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Larry Carvalho

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Cloud Computing Observations from Systems Integrators and ISVs

Partnerships and open source

During the last few weeks I met quite a few Systems Integrators (SIs) and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) during the Cloud Expo at Prague and when visiting India/Dubai. I had good discussions about their strategy and objectives moving forward in the next few years. Here are some observations during my discussions regarding open source and partnerships.

Open source: Almost all companies building web or mobile delivered solutions truly delivered as a multi-tenant cloud computing solution picked open source as their platform of choice. Solutions targeting large enterprises with private clouds tended to favor software delivered by a large software house e.g. CA, HP, IBM, BMC, VMWare, etc. The driving factor is the customer. Large customers building private clouds are interested in the platform chosen by the delivery organization while end consumers consuming IT services do not care. Private clouds generally focus on optimizing IT resources with external help but ongoing support is done in-house. The reason is that large customers put a stake in the ground to ensure that expertise in building private clouds is backed up with a solution that the enterprise can support internally once the SI built the architecture, implemented the solution and left.

Partnerships: The general trend is to build skills with SalesForce, Google and Amazon. Partnership interest includes SalesForce and Microsoft. VMWare as a partner holds the sway when building private clouds for large organizations while Amazon seems the preferred platform to host solutions on using open source. Some firms are building skills on open source tools but realize that support can be a challenge when put into production. Also, they have to build high availability into the product so Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) can be met. So open is not free and when you add the risks of possible negative customer sentiment that could come about due to solution hiccups when moving a solution into production.

To sum up, large technology providers are going to have to re-invent how they market, sell and support their solutions directly to customers as well as through ISV’s and SI’s. They cannot afford to ignore low cost rivals in the cloud computing space as barriers to entry are getting flattened with this upcoming technology.

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Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.