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CloudNOW Interviews: Lauren States, IBM VP of Cloud Computing

Very few organizations have the insight that comes from longevity and are able to bring that experience to bear

by Seema Jethani and Lori MacVittie

lauren states quote

Very few organizations have the insight that comes from longevity and are able to bring that experience to bear in new and emerging markets. IBM is one of them. That means when IBM makes a statement with respect to the (near and far) future of computing, it’s almost always more than prognostication, it’s pragmatism based on real experience.

In that regard, IBM has consistently moved forward with cloud computing using measured strides across its portfolio of products and services, recognizing that the technology evolution often outpaces readies for adoption, if not interest. Its long history with organizations large and small ensures that IBM understands the challenges of adopting new technology, not just from a technical perspective but from a business perspective as well.

In a recent interview with CloudNOW, Lauren States, Vice President, Cloud Computing at IBM and a member of the CloudNOW advisory board, reiterated that perspective when she said, “Enterprises have most likely made significant investments in infrastructure and technologies such as SOA. There is no reason to start over. Adopting an architecture that recognizes and leverages these investments as well as the range of cloud delivery models will go a long way towards setting future initiatives on the right path.”

Lauren was quick to note that organizations appear to have no doubt cloud is in their future, driven by consumerization and a desire to “change their business models to improve productivity, serve their customers better and grow revenue and profit.”

Lauren’s long experience at IBM – from her initial position as a Systems Engineer in New York City through roles in sales and marketing – has resulted in a unique blend of technical and business perspectives that are invaluable when evaluating cloud computing and its role within the enterprise. When asked her view on the top 3-5 cloud technologies executives should have on their radar, she not only identified the top four but went on to clearly articulate not only the benefits, but the challenges now facing organizations and vendors alike:

This requires a serious look at what can be moved to the cloud now (business processes, applications and infrastructure), what adoption patterns exist that can be applied to get the benefit of cloud economics and what leverage can be gained. Over the next three years, the breadth and depth of workloads moving to the cloud is expected to expand greatly. Both applications and infrastructure will need to coexist in the enterprise, and the public cloud.

Not to be ignored as a challenge, of course, is the ever-present raven of Cloud Computing called “security”. Interestingly, Lauren is optimistic with respect to technology maturing in the future to meet that challenge.

Security and vulnerability management is another game changer given the impact and visibility of security breaches on the entire organization. You’ll see trusted computing technology mature and be applied to cloud.

Other members of CloudNOW will be exploring the security trope from a best practices perspective in a panel at CloudExpo (November 7, 2011-November 10, 2011).

  • Jill Singer, CIO of NRO
  • Jamie Dos Santos (Pres/CEO of Terremark Federal)
  • Melissa Sims (Sr Dir McAfee)
  • Becky Swain (Cloud Security Alliance)
  • Jocelyn DeGance Graham, Founder and President, CloudNOW, moderator

The full interview with Lauren can be read here, on the CloudNOW site.

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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