Unix conversions can include forms
HP imagines computing matrix future

Poke into clouds with HP Labs paper

HPLabs HP Tech Forum attendees were doused with cloud computing references this year. There's a certain level of buzz that might compel an IT manager or 3000 owner to know answers to basic cloud questions when the queries surface from top management. Within the rich confines of HP Labs Technical Reports, a good Cloud 101 primer is available for download.

This paper released this year is titled Outsourcing Business to Cloud Computing Services: Opportunities and Challenges. The writing in this PDF document is as straightforward as the title; the paper is only 17 pages long and explains differences between Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Database as a Service, and Software as a Service.

As it turns out, the paper's only table shows that only Software as a Service (SaaS) has any direct use for managers, business owners or business users. The PaaS, IaaS and DaaS are tools for the IT administrator or developer. However, the HP technical writers assert that the time is near for computer owners to be able to access most of their processing needs from the clouds.

Advances in service oriented architecture (SOA) have brought us close to the once-imaginary vision of establishing and running a virtual business, a business in which most or all of its business functions are outsourced to online services.

Cloud computing shares a common goal with the old concept of timesharing: A computing resource managed by a third party that provides storage, processing and administration for a fee. In exchange, the owners of a business or enterprise pursue their business, instead of IT planning and investments.

HP submitted its white paper to the Special Issue on Cloud Computing published this year by IEEE Internet Computing. The paper does include a reference in its back matter to a more promotional HP document about the cloud. But reading what HP Labs has written about cloud computing looks like its hype caliber has been dialed back to reasonable discourse.

Jan86Journal Back in the days when timesharing was a common business solution, HP Labs papers came out once a quarter in the Hewlett-Packard Journal. You waited up to three months to receive them, got paper that had to be copied to be shared, and waited for a year-end index issue. Now you can read the history of the 479 issues of the printed Journal from HP Labs Web site, including the issue that unveiled breakthrough compiler technology for HP's PA-RISC systems. The latest Labs papers are online right away, just like so many seems other resources in our modern age. While this Labs research is usually inappropriate for briefings with non-technical management, technologists in the 3000 community can find clear-eyed studies of what's being buzzed about in conferences and airliner cabins.