There is no half-steppin’ in cloud, guest Randy Bias of Cloudscaling, IT Management and Cloud Podcast #087 - Transcript

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  • 1. There is no half-steppin’ in cloud, guestRandy Bias of Cloudscaling, IT Managementand Cloud Podcast #087 - TranscriptPrepared by Michael Coté (cote@redmonk.com)April, 2011OverviewPublished as an audio podcast, this interview with Cloudscalings Randy Bias provides athorough discussion of where cloud computing is currently working, stumbling blocks for"enterprises," and just how transformative cloud computing projects need to be to reallypay off.The original podcast, including download and listening options, is available at:http://www.redmonk.com/cote/2011/04/04/there-is-no-half-steppin-in-cloud-guest-randy-bias-of-cloudscaling-it-management-and-cloud-podcast-087/TranscriptMichael Coté: Well, hello everybody! Itsa special edition of the IT Management &Cloud Podcast. This week its just me,Michael Coté, at RedMonk and I have got aguest on to kind of just go over someexciting, sort of, real cloud stuff. I guessyou could call it the real cloud on theground kind of business, not just thetheoretic stuff up in the sky.So with that, you want to introduceyourself guest?Randy Bias: Hi! I am Randy Bias, theCTO and Co-Founder of Cloudscaling.Michael Coté: And if I remember recentlyyou were the CEO for quite some time.And so I imagine -- I always -- I havebeen covering tech business long enoughthat when I see a Founder move from[being] CEO, its usually a tremendousrelief. You can, sort of, -- you can focus onthe more technical things and, sort of, operational stuff rather than running aroundwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 2. unclogging toilets and stuff that startup CEOs are always doing.Randy Bias: It certainly was for me. I think I was a great Founding CEO, but I was quicklygetting to the point where I was not really doing any of my CEO duties and there was aclear gap. And so I was happy to stop doing that 10% of the times -- a 10% CEO is almostworse than no CEO.Michael Coté: Exactly, yeah, sort of, things pile up at the best case and at worst you startto just damage things. So its always a nice sign of maturity like I was saying.So for people who dont know Cloudscaling and havent heard of you guys, you want to giveus an overview of what it is you guys do?Randy Bias: So Cloudscaling is a bunch of veterans who worked on Amazon Web Services,GoGrid, Engine Yard, and several other either platform or infrastructure clouds, who gottogether and we see ourselves as the real deal implementers for clouds at scale. So wehave got several engagements that are well publicized, including bringing up both privateand public clouds for Korea Telecom and then also bringing the first OpenStack storagecloud to market after the Rackspace Cloud Files.Michael Coté: So how long have you guys been around for?Randy Bias: Cloudscaling in this instantiation has really been around for about a year. Sothe current business model and team has been around for about a year, and in that timethere is really just the two co-founders almost a year ago, and now we are 25, going on 30,and we will probably double again by the end of the year. So we have been under very rapidgrowth.Michael Coté: And would you characterize yourself as a services organization largely or isthere a product that you have?Randy Bias: So we are getting to the area where like I have to be careful about what Ishare. I will simply say this. We are currently a services organization. We have a new CEOwho is not a services person. He has a history and track record of building product. And if Iwere looking at the organization from the outside I would think that, that was a clear signal.But its for other people to decide.Michael Coté: Thats right. Everyone can cut open the bird and read the guts for the futureon their own, right? They can do that on their own. The old osprey if I remember.Yeah. So I mean, you guys have like -- I have been kind of knowing a few, like AndrewShafer who is, if I recall, the VP of Engineering, like, having spoken with him while he hasbeen working there. I mean, you guys have -- as a sort of credit to your name, rapidlyscaled up staffing wise. I mean, there has been kind of phenomenal growth that you guyshave been through.Randy Bias: Yeah. We have been -- we have still been tremendously lucky. We have got alot of A-players like Andrew Shafer who have come on board, who have got a ton of domainknowledge to help us out.We also recently acquired a gentleman by the name of Zed Shaw, who is rather infamous inboth the Ruby and Python communities. He is awesome, absolutely awesome.We have got a bunch of the backend engineers from GoGrid who are really great. We justwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 3. had one Amazon Web Services Product Manager start with us.We have got a really all-star cast of folks who have just got a ton of experience in this area.Like I said, our forte has really been on the implementation side. We think of ourselves ascloud builders and operators who have practical experience. And sort of when you look outthere in the ecosystem of folks who are offering product or services today, there is actuallyvery few people who can make that claim, so pretty proud of that.Michael Coté: So when you guys -- when you and sort of the other initial clutch of peoplestarted out and you were, kind of, looking at the cloud opportunity, how did you end up,kind of, dividing [the market] into, kind of, [what companies were] ready to do cloud stuff,if you will? I mean, you, kind of, had to do sort of a market study, if you will, and kind offigure out: okay, these are the people who actually can build like full scale, and I am puttingthis in air quote, “real clouds.” And I am curious like how you kind of sorted that out initiallyand how that’s been evolving over time?