My writing on this blog has been much less frequent lately. As I suggested folks do WAY BACK in April 2008 I Got My Head in the Clouds. While my mother would argue that I've always had my head in the clouds, I certainly have had many adventures in the Cloud Computing space since I wrote that article.
Lately I decided to eat my own dog food and launched www.legalcloud.net. I've been developing, deploying, and testing this Cloud Computing IaaS/PaaS service with my new business partner and host of top notch technology partners. It is an enterprise cloud computing service focused on the IT needs of Law Firms; hence the name. But, LegalCloud.net doesn't seem to fall into any of the leading or popular cloud computing paradigms that are emerging. First though, an aside of a couple of things I've learned in the last few months. Perhaps they are obvious, but these are statements based on my actual efforts and experiences.
I learned quickly when I started nScaled that very few customers are ready to go 100% to cloud right now. I thought there were more. It will happen over time gradually I think. But, it requires a certain amount of different thinking that isn't very prevalent yet and many of the tools are still catching up that make this style of computing most effective. But, much can be done right now!
I also learned that very few, as a proportion of all potential customers, in any niche or vertical that might benefit from Cloud Computing know what Cloud Computing is, does, or provides. This is not made easier by the massive of information and pseudo-information flowing about this subject. I recently said that Cloud Computing is a technology architecture evolution that, when properly applied to business problems, can enable a business revolution. I believe this now more than ever. But, to be clear, Cloud Computing is not necessarily any one technology. It is, I think, a more distributed architectural and even an operational approach to computing that does create the potential for something a bit new and very exciting.
Back to my problem though, here is what NIST is saying about Cloud Computing deployment models; as they phrase them.
- Private cloud. The cloud infrastructure is owned or leased by a single organization and is operated solely for that organization.
- Community cloud. The cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations).
- Public cloud. The cloud infrastructure is owned by an organization selling cloud services to the general public or to a large industry group.
- Hybrid cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more clouds (internal, community, or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting).
For the record, I really like the NIST position even if it does kind of leave my efforts out as it is currently written. But, they just called me a Private Community Public cloud. Or, a hybrid sort-of cloud. I think.
The NIST definition as written doesn't allow for a Community Cloud as a Managed Service owned by a 3rd party organization but operated specifically for one community and served up on-demand. In my case, that community is Law Firms. nScaled, the company behind LegalCloud.net is the "organization selling cloud services" on-demand. LegalCloud.net is cloud IaaS that also provides some platform tier services as well (some now and more on the road map).
So, you can see, that we simply don't fit into the NIST model very well. But, I think it's a draft. Maybe we'll fit later.
Another model that I'm fond of that I was turned onto by Christofer Hoff is the Jericho Forums Cloud Cube Model. This one says that I am building a Proprietary, External, Perimiterized cloud computing service where the perimiterization is virtualized through the use of VPN's and MPLS. This I like very much! But try saying that to a client showing them the Jericho cube! Sales would just not scale I'm afraid. My business partner looks at me askew when I try to use stuff like that on him too; no love at all despite my personal fondness for the model.
So, what can I call this thing that I'm building? I think that I'm leaning towards something like:
LegalCloud (tm) - A Secure, Managed, External Community Cloud
That's what I'm building, staffing, and selling. It is cloud computing in a variety of ways. LegalCloud.net is still early stages so, I can't claim I'm 100% cloudified yet. It'll take some time. But, we'll get there.
Anyway, I certainly want to be writing more but, like I said on twitter a few days ago, I can talk about this stuff all day or I can just go out there and do it. I'm doing it. So, I'll still be wrinting here for a long time to come I think. But, my posts are almost sure to be spread out a bit further over time.
As always, happy to hear opinions and thoughts from others. I love that this is a rapidly evolving space with so much room for innovation and value creation!