Legal Aspects of IT Services Integration

Thinking:

As a member of the Atos Origin Scientific Community – focusing on Alternative Delivery Models – I sometimes get questions that seem related to my expertise but in reality open up a whole new world of thinking. I am not a lawyer, judge or even remotely educated in legal affairs; still the legal aspects of providing services is something that comes up a lot – especially in the field of service integration.

When we explain a service to the customer we would like to say: “hey, trust us, it will work” and we frequently end up with a 100+ page document describing the service properties, levels and (my favorite) penalties.

I once heard one of my colleagues mention that for the management of the IT of the Olympics we actually have just 1 page that only mentions: “it just works – all of the time” – but that may be company folklore.

I am using this specific example because it makes my point of legal complexities versus simple statements very well: for the Olympics we integrate the products and services of over a dozen of partners to support the biggest event on the planet and we have proven time after time that “it just works”.

But when we wanted to integrate the Microsoft BPOS services in our portfolio we ended up in a lengthy legal discussion on the agreed service levels that we jointly wanted to create for our customer(s).

I spend many evenings on the phone hearing legal experts from both sides of the ocean discussing meaningful aspects of ‘causalities’, ‘ownership’ versus ‘stewardship’ and the ever popular definition of ‘to the best of our abilities….’.

Currently my view is that we will probably need the legal translation of ‘our best intentions’, but that some kind of agreed framework will help in defining the nature and results that can be expected from those intentions.

Such a framework does not seem to exist and certainly the common language is not defined: tedious and frustrating legal discussions are the result.

If the next wave of IT is in services and services integration, such a framework and common language needs to be developed quickly – otherwise progress will be stopped by legal affairs, not by technology.

85 Cloud Computing Vendors Shaping the Emerging Cloud

Interesting:

Although probably already outdated in this overhyped theme of Cloud-stuff, I stumbled upon an ‘old’ email from my good friend Tom Steward from MultiFactor, that lists about 85 technology providers in the Cloud Computing sphere. The article was published on august 25, 2009 on www.datamation.com.

Next to the usual suspects I am now starting to work w/ Cordys (#22).

BTW: MultiFactor is at # 55. Well done Tom! [more…]

HPCwire: BEinGRID Transitions to IT-Tude.com

News:

Project Coordinator Santi Ristol from Atos Origin confirms – "In today’s changing economy, businesses require even more assurance that the solutions presented to them are valid, proven, and practical.

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 25 — BEinGRID (Business Experiments in GRID) is coming today to a key transition stage. The project financed by the European Commission is ending but the achievements are taken forward in IT-Tude.com. Over the past four years BEinGRID has identified clear business needs to be met by Grid technologies. 25 pilots covering industrial sectors such as finance, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and health, have focused on solving real problems using different Grid technology solutions for collaboration, performance and enabling new services. The project’s applications and innovative solutions are promoted at the ICSOC/ServiceWave 2009 event held this week in Stockholm. And the results demonstrated show how businesses may profit from distributed computing — from Grid to Cloud solutions. [HPCwire: BEinGRID Transitions to IT-Tude.com]

Microsoft Launches Azure on PDC Conference

News:

Azure goes live on January 2010.

LOS ANGELES — Nov. 17, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows Azure platform at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC). In his opening keynote address, Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft, described Windows Azure and SQL Azure as core elements of the company’s cloud services strategy. The company also announced a set of new Windows Azure features, Windows Server capabilities, and marketplace offerings that will make it easier for developers to build profitable businesses from their Microsoft-based solutions. [more…]

Azure Launch Calendar 

(Picture taken from Long Zeng Flickr Photos)

Azure VM Pricing

(Picture taken from Long Zeng Flickr Photos)

Opinion:

At last Azure is now announced to be live (no pun intended) in January 2010. There are a couple of things noteworthy:

  • This is targeting the Enterprise market, where Microsoft already has a strong position. This is contrary to other Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers who started from the consumer and small businesses market.
  • Microsoft owns the platform. The technical environment is build on top technology that has been developed and engineered by Microsoft themselves; including the hypervisor and the management software. I am told they even designed some of the server hardware, but that was probably just a rumor.
  • By adding the .NET platform Microsoft taps into a large community of existing .NET developers and existing applications that almost immediately can become ‘cloudy’.
  • Microsoft is tapping into their large existing partner network of SI’s and ISV’s to sell Azure. They will give incentives to this networks thus unleashing a large sales-force (again no pun intended) onto the corporate world.

Azure is providing the internet with some very powerful stuff, but enterprise class processing and database scalability, security and data compliancy will remain risky areas that any customer or partner needs to be aware of.

BTW before you start up your calculator: running a ‘X Large’ – server 24/7 for a year will cost you $ 8,409.60. January seems to be free of charge.