Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Philippe Abdoulaye, Flint Brenton, Jennifer Gill, Betty Zakheim, Deep Bhattacharjee

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, CRM

Agile Computing: Opinion

An Inconvenient Truth: Free Up Market Forces to Tackle Climate Change

You can't legislate for innovation

It was former Presidential Candidate and founder of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) Ross Perot who famously said “The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.”

A quote which may strike resonance with the world’s politicians as they continue to wrestle with the major challenge of setting a global green agenda whilst battling tough economic conditions.

President Obama’s second term inaugural speech certainly won plaudits for his determination to tackle climate change, his powerful statements deliberately pitched to be emotive on a global stage, whilst reassuring an American nation still reeling from the effects of hurricane Sandy.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” And “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.” Now the world waits to see how these noble and heartfelt words translate from the pages to become actions?

And if the truth be known, the world is not holding its breath.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, stated that he would ‘do his best to mobilise the political will and resources so that the member states can agree to a new legally binding global agreement on climate change” and this on the back of two decades of UN climate talks that have so-far failed in their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Ironically it may not be the promise of new green jobs and taxation penalties ‘for the guilty ‘that tips the scales in favour of action but the force of Mother Nature herself. The devastation caused by natural disasters such as tsunamis and hurricanes impacts hugely on already fragile economic budgets (according to a report by insurance company Swiss Re, natural disasters were estimated to have cost the world's economies $140 bn in 2012 and over $350 bn in 2011)

No one seriously doubts that the world’s leaders do not want genuine and sustainable change but there is a real need now to cut through the greenwash and rhetoric and start delivering. We are already witnessing shifting priorities as Governments struggle with recession and debt crises. A move away from fossil fuels has long been touted as a key objective in the worldwide battle to reduce greenhouse gases, and yet in January, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that global investment in all renewable energy had fallen by 11% in 2012, due largely to drops in government support in the US, Spain and Italy.

Last November, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that whilst the use of renewable energy was growing ‘quickly’, largely driven by Government subsidies, traditional fossil fuels received six times more subsidy than their low carbon counterparts.

But it’s not all bad news. Set against the pessimistic political outlook, real progress is being made at the coalface. The private sector, particularly technology industries, is embracing its environmental responsibilities and is citing traditional market forces as the driver - cost savings, competitive advantage, operational efficiency, customer and employee pressure, corporate policy and opportunity.

And it’s a big opportunity. Consultants Roland Berger recently predicted that the global market for environmental technology and resource efficiency currently totals more than €2tn and will grow at an annual rate of 5.6 per cent on average to the end of 2025.

The data centre industry for example, for so long viewed as an energy hungry monster and an easy target for Government legislators, is proving extremely adept at rising to the environmental challenge.

A recent survey of 1,110 global data centre owners and operators undertaken by the Uptime Institute revealed that 82 percent of respondents viewed energy-efficiency improvements as a way to reduce operational costs. Of those decision makers, 8 percent described their pursuit of energy efficiencies as motivated by a desire to keep pace with their industry peers and 47 percent said they were looking to free up capacity.  Microsoft’s announcement that it’s new $348M data centre planned for Virginia will be carbon neutral and built using the latest energy efficient technologies is testament to the Industry’s focus.

And of course the software and applications hosted in these data centres offer the world a raft of technological innovations that could aid us in the long term.

Innovation and a desire to reduce environmental impact is not hard to find in the private sector. As the world prepares to celebrate Valentine’s Day, UK retailer Marks & Spencer announces that it will be delivering thousands of bouquets in modified atmosphere packaging, saying it will save 10,000 litres of water through the use of this technology. How many people wandering around West Ham Tube station during last year's London Olympics realised that they generating kinetic power through the paving slabs they were walking on? UK start up Pavegen was in the midst of demonstrating that heavily populated streets could potentially generate enough electricity to power lights and applications. Many firms are now tackling the evil greenhouses gases head on and are harnessing and converting CO2 into products as diverse as baking soda, cement and plastic, all in the hope that their entrepreneurialism leads to both profit and the greater good.

Many economists agree that the best way to tackle climate change is to allow market forces to flourish whilst the most divisive method is to mandate or over legislate.

Obama’s first term was marked by the failure of his sweeping carbon emissions cap, the Australian Government suffered bruising after a failed attempt to introduce a Carbon Reduction schemes and more recently UK Prime Minister David Cameron was left to explain away the apparent apathy towards the Coalition's flagship "Green Deal" energy efficiency scheme claiming it was deliberately designed to “build slowly”.

What all Governments across the Globe are fast discovering is that the economic issue of climate change is complex and that no one size fits all ‘green solution’ will ever work for any industry.

Companies, and indeed consumers, must be given both the choice and the chance to adopt a ‘green’ model that suits their needs and that they can personally engage with on an emotional and fiscal level.

Allow us the freedom to become Activists.

Image from Shutterstock.

More Stories By Phil Worms

Phil is the Chief Marketing Officer of one of the UK's largest managed hosting and cloud computing services companies - iomart Group plc. He is a 30 year IT industry veteran, having started his career with BT plc, joining the company as it emerged into a brave new commercial world following privatisation.

A full and varied career has seen Phil move through various senior product/project and marketing positions with companies as diverse as Centrica plc, One.Tel and VarTec Telecom, Phil has been described as “an old head who has been around the block more than once” who “continues to be a powerhouse of ideas in all areas in which he provides his considerable experience to” - which probably means he should have been pensioned long ago.

@ThingsExpo Stories
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).