I guess it used to be called “Stormchasing” – where groups of seemingly heroic, but clearly just plain stupid, raincoat-clad student types armed with an entry-level standard def video camera caught clips of each other laughing and shouting such ludicrous lines as “oh crap, Bob, it’s coming straight at us” as a 125mph wind got ready to whisk them off their feet into the mystical land of Oz.
Nowadays, it’s called “Cloudwatching” – where groups of seemingly heroic, but clearly just plan geeky, sandal-clad middle aged types armed with a Mac and a Twitter account wait with baited breath for the next move in the cloud computing free-for-all, laughing and shouting such ludicrous lines as “oh crap, Bob, it’s coming straight at us” as a 125mph wind of change gets ready to whisk them…..well, you know the rest.
Well, Bob, it seems like today is not going to disappoint. You can sort of tell that some serious storm clouds are brewing when you see this kind of tweet from AWS chief sabre rattler, Jeff Barr.
If, perchance, you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you may not realize that Jeff has become somewhat of a legend for his well known and well received “midnight tweets” – most of which herald a new set of features for the market-leading AWS platform – and all of which create an instant and excitable buzz on the Twitters. Some could call it marketing….but either way, the midnight tweets are a source of great information and are usually a teaser for a more complete Jeff Barr blog entry explaining the new feature in much greater detail.
So, after a little beard scratching and mind scrape or two, wondering what else AWS could have in store for us as an early Easter bunny gift, I was jaw-droppingly amazed to see this tweet from ace reporter and all round good egg, Carl Brooks.
Yes, read it again. “IBM now has a true public cloud”. Now it’s beginning to make sense. Was Jeff teasing us ahead of a new set of features that would cut Big Big Blue’s Big Announcement off and squash it before anyone really understood what they were offering ? If so, that’s awesome. If not, it’s still awesome. This is cutting edge at it’s very best. Isn’t it ? At last, IBM had made the move from their initial “Dev Test Cloud” to a “true public cloud”.
After my initial eye rubbing and a quick-but-amazingly-recoverable sink into a world of undeniable meh at the very title of the offering – “Smart Business Cloud – Enterprise” – (the point being that it is going head to head against AWS which is not exactly known as an Enterprise play) I decided that I wanted some of this action and donned my brave cloud explorer hat…..cloud jungle, here I come….I mean, if you’ve explored the Amazon, you’ve seen all the jungles…right ?
The first thing I stumbled upon was the rather unforgettable URL for IBM’s “true public cloud”.
Just rolls off the tongue (and keyboard) doesn’t it ?
I spend the next few moments reading up on the sales literature. It looks like this :
So far so good. It is, as you would expect, hitting all the right notes in terms of capability, access control, image management, security, support, blah, meh…
Let’s dive in.
Oh, here it is :
I have to order my cloud. Really ? Like I order books from Amazon ? And it can only be delivered in the US. How quaint.
Oddly enamored, I click it :
This is beginning to feel like if I click “Unreserved virtual machines instances” I’m about to book the equivalent of a cloud holiday with Expedia, where you get so excited that your flight is “just” $0.75, but the rest of the undecipherable crap that comes next turns your smile to abject horror as you realize you’ve spent $794.75 just to add two checked bags and a parking space at the airport.
I wasn’t disappointed.
There is simply so much wrong with the three check boxes above that I can barely find words to describe my absolute capitulation. How on earth anyone can justify paying $1000 for a VPN when it is free in AWS VPC is beyond me, but what really takes the biscuit is the thought of paying someone $3000 to help me understand how their portal works.
What happened to consumerization ? When was the last time you paid eBay $3000 for someone in their support center in India to help you sell some old clogs you found in your Grandmother’s closet ?
I couldn’t bring myself to go any further. I’ve seen enough for now. Clearly, this is no reflection on what this might be able to do and I am sure that there is far more to the “Smart Cloud” platform than I could ever imagine, but the one thing that really hits me is that this looks and feels like an enterprise play. Sadly, I mean that with the context of all the things that I think are just plain wrong with enterprise providers. It feels like I am being sucked in to an extension of an outsourcing deal but for “Smart Cloud”.
It’s like hearing a cat bark. Wrong and oddly disturbing. “Available to existing enterprise IBM customers” is not cloud. No way Jose.
Frankly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as I finish this post, but one thing is for certain…I will be waiting for that midnight tweet from Jeff tonight with just a little more peaked interest than I might otherwise have.
Let’s see what happens, shall we ?