Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Every blogger's dream comment

The following anonymous comment was received by email, 14.11.12@11:35. Paragraph numbers have been added for ease of reference:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Cloud computing, and GDS's fantasy strategy":

1. I've been following your blogs with interest, and whilst I agree with some of your points, particularly early on, you now seem to be ratcheting up the rhetoric a bit, without really doing any research on what you're talking about.

2. For example, regarding Larry Ellison, that quote was from 2008; in the last four years, he seems to have changed tack slightly:
http://dawn.com/2012/10/03/oracles-ellison-focused-on-cloud-not-deals/

3. Taking lawyers and the cloud, the following sites would tend to show that at least some firms are making use of cloud services, and they don't seem to have gone out of business:
http://www.lawcloud.co.uk/case-studies
http://www.inksters.com/lawinthecloud.aspx

4. You also miss the main point about "Utility Computing" - the benefits that organisations can realise from being able to pick and choose (on a month-by-month basis, if necessary) from a range of suppliers, is a big advantage compared to legacy, multi-year contracts.

5. Regarding gas/electricity prices in the UK, technically you are free to move supplier as and when you want, to gain better pricing or service, just as you do with utility computing. The fact that utility prices are increasing and appear "fixed" is more of a comment on the energy utility market, than the "utility" concept in general.

6. Compare this to "legacy computing", where you are tied into long-term contracts with horrendous break clauses.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/31/it_waste_pac/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/20/...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/25/government_raytheon_court/

7. You mention about "somebody" having to pay for the overhead involved in cloud services... well, no. The whole point of the cloud is you pay for what you use - and if you don't like the price, you go somewhere else. Yes, the company has to make a profit, but then so does any supplier - unless you're suggesting that Govt in-sources its IT?

8. Regarding loss of control in the cloud, not really, no. As always within Govt IT, ultimately the risk assessment lies with the Department, not the procurement framework. So, when GDS chose to use Skyscape, they would have been responsible for managing the risk assessment for using that provider - and will be accountable if things go wrong. Ditto HMRC with their data.

9. Moving services to the cloud doesn't remove departments responsibility - if anything, it makes you think harder about it, whereas before, when the contract went to a major SI, the track was trying to outsource your risk as well - and then you get into the horrible contractual messes like those shown above.

10. And whilst I'm not going to defend Amazon (or the rest) on their tax record, in terms of investment into its services, Amazon is better than most - check out it's most recent quarter's results - it reinvests a lot of its profits in further developing its range of services.
https://www.google.co.uk/finance?...

11. Finally, I presume that you're comfortable using the cloud yourself, since you seem to be hosting your blog on Blogger, which is Google's SaaS blogging service. Why didn't you buy your own web server, install and configure it with Wordpress, and run it yourself from a UK datacentre? My guess is because Blogger is i) cheap, ii) easy, and iii) more secure than an individual's setup would ever be - and if you ever want to move it, there's no 5-year contract binding you, with lots of termination clauses or penalty payments.
DMossEsq looks forward to posting a reply, followed by further debate.

At 3,662 characters, the comment appears to be too long for Blogger to display. Which is all that needs to be said in answer to the 14.11.12@12:53 email:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Cloud computing, and GDS's fantasy strategy":

Strange... pretty sure I posted a fairly detailed comment an hour or so ago, and now it's disappeared...?
Care to comment, DMossEsq?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That explains it - I didn't think it was your style to just delete comments :)

David Moss said...

#1 of many

Re 1., without really doing any research on what you're talking about – manifestly false.

Re 4., You also miss the main point about "Utility Computing" – false.

Re 11., I presume that you're comfortable using the cloud yourself – correct. The free-at-the-point-of-use Blogger with the resources of Google behind it is perfect for making your opinions public and with luck, as in your case, for engaging in debate and with more luck, perhaps making some progress. I note that you are not comfortable enough with the cloud to divulge your name.

That's the dross out of the way.

Re 7., unless you're suggesting that Govt in-sources its IT? – no, not suggesting that, devising a better way of organising government IT is a huge problem that has defeated everyone so far everywhere, a problem where even a little bit of progress would be rare and valuable, a problem where the wrong solution, like cloud computing, could make matters even worse. That's where I hope we can centre debate.

More later.

David Moss said...

Re 6., many current IT contracts tie the government into long terms with colossally penal break clauses, amendments/enhancements take too long and they're eye-wateringly expensive. No-one will disagree with you, certainly not me and probably not even the contractors/SIs (systems integrators).

Then at 8. you say ... ultimately the risk assessment lies with the Department ... when GDS chose to use Skyscape, they would have been responsible for managing the risk assessment for using that provider - and will be accountable if things go wrong. Ditto HMRC with their data.

The departments are responsible for the legacy contracts you and I deplore and they may be accountable for them, too. The legacy contracts are a disgrace. They amount to misfeasance in public office. And you hold out the performance of these same officials as a safeguard against anything going wrong with cloud computing. Why?

The accountability you appeal to means absolutely nothing, the same officials carry on doing the same jobs, you know that's true, but if you want to watch no less than four Cabinet Secretaries say it, please see Civil servants are accountable to ministers ... or is it the other way round?, and

So what if they're accountable? Fat lot of use that is to the public if all our records have gone up in a cloud of smoke because HMG elected to hand over control.

Your response is irrelevant, it is the answer to a different question, you make the same mistake, if I may put it like that, as dear old much-missed Chris Chant, 10 out of 10 for diagnosis, 0 out of 10 for the prescription, please see HMG's cloud computing strategy – there isn't one

David Moss said...

#3 of many

Re 7., You mention about "somebody" having to pay for the overhead involved in cloud services... well, no.

What do you mean no? You mean yes. Take a look at the Megaupload case, Cloud computing – how to lose control of your data #94, it's costing Carpathia $9,000 a day to keep 1,100 servers hanging around doing nothing.

Someone has to pay for that. The cost must turn up somewhere in the price the customer pays.

That's the way it is on this planet. Even in Whitehall.

David Moss said...

#4 of many

Re 8., Regarding loss of control in the cloud, not really, no.

"Not really, no" – what kind of an argument is that?

I look forward to your more well-researched, considered response, adducing the evidence.

Matt J said...

Re: #1 of many

> Re 1., without really doing any research on what you're talking about – manifestly false.

OK, that was a cheap shot from me, but I do think you have some misconceptions about the cloud that I will challenge you on later...

> Re 11., I presume that you're comfortable using the cloud yourself – correct. The free-at-the-point-of-use Blogger with the resources of Google behind it is perfect for making your opinions public and with luck, as in your case, for engaging in debate and with more luck, perhaps making some progress. I note that you are not comfortable enough with the cloud to divulge your name.

Fair point - and rectified. For the record, my views expressed on this blog are mine and don't (necessarily) represent those of my employer.

Re 7., unless you're suggesting that Govt in-sources its IT? – no, not suggesting that, devising a better way of organising government IT is a huge problem that has defeated everyone so far everywhere, a problem where even a little bit of progress would be rare and valuable, a problem where the wrong solution, like cloud computing, could make matters even worse. That's where I hope we can centre debate.

Agreed about the debate, not about cloud being the wrong solution (in some cases). In the meantime, if you don't like cloud, and don't like big legacy contracts, do you have a preferred solution?

More later...

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