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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Indu Kodukula, Executive VP of Products and CTO, SunGard Availability Services (Part 6)

Posted on Monday, Oct 3rd 2011

Sramana Mitra: What you are saying is the applications are going to go on to third-party cloud-based application vendors. The infrastructure is going to go to the data center companies and the public cloud vendors who deliver infrastructure as a service.

Indu Kodukula: And in many cases, the application vendors will actually run on that infrastructure, right?

SM: I am talking about the noncloud vendor clients. From a SunGard perspective, I understand that some of these cloud vendors are going to become your customers and some of them already are.

IK: Yes.

SM: That makes perfect sense to me. The question I was going to ask is, do we get to a point where we are layering the market such that a company like SunGard provides infrastructure to the cloud application vendors who run their cloud applications on top of a SunGard infrastructure, and the end customers buy their cloud services from the application vendors?

IK: We do, and I think we are going to go one step further. I think if you look at SunGard in particular, I think what we are going to decide is that even for some of the infrastructure needs, the public cloud providers, for example,  are going to be able to do that more cost effectively than we can; therefore, even in a lot of the services that we are going to go to our customers, we are going to base our services not just on our infrastructure but also on third-party infrastructure.

To give you an example, if we need to recover an application, we can certainly recover that on our floor, but we can also recover that on Amazon. So, we can almost think of a tiered service where depending on the price point for the customer, the SLAs, and the quality of service, we provide our services not on our infrastructure but also on third-party infrastructure, because they have the level of scale and capital efficiency that is greater than what we have.

SM: So, you have today 10,000 customers.  Are we looking at world in which you are going to have more like 500 customers, and those 500 customers are going to have millions of customers, but they are adding that value-added application layer on top of your infrastructure, and that is how the market distributes itself?

IK: I think that is not likely in the next 5 to 10 years, and I will tell you why. A great example sticks in mind as being representative of our client base. In some sense, some of our clients,  and we ourselves, are a little bit of a computer science history museum in terms of the variety of platforms and the heterogeneity of the operating environment of our clients.

One of the great examples I will give you is in the early days of our cloud strategy when we were putting it together, I was visiting with the CIO of one of our clients in South Carolina. We were explaining to him the cloud strategy.  He very patiently sat through it all, heard it out and then he looked at me and said, I am sure that SunGard will deliver an awesome cloud. That wasn’t his concern. His issue was all the business logic – this was an insurance client – all the business logic had been developed over 25 or 30 years, over an AS 400,and he didn’t foresee that being rewritten in his lifetime or ours. He still needs a place to house that AS 400. He still needs a service provider who will recover that AS 400 should something bad happen.

There will be a lot of presentations to your logic that will be developed, that will be built on commodity platforms, that we virtualize, that will be based on Intel, Linux Intel or Windows and Intel, that would run on a cloud. But his core systems are going to survive for the next 20 or 25 years.

SM: Yes. So, that applies if you are talking about larger companies, whether it is mid-size enterprises or large enterprises, that point applies. I think  in the SME sector  that point applies a lot less, because SMEs don’t have that kind of infrastructure or custom code.

IK: I don’t know if we are using different definitions or I ought to recalibrate how I categorize our client base, but this is an amazingly common scenario for our client base.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Indu Kodukula, Executive VP of Products and CTO, SunGard Availability Services
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