There is Public Cloud, Private Cloud and now Virtual Private Cloud ? How many Clouds can there be ?


As Cloud become more popular there all kind of flavors of Cloud coming about. Although variety is great but a lot of variety tends to add confusions. There still a lot of industry leaders still trying to figure out how Cloud would fit their needs. A lot of the popularity around Cloud has been in the small medium business space  but there are some enterprises that not yet made the jump due to security or the lack of clarity in that context.

Enterprises want the flexibility of Public Cloud but also want the security and control provided by the Public Cloud. How do companies get such flexibility? Yes I agree private cloud address those issues but elasticity is lacking and it does not change the age old behavior for IT to overbuy hardware for those “Just in case” situations. Only to find out that the additional hardware purchased could not accommodate the “just in case” scenario”.


There is a third kind of Cloud and it is called “Virtual Private Cloud” . Virtual Private Clouds have the elasticity of the public cloud but all the administrative and security control of a private cloud.  Even though some public cloud providers claim that their environment offers complete administrative control of the Application (load) in their environment in most case that is not the case. Virtual private Clouds allow for that flexibility and offer complete administrative control and has been customized to the need of the organization that wants to adopt the cloud.

The new “Hybrid” Environments .. In most cases hybrid environments allow organization to mix up both Public and in-house “Private” instance to establish cost effectiveness (for more information on Hybrid Cloud Environments ). Virtual Private Cloud add a new dimension and flexibility that an organization might have not explored. I have captured some of the basic differences between the 3 variants that I highlight in the blog.  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Public Cloud

Private Cloud

Virtual Private Cloud

  • Accessible Anywhere
  • Elastic Scaling
  • Does not require prior management approval
  • Use what you need
  • Multi-tenancy
  • In-house infrastructure
  • Complies to corporate security guidelines
  • Integrates with on premise solutions
  • Infrastructure available via corporate VPN solutions
  • In-house infrastructure
  • Complies to corporate security guidelines
  • Integrates with on premise solutions
  • Infrastructure available via corporate VPN solutions
  • Under the control of the Organization
  • Customized to meet corporate environment
  • Use what you need
  • Access the infrastructure using corporate VPN solutions
  • Unrestricted access to administer your own solution
  • Does not invalidate your prior investment
  • Does not require prior approval
  • Application upgraded as requested by the line of business
  • Elastic Scaling
  • Bound by the services offered by the vendor
  • Limited Customization
  • Security certifications may not transferrable to the application hosted for a client etc.
  • Additional services required to manage cloud workloads
  • Multi-tenancy
  • Requires Capital Expenditures
  • Upgrade cycles take a long time
  • Requires additional integration service
  • Impacts the ability to respond quickly to changing business needs
  • Requires Capital Expenditures
  • Upgrade cycles take a long time
  • Requires additional integration service
  • Impacts the ability to respond quickly to changing business needs
  • Still require additional skills to administer the application in question
  • Elastic Scaling is little challenging
  • Initial one time setup costs
  • Requires additional integration services

Social Media ROI

Every now and then I hear that it is hard to find out what is the ROI in doing social media. Honestly I find such statement to full of baloney? The old adage “there is no such thing as a free lunch” comes to mind… why would a business take the time and money and do social media without knowing what the ROI is ?

Sadly most business think about social media is all about awareness… The problem with awareness is how do you know, what is working?  And how do you know that because of a social media campaign people are coming and buying and how many more people are they bringing based on the experience they had on your website, your store, etc.  Awareness is nice to have, but that awareness needs to mean something.

Before starting a social media campaign … understand what outcome you want to drive i.e. define success 

Just like when you take on any new business venture there is a success criteria that you have in mind. You may not hit the target in a straight shot manner but you want to minimize the variance between you want to be versus where you get to … (which is why I have always wondered my christopher columbus is called a great discoverer because he was way off the mark on reaching India but that is a blog for a different day) . The same concept applies when you start a social media campaign… what is the outcome that you want to drive ? Is it to Maximize buyers of your product and services? Is it to minimize the time to discover you product and services or is it to make sure that influential people are talking about your product or service … So know the outcome you want to drive … and please let it not be “awareness”. Here are some examples of how can you calculate some elements of Social media ROI.

Net Promoter Score

When you start a social media campaign, the ideal state is to know the economical value of each of the followers you gain on twitter or have an additional like on your Facebook page. In order to understand Net Promoter Score.

