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@CloudExpo: Interview

Meeting Competitive Challenges with the Cloud

An exclusive Q&A with CSS Corp’s Ahmar Abbas

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"The most important factor driving CIOs towards the Cloud is that they have found a technology that helps them get close to achieving true ‘IT and Business Alignment,'" stated Ahmar Abbas, SVP at CSS Corp in this post-show Q&A with Cloud Expo Chair Jeremy Geelan. Abbas concludes: "Cloud removes the pain and cost of step investments in technology to support business growth by making the infrastructure available as needed.

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Cloud Computing Journal: A very general question first, about Cloud Computing itself: Surely we've heard all of this before in various forms and guises - grid computing / utility computing, etc.? What is different this time - why is everyone so convinced it will now work?

Ahmar Abbas: While grid computing / utility computing had solid technology underpinnings - there was one fatal flaw - which was that it was difficult to get software applications to leverage the technology. In other words, a great highway was built, but it had very few on-ramps to get cars on it. With cloud computing though, the emphasis has been on making it application friendly. Now we are not limited to the esoteric high performance computing (HPC) applications that were the mainstay of grid infrastructure - but are using the cloud for mainstream business productivity and process applications.

Cloud Computing Journal: What are the three main factors driving CIOs toward the Cloud?

Abbas: The most important factor driving CIOs towards the Cloud is that they have found a technology that helps them get close to achieving true "IT and Business Alignment." Cloud removes the pain and cost of step investments in technology to support business growth by making the infrastructure available as needed. This shifts the focus of the CIO's team from IT asset acquisition to building solutions for their constituents.

The second key factor is that enterprises are requiring CIOs to shift from capex heavy budgets to more opex-oriented budgets. By getting a large portion of their IT infrastructure from the Cloud delivered as a monthly service, they meet this requirement.

Finally, time-to-market pressure is forcing CIOs to look at solutions that can be rapidly brought to bear to help their organization meet competitive challenges. The Cloud, with its on-demand feature, is a good arrow to have in the quiver.

Cloud Computing Journal: And what are the three main barriers preventing some CIOs from moving some of the on-premise computing to the Cloud?

Abbas: The foremost barrier that is preventing CIOs from moving on-premise computing to the Cloud is the uncertainty surrounding application behavior in the Cloud. CIOs and their infrastructure teams have typically built environments that are tuned to support their applications. There is trepidation that the general purpose Cloud infrastructure may not deliver the performance they are used to and need.

The second main barrier that needs to be overcome involves security and data protection. CIOs need to gain a certain level of comfort that the IT assets and data that is in the cloud is at least as secure as it is within on-premise or colo environments. Additionally they want to be sure that when their data moves to the Cloud, they will be still meeting audit and compliance requirements that govern their business (HIPAA, FERPA, etc).

The third main barrier for CIOs is cost. While technologies change, laws of economics do not. CIOs need to be sure that given the substantial sunk costs and investments in the existing IT estate, Cloud will reduce not only capital but also operational expenses in the coming years.

Cloud Computing Journal: How does your own company's offering/s assist CIOs and organizations/companies?

Abbas: CSS métier is technology operations optimization. We work with CIOs to help them optimize their operational expenses. Our Cloud offerings further this mission by helping CIOs not only select the right Cloud solution, but also help them migrate applications to the cloud and then manage and support them on an on-going basis.

Our center of excellence focused on Cloud computing has also developed a portfolio of tools/platforms that accelerate the process of cloud enablement for an enterprise. One of the key platforms is our CloudTestGo platform that test applications to make sure they will perform optimally in a cloud environment.

Cloud Computing Journal: Are there other players in the Cloud ecosystem offering the same - or is your company unique? Why?

Abbas: We are one of the few companies that offer the triple-play of cloud services - which includes design and enablement services, cloud operations and management services, and cloud application support services. Our services are delivered 24/7 from operations centers that are located around the globe.

Our services are not only leveraged by companies that are just testing to the cloud waters but also ones that have fully established cloud operations and want us to manage, operate and optimize their environments.

We believe the combination of these services and the global footprint is pretty unique in the market place.

Cloud Computing Journal: We hear talk of a Cloud Revolution and also of a Cloud "evolution" - either way, what kind of time span are we talking about, do you think. In other words, for how long is Cloud Computing going to exert its pull on the minds, hearts, and budgets of all involved in modern-day Enterprise IT?

Abbas: An indication that a new technology paradigm has taken hold is when there is a need for retronyms. Consider that today we have to append "on-premise" when talking about software deployment or infrastructure because it is not automatically assumed that all software will be locally deployed or that all infrastructure will be at a corporate datacenter. I'd say we have about another 18-24 months where cloud computing will have some novelty before it is considered a business-as-usual technology option for Enterprise IT.

A Rock Star Faculty, Top Keynotes, Sessions, and Top Delegates!
Cloud Expo 2010 West, November 1-4, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.

The growth and success of Cloud Computing will be on display at the upcoming Cloud Expo conferences and exhibitions in Prague June 21-22 and Santa Clara November 1-4.

The recent Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City was the largest Cloud Computing conference ever produced, more sponsors, exhibitors and delegates than all other Cloud events of the year combined!

The four-day Santa Clara event will attract more than 6,000 delegates from 48 countries and over 200 sponsors and exhibitors on a 120,000 sq ft show floor, larger than Cloud Expo 2010 East, New York City event!

All main layers of the Cloud ecosystem will be represented in the6th and 7th International Cloud Expo - the infrastructure players, the platform providers, and those offering applications, and they'll all be here to speak, sponsor, exhibit and network.

"Cloud Expo was announced on February 24, 2007, the day the term ‘cloud computing' was coined," said Fuat Kircaali, founder and chairman of SYS-CON Events, Inc. "Cloud has become synonymous with ‘computing' and ‘software' in two short years, and this event has become the new PC Expo, Comdex, and InternetWorld of our decade. By 2012, more than 50,000 delegates per year will be attending Cloud Expo."

Sponsorship Opportunities
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Cloud Expo 2010 Europe and Cloud Expo 2010 West "show prospectus" have shipped. Sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities can be obtained from Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802 3021.

Early Bird Registration Options
for Cloud Expo Prague and Santa Clara
Cloud Expo delegates can pre-register for the Cloud Expo Europe with €550+ savings here and for Cloud Expo West with $800+ savings here.

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream at www.sys-con.com - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Computing Expo (www.CloudComputingExpo.com), Virtualization Conference & Expo (www.VirtualizationConference.com), Government IT Conference & Expo (www.GovITExpo.com), Cloud Computing Bootcamp (www.CloudComputingBootcamp.com), and UlitzerLive! New Media Conference & Expo (http://events.sys-con.com).

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