Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: William Schmarzo, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Olivier Huynh Van

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Opinion

The Geopolitical Context of Cloud Computing

Technology Vendors Must Be Exquisitely Aware of World Events

Cloud computing is a global phenomenon and exists within a very serious geopolitical context. The technology is not discrete from government policy, and technology marketers must be exquisitely aware of this.

The highest profile example is Google's ongoing sparring with the Chinese government. But in a way, we're all Google and we should understand why. Blackberry's conflict with the Indian government over message privacy is another big example.

When Things Were Simple
International technology marketing used to be simple. Just watch what took off in the US and Canada, then make sure you were in Germany 18 months later, the rest of Europe 6 months after that, and in Japan five more years down the road. The rest of the world could be, in a word, ignored.

The Worldwide Web, modern telecommunications, and their combined global impact has now changed all this. The United States fell behind several countries in the 90s in the area of mobile-phone technology and its use. Then, as computing changed from an early emphasis on expensive hardware and software to lower-cost proliferating devices and free Web stuff, the world suddenly looked to be a much more level playing field (even if it's not actually flat).

The world outside of the United States didn't get caught up in the bogus "New Economy" talk of the late 90s, so didn't suffer as much in the dot-bomb era. But in the current Prodigal Web Returns era, technology marketers face a global village that never sleeps, and one in which everyone wants the latest stuff.

It's been widely noted that netizens of the Philippines (where I'm based for the time being) are the world champion texters, held the MySpace title when it mattered, and are embracing Facebook and other social networking sites with the same enthusiasm. The rest of the major Southeast Asian nations are not far behind.

Facebook et al are seismically active elsewhere as well. About 70% of the FB user base is outside of the US-a reversal of what technology marketers encountered in the long ago Greed is Good Age of the 80s.

Immediate Effect
And here's what I think is the important part: the geopolitical actions of government leaders in Beijing, Washington, and dozens of other national capitals has a direct, immediate effect on the technology industry today.

As the onset of World War I demonstrated, a provocative event in the relatively modest outpost of Sarajevo unleashed simmering tensions among the great powers of the age, resulting in tens of millions of deaths in the two wars that followed.

Today's geopolitical landscape is at least as fraught with tripwires as that of 1914. In almost 100 years, all of our technology has not made us humans any more peaceful or cooperative.

Businesses can ignore nothing today, in the way they could simply pay no attention in the past to what was going on behind the Iron Curtain, and elsewhere.

So, for example, I fear for the rising tensions between the Philippines and China over the obscure Spratly Islands group (and its potential to produce oil). Vietnam is involved here, too.

China is also spending precious diplomatic currency in trying to be ideologically correct in supporting the lunatic in North Korea while being practical in finding an end to Korean conflict after all these decades.

This is occurring as the US and China are engaged in "frank" dialogs about currency and the looming potential for cyberwar. Could a minor incident such as a Chinese ship firing near a couple of Filipino fisherman, which happened a few weeks ago, be the Sarajevo spark of our age?

Harder to Say On Message
Successful businesspeople are by nature and by training able to stay on message, not let extraneous factors smudge their focus, or get wrapped into political theories and governmental pantomime. In the past, this was generally an effective approach.

To be sure, one had to be aware of the big events - revolutions in Cuba and Iran, oil crises spawned by cartels, and the general business climate in any particular place.

But today, businesspeople must have their products and services available almost everywhere in the world, with the knowledge that seemingly small stuff might quickly lead to something to sweat about.

"Don't sweat the small stuff, but none of it is small stuff" might be the mantra of this age.

How concerned should we be about Iran's nuclear program? What major powers (eg, Russia) might eventually come into serious conflict with the US and Europe over this?

What role is an increasingly confident and powerful Turkey going to play, especially as it continues its movement from its modern secular roots? Is Brazil truly emerging as a world manufacturing power, and will it lead to conflict with the US and Canada some day?

Meanwhile, the Arab Spring is turning into summer, with very little decided. Things are far from sorted out in Egypt, which has fast-emerged as an outsourcing power and technology buyer over the past five years. Libya is a huge mess, with Western allies either undecided or lying about whether they really are trying to kill its leader. Syria could be the next Libya. Yemen is very troubled, and the trouble in Bahrain has not gone away.

And folks, what if the spirit of revolution moves to Saudi Arabia? Or Dubai?

There are also issues of government policy. This is a big, fascinating topic, one which I plan to write about extensively over the next year. For now, in this context, I read recent remarks by a top Google executive who downplayed - was even dismissive of - concerns about data sovereignty, ie, the issue of government wanting to keep Cloud data in-country.

He offered a few sound technical reasons for this opinion. But sound technical reasoning is not on the list of most politicians' competencies, in the US or the world. Ruh roh.

Twitter: @strukhoff

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@CloudExpo Stories
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
We’ve been doing it for years, decades for some. How many websites have you created accounts on? Your bank, your credit card companies, social media sites, hotels and travel sites, online shopping sites, and that’s just the start. We do it often without even thinking about it, quickly entering our personal information, our data, in a plethora of systems. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the information we are providing. It could be very personal information (think of the security questions you ...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.