Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Flint Brenton, Tim Hinds, Greg O'Connor, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT

@CloudExpo: Article

Exclusive Q&A with Dave Douglas, SVP of Cloud Computing at Sun

Exclusive Q&A with Dave Douglas, Sr. Vice President of Cloud Computing, Sun Microsystems

"Sun's strategy is to become the leading provider of technology for both public and private clouds," declares Sun's Sr. Vice President of Cloud Computing, David Douglas, in this Exclusive Q&A with the Conference Chair of Cloud Computing Expo in New York, Jeremy Geelan. "We bring a wealth of technology and experience in systems, software, and datacenters," Douglas continues, "as well as the ability to reach the two major customer segments we address on a daily basis: our large community of developers and our enterprise customers."

Cloud Computing Expo: You’ve been known to claim that Sun has been “Anticipating Cloud Computing for 20 Years” – can you unpack that for us?

David Douglas: Cloud computing is the embodiment of Sun's vision: the Network is the Computer. The Sun Cloud builds upon more than 20 years of network computing innovation, more than 4,000 developers, and open source users that number in the hundreds of millions worldwide. The Sun Cloud leverages our extensive portfolio of technologies and is built on top of open source platforms ranging from ZFS and Java to MySQL and OpenSolaris.

Cloud Computing Expo:
The announcement of the Sun Open Cloud Platform created a great deal of interest: tell us what the overall vision is there?

David Douglas: Sun's strategy is to become the leading provider of technology for both public and private clouds. We bring a wealth of technology and experience in systems, software, and datacenters, as well our the ability to reach the two major customer segments we address on a daily basis: our large community of developers and our enterprise customers. We bring cloud computing to these two markets by building the Sun Cloud - a public cloud for developers, students, startups and divisions within larger companies - and the technology behind it, the Sun Open Cloud Platform, as a resource for enterprise customers who want to take advantage of the cost efficiencies of cloud computing but need to keep their data behind their firewall in the form of a “private cloud.” Sun in uniquely positioned with this two-pronged strategy - each part of which supports and extends the other.

Cloud Computing Expo: So interoperability and openness are the key characteristics of a successful Cloud ecosystem, as far as Sun is concerned

Douglas: As cloud adoption takes off, users will be looking to be able to move applications and data from a private to a public to a hybrid cloud and from one public cloud to another. The Sun Cloud is built on the Sun Open Cloud Platform, which leverages the best in world-class open source technologies like Java, MySQL, OpenSolaris and Open Storage to deliver breakthrough efficiencies in cost and scale, and easier and faster software development to help developers build their own open clouds. We envision a world of many clouds – public and private -- that are open and interoperable, which is why we also announced the release of a core set of Open APIs under the Creative Commons license -- which no one else has done. By opening the Sun APIs and other technologies as part of our ongoing commitment to drive open communities, the Sun Cloud will be at the center of an open ecosystem of developers and partners benefiting from these open clouds. We will be making the technologies and architectural blueprints developed for the Sun Cloud available to customers interested in building their own clouds -- enabling private clouds or non-Sun owned and operated public clouds to interoperate with each other.

Cloud Computing Expo: Backing up a moment, what are the main business drivers for this overall technology trend? Is it cost-driven, efficiency-driven, what are the top three drivers?

Douglas: Companies are looking to cloud computing for a number of reasons related to cost, agility and flexibility. Developers are drawn to the flexibility, the ability to self-provision and the speed at which they can acquire compute or storage capacity and get their applications up and running without involving IT. Both the startup and enterprise communities like the economies of cost and scale that clouds deliver. There is alot of underutilized compute and storage capacity out there, and under a cloud model, customers pay only for what they use.

Cloud Computing Expo: And how about from a specifically Sun perspective – how are you leveraging Sun’s breadth of Enterprise IT experience, for example what verticals are leading the adoption of the Cloud?

Douglas: We just announced our first cloud – the Sun Cloud – our public offering focused on the developer, startup, student communities and departmental level deployments within bigger companies. Sun's entire portfolio of open source technologies and systems are being leveraged as part of the Sun Cloud Storage Service and Sun Cloud Compute Service, including VirtualBox, OpenOffice, Open Storage, Java and MySQL. For example, Sun's Open Storage products enabled Sun to build a storage cloud at a lower cost and larger scale than those based on traditional, proprietary storage. And Sun's services and support bring expertise in building some of the largest data centers in the world – extremely valuable in designing and managing the Sun Cloud.