(00:05:08)Randy Bias: Man, that’s a really good question actually. So the history of the business isfunny, because it really -- I have been working on this cloud stuff in one way or anothersince sort of late 2006 when I did my first kind of cloud startup, which didn’t go anywhere,but was sort of a competitor to RightScale, sort of a Cloud Application ManagementFramework for originally both Amazon Web Services and then eventually GoGrid, and thatwas one of the first cloud management platforms I had seen. In fact, RightScale wasn’teven launched at the time that I started working on it.And during that whole time, from late 2006 till now, I have been blogging about this andthinking about it and I spent some time at GoGrid as a VP, Technology Strategy, where Iwas trying to help them with product direction and vision.And when I left there and I formed Cloudscaling in the current incarnation, a couple ofthings were interesting for me. The first was that, the blog had really attracted a lot ofreaders. And the second was that I felt that I had a chance to step back from, kind of, whatpeople were talking about and try to assess what I felt was happening from a big picturepoint of view and then try to build a business model towards that, which is a little bitdifferent than most folks who I think have a product or a service that they are offeringalready and then they are trying to see how it can fit into cloud computing.Michael Coté: Yeah, the so-called “cloud washing,” if you will, in the worst case.Randy Bias: Right. So I started doing consulting and strategy and architectureengagements with, like, large enterprise companies. I worked with VMware on the vCloudAPI, and I worked with Kaiser Permanente on some of their internal private cloud stuff anda handful of other large enterprises.It seemed to me like the enterprises were missing something, and I kept coming back andnoticing that what Amazon, and to some degree Google, and some of the large Internetproperties was doing was just building a fundamentally different kind of informationtechnology.And then sometime along though I just had this epiphany and part of it was that I readClayton Christensen’s The Innovators Dilemma, which is a must read on disruption in thetechnology business, and then the second was I read Nick Carr’s Does IT Matter? And my“a-ha” moment was like, hey, what Amazon has really done is they have cracked the nut onwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 4. this new way of doing information technology, and its more of a way -- its sort of -- theway I like to highlight it is its the difference between building robotics factories forautomobile manufacturing versus kind of having an assembly line for automobilemanufacturing. Its a fundamental transformation of the way that you actually build ITsystems.And when I figured that out I realized that a lot of folks were just really trying to take theassembly line model for it and call it cloud.Michael Coté: Yeah, and that’s something that in a funny way has become unique aboutyour voice in a lot of cloud discussion is, you are still very focused on, I am overstating it tosome extent, but everything is fundamentally different. That like its not sort of just likesome little things that you can tack on here and there, but to really get the full benefit andto make doing cloud in whatever sense worth it. There is a lot of things that you have tochange and a lot of dramatic change to it.Whereas, originally a lot of cloud computing, like the Nicholas Carr’s other famous book TheBig Switch is sort of like equally dramatic, in that there is one mega cloud in the sky that allthis utility computing comes from.Then at some point, I think especially to be both fair and a little cynical, I think when a lotof existing vendors came into the market, they couldn’t just wholesale throw everythingthat they had so they wanted to adapt what they had, and there is a bit of a moderation ofthis cloud stuff. But you are still very much still one of the people who kind of goes out andsays “no, no, no, [cloud] stuff is very, very different.”And more importantly, the point that you have been making recently is that, if you don’tchange as close to the floor, so to speak, as possible, then you are really not going to get allthe benefits of doing cloud stuff.And kind of my thing to tack onto that is, like, with any sort of technological change if youare not getting the full benefit, its probably not worth your time to some extent. And I don’tknow, its interesting to see you speaking to trying to push people over the edge evenfurther than they want to go, so to speak.Randy Bias: Yeah. I mean, I have realized that people get really uncomfortable when I amtalking about some of this stuff. But the thing is, is that I want to try to understand if thishad happened before and I kind of looked back and I sort of saw that there was this fairlylarge transition from mainframe computing to what I call enterprise computing, and thattransition took 20-30 years.