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Delivering Value Through Applications

An exclusive Q&A with ActiveState VP Bernard Golden

"Hybrid clouds offer users the opportunity to deploy application workloads in environments that best meet requirements for compliance, performance, or cost," noted Bernard Golden, Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference and Tech Chairs Larry Carvalho and Vanessa Alvarez. "The key challenge to truly achieving the best outcomes from hybrid cloud computing involve mapping dissimilar APIs, operations, services, and pricing."

Cloud Computing Journal: How are cloud standards playing a role in expanding adoption among users? Are standards helping new business models for service providers?

Bernard Golden: To date, standards promulgated by official bodies have not played much role in cloud computing due to the rapid evolution of the market and offerings. However, de facto standards based on wide adoption or consortia are having a significant effect on the market and allowing users to have more confidence in their choices. Examples of de facto standards include the AWS API for cloud interaction, the OpenStack IaaS open source project for resource orchestration, and the CloudFoundry open source project for application development and deployment.

Cloud Computing Journal: How are hybrid clouds evolving to allow the coexistence of private and public clouds? What are the challenges to meeting a true hybrid cloud scenario?

Golden: Hybrid clouds offer users the opportunity to deploy application workloads in environments that best meet requirements for compliance, performance, or cost. The key challenge to truly achieving the best outcomes from hybrid cloud computing involve mapping dissimilar APIs, operations, services, and pricing. These issues can be present even in environments that share underlying infrastructure or code bases, since the deployment and operation of similar environments can differ significantly.

Cloud Computing Journal: Are on-premise software vendors successfully migrating their business model to a SaaS model? What are the challenges faced in this journey?

Golden: Some on-premise software vendors have successfully migrated their business to a SaaS offering. Vendors attempting to move to a SaaS model typically encounter both technical and economic challenges. Technical challenges include moving to a multi-tenant environment, providing high uptime, and managing scale. Economic challenges involve addressing revenue flow differences and sales and marketing mechanisms suited to a low-touch customer interaction expectation.

Cloud Computing Journal: With several vendors lowering costs for infrastructure, is there a way for new cloud service providers entering this space to make money?

Golden: It's clear that several large cloud providers are investing very large amounts of capital and rapidly reducing prices. Given that most cloud service providers will not be able to make the same kind of capital commitments or provide such low pricing, it's clear that they will need to seek differentiation from the so-called commodity providers. Examples of potential differentiation include vertical domain expertise, infrastructure and operations transparency, or customized service offering.

Cloud Computing Journal: What are the challenges for end users to adopt a new model for application development using Platform as a Service? Are vendors doing enough to meet their needs?

Golden: The key challenge for PaaS users is to recognize how important it is for IT to focus on delivering value through applications and how that requires IT organizations to find application framework offerings that enable application acceleration and lifecycle management. Because this is a nascent space, there is much work left for vendors to do to help users with design practices, process improvement, cost analysis, and so forth. The PaaS market is about to enter a high-growth phase that will require both vendors and users to grow and mature, but offers significant benefits for those who make the investment.

•   •   •

Bernard Golden is Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState. Named in Wired.com as one of the ten most influential people in cloud computing, Bernard has extensive experience working with organizations to help them adopt and integrate cloud computing effectively. He helps ActiveState customers apply best practices and meet their goals as they leverage the cloud with Stackato®. Prior to joining ActiveState, he was Senior Director, Cloud Computing Enterprise Solutions, for Dell Enstratius. Before joining Dell Enstratius, he was CEO of HyperStratus, a cloud computing consultancy serving enterprises and service providers across the globe.

Bernard acts as an advisor for organizations that leverage his cloud computing expertise to accelerate their success, such as Nirmata, and the Cloud Network of Women (CloudNOW). He is the author or co-author of four books on virtualization, including Virtualization for Dummies, the most popular book on the topic ever published, and Amazon Web Services for Dummies. He is also the cloud computing advisor for CIO Magazine, where his highly respected blog is read by tens of thousands of people each month. He is a highly regarded speaker and presents at conferences throughout the world.

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