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Driving the Demand for Cloud Computing

An exclusive Q&A with John Gilmartin, VP of Product Marketing at Coraid

"No matter how good we get at Big Data analytics, we'll never be able to accurately predict the future of technology," noted John Gilmartin, VP of Product Marketing at Coraid, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. "This industry is changing fast, bringing ever greater value to end users," Gilmartin continued. "The only sure bet is that technology will change even faster and in unexpected ways in the future."

Cloud Computing Journal: Just having the enterprise data is good. Extracting meaningful information out of this data is priceless. Agree or disagree?

John Gilmartin: Definitely agree. Data in enterprises is growing at an unprecedented rate, over 50% year-on-year by some estimates. This growth in data represents both a challenge and an opportunity. IT administrators, faced with the daunting task of storing petabytes of data for their organizations, are turning to cloud architectures for flexibility, ease of management and responsiveness. Once they have a way to capture data, they need ways to mine the data for business insights. According to analysts, business intelligence is the number one priority for CIOs.

Cloud Computing Journal: Forrester's James Staten: "Not everything will move to the cloud as there are many business processes, data sets and workflows that require specific hardware or proprietary solutions that can't take advantage of cloud economics. For this reason we'll likely still have mainframes 20 years from now." Agree or disagree?

Gilmartin: There will always be a market for highly specialized solutions built on proprietary hardware. The question is what fraction of the overall IT budget and deployed infrastructure they will account for. Modern enterprise architectures built on commodity hardware with software-based intelligence and automation are powering workflows and data sets that would have required dedicated special-purpose hardware in the past. Big Data analytics platforms and high-performance cluster file systems such as GPFS are great examples of this. We believe that software-defined data centers built on commodity hardware building blocks with software-based management and automation will radically transform enterprise IT.

Cloud Computing Journal: The price of cloud computing will go up - so will the demand. Agree or disagree or....?

Gilmartin: Over the past few years, enterprises experimented with various private, public and hybrid cloud alternatives. We are now starting to see wider adoption of cloud architectures in the "real" world. As CIOs get comfortable moving low-risk data into cloud environments and businesses opt to use SaaS offerings, this trend will continue to drive up demand for cloud computing.

At the low end of the price-value spectrum, the relentless wave of commoditization and price-based competition will continue for some time, which will keep prices low. We will see product offerings that are differentiated on performance, quality of service, security, etc. These differentiated products can be priced at a premium.

Cloud Computing Journal: Rackspace is reporting an 80% growth from cloud computing, Amazon continues to innovate and make great strides, and Microsoft, Dell and other big players are positioning themselves as big leaders. Are you expecting in the next 18 months to see the bottom fall out and scores of cloud providers failing or getting gobbled up by bigger players? Or what?

Gilmartin: The low end of the cloud computing market is very crowded right now. A market in which price is the only basis of competition favors the big incumbent players such as Amazon and Rackspace. We are likely to see consolidation in this market in the next 18 months. Cloud service providers who are able to build a differentiated offering on a cost model that makes sense can command a premium and compete effectively against the bigger players.

Cloud Computing Journal: Please name one thing that - despite what we all may have heard or read - you are certain is NOT going to happen in the future, with Cloud and BigData? ;-)

Gilmartin: No matter how good we get at Big Data analytics, we'll never be able to accurately predict the future of technology. This industry is changing fast, bringing ever greater value to end users. The only sure bet is that technology will change even faster and in unexpected ways in the future.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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