Looking specifically at verticals, we see different application domains driving differences in hardware and software architecture. To that end, we expect to see many clouds catering to different needs crop up along the lines of HPC, Intelligence, Financial Services, Analytics, etc.

Cloud Computing Expo: How big an issue is security for enterprises who wish to migrate toward this kind of an infrastructure wholly or in part?

Douglas: There has been a lot written about security and privacy related to the cloud. It's important to realize that clouds will have different levels of security and providers need to be honest and accurate about what that level of security is with their users. Data privacy is a cornerstone of Sun's approach to compliance with complex, demanding international data regulations, as well as escalating policy and process oriented requirements imposed globally. We've built our business on working with large enterprise customers to ensure the safety of their data. We also have the most secure operating system on the planet, OpenSolaris. Recently, Sun named Michelle Dennedy as the Chief Governance Officer for Cloud Computing. Formerly Sun's Chief Privacy Officer, she now works with Sun's business, technical and legal teams to develop and adhere to the best data governance policies and processes possible for cloud computing to build trust for cloud environments.

Cloud Computing Expo: How crucial is the distinction between Private Clouds and Private Clouds?

Douglas: There's a difference in the particular requirements from organization to organization, which is exactly why we believe in a world of many clouds. The Sun Cloud is ideal for those customers who are unencumbered by regulatory constraints and certain security requirements. For those customers who can't use a public cloud due to regulatory, security or other business constraints and need to keep their data behind their firewall, we'll help them build their own private clouds based on our Sun Open Cloud Platform.

Cloud Computing Expo: And how about management and deployment? Tell about the acquisition of Q-layer. What does this indicate about the future trajectory of Sun’s cloud offerings?

Douglas: The Virtual Data Center (VDC) capabilities enabled by Sun's Q-layer software provide drag-and-drop provisioning of resources, making the Sun Cloud incredibly easy to use. The VDC model significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to create virtual machine images and a virtual data center from hours to minutes. When customers sign up for Sun Cloud, they each are given their own “virtual data center”. The VDC serves much the same purpose as a regular data center but with much greater capabilities and at much lower cost. Using a simple browser or their own software, customers dynamically add virtual servers, networking components, and storage as they are needed, paying only for what they use. Designed for both individuals and teams, users can easily deploy pre-configured virtual applications or popular software stacks based on the operating systems of their choice (Linux, OpenSolaris, or Windows).

Cloud Computing Expo: What does Cloud Computing have to offer to SMBs?

Douglas: It's about economics, not technology. For startups and small departments, the kind of capital expenditures it takes to put a service online may be inconvenient or simply impossible. They don't have the resources to build a datacenter, hire an IT operator or invest in IT equipment. Cloud computing provides a quick on-ramp with low barriers to entry. Customers only pay for what they use. Additionally, choosing a public cloud from a vendor like Sun can deliver physical security, reliability and availability that exceeds what an SMB could cost-effectively provide on their own.

Cloud Computing Expo: You’re not only Sr. VP of Sun’s Cloud BU, you’re also Sun’s Chief Sustainability Officer – what’s the main connection between the Cloud and the trajectory of Greener IT right now?

Douglas: Energy efficiency and cloud computing are synergistic. The cloud enables higher levels of utilization, driving an overall increase in datacenter efficiency. That's good for business and good for the environment.

Cloud Computing Expo: 2009 is a year of obvious challenges, from both a CapEx and an OpEx perspective, for anyone involved with Enterprise IT. Finally, what’s your top tip, as a seasoned software executive, to those other CTOs and VPs of Technology out there right now – especially those working at embattled start-ups who may be looking for some magic bullet to ensure they’re alive (and well) as a company in 2010?

Douglas: Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz likes to say that “innovation loves a crisis.” If you look back at history, it’s evident that new ideas and new industries are formed during times of crisis. I like to flip that a bit and say “crisis loves an innovator.” It’s not just one person, rather it’s a community of people that come together to tackle problems. It speaks to the power of communities. My advice for companies big and small is to continue to look for opportunities to drive innovation. And, it's more important than ever to be clear about what problem you are solving for your customers. If you can find a cost-savings component that's great, but don't over-rotate on cost. The best companies are still looking for strategic advantage.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. ...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Kintone has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.