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News from The Cloud: Prospects clouded by lack of definition, warns Gartner

26th Jun 2009
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A regular round-up of stories about web-based applications from our new sister site,

Prospects clouded by lack of definition, warns Gartner
24 June Analysts at Gartner Group have published a list of five key attributes buyers should look out for when considering a SaaS product.  The group produced the list to help clarify a definition of SaaS/Cloud/on-demand, which has led to some opportunistic vendors misleading users.

Cloud Computing services are defined by Gartner as being service-based, scalable and elastic, shared, metered by use, and delivered using internet technologies.

"When approaching Cloud Computing, service providers and potential consumers of cloud services must examine the attributes of Cloud Computing to determine whether or not their services will deliver the expected outcomes," said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and chief Gartner fellow.

"If a service is not scalable and elastic, it may not be shareable enough. If it is not metered by use, it may not allow for flexible pricing. Support for more of the attributes opens the door to a great value proposition to the consumer, and greater flexibility and potential cost reduction for the provider.”

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End of an era for LucidEra
23 June Cloud-based Business Intelligence vendor LucidEra, is to shut down its operations by the end of the month, and has placed its IP up for sale.  It’s understood a lack of funding is behind the move.

Rival vendors have begun offering LucidEra customers migration schemes to move to a different provider.  Birst is offering 25% off its subscription services to LucidEra customers that sign up by 1 August while Good Data announced a safe harbour programme offering LucidEra customers free access to its on-demand analytics service for six months.

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Government takes lessons from Apple and over G-Cloud App Store
22 June In a response to a Google Groups discussion of the G-Cloud plans, the government's CIO John Suffolk has raised the prospect of  a 'government app store'  - which he joked would be called GAS – made up of software applications which could be accessed by an estimated 5 million public sector workers.

"Rather than having shared services in departments we will move them to The Cloud so the sharing across the public sector - more than 5 million people - can be even greater,” Suffolk wrote, but asked: “How easy would it to build a Government App Store? The European law on procurement for public sectors is complex, but if we can crack this we shift the paradigm again.”

Even at this early stage, this need for standardisation is shaping Suffolk's thinking: “Our approach to G-Cloud stems from the work we have been doing over the past three years: focus on getting desktop designs standardised; rationalise the morass of telecommunications infrastructures into a ‘network of networks’ under the Public Sector Network Programme; rationalise the data centres; drive through the open source, open standards and reuse strategy; surround each of those individual elements with the Green IT strategy and our Information Assurance strategy.”

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Cloud Banks - Finer grains make for finer service
12 June Regular contributor, Martin Banks, this week discusses the limited business opportunities of a top-class teaspoon cleaner, and reveals his thoughts on why SaaS is likely to be an important generator of future employment in terms of fine granularity in the market.

“As the service grains get finer, so the level of service available to any user improves and gets closer to the specific service that is required,” says Banks. “With finer granularity, users really do get the chance to move away from the hegemony of applications providers.”

He also looks at how these grains could come together in a classic case of synergy: “Finer granularity also means that those individuals or small teams that have a good service idea do not stop thinking about it once they realise the cost of sales to a sparse and specialist market is too big a hurdle to jump.

“Via a service aggregator – or should they be called Service Granaries - many small businesses will find the ally capable of marketing and delivering that service to a far wider range of customers than they could contemplate, as part of a service package they could never develop or pull together.”



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