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Cloud Computing: A TMCnet Interview with Chuck Hollis of EMC


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Cloud Computing: A TMCnet Interview with Chuck Hollis of EMC

Greg Galitzine | February 20, 2009 - Group Editorial Director


As interest in the cloud computing space grows, and the technology becomes more mature and more widely deployed, I thought I would reach out to some of the leading companies in the space to see what their thoughts were regarding the opportunity that lies ahead for this market, especially in light of the current economic conditions facing businesses of all sizes.

For this third of three articles (see my interview with IBM’s Dennis Quan and my interview with’s Peter Coffee) I reached out to Chuck Hollis, VP and Global Marketing CTO, EMC (News - Alert) to provide some insight into what EMC is doing in the cloud computing space, and to describe what they see as the key benefits that enterprises large and small are able to derive from leveraging this technology. Hollis maintains a blog at, on which he offers his perspective on information, technology and customer challenges.
GG: What does your company do in the cloud computing space?
CH: EMC believes that cloud is transforming many aspects of how we think about IT today — into an elastic platform for applications. We see distinct markets for consumer and enterprise clouds. We think we’ll see creative mixes of public and private clouds. And, no matter what kind of cloud we’re talking about, every cloud model will require such basic things as security, orchestration, virtualization and storage — all core competencies of EMC.
GG: Is there a growing market acceptance of applications served from the cloud? If so, why?
CH: Not in all markets. Consumers expect it, small businesses are very interested — and the enthusiasm tails off the bigger the enterprise and the more differentiated their application needs might be. If we extend the notion of “applications” to include “infrastructure services”, the enthusiasm of large enterprises becomes more pronounced — especially if presented with a model that works for them.
GG: What are your thoughts about communications as a service? Do you think this opportunity “has legs?”
CH: It’s hard to single out communications as a service — the thinking is more along the lines of a “cloud internetwork” that delivers a unified, manageable, predictable and secure experience from wireless device through the enterprise and back to providers. Seen this way, the “cloud internetwork” has to do it all: communications, data, telepresence, etc…
GG: What are the benefits (to customers) of cloud computing?
CH: Cost and flexibility. Cost comes through scale, and flexibility comes through design. When I call Japan, I don’t have to fill out a form three months in advance to have the circuit provisioned — I just pick up the phone and call. Why should IT infrastructure be all that different? We’ve seen this sort of transformation in other forms of infrastructure — many of us think it time for IT to start thinking this way.
GG: Describe the opportunity for large enterprises to leverage cloud computing.
CH: First, the current public cloud models being offered by Amazon, Microsoft and Google (News - Alert) don’t seem to be getting much traction in large enterprises. We see the emergent model as the “private cloud” — preserve existing applications and information, virtualized servers and desktops, pooled resources, dynamic orchestration — and the opportunity for service providers to offer “virtual private cloud services” that federate with the customer and with each other. It’s a very different model than what’s been presented in the past.
GG: Can smaller and mid-sized businesses take advantage of these benefits as well?
CH: Absolutely. All business want is their applications and their information delivered in a reliable, efficient and secure manner. No business person really wants to own infrastructure unless they really have to. Making IT infrastructure a variable cost rather than a fixed cost is extremely attractive to just about everyone. We even see it with consumers — look at what’s happening with Google Apps and their ilk.
GG: Do the current economic conditions bode well for this market, or hurt the chances for growth?
CH: Certainly it’s forcing some critical thinking all around. If I look at the core technologies behind private clouds (e.g., virtual data center operating systems and cloud internetworks) — people seem to be continuing to invest, and some cases might be accelerating.
GG: In your view, please describe the future of the cloud computing space.
CH: First, it’s more useful to talk in terms of clouds in the plural. We’ll see consumer clouds and enterprise clouds. Public (and more recently) private clouds. The real prize here is what large enterprise IT decides to do in this space, which is why the private cloud model seems to be the winner: it preserves the existing investment in applications and information, as well as gives customers a wide range of deployment choices.
GG: If you had to make one bold prediction for 2009, what would it be?
CH: I think 2009 is the year that enterprise IT figures out what cloud means to them, and realize that they’re building private clouds. We’ll see, won’t we?

Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications suite of products, including To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Greg Galitzine

By Greg Galitzine

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