By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini
SM: Interesting. Any other observations in terms of areas where you would like to see some entrepreneurial activity?
MS: More services, more offering, more choices.
SM: In what area?
MS: Right now, in terms of cloud-based offerings, it is really a facility framework. Cloud vendors expect that we as customers will go to them and specify what we need in terms of CPU, in terms of being able to spin off more discs and other resources. It is the users who are required to go to cloud-based solution vendors and tell them what they can sell us. I would really like it if the tables were turned and the entrepreneurs were thinking of things that I as a user haven’t thought of in terms of what would make my business better.
If you take more of a software model rather than a ‘utility computing’ model, you don’t have software companies coming to me saying other than of course the offshore people who will call me and to say we have people who can do our programming off-shore. But for the most part, the software people are coming to me as a customer and they are saying, Listen, we know that this Exchange or SQL or whatever has this issue, and we have come up with this software to solve it. Compare this with the cloud vendors. They are really utility people who are coming up and saying, ‘Okay, tell us how many spindles you need, how much CPU, how much memory and we will give you all that at a price.’ I guess that is fine, but it would be to the cloud vendors’ advantage to come back to me and explain to me how they thought of my business better and to offer me something that maybe I didn’t think of. It is as simple as because if I don’t think of it, I’m not going to go to them to ask for it.
SM: What I am hearing in my conversations with other people in this series is that several of the large houses such as IBM are making the effort to come up with the entire stacks that they can deliver to people like you or larger enterprises. With such offerings, one could simply deploy private clouds on top of that stack. Customers don’t have to go to the granule level of doing piece by piece or piecemeal allocation, or architecting of their infrastructure. They will give you a full stack and you will tell then what you are trying to do on top of that. I think that movement is underway.
MS: Okay. That hasn’t trickled down to my level yet, but that is good news.
SM: I think it is happening now, it is happening more at a level where the people at IBM are designing such a stack and trying it out within their own house and on some early customers. It’s probably going to take another 18 to 24 months to trickle down to the mid-market. But I think they are going to first try it out in the large enterprise segment because that is their sweet spot. I have heard that this is happening; this is something that is being designed.
MS: Well, you have given me good news and you have also validated what I’m thinking here – I’m in the right direction.
SM: What I think you are saying, however, is that the mid-market is actually open right now. From the point of view of these kinds of infrastructure stacks of preconfigured architecture and preconfigured solution, what you are telling me is that the mid-market is kind of open, right?
MS: That is correct.
SM: Chances are that for the next couple of years the mid-market is going to be an opportunity. So, if an entrepreneurs want to insert themselves into this opportunity, they can.
MS: I would agree with that
SM: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
MS: Cloud entrepreneurs will have to have the resources because, obviously, you are putting a lot of faith into this vendor. So this vendor has to be able to show you that they are going to make it through the long haul and they are going to be able to deliver on the promise.
SM: But you know, there are vendors out there with lots of capacity, with lots of ability to scale. I think it is a question of who is focusing on providing this kind of stack for the mid-market. That is the real question.
MS: Agreed! Everybody is trying to see where they are going to go in terms of these offerings, and the pricing is definitely changing over the course of several months. Everybody is testing everything from down to the consumer level to small and medium businesses, I mean really small businesses to medium sizes. I particularly liked the Microsoft commercial where they talk about ‘To the cloud!’
SM: Is there anything that you wanted to discuss in this context that I have not asked you about yet?
MS: No, I think you covered all aspects.
SM: Very good, thanks a lot!