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Showing posts from October, 2008

Moving on....

I started a new job at the beginning of the month. I'm no longer working at the National e-Science Centre and that means that I won't be involved with Grid Computing Now!. I was granted a day from my new job to host the webinar on cloud computing with Ross Cooney, but that was my last commitment for GCN!.

It's been almost 6 years since I joined NeSC and it was about this time 4 years ago that we were writing the proposal for the Knowledge Transfer Network that became GCN!. Looking back, I the experience has taught me a lot as we evolved the KTN to be most effective. It took a lot of effort to get ourselves recognised - to "build the brand" in marketing speak - and I think the work paid off.

Now I have the chance to actually practice some of what I preached. My new position is Head of Development Services in the Information Systems Group of the University of Edinburgh, and one of our goals for the next year or so is to roll out a service-oriented architecture f…

Entering the Era of the Cloud

The Grid Computing Now! webinar on Cloud computing is now available on the GCN web site. We had to make some last-minute changes because Alan Williamson was unable to join us; so after Ross Cooney finished his presentation, he and I had an extended discussion, including several questions sent in be the audience. It went very well; a couple of times I wondered whether I should bring the broadcast to an early close, only to receive new questions from the audience that kept the debate going.

We covered many issues, but perhaps the key issue was when to use cloud and when to keep provision in-house. This depends on measurement and requirements (doesn't everything?). In the case of EMailCloud, Ross estimates that if a server will be kept well utilised for more than 8 hours a day, it is cheaper to run that machine in-house, while using the cloud for peak loads, disaster recovery, and so forth. We went into more detail than that - if you're interested, watch the webinar!

We also c…

Synching the 2.0 web

Advocates of web 2.0 suggest that we can access nearly all of the services we need from web suppliers. We can edit our documents, store our photos or company data, and run our applications. It sounds great - but what happens when the web is unavailable? Over the last few years I have travelled quite a bit and I've often found myself in places with no wifi connectivity - or at least none at a price I'm willing to pay. So I value having a copy of my data on my laptop, so that I can carry on working.

I've put forward this argument at a couple of events recently. At an excellent session on Web 2.0 and science at the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting, the response was that 3G coverage will soon be sufficient to give us access almost everywhere. The next generation will take it for granted, the way they take GSM talk coverage for granted already. I have to admit that this scenario seems quite likely, although of course there are still places that don't even have talk co…