Why Cloud?

Here are some reasons why cloud computing is very helpful to small business owners like me- and can be very helpful to even bigger people.

1) Infrastructure Overhead becomes zero

– I need NOT invest in secure powerbackups (like a big battery for electricity power-outs-true in India), data disaster management (read raid), software licensing compliance.

All this is done for me by infrastructure providers like Google and Amazon.

For simple office productivity, I type on Google Docs that auto-saves my data,writing on cloud. I need not backup- Google does it for me.  Ditto for presentations and spreadsheets. Amazon gets me the latest Window software installed whenever I logon- I need not be  bothered by software contracts (read bug fixes and patches) any more.

2) Renting Hardware by the hour- A small business owner cannot invest too much in computing hardware (or software). The pay as you use makes sense for them. I could never afford a 8 cores desktop with 25 gb RAM- but I sure can rent and use it to bid for heavier data projects that I would have had to let go in the past.

3) Renting software by the hour- You may have bought your last PC for all time

An example- A windows micro instance costs you 3 cents per hour on Amazon. If you take a mathematical look at upgrading your PC to latest Windows, buying more and more upgraded desktops just to keep up, those costs would exceed 3 cents per hour. For Unix, it is 2 cents per hour, and those softwares (like Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu have increasingly been design friendly even for non techie users)

Some other software companies especially in enterprise software plan to and already offer paid machine images that basically adds their software layer on top of the OS and you can rent software for the hour.

It does not make sense for customers to effectively subsidize golf tournaments, rock concerts, conference networks by their own money- as they can rent software by the hour and switch to pay per use.

People especially SME consultants, academics and students and cost conscious customers – in Analytics would love to see a world where they could say run SAS Enterprise Miner for 10 dollars a hour for two hours to build a data mining model on 25 gb RAM, rather than hurt their pockets and profitability in Annual license models. Ditto for SPSS, JMP, KXEN, Revolution R, Oracle Data Mining (already available on Amazon) , SAP (??), WPS ( on cloud ???? ) . It’s the economy, stupid.

Corporates have realized that cutting down on Hardware and software expenses is more preferable to cutting down people. Would you rather fire people in your own team to buy that big HP or Dell or IBM Server (effectively subsidizing jobs in those companies). IF you had to choose between an annual license renewal for your analytics software TO renting software by the hour and using those savings for better benefits for your employees, what makes business sense for you to invest in.

Goodbye annual license fees.  Welcome brave new world.

SAS with the GUI Enterprise Guide (Updated)

Here is a slideshow I made using Google Docs ( which is good except the PDF version is much worse than Microsoft Slidehare). It is on the latest R GUI called AwkWard. It is based on the webpage here

http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcvss358_1015frg4k8gj

In my last post on WPS , R and Sas I had briefly shown a screenshot of SAS Enterprise Guide with a single comment on how it could do with a upgrade in it’s GUI. Well it seems that the upgrade has been available since March 2009, but probably not applied since no one noticed even once in the Fall Semester here in the Tennessee ( including people from the University who read this blog 🙂 Actually the upgrade was made to local machines but there is also a cloud version but didnt apply the upgrade – where we can use Citrix Server to just run analytics on the browser

Here is a revised update of SAS Enterprise Guide 4.2

SAS Enterprise Guide is a Windows interface to SAS that allows for SAS programming *and* point-and-click tasks for reporting, graphs, analytics, and data filter/query/manipulation. SAS Enterprise Guide can work with SAS on your local machine, and it can connect to SAS servers on Windows, Unix/Linux, and the mainframe.

It doesn’t have decision tree support; that’s provided by a more specialized application for data mining called SAS Enterprise Miner.

And you can easily extend SAS Enterprise Guide with your own tasks. See http://support.sas.com/eguide. You do not need SAS/Toolkit. You can use off-the-shelf development tools for Microsoft .NET, including the freely available express editions of Microsoft Visual C# or Visual Basic .NET.

With credit to Chris from SAS for forwarding me the correct document and answers.

PS-
It would be great if the SAS User Conferences Archives used slideshare or Google Docs ( PDFs are so from the 90s) for saying displaying the documents at the sascommunity.org ( which took the twitter id @sascommunity after two months of requests,threats and friendly pleas from me- only to not use it actively except for one Tip of the Day Tweet, sigh)

Presenting R

Here is a short presentation I made for fellow students at work.

