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What James Bond and the cloud have in common

Posted by Hans Ashlock November 24, 2015
What James Bond and the cloud have in common

Late 2015 sees the release of the 24th James Bond film, entitled "Spectre." The movie brings back the titular criminal syndicate last seen on the big screen in "Diamonds are Forever" in 1971. Like many of its predecessors in the franchise, Bond's latest adventure provides some interesting commentary on current and future technology.

James Bond, watches, phones and the private cloud

For example, in the "Spy Who Loved Me," from 1977, 007 sported a watch that also served as a pager with messages printed out on tape. The gadget was more than 30 years ahead of the curve since it predicted the advanced functionality of wearables like the Apple Watch.

More recently, Bond hopped aboard the mobile phone wave: His first cellular device was a heavily modified phone in "Tomorrow Never Dies," which was released in 1997. In "Spectre," though, he is smartphone-less due to both the film's director and main star saying that the MI6 agent wouldn't use any of the Android devices that vied for product placement in the movie, according to Digital Trends.

It seems that 007 is someone with very high standards for the types of tech he uses. As one publication recently speculated, he seems like someone who would prefer a private cloud. Indeed, his MI6 case files and briefings feel like just the type of sensitive enterprise data that would be tough to justify moving entirely, or even partially, to a public cloud.

Surprisingly, James Bond and the cloud have more in common then you might think.Surprisingly, James Bond and the cloud have more in common then you might think.

Why private cloud is still the right option in many cases

Moreover, in light of MI6's roots in Cold War-era international espionage, the presence of substantial legacy IT infrastructure has to be assumed for them. A rip-and-replace transition to virtualization and cloudification would not be realistic. We can learn a lot about where many organizations are today on their cloud journeys from this fictional example.

The private cloud is basically an ideal: Bring the automation, self-service and elasticity of cloud computing into the safety of a well-controlled on-premises environment, whether the super-secure MI6 offices or a corporate data center. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way for its adopters, who often discover that the initial CAPEX outlay, as well as lingering difficulties in areas such as remote access to data, make it hard to justify.

However, despite these occasional problems in implementation there is still a broad need out there for a cloud that is "for your eyes only." Sixty-three percent of respondents to RightScale's 2015 State of the Cloud Report affirmed that they were using a private cloud. More than 20 percent also stated that they were running more than 1,000 virtual machines in their private clouds.

"Private cloud success requires consistency."

Overcoming the hurdles to private cloud success requires finding some way to make sense of disparate infrastructures, interfaces and tools, whether through a novel approach to infrastructure-as-a-service or the use of a cloud platform. It requires consistency. Vendors like Oracle have realized this problem and attempted to bridge the gap between on-premises and cloud operations.

"One of the important things about what we're doing is to have the same operational model between the public cloud and the on-premises part of cloud," Oracle vice president Praveen Asthan told SiliconANGLE. "And that's very important, because what I've found in talking to customers is the operational model and where things break. If I have to do it a certain way on-premises, and then I've got to change and learn something new to do it in the public cloud, it's very difficult."

Many legacy applications have similar issues that prevent them from being ported to the cloud. However, by using a DevOps automation suite such as QualiSystems CloudShell, it is possible to implement private cloud IaaS that can get these programs on the path to sustainability:

  • Standardized, production-esque infrastructure environments become available in minutes instead of days or weeks, thanks to automated processes.
  • Self-service, portal-driven interfaces give diverse teams what they need, on-demand, without having to work around other programmers and scripts.
  • This IaaS sets the table for test automation to keep the application's lifecycle as fast-moving as possible.

It's not the credit card swipe convenience of Amazon Web Services, but it's not supposed to be. Just as James Bond cannot afford to use (or be seen using) anything less than the best, many enterprises have to, above all, make sure that their applications are secure, controlled and workable. Private cloud IaaS via CloudShell helps them do just that.

The takeaway: Private cloud is the right solution to a specific set of problems - think of it like one of Bond's specialized gadgets. It excels at keeping data safe and offering the high levels of control and consistency that many enterprises need for their applications, especially programs that were designed and put at the heart of mission-critical processes prior to the rise of virtualization and public cloud.

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