Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Ignacio M. Llorente, Haim Koshchitzky, Liz McMillan, Gary Kaiser

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java

Cloud Expo: 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.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
All too many discussions about DevOps conclude that the solution is an all-purpose player: developer and operations guru, complete with pager for round-the-clock duty. For most organizations that is not the way forward. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Golden, Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss how to achieve the agility and speed of end-to-end automation without requiring an organization stocked with Supermen and Superwomen.