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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Indu Kodukula, Executive VP of Products and CTO, SunGard Availability Services (Part 5)

Posted on Sunday, Oct 2nd 2011

Sramana Mitra: Taking the SharePoint example, why doesn’t Microsoft have a public cloud version of SharePoint for this class of customers?

Indu Kodukula: I think if you look at the cloud broadly today, you absolutely have a version of SharePoint that runs on hyper-v, which is a Microsoft hypervisor, or you can run it on VMware. I think the software availability that is virtualized is there. I don’t think that is necessarily the concern. I think the concern becomes how do you take that workload – let’s say you take SharePoint and you run that on VMware – how do you find a service provider who is going to be able to do that for you? How are you going to be able to do that and remain comfortable, as enterprise IT, that you’re not going to sacrifice on availability or security?  I think there is, from a public cloud perspective, there is Amazon, and there is everybody else.

I think Azure has obviously made strides, but people don’t really see them today as a serious player yet, especially for heterogeneous environments. If you have a Microsoft only-environment, especially for a single server, Azure is starting to become increasingly relevant. But even in our install base, most enterprises are heterogeneous. In that case, you really don’t have a lot of alternatives other than Amazon.

SM: The question is more about Salesforce.com, Concur, Taleo, SuccessFactors,  Zoho, and a whole host of email marketing solutions. All of these are public cloud applications. This is a broader industry trend question for you. What is the role the third-party data center  for the SMEs going forward? If you thought forward five or 10 years, are we going to see more of all these public cloud applications spread all over the place from different specialized vendors? All of that is in that utility model that we discussed at the very beginning of this [conversation]. So, from an SME point of view, what is the point of investing in building applications on their own data centers or private cloud?

IK: Right. Let me try to play back the question to make sure I got it right. Is the question, as we get more applications delivered as a service on a utility model, what has the role become for, let us say, an enterprise or even a small/medium enterprise or a mid-size company to have its own data center? Is that it?

SM: Yes. What applications, if all the applications that are relevant to your business, especially the major applications, are all provided by specialized vendor with immense domain specific knowledge and really high end functionality like Salesforce.com and CRM, as an example. If  the market becomes full  – and there is every indication that the market is aggressively developing all sorts of applications in different verticals, different horizontals, and so on – what is the role of  data a center for the mid-market?

IK: I would take that to another level, too. I think the question of whether it is data center or whether it is even infrastructure in the data center is a question about how much does that really need to be invested by the end client? We are going to see not just applications of data center space, we are also going to see compute essentially available on demand. We are going to see storage available on demand. Today if you are a company in the Valley, much like no company in the Valley was going t buy a  Siebel system in 2003. I think today if you have a business plan that has a significant capex investment in the Valley, then you probably won’t get funded.

Starting with Amazon with just the way it is, much the same way as everybody was starting to use  Salesforce.com in 2003–2004. I think not just at the data center level but also at the infrastructure level, storage compute networking, I think what we are going to see more and more is that a lot of that – the majority of that even – will be delivered by a relatively small number of providers, and the investment that mid-size companies will end up making in infrastructure is definitely going to go down. It will be on an exception basis where because you have exceptional performance requirements, or because you’re in a highly regulated industry, or because you have certified that some piece of data never leaves your firewall, those might be some exceptional circumstances when you need to invest in your own infrastructure, data center space, power, maybe storage. I think the ability to deliver these things over the Web and from to the utility of the cloud model is definitely going to be the default model for delivering much enterprise IT five years from now.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Indu Kodukula, Executive VP of Products and CTO, SunGard Availability Services
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