Saturday, July 9, 2011

A book review for a change: A clear look on Cloud Computing

A few weeks ago, Maurice van der Woude, Cloud Computing Evangelist and fellow Dutchman, published a book: Een heldere kijk op Cloud Computing, Een onafhankelijke gids voor aanbieders, afnemers en twijfelaars.
Unfortunately it's in Dutch, so my nonDutch readers could be tempted to stop reading this blogpost.
Understandable, but then you would miss my review in English.
So what's it all about then?
Maurice van der Woude, owner of Personal Consult, is a strategy advisor for (in)ternational (corporate) organisations and specialized in Cloud Computing, especially SaaS.
I met Maurice at the launch of EuroCloud Netherlands in 2009, where together with other Cloud Computing evangelists, he wants to enhance the cloud computing in the Netherlands and Europe.
The last 2 years we helped each other in letting the public get familiar with Cloud Computing and identified possible risks and solutions for this.
So, when Maurice published the book I bought it for a nice price and read it in about 2 hours, with a tester's viewpoint.
This book was established together with the help of Nobel and EuroCloud Netherlands.
It's goal: To clarify the obscurities around Cloud Computing and to be a quick-reference book for the Dutch market explaining in clear and practical language what Cloud Computing is and how we, as end-users, could use it. It is also a independent (!)referencework for the industry, who wants to use it in their business. The author stresses the book does not highlight the considerations of using Cloud Computing, this is up to the end-user. This I'm glad with, enough books and blogs are filling the newspool with cloud computing marketing, without anything to add!!

The following items of Cloud Computing (CC) are discussed in distinct chapters: Definitions; History; SaaS Models; CC and politics; Producers; Processes; CC and support; Sales; End-users; Data security and availability; Integration; Contractmanagement; Business or Technical ; 2 cases: Case 1: Foundation M: Crimefighting in the Cloud; Case 2: Be more yourself, an organisation with ambition in the Cloud.

As a tester I thought interoperability is also an important issue, but the author discusses this in the sales-chapter when describing vendor lock-in.
One issue here though, when I saw interoperability was not described apart in a chapter, I wanted to look for it in a index, but the book does not contain an index nor a glossary.
Perhaps because of the book its quick-reference function, but I still miss it as illustrated by the interoperability-example.
Like I said, I read it in 2 hours, the language is in clearly written Dutch and the use of jargon is avoided, or explained if necessary (eg. the different service models or the use of an SLA or laws around Cloud Computing)

It's a real quick reference guide, explaining without going to much in to detail, holding the reader focused on the subject. An issue here is that if something is explained the source is not always mentioned. Or does the author refer to the source list on page 1? But this is only a list, not an index of footnotes. This means the reader is forced to look for further reading on his own. A mental note for next time perhaps.

It's written for Dutch industries/organisations, but also mentioning the USA, especially with laws (Safe Harbour Principle). Companies are clearly not mentioned by names or it's compulsory like Apple's graphical interfaces in the eighties and the examples of the economical power-position of for instance Microsoft.
Written with a strategist's view, it gives people guidelines in using Cloud Computing like the checklist for avoiding vendor lock-in, without being too positive or too negative, it stays independent.

The book ends with the illustration of the use of Cloud Computing by 2 distinct and interesting cases, 1 in a business environment, the other 1 in a nonprofit environment, highlighting the possibilities of Cloud Computing in these 'distinct' environments.

After reading this book, I had a better understanding of Cloud Computing and the use of it in the Netherlands. It's written in a very accesible language, although I miss a detailed sources-list, a glossary and I found a few spelling-mistakes (the author may ask me for them :-) ).

A must-read for any Dutch business- or IT-professional interested in the use of Cloud Computing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

UMA webinar 13 July: the draft specs, we got them!

Kantara Initiative's User-Managed Access Work Group aka UMA WG has announced the release of draft specifications for the UMA protocol.
UMA heralds a new era of user-centric access control for web-based applications such as social-networking sites, content-sharing portals and personal data lockers.
The UMA WG will demonstrate the capabilities of UMA in a public webinar on

July, 13, 09:00 PDT / 12:00 EDT

All are welcome to attend.

Register for the webinar and find out more at the UMAWG-homepage

Follow the group at Twitter: @UMAWG

And FaceBook: UserManagedAccess

We UMAnitarians hope to see you at the webinar!