Cloud Collaboration

October 3, 2012
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The past 12 months, we have implemented a handful of global cloud platforms that connect US, EU, and APAC. The common impetus behind these projects is to connect brain trusts in these geographies. Whether they are supply chains in Asia program managed from the EU, healthcare cost improvements in the US by using radiologists in India, or high-tech design teams that are collaborating on a new car or smart phone design, all these efforts are trying to implement the IT platform to create the global village.

The past 12 months, we have implemented a handful of global cloud platforms that connect US, EU, and APAC. The common impetus behind these projects is to connect brain trusts in these geographies. Whether they are supply chains in Asia program managed from the EU, healthcare cost improvements in the US by using radiologists in India, or high-tech design teams that are collaborating on a new car or smart phone design, all these efforts are trying to implement the IT platform to create the global village.

The teachings provided by these implementations are that cloud computing is more or less a solved problem, but cloud collaboration is far from done. Cloud collaboration from an architecture point of view is similar to the constraints faced by mobile application platforms, so there is no doubt that in the next couple of years we’ll see lots of nascent solutions to the fundamental problem of mobility and cloud collaboration: data movement.

The data sets in our US-China project measured in the range from tens to hundreds of TBytes, but data expansion was modest at a couple of GBytes a day. For a medical cloud computing project, the data set was more modest at 35TBytes, but the data expansion of these data sets could be as high as 100GB per day, fueled by high volume instruments, such as MRI or NGS machines. In the US-China collaboration, the problem was network latency and packet loss, whereas in the medical cloud computing project, the problem was how to deal with multi-site high-volume data expansions. The cloud computing aspect of all these projects was literally less than a couple of man weeks worth of work. The cloud collaboration aspect of these projects all required completely new technology developments.

In the next few weeks, I’ll describe the different projects, their business requirements, their IT architecture manifestation, and the key technologies that we had to develop to deliver their business value.