Start with the baseline on where you are at before the campaign. Know when the campaign ends … please do not keep a campaign running for long time otherwise it is a useless process

My example of calculating a Net promoter score is as follows  :

An additional follower on Twitter brings in 5 additional followers (amplification factor of 5)

NPS = Net increase in sales / Net growth of Twitter follower based on the campaign

Now you can know the amplification factor and you know the economic value of each follower


When you run a social media campaign, it is best to run a campaign with a special URL. Why a special URL ? Well thanks to the wonders of the web we have entered a new world of behavioral segmentation instead of the age old demographic segmentation.  The web allows for great flexibility to learn and know exactly what potential clients are doing when they get to your site. When you run a social campaign have a customized URL and have your website instrumented with your favorite analytics tools.  With your customized URL you can validate if you see increase in purchases based on the social media campaign.

Net increase traffic = Traffic after campaign – Traffic before campaign

% of Buying versus visiting = # of Purchases/ #Net Increase in traffic

A good barometer would be at least 10 % of visits generated are actually buying … but if your visits are just 10 people from the whole campaign …then there is something that is generally wrong with your site.


How many users are returning ?? This question is usually looked over as we are usually smitten by net new transactions  versus existing ones. Remember the existing clients are the ones that got you here and yes those new clients that you acquired via the campaign if they return to the site and purchase more, well that is good too.  Thanks to Cookie technology on the web, marketers and technologists know whether you are new visitor or returning visitor. In this case you want to look at

% Returning visitors = #Returning visitors/ Net increase in total traffic

% Purchases made by Returning visitors = # of Purchases/ #Returning visitors

if the Returning visitors percentage is high (i.e. over 50%)  that means the most responsive group to your campaign has been your existing client base .. which is a good thing … but then you have to ask yourself the following questions

Are these clients bringing new clients ? ( Going back to our NPS discussion)

What are the additional things are they buying ?

What is the average size of purchase for returning clients ?

These are the kind of questions that will help you develop and maintain a social media program and increase investment in social media outreach programs

Earned Media Value

If you end up using an agency to do your work… then it makes sense to hold them accountable for the work they are delivering. Thanks to Web analytics we can hold them accountable if there is a white paper campaign based on the business goal you have identified then  make sure you have elements in place for the right attribution of such efforts and have identified the right KPI. Don’t just stop at looking the #of downloads or the # of Shares of your content … look how that actually impacted the overall sales or whether or not the link back actually helped your ranking on Google’s SERP results.. these things matter. You can also look at overall sentiment data as well such as

# of Negative Mentions/ # of Positive Mentions  (High percentage means you have brand problem)

If you are resolving issues via Social media as in support then you want to look at things like

Avg. time to resolve an issue

# of complaints received/ # complaints resolved

Frequency of contact with the client on the complaint

These are just some examples of Earned Media Value. You are building a presence for your brand and with your community.

Cost of fan acquisition

This is also an overlooked element on social media campaign. People tend to forget that social media is an investment and it does not come free. There is work involved and the cost is not just promotional material cost.  The cost of fan acquisition includes the following elements

  • Cost of the team involved in Social media outreach (Companies that do this wrong have a common pool of social media “experts” or have one person dedicated to an entire brand). Remember with social media you reap what you sow.
  • Time spent on researching the topic before developing the campaign ( there are ways to calculate this .. such as Looking at the hourly rate of the person hired and amount of hours spent on research)
  • Then obviously campaign development
  • Campaign execution and testing
  • Iteration

On the last point of iteration… believe me you will be iterating a lot during the campaign.  Although a lot of might be assuming that a social campaign can be time bound and it can be, but social program do not finish as the next social outreach starts as the prior one ends… all of this is all series a iteration.


This blog is by no means exhaustive… but it is a list of things that have worked for me. If you have any additional ideas and thoughts please feel free to share. I have value your opinion good or bad.

Don’t forget if you do social media with a goal and purpose in mind… you can have a lot of fun.

Disruption at the core: How the cloud will commoditize the upper middle-class

Future of Product Management in the context of SaaS


A combination of the rise of software as a service and the increasingly complex analytics available to companies will commoditize an increasing number of white-collar jobs. In the first post on this topic, we examined how several upper middle-class jobs within ‘outer functions’ such as HR, sales, and marketing would be eliminated by the growth and adoption of cloud technologies. In this article, we assess how the cloud could automate roles within “core” functions such as such as product management, IT, and R&D. We also examine the overall effect this commoditization will have on middle management roles.

