The battle of the SmartPhone and its effect on mobile networks

January 13, 2010

Third generation (3G) mobile networks are also suffering from the knock on effects of the snow. To be honest I am not surprised, we have recently seen an explosion in the download of ‘Apps’, mainly down to the mass adoption of the Apple iPhone.  The Apple app store has gone from an incredible two  to three  billion downloads in the last four months. This staggering figure undeniably puts further pressure on mobile network providers; O2, Orange, Vodafone and Tesco (although Tesco use the O2 network).

The app’s available to customers on the iPhone are without doubt one of its key differentiators and a very significant part of its current competitive advantage.  However, Google’s exciting new release Android looks set to challenge their stronghold.

It’s important to take a minute though and think about how this increase in competition between the two manufacturers will affect consumers.  Demand for apps will start to become a basic expectation for mobile users in the next few years rather than the luxury of a select few.

Increased consumer demand for Apps are already proving a challenge for networks.  O2 were reported to experience limited network availability just before Christmas.

At the moment apps are mainly used in mass by iPhone users. iPhone users currently run one application at a time, therefore only running one update across the network at that time. However, Google’s Android can run multiple applications thus multiple updates, opening up our networks to increased congestion.

I think 2010 will be an interesting year for mobile network providers, as they all seek to raise their game and accommodate demand. What’s bad for us (consumers) is the immediate answer is to cap bandwidth and increase prices. We could also potentially suffer from reduced availability.

One thing’s for sure; 2010 WILL be the battle of the SmartPhone – Android vs iPhone.  It will also be a battle for the providers… let’s hope when fourth generation (4G) mobile networks come of age in the next five years that such network capacity will be a thing of the past…  🙂


Snowed in but logged on!

January 12, 2010

Well what a start to the year! It seems like everyone has been experiencing some sort of extreme weather! In most cases it’s proved a challenge for people to get to work. Last Wednesday, just like most of the UK, I was stuck at home; snowed in – car unable to move. Those with a 4×4 may have found themselves in a privileged position – able to at least get out of their drive!

Over the last week you could not ignore the continued weather reports in the media. Twitter streams such as #uksnow also provided instant updates on the weather throughout the UK.

Even our friends in Oz have been affected by extreme weather with Melbourne experiencing its hottest temperatures since 1908!

So how was it for you? How prepared was your company in either providing access to computer systems or alternative offices/transport during this peak of extreme weather? Lucky for me, my company has excellent plans in place for such events and all systems are securely available through the internet – so I was ok working from home. The cogs continued to turn; our operational teams were all in place, our data centres were manned, everything was working as normal.

However, not everyone is as fortunate. If you look at a report published after last year’s snow by the federation of small business (FSB), one in five people (a total of 6.4 million workers) could not make it to work – denting the UK’s economy at an estimated £1.2billion! Reports on the front pages of some news papers suggest that this year the cost is expected to be ten times higher! So how can you keep your business up and running and ensure that not extreme weather conditions don’t affect you?

This question leads me back to my recent post on hosted virtual desktop (HVD) [see the demise of the desktop]. The opportunities discussed in that post empower staff to access your systems anytime, anywhere. Therefore, HVD provides an effective solution to the issues of extreme weather and lost productivity.

Of course, you would need to have access to the technologies that enable you to ‘swing’ your IT and provide an ‘access anywhere’ service to necessary stakeholders e.g. employees and suppliers. But as long as employees have a half decent internet connection at home, you would be able to continue to deliver service to your customers…

In 2010 more organisations should start to pilot technology like HVD within a cloud/Infrastructure-as-a-Service … surely extreme weather alone is now a serious case for deployment? What’s your thoughts?

Season’s Greetings

December 23, 2009

Two days till to go… I can’t wait for Christmas! 

Anyone that knows me knows I am always looking for the latest deal and I’ve just picked up some toys for the boys, can’t wait to see their faces! I’ll be spending the holidays with my special lady and our boys – even better than a day watching Spurs!!!! (Although…saying that I have booked tickets for the Christmas break :o)

Look forward to posting some more thoughts in the New Year – Happy holidays to you all!

2010: The Demise of the Desktop!?

December 17, 2009

2010 will be an interesting year for the IT market.  All predictions for future tech trends will only be successful at the right price, yes price… New trends will need to be value for money; show great ROI (return on investment) and demonstrate sustainable TCO (total cost of ownership).

Bar predicting (hoping) my team Tottenham Hotspur does well in the league … Let’s look at what could possibly become more than a pilot, idea or POC (proof of concept). Here are two ideas to start with that I think will be big trends:

1. More companies moving to Office web apps in the cloud, like Microsoft Azure, Google Apps for example, and…

2. The demise of the ‘traditional’ desktop – a move to hosted HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktop) driven office technology environments!

Let me explain my thinking behind this second one…Companies in 2010 will look to ‘buy into’ cheaper technology to ‘lower’ cost of entry.  As a possible alternative they could even think about providing a ‘car allowance’ type proposition to their staff where the employer provides the employee a monthly payment to ‘subsidise’ their own laptop or netbook and utilise HVD to connect into the companies centralised desktop infrastructure.

OK maybe radical thinking but 2009 has seen companies desperate to keep hold of their capital.  Could providing monthly payments in relation to the cost of running the business start to see such a prediction take off in 2010?

