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The Real Value of Cloud Computing

An exclusive Q&A with Jason Deck, Director of Strategic Alliances at Logicworks

"Cloud has everything to do with what has happened with Big Data," explained Jason Deck, Director of Strategic Alliances at Logicworks, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. "Big Data doesn't exist in its easily accessible way without cloud. From reduced startup costs, to cheap storage, to fast processing, to adequate security, to the easy incorporation of third-party analytics tools, cloud made Big Data accessible to customers of all sizes, with all different budgets."

Cloud Computing Journal: The move to cloud isn't about saving money, it is about saving time. - Agree or disagree?

Jason Deck: The move to cloud is not specifically about money or time. The real value of cloud computing is in giving a business the platform to create real operational agility, so an organization can focus economic and human resources on the most valuable parts of its business. Cloud does save time and it does save money but, above all, it provides a company with agility to respond to its competitors and test out new ideas with minimal risk, all while being certain sensitive data are secure and compliant.

Cloud Computing Journal: How should organizations tackle their regulatory and compliance concerns in the cloud? Who should they be asking/trusting for advice?

Deck: Any organization with compliance mandates should work with a service provider with well-established expertise in maintaining compliant service environments. As security regulations grow ever more complex, expertise in HIPAA and PCI compliance becomes a core competency unto itself. The enterprise end user, whether in healthcare, retail, or financial services, should outsource that expertise to a provider with a proven track record of delivering compliant services. Customers considering service providers for compliant services should be asking hard questions about the audit processes their potential vendors undergo, existing clients with similar requirements, and internal processes - technical and otherwise - implemented to ensure data integrity.

Cloud Computing Journal: What does the emergence of Open Source clouds mean for the cloud ecosystem? How does the existence of OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus and so on affect your own company?

Deck: OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus - all of these are simply a means to achieving efficiencies. Open source technology and platforms are another way to get to the same place. It is often the case that the public conversation around these trends misses the forest for the trees. The real value isn't the underlying toolkit - it's the delivery model. Whether hosted private, managed public or any other variation, how a business utilizes and benefits from the cloud they choose is all about delivery.

Cloud Computing Journal: With SMBs, the two primary challenges they face moving to the cloud are always stated as being cost and trust: where is the industry on satisfying SMBs on both points simultaneously - further along than in 2011-12, or...?

Deck: We're definitely further along. SMBs, and all customers for that matter, have learned that you either have a defined cloud strategy or a shadow IT strategy. With either of those paths, you have a cloud migration occurring. The cost of keeping that migration regulated internally is acceptable. The cost of allowing shadow IT to continue is not acceptable.

As for issues of trust, people used to say that they would never put their telephones on an IP network. Well this is 2013, and VoIP is the standard. Trust is the direct outcome of the industry's ongoing demonstration of an effective delivery model. Next year, we'll be further along than we were last year through the increasing visibility of use cases and standardization of best practices.

Cloud Computing Journal: 2013 seems to be turning into a breakthrough year for Big Data. How much does the success of cloud computing have to do with that?

Deck: Cloud has everything to do with what has happened with Big Data. Big Data doesn't exist in its easily accessible way without cloud. From reduced startup costs, to cheap storage, to fast processing, to adequate security, to the easy incorporation of third-party analytics tools, cloud made Big Data accessible to customers of all sizes, with all different budgets.

Cloud Computing Journal: What about the role of social: aside from the acronym itself SMAC (for Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) are you seeing and/or anticipating major traction in this area?

Deck: The SMAC trends point to the fact that business ecosystems are moving toward digital ubiquity. Helping businesses gear their architectures to becoming more agile, to the point of responding to customer feedback and needs quickly is the goal, and social plays a huge role in this. But so do the other attributes that comprise the acronym - I don't think it's a situation where one part is more important than the total approach. Without analytics, social and mobile are not useful. Without cloud, analytics is not possible. The SMAC system is interdependent where the focus is the outcome, not the composite parts. Its importance in the overall scheme is tied to what value a business can create through each aspect as part of a broader approach to smart architecting and engineering processes.

Cloud Computing Journal: To finish, just as real estate is always said to be about "location, location, location", what one word, repeated three times, would you say Cloud Computing is all about? (Example:Scalability, Scalability, Scalability)

Deck: Agility, agility, agility.

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