It is generally at a beginner’s level or for people having trouble transitioning to R.

and if you want to see the video presentation you can see it from here on UTK’s lecture capture mechanism

Title: R Help Session
Speaker: A. Ohri
Desription: Session for R Beginners
URL: http://vcweb.bus.utk.edu/20090911-103113-cap403/

In addition, here is a link for the handout:

https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AdYMMvghK2ytZGN2c3MzNThfODA2ZzY4N2I5bno&hl=en&invite=CKvforMH

MS Smacks Google Docs with Slideshare

Our favorite drop outs from the Phd Program just learned that they should not moon the giant. The company founded in Paul Allen building at Stanford, also known as Gogol /Google announced they would create a Cloud OS with much fan fare. Only to find their own cloud prodocutivity offering Google Docs bested by Slideshare.

Now you can import your Gmail attachments Google docs into slideshare, for much better professional sharing within your office.

Here is an embedded SlideShare ppt called Google Hacks, note the much better visual appeal in this vis a vis your Google Docs.

Well as for the Stanford dropouts this is what happens when you dont complete your Phd education.

Citation- http://www.slideshare.net/rickdog/google-hacks

As per Cloud Computing and Office productivity goes,

Harvard Dropouts (Microsoft) 1- Stanford Dropouts ( Google) 0

Unless Google creates a cloud version of Open Office- but who needs that anyway?

who needs search- just ctrl F

Google Hacks

View more documents from rickdog.
Disclaimer- The author uses Google Docs extensively. If you are from Google. Please do not block his Gmail id , guys.
Academic Disclaimer-The author intends to complete his Phd. these are his personal views only.

Cloud Computing (Cooler and Lower)

The changes in Google Docs means that cloud computing now enables you to imbed web like objects in mundane spreadsheets (for free) and also allows you to backup your Google Docs using the Google Gears application.The Google gadgets are also nifty like displaying Gannt charts.

http://gears.google.com/?platform=win

You can collaborate on a spreadsheet on the internet also

With these changes- Google Docs is more than a big alternative to Windows Office- especially thanks to much lower initial  costs, and zero maintainace costs. Also with the offline Google Gears backup,you do have access to your data even without the internet, it allows you to de facto create a cloud version of Windows OS -My Briefcase .

Not 100 % of the data or office documents within an organization need to reside locally. Yet System administrators continue to resist Google docs (because well you don’t need system administrators once you totally get into this cloud computing business).

Of course, Google will need to address privacy and ownership issues, which given its battles with retail data will cast a cloud on it’s cloud for the corporate version of the retail services.

Web Forms through Internet:FREE

That is corrct. Thanks to Google Docs, you can create a web form like a spreadsheet, share it with some people, and voila ..its like web form through the internet.

Possible applications:

DATA COLLECTION from multiple sources, then aggregate,download it ,import  and submit it to SAS,SPSS or any statistical software.

OUTSOURCED ON THE FLY Data Entry.

ONLINE SURVEYS also become more easy, given widespread usage of Gmail. I can create a form, short survey send it to all people in my egroup and then collect the results.

“””

Go to http://docs.google.com/

and follow the instructions for creating a web enabled form that collects data into a spreadsheet.

http://documents.google.com/support/spreadsheets/bin/answer.py?answer=87809&hl=en

Features: Creating forms

Print

You can create a form from any spreadsheet. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Open a new spreadsheet.
  2. Save the spreadsheet.
  3. Click the Share tab.
  4. Under ‘Invite people:’ choose the radio button to fill out a form.
  5. Click Start editing your form… In the form template that opens, you can add any questions and options you’d like.
  6. Click the Next, choose recipients tab. Here, you can add email addresses, a custom confirmation message, and choose whether you want people to see the responses.
  7. When you’re finished, click Send.

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you’ve edited a form and need to send it again, click the Edit and resend button in the lower-left corner of the Share tab.
  • To see the results of a form, open the original spreadsheet. It’s a good idea to use the same name for the form as your spreadsheet, so it’s easier to find.
  • To turn off a form, go to the Share tab of your spreadsheet and click Turn off form in the lower-right corner.
  • Remember, the spreadsheet row, cell and column limits apply to the spreadsheets attached to your forms too “””