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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Sanjay Mirchandani, CIO of EMC (Part 2)

Posted on Saturday, Nov 27th 2010

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini

Sramana: At EMC, now that you have this rather large virtualized infrastructure, are you able to charge back the different parts of the company based on their usage? Or is that something that you are planning to do or are interested in doing?

Sanjay: Yes, it is definitely a goal we have. Given the technology we have, we are at the point of being able to provide a lot of our infrastructure and some pieces of our platform as a service, if not charge back, at least the capability of being able to show back would be good. I am not as religious about charge back as I am about show back. Being able to run an efficient infrastructure and to be able to show the business, the true cost and value of what they pay for or the company pays for, is important to me.

To achieve show back, what we have to do is engineer backward how we want to capture some of these costs. We need to identify metrics that are relevant to our environment. We need to figure out what is the pervasive versus non-pervasive infrastructure. In other words, we need to differentiate between a test environment versus a production environment. We are also looking at the process and the mechanics under which a show back in a virtualized world is more relevant. We are looking at both elements: one, the actual process and the component parts, and two, how it all comes together.

Sramana: What is your cloud strategy for the applications? Did you say that you brought up Salesforce.com in the public cloud? Are there other applications that you are putting on the cloud?

Sanjay: Well, I said “sales force automation.” I guess you assumed I said Salesforce.com.

Sramana: Oh, sorry. You’re right, salesforce automation! You didn’t say Salesforce.com, I apologize.

Sanjay: At EMC, we do use Salesforce.com, so you are not wrong about it.

Sramana: I am hearing about Salesforce.com very often from people.

Sanjay: We have a very large installed base of Salesforce as an automation tool.

Sramana: Is that the first application that you put on the cloud?

Sanjay: No, but it was the most significant in terms of the scale and impact it created when we put it on the cloud because it touched every sales person around the globe. So it was very visible, it is extremely mission critical for us in a sense that it is important to our sales and our technical services in the organization. It is pervasive by nature, and it worked out well for us.

We are not getting into the product-specific details we use in travel and expense manager, HR management, payroll, and so forth. There is a bunch of things that we use as services today. I’m not shy; if there is a product out there that does a good job and has the right economic value for us, as long as it gives me agility and allows me to get it into the hands of my users faster, I would give it due consideration. We really don’t have an approach here that says, we going to build everything on our own. If there is a world-class solution out there that provides the right economic value and gives us agility, mostly it is in the cloud, then we would surely go and look at it.

Sramana: I have a follow-on question to what you said above: What is your view on analytics in the cloud?

Sanjay: I think analytics in general is a a very important space. I speak to at lot of CIOs, and I can tell you that everyone is thinking about this, at EMC internally as well. EMC bought a company called Greenplum that does large data sets and business analytics. Would EMC eventually have this stuff make its way into the cloud? I think so. I’m not making any projections about our product or anybody else’s. But anyone you talk to is interested in the concept.

Sramana: Well, I was asking this question more from the point of view of whether EMC is moving their analytical functions to the cloud yet.

Sanjay: I don’t think I‘m going to say anything on that just yet. It is a work in progress; we have a bunch of things going on in that space.

Sramana: All right.

Sanjay: But understand this from our perspective – if I can put something in the cloud, I will put it in the cloud. I’m not building any physical applications. Going forward, any physical infrastructure will be virtualized, and if it will make sense to be in the cloud we will definitely look at it. That is our approach whether it is analytics, CRM, or anything else. It has to be virtualized if it is to run on-premise. If some functionality is required and it is available as cloud service that runs on-premise, I am surely going to look at it.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Sanjay Mirchandani, CIO of EMC
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