Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Richard Hale

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing Debate: Booz Allen Hamilton Comments on Recent McKinsey & Co. Report

Two Booz Allen Hamilton Principals offer their take on McKinsey & Co. view of cloud computing.

Cloud Musings

(In a recent discussion document titled "Clearing the air on cloud computing", Will Forrest of McKinsey & Co. offered his view on cloud computing. Unedited comments on the report from Mike Cameron and Rod Fontecilla, Booz Allen Hamilton Principals are provided below, published at their request.)

The recent McKinsey report on cloud computing “Clearing the air on cloud computing” has caused a bit of a stir, primarily since it purports to demonstrate that cloud computing can be twice as expensive as traditional data centers in some applications. Since this report makes a claim to an analysis of cloud economics, we would like to weigh in with a couple of comments regarding the report.

The McKinsey report, as presented, seeks to be the “other voice” and offer a contrarian view of cloud computing. The first thing we noted was the statement, on slide 7, that “Cloud computing can divert IT departments’ attention from technologies that can actually deliver sizeable benefits; e.g., aggressive virtualization.” This view seems to be an underlying motif in subsequent discussions, yet it is a premise that is not substantiated.

We are also somewhat taken aback by a management consulting firm is proposing an “industry standard definition” for cloud computing, having rejected, for various reasons, the definitions used by the IT vendors and data center owners that are currently creating cloud computing in the industry, as well as by centers of academic excellence (e.g., the computer science department at Berkeley). We are surprised that McKinsey rejected a definition of cloud computing (slide 11) because the definition doesn’t provide “definitive economic implications.” Webster’s dictionary defines “bicycle” without making any economic implications.

Definitions say what something is. Economic implications are a value judgment. We do not understand how a definition, absent a value judgment. It is also an assertion by McKinsey that the definition fails because it does “not distinguish cloud services from clouds.” Interestingly, on slide 17, a cloud service is defined as having two of the three key requirements of a cloud. This leaves McKinsey’s definition of cloud services to mean “not quite a cloud.” The report does not attempt to define what cloud services are, stating only that “it could run on top of a cloud.”

They state that cloud offerings “are most attractive” to small and medium sized business, and “there are significant hurdles to the adoption of cloud services by large enterprises.” That would come as quite a shock to Target, Eli Lily, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, NSADAQ, Toyota, E*Trade, Computer Associates, and a host other large enterprises that have been in the cloud for a couple of years.

The “significant hurdles” to cloud adoption by large organizations appear to be McKinsey’s opinions but not supported by hard data. For example, “business perceptions of increased IT flexibility and effectiveness will have to be properly managed.” What perceptions? Managed by whom?

We are trying to figure out how McKinsey got to the numbers they cite, on slide 24, in their comparison of CPU costs per month in the data center versus in the cloud. Taking the $14K/server cited on slide 23, and dividing that out over a three year refresh cycle, costing it out by month, and dividing by 8 to reflect the cost of each processing core, I got to $48/month. But that price does not reflect any power, facilities, or labor, so the “Total Cost of Assets” MUST be higher than the figure cited by McKinsey, unless they changed assumptions between examples. They also make an assumption of an Amazon large instance (discounted by 25% for reasons that are not provided) and calculate a cost per month of $270.

Where this example appears to break down is that, for the data center, they are calculating the cost per core, while for Amazon they are calculating the cost of a Large EC2 instance, which is four cores. On a single-core basis, an EC2 Small instance is only $72 month, running non-stop. Assuming the same 10% utilization used in other examples, the comparison should be $48/month for the data center and $7.20 month for EC2.

Their assertion that moving a data center to the cloud provides a 10-15% savings in labor seems to be well off the mark. In the discussions with cloud providers, we learned that labor went from being one of the largest components of cost to an insignificant component of cost, largely because of virtualization (reduced hardware baseline plus ease of provisioning logical, rather than physical, devices) and elasticity (automated resource management).


( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - KLJ )

More Stories By Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson, founder of the GovCloud Network, is an independent technology and business consultant specializing in mission critical solutions. He has served in various senior management positions including VP & GM Cloud Services NJVC, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and VP Program Management Office at JP Morgan Chase. His formal education includes MSEE (Computer Engineering), MA National Security & Strategic Studies and a BS Aerospace Engineering. Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and retired from the US Navy earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Airborne Logistics and Airborne Command and Control. He also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide. Kevin is the founder and author of “Cloud Musings”, a widely followed blog that focuses on the use of cloud computing by the Federal government. He is also the editor and founder of “Government Cloud Computing” electronic magazine, published at Ulitzer.com. To set up an appointment CLICK HERE

@ThingsExpo Stories
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, outlined ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and sto...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, discussed the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filterin...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Much of IT terminology is often misused and misapplied. Modernization and transformation are two such terms. They are often used interchangeably even though they mean different things and have very different connotations. Indeed, it is somewhat safe to assume that in IT any transformative effort is likely to also have a modernizing effect, and thus, we can see these as levels of improvement efforts. However, many businesses are being led to believe if they don’t transform now they risk becoming ...