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Open Cloud computing has been for sometime the best kept “open” secret among its conceptual developers. The “open cloud manifesto” was then identified for standards, framework and processes so that the flexibility and the openness of the cloud are not compromised. With SAP joining the fray in open cloud computing and becoming a member of the manifesto, I think it is fair enough to visualize the possibilities even though open cloud is still new and a lot of experimentation is going on.

Open cloud’s success involves in how open the software on the cloud is going to be, after all what good is an open cloud if the platform is free but the software solution is unattainable or controlled by a few players. The framework needs to take into account that software should be accessible to all and sharing of applications is not cumbersome.

Now when I think of what does all this do for analytics or Business Intelligence being on the cloud, the possibilities are really enticing. From a concept standpoint I think an open cloud computing analytics will resemble an “ipod apps area”. The software licensing is free, the platform is virtual and developers are provided with all the tools to create applications and to share them with others. SAP Business Objects “whohar”   (https://whohar.ondemand.com)  is a sample of this concept, where users can share datasets and templates and Polestar in the cloud is an application that lets users load their datasets and analyze the data with a Flash based tool that allows users with no data modeling skills to analyze their data.

This type of analytics is actually interesting to business users as they don’t have to rely on data models or coding skills to get them their analysis report. This also gives a greater transparency among partners who share their datasets. They don’t have to rely on each other to provide specific templates, when a data pool is available.

Of course these type of analytics between shared datasets has to go through accepted standards and the cloud must be reliable where in the framework must be compatible even on different providers of the cloud. But I believe that the days where analysis are run real time on shared data on any mash up imagined is not far of..

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  1. Vijay Vijayasankar
    When you say business users don’t need a datamodel to analyze their data – I am unable to visualize how that would happen. How would one make sense of data without a datamodel to support it and provide meaning?

    Analytics is a big differentiator in business – For example,every one does sales orders, but those who analyze/mine it efficiently stays ahead of the pack. I can visualize transactions being standardized on the cloud, but not analytics.

    The other question is on tools – in a single vendor cloud, I can see the economics of that vendor providing tools for free to developers. But in a grander scheme – several vendors will be managing a cloud, and they might have competing tools. A common standard is some time away, if at all it is happening. Do you think multiple tools will make it hard to make cloud analytics a success?

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    1. Gokul Muthuswamy Post author
      Hi Vijay:

      Nice points raised, before giving my views let me first say we are discussing something that is a little bit hypothetical.
      When I said business users dont need a data model, I meant no data modeling skills to load their data as I imagine there would already be an app. that would do that work for them(e.g something similar to polestar).
      Multiple tools I think is needed for Cloud analytics to be a success as I believe an open cloud will fail if there is a single tool because that would mean lesser players, but as you said several vendors will be in the cloud but tools need not necessarily by vendor controlled(my example of ipod apps kinda scenario). This means no restriction of tools which brings to your second point on analytics, where the cloud provides way for being more efficient analysis with all its apps. as in the same dataset can be analyzed differently on different apps. which I assume makes it more efficient.

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  2. Srini Tanikella
    Gokul,

    Great topic to blog on. I think the future holds good for open cloud analytics and Polestar just seems to be the trendsetter (at least for SAP). While the standards are yet to be set, it will be only a matter of time before you see big players in this space…

    Regards,
    Srini

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