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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jared Wray, Founder and CTO of Tier 3 (Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 29th 2011

Sramana Mitra: I have to say I’m having a little bit of trouble [accepting that]. Infrastructure as a service in a commodity, in one sense. Where is the thought leadership in that? It’s a matter of scale. It’s a matter of execution.

Jared Wray: We see ourselves as a platform as a service, not really an infrastructure as a service. Infrastructure, I agree with you, is commoditized. The market has overly built out the infrastructure. It’s hosting providers who are going to be taking on that. You’re going to have the AWSes of the world doing very commoditized types of things. What we see ourselves doing is pushing the envelope in automation and automation for operations. If you think of normal IT people and what they’re doing on a daily basis, about 60% of their workload is doing what should be automated. Our platform enables that.

So, our storage layer not only makes it so that they’re just provisioning storage, the layer predicts how much performance it needs and adjusts that performance on the fly. IT staff don’t have to worry about backups anymore because it automatically does backups in our system. Now, they’re not focusing on SAN administration.

On top of that, we’re building in business continuity. So, it automatically replicates between two environments. That’s just one piece of that automation. As we move into more of our platform, which is more of a full solution set, you get into handling the application level where you spin up groups of servers and set policies on those and are able to automate those types of things – automatic patching and automatic auto-scaling capabilities. You’ll be able to do things such as monitoring based on inheritance. It builds a good ecosystem for our customers with such technology as blueprints where you’re able to build out a full solution set, such as an exchange environment. Within one hour, you’d be able to deploy that.

SM: Let me try to say it in my own words, and you tell me if I got it right. You’re saying that most of the time in the IT organization, there’s a lot of repetitive, routine work going on that should be, could be, automated. And you are providing policy-level consoles through which those can be automated by the IT decision makers and doesn’t have to be monitored and executed by hand within the IT organization. Is that correct?

JW: Exactly. That’s where our platform is going. We believe, as you were saying, that we want it to automate itself. We think infrastructure as a service is great because you have access to resources, but automating those resources and managing those resources and being able to predict what’s going on is the key to what IT wants in the future.

SM: Right. Just to give us some idea of what kind of ROI these situations present, how many IT people . . . would you give me some metrics on how many IT people normally deal with these kinds of activities and functions that you are able to take out because of what you are providing in your solution.

JW: I can give you a couple quick examples. Say you had a private college. In the mid-tier space, that college would have five to ten engineers who [handle] the infrastructure in multiple locations. When you think about what they’re doing, when they move it to a platform that’s doing all the automation – and what I’m talking about are the backups, the HA capabilities, basically all the automation pieces – patching, database as a service, and it all works seamlessly together. What happens is they’re able to offload a lot of their resources. Or even when people leave, the organization does not have to rehire those. Or they’re able to focus on new business-type objectives.

We recently had a private college that did this.  Not only was the college able to add more resources, but it could also [meet] business objectives that the business unit has asked them to meet, such as setting up a new SharePoint environment as a project. We were able to offload more than 30% of the workload right away onto our system. They don’t have to do backup management. They don’t have to do monitoring. They don’t have to do patching. They don’t have to do SAN administration. We believe it’s the trend. What’s going to happen over the next couple of years is the IT industry is going to get past the IIAAS and move into the question, How are we going to manage things? That’s going to be critical, especially when you start talking about how expensive people are and IT personnel could be.

The next one I would say is a company that we’ve dealt with multiple times through other customers of ours. They have the seventh-largest real estate site in the world. They run the entire environment off of our services. For the total ROI that they’re doing, right now, they use only one IT person for their entire organization. That person is managing what I would say is a mid-tier or large environment.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jared Wray, Founder and CTO of Tier 3
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