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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Willie Tejada, Senior VP And GM Of The Enterprise Cloud Division, Akamai (Part 5)

Posted on Sunday, Sep 11th 2011

Sramana Mitra: There is an interesting company we track called ON24. It is more than $50 million company out of San Francisco, and they do large events. Are you familiar with them?

Willie Tejada: I am familiar with them. I am familiar with their business.

SM: It seems like their whole premise of existence or justification for existence is that running large events at a certain quality of service level with all these multimedia collaboration functions, slide sharing, and so on, is a complex networking problem, and they have solved that problem, and they are delivering that quality of service. That is really the basis of their existence. So, when you talk about entrepreneurial opportunities in the various applications that solve other collaboration problems, is that kind of the model you are alluding to?

WT: Yes, I am, but spread across the entire enterprise use case, whereas an ON24 can optimize for a particular event. So, it is a place in time when they know they can construct network connectivity in their solution set for the best user experience as they have it today. Now, extend it to the enterprise environment where the workflow is. You and I want to get to a point where if we were collaborating for a presentation, I don’t want to set up anything ahead of time. I want to be able to say, Sramana has time in the next half hour or right now.

SM: You are talking about the underlying collaboration infrastructure, the regular instant messaging, almost like presence collaboration at work now?

WT: That’s correct, which is not unlike the scenario you just talked about with the Skype environment which, was look, that is my environment right now. It is a work flow that you wanted just engrained in your day-to-day work. You want infrastructure to be able to support that, and as much as any case dynamically involve people, whether they are on your network or not. That is going to take a security and federation and trusting linking into other people’s infrastructures who may not be part of your corporate fabric.

SM: I am still not quite comfortable that these problems can be solved by small startups, frankly.

WT: One of the interesting pieces would be with many of your entrepreneurs, when they build the technology these days – and probably the interesting thing that I am hooking onto – is when they build the technology or a business case these days and start a company, do they think of it as a small startup, or do they start off with the idea of being fairly large? I think one of the things that ends up happening is as people and entrepreneurs actually work on some ideas, how many of them are large standalone ideas, and how many of them are a piece of a solution set that eventually might be acquired by a company like Akamai or Cisco?

SM: You still have to be able to isolate the problem enough to be able to come up with a solution that you can deliver on your own without being completely dependent on a Cisco or an Akamai, right?

WT: OK, fair enough. I think when it comes down to it, it is something like that in terms of a collaboration set. Oftentimes it takes a sharp focus, as you just said, where if someone were to focus on making a link, an office communicator that works across all public or private network environments, that’s a real problem they can tackle and solve. Like others who have embarked on that particular area, it may require them to work with the application provider and understand where their protocols are, how they do what they do, and then essentially be working with them. So, think about people who have done that.

If you think about what Citrix has gone, if you think where Riverbed has gone in each one of their areas –they made a focused attack at solving a particular applications problems over the entire environment. I think those are very real opportunities today.

SM: Yes.  The other area that I think has opportunities – you brought it up earlier – the whole CAD domain actually has not done collaboration very well. It is still very difficult to collaborate in the cloud with CAD files.

WT: Yes, I think it falls into the same arena where one, as you mentioned, there is movement of assets there are typically very large. I believe these are all back to where there might be opportunity for entrepreneurs. Again, use case, as it relates to the CADs is that there are some unique problems in that particular set. One is ingested movement of the digital assets, and the diversion control of those visual assets that they actually go to the cloud. Typically in those collaborations, they want something that is in real time in terms of the way they are working collaboratively on those digital assets.

I think the real-time aspect is not a solution set that is well served over the public Internet. That infrastructure’s primarily been a best effort in terms of its architecture and what has been put forth. You have companies like Akamai certainly going after making the Internet an enterprise quality, but, again, focusing in on a particular application use set, and on CAD. The reason why I don’t think it has propagated is because they cannot get the same user experience they get when they are using or collaborating this over their private network. And until they’re able to extend that, then that use case will stay primarily in the private network behind the firewall before it will pop.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Willie Tejada, Senior VP And GM Of The Enterprise Cloud Division, Akamai
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