Sramana Mitra: What are the major trends you see in cloud computing today that are affecting your world?
Steve Garrou: We’re finding that cloud is driving a lot of strategic conversations, almost as much as the technical ones. What we’re seeing with our clients – I mentioned I was in Asia – this is in Singapore, with a client that is looking at going completely toward cloud or as-a-service delivered capabilities for their infrastructure. There were a number of points in what they told us. First is this notion of consumer IT so that end users, much like those of us on the phone, are interested in taking advantage of the types of data and applications we get on our mobile phones and tablets and being able to use those devices, that data, and those types of applications inside the enterprises, not just in their personal lives. We see that driving a lot of these types of decisions.
The IT organizations for the enterprises and government agencies I work with need to respond to those types of changes. The challenges they’re running into are they need to understand, track, and measure the usage and the information flow back and forth. They’re very concerned about security, data leaks, and that kind of thing. We’re seeing these two forces converge in the marketplace. Our clients especially are looking for ways for us to help them solve those problems.
SM: So, the consumerization of IT and the resulting lack of security. That’s probably the synthesis of what you said, yes?
SG: The first part, for sure. The second part, I would say controls or lack of controls. I would put security in there, but I would also put financial or fiduciary controls. A number of IT organizations are seeing expenditure leakage from end users using their own credit cards to procure services, devices and data without circumventing the natural course of expenses within the organization and budgeting. They want to get a handle on where the expenditure leakages are going and how that’s happening, while at the same time, providing services and meeting their clients’ needs.
SM: How does that all get mitigated? What’s your assessment on how that is all mitigated?
SG: Well, right now, I think that is the struggle within enterprises. There are a number of services and products that allow for a corporate provisioning and procurement process while providing those types of services. As an example, Savvis has a cloud-based offering called Virtual Private Data Center that allows our end users to have the flexibility of dynamic allocation of cloud capability, compute storage, and security, those types of things. But we’re then able to parse and allocate the expenditure by the corporate business unit by expense code within the customer’s organization so that he can track, measure, and allocate budgets for the use of those computing resources.
SM: Would you give me some areas where you have original thoughts, based on what you see around you, so we can pursue those, maybe go into more detail in some areas where you see trends or have specific observations.
SG: Yes, happy to. I think “Back to the Future” is the main trend we’re seeing. And the “Back to the Future” is that there will always be paradigm shifts in technology, in capability that IT organizations have to respond to. There are many different changes that take place. What we’re recommending to our clients and working on with them always comes back to a business need driving the conversation or the strategic decision. I think a number of our customers – and in the market in general – maybe got out in front of their headlights around the cloud and were trying to adapt it to everything. What we’re finding is that it’s not working well for them because there is all sorts of virtualization sprawl or unauthorized use of cloud services, things like that. And they’re not really tied to a strategic business need. The ability of successful IT organizations to come back and measure the business need and the impact of this new technology is very important. That’s a big trend that we’re noticing.
Clients are coming back, and the market’s coming back to realizing that they need to focus on what business needs are and meeting the needs of their organizations.