt remain active and interesting. Just be aware of how it is moderated–and be aware that there other venues in which to discuss cloud computing.

Unbelievable.

A couple of days ago, I reacted to a post by Sam Johnston outlining a scary exchange with the moderator of the Google Groups Cloud Computing group, Khazret Sapenov, in which Sam found himself locked out of the group with no public or private explanation. I wrote the post because I wanted Khazret and Reuven Cohen (also implicated) to have an opportunity to respond to Sam’s charges, and for the community to work this out fairly and openly. I considered the post a “reconciliation post”, nothing more, nothing less. (I will admit that I should have rethought the title, though.)

This morning, my first attempt to view the group home page resulted in this:

Now, here’s the kicker: I absolutely did not post a thing to the group between the time of the reconciliation post and when I was locked out, so I couldn’t have been locked out for a violating the group’s rules, whatever they may have been, unless there was a problem well before I posted. This reaction is almost certainly to the reconciliation post itself, which did not at all take place in the group threads.

Google Groups Cloud Computing is dead to me. It’s not even worth fighting this. I loved the insights of the group, but there are other viable communities to turn to that are open and transparent, and that can be considered credible. This group is none of those things, apparently.

To have two leading cloud computing bloggers locked out of a supposedly open community–without any public or private explanation–signals bias and dangerous politics.

Here is a little more detail:

  • Since I posted the reconciliation post, I’ve had three other emails confirming Sam’s claim that moderation has been strange, arbitrary and at times very slow. Not an overwhelming response, but significant enough to note that Sam is not alone in his thinking.

  • At the same time, I’ve had no emails or comments explaining what happened to Sam.

  • This morning, I received a comment from Reuven claiming that neither he nor Enomaly have had anything to do with the controversy, despite his founding of the group and (I would imagine) subsequent assignment of moderating duties to Khazret–his Director of R&D, according to LinkedIn. He even offered to join any new open community that might be formed. I will accept that at face value. If I were him, however, I’d have a chat with Kharzet about the costs of his actions. He is killing, or at least maiming, the Google group, and will taint Enomaly’s name.

  • I remain convinced that this could all be worked out easily by the community if an open conversation was allowed. Since that is not happening, I welcome others concerned about an open, fair exchange of ideas to follow me to greener pastures.

If you are a member of the group, and would like some of the facts in detail, please send me an email at jurquhart at yahoo dot com, and I’ll take the time to fill you in.

Here is where I will be hanging out:

  • Twitter, user ID “jamesurquhart

  • FriendFeed, user ID “jamesurquhart“, and the Cloud Computing room. This is the place I have the highest hopes for, as FriendFeed’s features combine streams with discussion to create a truly dynamic community, and the Room helps narrow the discussion to keep it on target.

  • Sam has a WIKI started at http://wiki.cloudcommunity.org and I will likely be putting some of my more permanent content there for the community to hack (e.g. the Principles of a Cloud Oriented Architecture series)

  • One other intriguing option is Hug The Cloud (an unfortunate name), a Ning community that adds some excellent social networking features to the general discussion. Check it out, let me know what you think.

  • Update: I should also say, if anyone out there knows of a good alternative, open cloud computing forum, list, or network, please, please plug it in the comments below! I’ll only moderate off topic spam for this one post. 🙂

This is really a sad day for me. I wish cooler heads had prevailed. See you on the streams!

Off Topic: Introducing "Mining Alfresco"

I didn’t want to sully this blog by introducing a whole bunch of ECM/Alfresco stuff here, so I created a second blog for that content. Mining Alfresco will cover my experiences in learning the ECM market, Alfresco (look for a lot of technical postings), and how all of that relates to the topic of this blog, Cloud Computing. If you have an interest in ECM or “Content in the Cloud”, you may want to check it out and subscribe.

I also want to apologize for the “dead time” in my posting, but as you can imagine spinning up a new job takes a lot of focus. I’ll try to fit in several new posts in the coming days.

Categories: blogs, PaaS, personal, SaaS

Blog Title Change: Leveraging the Wisdom of Clouds

As I discussed in my last post, the change of jobs gives me the opportunity to broaden the coverage of this blog somewhat beyond the basic topic of delivering SLAuto to enterprise data centers. To more completely reflect this, and (quite frankly) to increase visibility to those searching for information about cloud computing and utility computing, I have changed the title and description of this blog.

Now titled “The Wisdom of Clouds” (with absolute apologies to James Surowiecki and his great book, The Wisdom of Crowds) this blog will discuss cloud computing, utility computing, SaaS, PaaS and Haas as they relate to both the enterprise and individual users. This really isn’t much of a departure from the topics covered in the last year or so–in fact, I considered sub-titling the blog “Covering your *aaSes since 2006”–but the explicit description allows more people to more readily discover my ramblings.

For those who have been following this blog for some time, as well as those who have just discovered it, I thank you. I hope you will join me in creating and shaping “the wisdom of clouds”.

Off Topic: Just added Snap to site…let me know if its annoying

I just added Snap Shots to my blog, which will bring up previews of the target site/page when you roll over a external link. Let me know if you think its annoying. I’m really just experimenting, as I have both loved and hated this feature on other sites. Feel free to email me or comment below.

I have a client install that will take the next couple of days, so blogging is way down. In the meantime, keep track of what I am reading, Twittering, scheduling, etc at http://friendfeed.com/jamesurquhart.

Categories: blogs, personal

Off Topic: Blog domain change

February 9, 2008 Leave a comment

With increased interest in Service Level Automation in the Datacenter, I decided to take the advice of many a more successful blogger than me, and register my own domain name for the blog. I debated quite a bit about which name to select, but in the end I wanted a domain that would travel with me regardless of where my career might take me in the future. (No plans to leave Cassatt, but you never know where the future might take you…)

To that end, this blog will now officially reside at http://blog.jamesurquhart.com. The original URL, http://servicelevelautomation.blogspot.com will continue to operate, but will redirect you to the new site. All feeds should also continue to work unchanged.

Please let me know if you have problems by emailing me at james dot urquhart at cassatt dot com.

Categories: blogs, personal