After jumping on two planes, and lugging along all of my video equipment, I’ve made it to Barcelona, Spain, for Partner Velocity, which is taking place this week. This annual event brings together thought leaders from across the marketing world to talk and engage with our partners, helping them learn the latest marketing tips and tricks.
Today I had the chance to host a Ustream broadcast with Scott Klososky, the former CEO of three startups. Scott filled us in on cloud computing, one of the most disruptive technologies since the advent of the Internet. Scott will be hosting a session here at Partner Velocity titled “What Is the Cloud and Why Should I Care?” With that as the jumping point for our discussion, we had a far-ranging talk on why cloud is critical right now.
Here’s a replay of the broadcast:
Want to read more about what we talked about? Read on for a recap. We also have information about our next Ustream broadcast, which is on hosting a Ustream broadcast, scheduled for tomorrow, at 11:45 a.m. CET.
In response to the question about why our partners should care about cloud, Scott said that the answer depended on whether you are talking about small or large organization. He noted that smaller companies struggle with cost, computing and storage power, and security issues, so cloud represents better computing power.
On the other end of the spectrum, for large organizations, it’s all about digital plumbing. The cloud represents new ways to be able to distribute computing power out to people and to deliver computing power worldwide.
When asked how the concept of cloud came to be, Scott dispelled the myth that cloud is a new technology that just cropped up. He said that truthfully, the cloud started back in the mainframe days, when companies would rent computing time from service bureaus instead of purchasing costly mainframes. This was shared services, which is essentially what cloud is—the only difference is that cloud uses multiple racks of servers instead of a mainframe.
On the question of the current state of cloud from a buyers stand point, Scott notes that the cloud is still very young. Since the cloud is in its beginning stages, this means there are not many vendors available, there is little portability between vendors, and standards have not yet been set in the industry.
On the other hand, Scott stresses that depending on the size of the company, the cloud is ready. He differentiates between public and private clouds, and while we may not be ready to move large organizations and government agencies to the public cloud, we are definitely ready to build private clouds in large companies. So, while the state of the cloud is still new, it already has a lot of value.
Why is cloud so hyped? Scott mentions that one of the reasons for the hype surrounding the cloud is the promise of what it can do for companies in terms of lowering their capital expenditures and giving them the ability to scale at will. Virtualization and the new maintenance tools for managing cloud are also reasons for the excitement over the cloud.
We moved on to talking about the promise of the cloud for the end user versus companies. From the user standpoint, many of us are already in the cloud if we use applications such as Gmail or Salesforce. However, Scott explains that many of our day-to-day to problems can be solved if everything that we touched was cloud-based—our devices could be smaller and lighter (no more lugging around heavy laptops!)—and we would no longer have to back-up our computers daily since we can arrange for these backups to take place in the cloud.
For companies, however, Scott explains that the promise of the cloud depends largely on the size. For small and medium organizations, the cloud would lower costs and give them scalability, as well as taking a lot of risk off of the table.
Larger companies are often hesitant to move to the cloud, because they are worried about security and the risk that comes with having to depend on a third party to control their computing power. Scott stressed that security will not be jeopardized if large companies move to the cloud. He also stated that larger companies with offices in multiple countries can benefit greatly from a cloud solution. Instead of trying to replicate information from an unsecure server in one country, they can have all of their offices working from the same database.
When posed the question on some of the best methods for migrating to the cloud, Scott says the most important method is to have a holistic plan and strategy to move to a cloud migration—how much do you want to move, how fast do you want to move, how will you choose vendors, and what measurement systems do you have in place? Scott stresses that you need to have goals for what you want to accomplish, as well as ensuring that the business side and technology side of the house agree on the plan before moving forward.
Many of us are interested in what the future holds for the cloud, and what we can expect to see five years down the road. Scott says a set of standards will be in place that will allow multiple providers to either spread out the cloud computing for one company, or be able to migrate data from one vendor to another. The need for bandwidth will also change greatly, since an Internet connection is the most basic necessity of cloud.
Scott is a busy man, and we asked him about his 3 books that were published this past year. Velocity Manifesto is a leadership book that stresses the need for leaders to have an awareness of technology and digital plumbing. Scott’s other two books are Enterprise Social Technology and Managing With Social Technology. Visit this page for more about Scott’s books.
We then moved on to tackling viewer questions. Here’s what Scott had to say:
I’ve heard that SMBs tend to be early adopters: Should I start there when trying to market cloud?
Yes, small and medium sized companies have a greater need to migrate to the cloud immediately and have less resistance than larger companies, so you should start with them when marketing cloud.
What are your thoughts on hybrid cloud computing?
It is clearly valuable, because it’s a combination of public and private clouds. Companies need to segregate data, because certain things need to be controlled on an internal cloud, while others can run externally.
Scott also predicts that hybrid clouds will take on a different meaning when verticalized clouds are developed, such as healthcare, media, and government. In the future, hybrid will mean putting applications across multiple clouds depending on their strengths and weaknesses.
What pain points have you heard about from customers who have implemented cloud computing?
Scott says that most of the difficulty in moving to the cloud happens before and during the migration, and includes everything from the complexities in the migration process, to choosing a vendor. Once you are in the cloud, there is not a lot of pain. The only difficulty Scott sees companies facing once they have moved to the cloud is the unpredictability in deciding how much power to dial up or down on the cloud.
I’m concerned about data security—will my data in the cloud be secure?
Scott believes that data in the cloud is more secure than people probably fear. For small and medium sized companies, Scott guarantees their data is more protected under the cloud. Cloud vendors, especially the larger ones, know that if they ever have a security breach, they will lose all credibility.
Will cloud computing eventually make enterprise architecture irrelevant or unnecessary?
If you are moving to a private cloud, then enterprise architecture, since it includes a private cloud, would not become irrelevant. However, if you are a small or medium sized company, then enterprise architecture absolutely could become unnecessary. Scott believes that companies with profits of $300 to $400 million a year or less should have an infrastructure that is completely cloud-based.
It was certainly an informative broadcast—I now have a much broader, well-focused understanding of cloud, and I hope you do, too. There’s lots going on here at Partner Velocity, so be sure to check back here on the blog this week for more videos and interviews from the event.
And be sure to tune in to our next Ustream broadcast, which will be tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. CET. Both the interviewer and presenter will be: Me! I’ll give a full demonstration on how to setup, market, and produce your own live video broadcast on Ustream from start to finish. The session will also take place on Ustream, so please tune in and ask me any burning questions via Twitter that you have about live streaming video. Hope to see you tomorrow!