Sramana Mitra: I guess the volume of data depends on what industry you’re in and how much data you’re generating?
Austin McChord: Yes, absolutely.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk about trends. What trends do you track given what you’re doing? What are you tracking? What do you see as threats and opportunities?
Austin McChord: We look at the whole stack that involves how businesses are connected to the cloud. We try to understand what that looks like from the network infrastructure that sits on-site and from bandwidth access and performance of the cloud. Things like bandwidth caps scare us across different ISPs. Those are things that we don’t want to see penetrate well. It’s interesting to track what the large public cloud providers are doing in ensuring that our costs are in-line and appropriate so that we are providing a competitive service offering across the board.
Also from our end, customers’ access to the cloud is as important as the cloud services themselves. We feel like it’s a current that’s evolving at a pace that’s not keeping up with the rate of innovation with the cloud. We worry that at some point customers’ access to the cloud will be the limiting reagent to customers’ adoption of more cloud services.
Sramana Mitra: The pace of cloud innovation is very fast but customers are not able to adopt technology at that pace. Isn’t that always true?
Austin McChord: No, it’s not that customers are not able to adopt the cloud innovation. Internet connections, network gear that’s available for SMBs, WiFi services offered, and the quality of LTE networks are not keeping up with the customer demands. Customers want to use these new services from the cloud but they’re not feasible yet because the other infrastructure necessary to get them connected to the cloud isn’t there. We see that because in our business, we have the luxury of operating with a fantastic connection to the Internet. The distance between a computer that’s sitting in a closet and a computer that’s sitting 10,000 miles away is non-existent. It really changes how you think about building out and designing infrastructure. But the pace of innovation to bring that connectivity is too slow and will limit the type of services that can be offered from the cloud.
Sramana Mitra: Give me examples of cloud services that are currently facing this bottleneck?
Austin McChord: A good example is the need for us to have the local appliance because customers don’t have the bandwidth necessary to virtualize all the time from the cloud. This requires an enormous amount of technical innovation on our part in order to pull off quality performance considering what a limiting reagent that connectivity is.
Sramana Mitra: I see. That really is the answer to my earlier question on why you have put the appliance on-premise as opposed to doing a pure cloud service.
Austin McChord: Yes.