Friday, December 21, 2012

The Cloudcast - Eps.69 - Cloud Garage Labs

Review of Fantasy Cloud Drat 2012 - Team Rosters (Eps.55)

Review of Brian's Concept of "Cloud Garage Labs"

Industry Overview (2012):
The breadth of open-source technology being created to build Cloud Computing environments is expanding very rapidly. This includes IaaS technologies (OpenStack, Eucalyptus, CloudStack), PaaS technologies (CloudFoundry), Management/Provisioning/Automation (Chef, Puppet, CFEngine). These technologies are the foundational elements for emerging web 2.0 and mobile applications.

In addition, the number of public, on-demand Cloud Computing platforms continues to grow (Amazon AWS, Rackspace Cloud, Google Cloud Engine, Microsoft Azure, Virtustream). This enables the ability to quickly access compute/network/storage resources

Problem Statement:
At the core of any “Journey to the Cloud”, whether it’s for a business or individual, is the need to learn new technologies, new skills and new operating models. In the past, this has often been done by attending training, or setting up dedicated lab resources. Both of these environments are costly both to the individual, but also to the associated companies. In addition, they require constantly maintenance, troubleshooting and hardware refresh. This leads to valuable cycles being wasted on non-learning activities, and often times a reprioritization of activities when budgets are reduced or eliminated.

In addition to the need to evolve their skills, technologists often struggle with the ability to carve out large blocks of time to new learning or experimentation. When they are able to allocate small blocks of time, they often spend too much of it repairing an older lab environment, rather than focusing exclusively on new technologies. They desire to be able to “just get to the learning” faster, and with less aggravation.

Existing training programs for Cloud Computing are limited, often require technologists to spend large amounts of money (often $2000-3000 per week), and often require them to travel instead of being able to do them online.

Existing training requires the provider (training company) to maintain large capital investments in equipment to be able to deliver their services. They must also be frequently refreshed every 2-3 years, misaligning costs with revenues.

Technologists that are able to keep their skills up-to-date with the latest industry trends have proven to be able to find better paying jobs, have greater job satisfaction, and deliver greater results back to their businesses. Investing in their own future, on their own time, at their own pace, allows them to have greater control of how they advance their career and unlock new career opportunities.

Cloud Garage - Value Proposition:
Cloud Garage Labs delivers on-demand Cloud Computing environments for technologists that wish to learn the latest Cloud Computing technologies (IaaS, PaaS, Management/Automation, SaaS tools). Technologists are able to gain value experience and skills on the most modern Cloud Computing technologies in a self-paced structure, on their schedule. Cloud Garage delivers a more cost-effective, more time-effective way to stay ahead of rapidly changing Cloud Computing technologies to improve individual career prospects and IT/Business productivity.

Cloud Garage is positioned to be the modern replacement for home labs and legacy technology training.

Cloud Garage - Revenue Opportunities:

  • Module Fees - Each course module (eg. OpenStack, CloudStack, Razor, etc.) would have a base cost for the instruction + the fees associated with the on-demand Cloud resources (eg. AWS).
  • Sponsorships - Vendors could sponsor individual models, in-module advertisement, (eg.short video), tools directory, or space on the homepage. This opens opportunities to create a freemium payment model for technologists. (Potential Sponsors: Rackspace, Citrix, Eucalyptus, Puppet Labs, NetFlix, Cloudability, CloudPassage, CloudAccess, CloudFlare, SOASTA, CloudFoundry/VMware, enStratus, etc.)  
  • Freemium - Customers would select “free” modules (that include vendor advertising), or they could select basic modules that don’t contain the more complex aspects of labs. Community members could also build more complex modules (or segments of modules) and provide those for free to customers. They would also need to be subject to advertising.
  • Memberships - Instead of buying each module, customers could instead sign up for an annual membership, for access to unlimited modules (+ the fees associated with the on-demand Cloud resources (eg. AWS)).  Memberships could also include some amount of “fees for cloud infrastructure” included (eg. first 2-5hrs)
  • Revenue Sharing - 3rd-party course modules can be created using a standard framework. Cloud Garage would take a % fee of the course revenues (eg. 30%). This allows communities to create unique new knowledge-sharing opportunities, as well as potentially highlight unique scenarios (or new functionality).  [This is unique functionality from any other training service]

Sample Home Lab Setup: