For quite some time, cloud companies were miles ahead of the consumer market as technology as a service seemed “too good to be true” and customers were reluctant to adopt cloud technologies, according to Dave Rokita, vice president of technology operations at Hexagrid Computing.
Fast forward a few years later and now consumers have come around and experts are referring to 2011 as the year of the cloud.
“At the beginning, cloud companies were a bit ahead of the consumer market,” Rokita told TMC’s CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) in a recent interview. “This climate allowed vendors the rare opportunity to define cloud computing their way. As consumers gained more experience and became more educated, the landscape quickly changed. In many cases, consumers have dodged their own IT departments to use cloud services directly. The demands of consumers have taken the lead over the demands of IT departments with respect to influence over product development. Technology development organizations must realize this transition and adapt.”
Recently, Hexagrid’s Rokita sat down with Tehrani to discuss trends in cloud communications and what participants can expect from Hexagrid at ITEXPO West 2011 in Austin, Texas – the world’s largest communications conference and expo. Hexagrid delivers Infrastructure as a Service cloud computing solutions that empower companies to build public or private clouds customized for their unique organizational structures, profitability objectives, and policy requirements. Hexagrid accomplishes this through its flagship cloud platform, VxDatacenter.
When asked what Hexagrid is most looking forward to at ITEXPO, which is taking place from Sept. 13-15 in Austin, TX, Rokita said, “ITEXPO is an opportunity to learn more about how practical applications are moving to the cloud.”
“Hexagrid is especially interested in hearing more about how telecommunications platforms and other carrier grade services plan to make the move,” he added. “At the end of the day, cloud computing is about application delivery. It appears that the industry is finally ready for mass adoption.”
Check out the full interview below:
How has your market segment evolved over the past year and what trends have fueled those changes?
The Infrastructure as a Service market is still very fluid. One area that continues to evolve is emphasis on the actual service delivery. We have seen strong shift in the market away from managed virtualization to business enablement. As it turns out, simple provisioning of virtual machines is relatively easy to do. Aligning this model with existing delivery channels and revenue models creates a much more daunting challenge. Aggressive adoption of virtualization actually becomes a problem if not coupled with strict governance and control. Modern tool-sets must bring sanity to rapidly expanding virtual datacenters. Anything less contributes to the problem more than the solution.
What do you see as the next disruptive force in technology and how will it impact your market or business?
Advances in network performance and WAN optimization will disrupt the cloud computing market. In practice, network resources are clearly the most difficult to scale. It is more than a performance issue. The fabrics are physically incapable of meeting the demands of next-generation computing. We are on the horizon of significant increases in network performance, but many estimate that the benefits will be transient. I predict that mass adoption of cloud-based services will quickly erode these advances, especially in the mobile market. The next disruptive technologies will rethink how networks operate at the lowest levels and ultimately drive new innovation in cloud computing.
What is the most common request you are seeing from your customers? How is your company addressing these demands?
The market is asking for multi-datacenter capabilities. For some customers this means a single-pane-of-glass to manage two datacenter sites and for others it means migration of virtual workloads between datacenters. Many expect both. Hexagrid is actively deploying multi-datacenter capabilities. Hexagrid rejects the idea that copying a virtual disk file across the Internet equals a virtual server migration. VMs are easy to migrate, but their network implementation and relationship with other servers is not. Hexagrid’s vision of multi-datacenter support incorporates these aspects to create a single datacenter fabric across multiple geographic sites.
How is the continued growth of social media changing service and product development strategies?
Social media is a double-edged sword. The pervasive nature of social media is great at getting information out quickly. On the other side of the coin, it can amplify the impact of decisions that are unpopular with the user base which can have lasting consequences. Take for example Netflix’s and VMware’s recent pricing changes. Previously, price increases would be hashed out between executives and sales people. At worst, the discussions were limited to user groups. Now these conversations happen between unrelated consumers. The noise created can be quite severe.
Will Google+ become bigger than Facebook and Twitter? Why or why not?
Time will tell, but history says no. Google (News - Alert) is a great engineering company but their products often lack a human touch. Google+ does have some features that might be compelling when they mature. Circles could be a great idea with additional development. Freedom to upload and download photographs certainly is less restrictive than Facebook (News - Alert) . Having said that, no social media company is safe from innovation. Maybe the question isn’t, “Will Google+ become bigger that Facebook and Twitter,” but rather “What will become bigger than Facebook or Twitter?” The next big thing is right around the corner.
As businesses continue their move toward virtual workforces, how are you meeting the need for increased mobility? What barriers are keeping others from adopting mobile strategies?
The move towards virtualized workforces creates a key driver for building cloud-based applications. The ubiquity of mobile computing further drives demand. Hexagrid develops software for cloud-based application delivery that enables virtualized employees to access those services anywhere in the world. Companies that empower their employees in the field hold a tactical advantage over those that do not. Hexagrid makes sure that virtual workforces have the business intelligence to succeed.
How do you see the mobile operating system war (iPhone (News - Alert) vs. Android vs. RIM vs. WM7) playing out?
Android seems to have achieved its goal of mass adoption, yet Apple has dominated the monetization of content and applications. Enterprise adoption of both Apple and Android poses a very real threat to RIM and recent financial statements and press releases seem to confirm that. Windows 7 made a bold move with the Nokia (News - Alert) partnership, but Android will eventually position as a strong competitor on Nokia’s home turf.
Is HTML5 the game changer many predict it will be?
HTML5 will be a game changer. Consumers have been waiting for a web experience that mimics native applications. To an extent it has been achieved, but the challenges and limitations of HTTP always lurk in the background. The ability to open web sockets without the help of third party tools like Flash will provide a catalyst for next generation browser-based applications. Security is still an issue, but will only be a temporary obstacle.
Who should visit your booth at ITEXPO and why?
Hexagrid Computing builds foundational cloud computing technologies. Many different types of businesses can and should take advantage of Hexagrid solutions. Service providers should visit us to learn how to develop high-value cloud computing services as a platform for building their channel business. Enterprises should visit Hexagrid to learn how IT can be efficiently delivered as an internal service to internal organizations and projects. Software developers should visit Hexagrid to learn how to deliver existing software packages as a service to their customers to drive reoccurring revenue models.
To find out more about Hexagrid, visit the company at ITEXPO West 2011. To be held Sept. 13-15 in Austin, TX, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit Hexagrid in booth No. 427. Don’t wait. Register now. Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin