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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Donald Ferguson, CTO of CA Technologies (Part 5)

Posted on Sunday, Sep 12th 2010

By Sramana Mitra and guest authors Shaloo Shalini and Bhavana Sharma

SM: That must be having a huge impact on the IT organization as well, right? You don’t need all these different capabilities. I guess you can dramatically reduce the size of the IT organization with that decision alone.

DF: Yes, but the thing is, that it’s part of the overall IT. So,  that particular part of the business has other systems such as ERP, HR, and CRM.  I don’t know how much of the budget this particular piece is, but that typical part you can have a huge transformation. We do know lot of things in the cloud virtualization and security, but there is an underlying theme that I from technical strategy viewpoint call the ten X vision. What we are trying to do is have IT management products that improve the cost quality agility of IT by a factor of ten.  There are a lot of things that we are doing, and some of them are not directly related to the cloud. But a big theme in this particular case of products for private clouds is part of that factor of ten idea. For everything we do, the question that I ask is, How much is this helping us to get to ten times?

SM: Is part of that strategy to also standardize on certain stacks from traditional IT provider? For example, I was talking to IBM, and it is basically testing all sorts of private cloud architectures internally, deploying them, and then selling that same architecture with this entire stack to their customers. The Oracle–Sun camp is trying to do the same thing. I haven’t talked to HP, but I have to believe that it is trying to do the same thing, and there is some mumbling that Cisco is trying to get on the bandwagon as well. How do you see this shaping up? Is it something that is going to be a trend and that is going to be widely adopted?

DF: Yes, I think it will be. I was a chief architect at WebSphere when I was at IBM, and the company is effectively standardizing everything with WebSphere. It were doing that when I was there. I left about four years ago, and at that time the company was standardizing on a stack, but they were standard stacks for delivery of on premise software. Now what they are saying is, let’s offer that stack via a cloud service.

SM: Right, as a private cloud infrastructure.

DF: Right. With a very few exceptions, we are not going to be an IaaS provider.

SM: But are you an IaaS consumer?

DF: Yes, we are a consumer with the EC2 example, for instance. But we do it in a few places. We actually partner with somebody. That partner is doing a network as a service and is one of the local providers that use our software. We are kind of in a partnership with them. In terms of our company strategy, a fact to remember is we are primarily a packaged software company, and we sell packaged software to manage other packaged software. Now we ourselves – our strategy is somewhere different – our strategy is to be across platforms.

SM: You are cross platform when you deploy products, when you sell products, or when you bring your products to market. You are not cross platform when you buy your own private cloud and infrastructure, right?

DF: No. We tend to standardize.

SM: That was my question. What do you describe as your development and test environment, for instance? Is it run a private cloud augmented by Amazon’s infrastructure as a service environment? Your private cloud portion – is that on an IBM stack or something like that?

DF: Well, we sell products that manage private clouds. So we use our own products to manage private clouds. We don’t use products from IBM. They way to ask the question is, What stacks do we use to build our products and test or run on the private cloud?

SM: OK, fair enough.

DF: We are not an app developer or a platform company, so for managing, securing, configuring, and controlling the private cloud we produce products that do that. We build products that manage virtualization. When you look at apps and what they do in the cloud, they break down into two categories. One is internal applications, is it a part of our IT environment, or are we using it for the products that we build. If it’s an internal IT, we tend to try to standardize. We are somewhat at the mercy of app providers. So we try and standardize to some extent.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Donald Ferguson, CTO of CA Technologies
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