How Cloud in Canada is like the CPR in 1871

brandon2I’m often asked why I would even try and compete with an 800 pound gorilla like Amazon? When I respond sincerely that it’s because we can beat them and more importantly, because I believe that we have to do it for the future benefit of Canada, most often I receive a smile or even a good hearty laugh; but I’m very serious.

Today there is effectively no Canadian IaaS “Cloud” provider playing at the highest level possible. There are a dozen or so US based companies (all subject to the Patriot Act no matter where in the world they store customer data - The Long Arm Of Us Law – theregister.co.uk) and a few emerging players in Europe & Asia. For all our early history in leading the tech sector and research programs, Canada is falling behind (Canada falling behind on innovation – Thestar.com).

There are many reasons for that but for this idea I would encourage you to think big, VERY BIG!

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Enterprise PaaS – Platform for Agile and Mobile development

shouldersThe major transformation of IT by the Cloud wave won’t come from IaaS, although it has started the revolution, instead it will be ‘PaaS’ (Platform as a Service) that has the more dramatic and visible impact.

Encouraging reuse of common building blocks and standardized developer methods, it enables them to ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’, taking advantage of new enterprise models like internal SaaS, without building from scratch.

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Don Tapscott – Welcome to the Digital Economy

This Thought Leadership blog is kindly contributed by Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics and also The Digital Economy, first published in 1995.

As you will see his ideas are almost twenty years old but yet as important if not more so today, when Canada faces an ongoing challenge as a technology innovator and player in the global Digital Economy, and it provides the forward to our flagship eBook – Crowdsourcing Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy.

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Microsoft Cloud & Mobility Summit

A highly recommended event is the upcoming two-part series for Microsoft, their Cloud & Mobility Summit: Calgary 27-28 and Toronto Dec 3-4.

This event is highly recommended, because the hottest topic in IT right now is ‘PaaS” – Platform as a Service, and this is where to learn about this trend.

Microsoft options for PaaS & Agile DevOps

Recently I published our principle ‘PaaS & Agile DevOps‘ white paper, which looks at how vendors such as Puppet Labs are transforming how software developers work through the ‘DevOps’ model, increasing the frequency of their releases through best practices such as ‘Continuous Deployment’.

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Harnessing the Cloud & PaaS for accelerating SaaS startups

cloud-migrationThe Cloud has made entrepreneurism itself more accessible to more people, lowering the barrier to entry by lowering the costs it takes to launch a new online venture by a magnitude, while simultaneously improving the quality of the apps you can produce, and how quickly you can produce them.

Combined with the continuing explosion of online users and how much they grow their daily use of social media and e-commerce this is a massively potent combination.

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AERIE – An Architecture for Overlaying Private Clouds on Public Providers

The goal of our ‘Canadian Hybrid Cloud‘ program is as the name suggests, to define the hybrid cloud in ‘Canadian terms’, meaning how it could make use of local Canadian suppliers, as well as the big USA firms like Amazon.

innovation-bulbHand in hand with this is another primary goal, that being to showcase local early stage innovations in the Cloud research field, from universities and so forth, as a means of helping stimulate the associated start-up industry.

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Modernizing with Hybrid – Windows 2003 EOL upgrades

For many customers moving to the Cloud is the best strategy when presented with a compelling event to do so, with a timely example being how Microsoft are ending support for Windows 2003 on July 14th next year. Customers will face lots of painful issues if they haven’t moved off the platform by then.

They have the option of migrating apps to in-house servers on W2012, however this situation is an example of the hassle that comes with managing your own infrastructure!

In their blog series Modernizing with Hybrid Cloud Microsoft explain how this kind of hassle can be eliminated in the future by migrating to the Cloud, as well as upgrading the app.

Greg O’Conner of Appzero captures this sentiment in ‘Modernize as you migrate‘, and in their white paper describe how they surveyed Fortune 1000 IT professionals to assess their readiness for the impending end of support of Windows Server 2003, revealing:

  • More than half of the respondents (52%) have 100 or more machines running WS2003
  • Security compliance and vulnerability management is the largest concern about running on WS2003
  • Only a quarter of respondents have a plan to upgrade; others are not aware of the EOS date, have no plans yet or are investigating their options
  • Moving to the cloud was the most popular known upgrade path
  • Close to 40% are not sure of upgrade path (cloud or not cloud)

Industry experts estimate that there are more than 10 million machines still running WS2003, presenting a huge issue especially for regulated industries who will find themselves in breach of compliance rules.

This demonstrates a clear value for the value of managed services via Cloud hosting, and as well as Microsoft Azure customers also have options including local Cloud providers, the theme of our Canadian Hybrid Cloud program.