I myself would be more than happy to have an allowance and take ‘ownership’ of my own platform of choice and the maintenance associated with that device… but of course I’d say that – I am a techie! Does it work for everyone?  I am not so sure – I know security and control will be a big factor to consider but organisations are already going down the road of “self-support” for desktop users.

 So, let’s think about security – lots of ‘private’ devices connecting to a company network every Monday at 9am? Could you just open up the office network to be pure Internet access and have all the companies systems ‘zoned’ securely in the data centre. Employees could connect over an SSL (Secure Socket Layer), for example, over VPN (Virtual Private Network) to the hosted HVD environment?

 Could we start to see a progression to HVD? Where it’s not just the ‘bleeding edge’ organisations that take steps towards the demise of the desktop?

 What are your thoughts, would it work for you? Or more importantly, why wouldn’t it work for you? Will it be a tech trend that becomes common in the workplace? Over to you!!  

2009: The Year of the “Cloud”

December 15, 2009

As we roll towards the Christmas break it’s that time of year when everyone starts to predict the big tech trends for 2010: what’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ that’s going to change our lives? (So the IT press will have us believe anyway). Before we move into 2010, let’s review 2009!

One of this year’s tech trends has to be ‘cloud computing’. The cloud managed to hit the headlines of the IT press in a big way!

But is Cloud really new? For me the term is new but the science behind it isn’t! We’ve been working on this sort of thing for a long, long time. The difference is that this long established technological theory is now delivered on today’s ‘platform of choice’ the X86 generation. The theory really isn’t anything different from what we’ve all been doing with a mainframe for the last 30 years! Let me explain…think of a mainframe as the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). IaaS in its basic form is the utilisation of virtualisation within the data centre – mainframes have been virtualised for years! OK, so the delivery was through a ‘dumb’ terminal – the green screen, BUT the software itself could potentially be delivered as a ‘bureau’ service – SaaS (Software as a Service). This could all be wrapped up as a ‘pay-as-you–grow’ service; you just switch on more ‘MIPS’ (million instructions per second). So really the cloud just covers old ground but with a fresh outlook that maximises returns. You can’t argue that the fundamentals are at least very similar.

Another feature of the cloud is the ‘network’ capability, which allows access from anywhere, anytime. This instantly makes me think back to Sun Microsystems marketing message in the 90’s: ‘the network is the computer’. The difference with cloud computing is the orchestration of today’s computing from the virtualised ‘x86’ engine room through the shop window (Platform-as-a-Service) that is ‘web services via the browser’. The cloud provides the capability to connect quickly and reliably at work, home or on the move, through for example next generation mobile technology.

So let’s look ahead to 2010, I definitely believe that Cloud hype will continue but will start to mature. People will finally start to leverage the potential business value of it and overcome the concerns that are holding them back, such as security and compliance. There will still be people rebadging partially vitualised IT estates as “The Cloud”, but increased cloud adoption means money will be put into developing offerings rather than just running solutions – thus the theory will become a reality… Much more on 2010 next time… 🙂

Cloud Computing & Data Portability: Best practise & service providers? (Part Two)

December 10, 2009

I believe a future opportunity will arise for Cloud Computing service providers to partner – as long as they use a similar technology. This could create a multi-vendor, cross-vendor cloud platform. So, where as today you have many vendors working independently, providers could begin to work in parallel; integrating data to create a portability process that will enable true data portability whilst minimising risk.

Just a thought… 🙂

Cloud Computing & Data Portability: Technology (Part One)

December 4, 2009

“With hundreds of terabytes in the cloud — you are no longer portable and you’re not going to be portable, so get over it,”*

This thought grabbed my attention… the idea that when you store a lot of data within a ‘cloud’, I mean terabytes… that you’re then stuck in that cloud and can not migrate, port or replicate to a another cloud provider (regardless of whether they provide private or public clouds), you can’t even revert to your own private cloud! In some ways I concur with this – if you’re running within a cloud you’re just buying virtual machines and the storage presentation to the virtual machine is so intertwined that it’s hard to unravel…

So this is where I think a private cloud offering gives you the assurance that you’re still able to migrate, port or replicate from your own data centre into the cloud and vice versa back out of the cloud.  The technology itself is very important, your provider needs to pick the right mix of technology so that you always have the option to migrate or move away from that specific provider if you decide to move your data elsewhere…

Anyway back to the data… so lets take an example of how you can migrate in and migrate out utilising migration technology through replication… if the ‘store’ service in a private cloud platform utilises multi-vendor virtualisation technology it can support a larger quantity of vendors arrays. This means multiple arrays from multiple vendors can be supported through a multi protocol fabric.

An example of how this could work for a customer migrating to the cloud would be the following… btw this is in the roadmap for 2010 (POC has already been completed with some great results!!) 

It’s possible to deploy ‘virtualisation appliances’ into a customer’s data centre, enabling the customer to have a virtual storage platform and giving them a ‘single view’ of their storage. The customer will have to accept some change(s) but will not have to make their current IT investment redundant thus prolonging the life of their current storage assets – providing ROI and TCO in a single proposition for their management! Once virtualised, it’s possible to replicate the data into a storage cloud. (This is already up and running in our cloud today!)

This strategy provides a stepped approach for migration to cloud services, the first step is ‘cloud recovery’, then you begin to migrate production services as and when the business has seen the benefits and trusts the ‘cloud’ to run it’s mission critical applications!

So already you can see some benefits – when you want to move out of the cloud you reverse the process… see cloud can be portable!

* See article full article here