Transformation of product managers into design experts

A product manager’s primary responsibility is to interact with customers, and distill their requirements into a set of prioritized features for R&D to build out. A product manager is seen as the ultimate owner of the product roadmap, and consequently, sets the schedule of when…

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4 Issues with moving to Multi-tenant cloud infrastructure for Enterprises


Yes … In case you were living under a rock…. cloud computing is where it is at.  I am sure you have you have heard all great analogies about how cloud computing is making computing utilitarian and it is the harbinger of new sets of innovations analogous to the innovations that came out of the industrial revolution when electricity and transportation became utilitarian, which meant people could put their respective factories up wherever they wanted instead of being close to waterways. Here is a picture of Ludwigshafen Germany in 1881. Imagine living here at that time period and thanks to the innovations that were brought about by utilitarian services 



This is how we see Ludwigshafen today …. 



So there are clearly some benefits that can achieved by cloud computing in the same vein …  in the early 90’s you needed several thousands of dollars to start up a company today people can start companies in less than $2000 think about that for minute. 


Multi-tenancy Applications and Small Companies

Small companies are the first to gravitate towards multi-tenant environments since they have very little to product… their focus is primarily to get the product out  and use whatever capability to get a robust product set . Multi-tenancy  Applications are like a youth hostels where you may have a place to bunk but you have community showers or shared showers.  For most small companies this is ok as long as their stuff is not exposed to some one else or someone else’s stuff is not exposed to them… but there is not guarantee that it might not happen. Please understand I am not  saying that Multi-tenancy is bad … it is just that there are certain types of clients that will gravitate towards that. Now Sales Force is definitely an exception where they are making improvements to secure information of companies to appeal to Enterprise clients.  But there are some barriers for Enterprises to adopt Multi-tenant environments, I have tried to explain a few (this is not a exhaustive list)





Issues with Multi-tenant Applications and Enterprises

1) Flexibility

Enterprises need to know where their data stored, especially non-US based enterprises that may want flexibility in where their data located. Thanks to the recent news around Edward Snowden and folks this has become a major issue with a lot of Enterprises.  Suppose your competitor is also using the same service as you.. would you want your sales lead information be stored in the same server as your competitors ??? Think about that for a minute 

2)  Security

Yes all cloud providers will say their applications are secure and that information is well protect. Imagine in a multi-tenant environment shares the same database, the data base administrator decides to implement a policy to which your company will not subscribe to. Remember how you feel when you get something that you really did not ask for and you really did not want but you got it …. Now you have to figure out you are going to sell this change back your management chain. 

I am not saying that people are staying still and that their is no development happening here but not a lot has been about it so far..

3) Limited Power 

Look around there are limits to how much data you can put or store in some of these environments.. Yes you can pay for more database space and more storage etc but what if it is was just a unique phenomenon. The other thing to add here some capabilities will be stunted because the provide the simplest common denominator. For example a Cloud provider can support multiple languages but not the one for the market you are going after…  now what do you do ?


4) Could end being more costly  

Yes.. you have low utilization rates.. but what about the cost of rewriting your application to support multi-tenant environments.. this stuff is not cheap, it is expensive. If you are in the business of continuous delivery  you need to have significant ROI and client base to get even break even.  What if you decide you want to change your provider what happens then ?


What could be better?

I am a big fan of virtual private clouds… Virtual private clouds address all the issues that I have identified. Think about virtual private clouds like a condo building where each unit has their own personality and has their own usage model and the kind of database, application you need etc. etc. 

Now if you are enterprise or a small company that is trying to attract larger clients … virtual private clouds could be for you. What are the benefits though?

1) You are the master of your own instance

2) You can have the kind of applications or service that you want

3) You can upgrade when you like and you are not bound by the providers discretion

4) You can move your entire application to a different provider with minimal costs

5) In the long run it turns out to be a heck of a lot cheaper than being on multi-tenant instance (Another blog post on this later)


I am intrigued about your opinions and thoughts on this matter… 


In the spirit of full disclosure, I believe multi-tenant applications will be get better but the future will be a hybrid of sorts, since I believe in the vision of Cloud so much… I have decided to join a company that provides such utilities to enterprise clients … please go check out the company and also let me know what you think ?