(00:09:52)I mean, mainframe computing was dominant in the 1960s moving into the 1970s, and thenthe 1980s we sort of had this revolution where suddenly it wasn’t this big huge box in thecorner that only a few people knew how to use and controlled access to, now there isgreater and wider access to both the servers and the clients, and that really changed thewhole model for how we think about computing. And I think we are in the midst of thatsame kind of change today.And my thinking isnt exactly along Nick Carrs line. The thing I love about Nick Carr themost is that he has got these historical examples of how other business infrastructure, likepower systems, electrical power systems, telecommunications, railways, air transportation,have followed these same kind of commoditized move towards utility models, and thatswww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 5. what I really find valuable about his writing.But then when I look at sort of this transition from enterprise computing to cloudcomputing, you can kind of see it happening, right? Its that -- we are just moving furtheralong that same trajectory from mainframe, which is that, now you have got all thesemobile devices that are -- you are hyperconnected all the time. You have got somethingwith the power in your pocket today, an iPhone or Android, that is significantly morepowerful than anything we had in the 80s, and you can connect it to a data center full ofthousands or tens of thousands of servers to do processing on in little and no time at all.I think that, that changes the whole dynamics of pretty much everything, both how we buildthe applications, how we consume them, how the infrastructure underneath them thatpowers the applications, I mean its just shifting everything around.Michael Coté: Yeah. I want to -- I usually skirt away from sort of definitional things, but Iwant to ask you in a little while about, like, what this fundamental shift is that you have togo through, like what the “changed IT” is, if you will.But you just brought us something that I also kind of kick around in my head quite a bit. Iwas watching I think, I forget if it was your Cloudscaling talk or the one you did at the, like,in Seoul at the Korea Cloud Foundations thing.Randy Bias: Cloud Frontiers?Michael Coté: Yeah, there you go. And you mentioned people having mobile devices andthis constant connectivity, and so I am kind of curious in the work, whether its kind oflooking out at things theoretically or the work you are doing for clients. Like, what are, sortof, like, the business drivers that are pushing people towards cloud computing and beyondsort of like, as you would put it, beyond kind of, like, bottom line growth, if you will, kind ofcutting cost and saving money - but what are these new lines of businesses or businessmodels that companies are wanting to do or being enabled to do with cloud computing?And the reason - I am kind of infamous for asking long questions with a bunch ofstatements, so if you will pardon me. And the reason I ask this is, a lot of the examples thatyou and other cloud people use are -- I divide them into two types, they are either externalfacing things like Netflix, which makes perfect sense, right? You have got thousands andthousands of people accessing your IT essentially and you need to scale it. Or they are kindof batch jobs, like something Eli Lilly might do, or maybe kind of Animoto is [one] of these,where they just seem to do a lot of processing all at once.And so I am curious like beyond those two types of, if you will pardon the old phrase,“workloads,” like are there other kind of business models or drivers that you are seeingbusinesses really lust after cloud computing for?Randy Bias: Yeah. I mean, so the simple answer, my oversimplification is basically, youjust have to ask yourself, what can you do differently if you can get 10,000 servers for anhour for $100? I mean, that’s sort of my litmus test.Michael Coté: Yeah. Thats a very concise way of putting it.Randy Bias: And then, actually I have this blog posting I think from 2008, I have to goback and search for it, but basically at that time I said, hey, here is the big use cases; oneis speed, sort of time to market. So can I get something up and running now, and youactually see that in AWS, you see a lot of media companies, they dont really have elasticwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 6. workloads, so to speak, they have their need to be able to bring something up for a periodof time very quickly and then tear it down.The second big use case I had was leverage, and this is sort of the equalizing effect. Itmeans that any small startup now can actually get enough compute power to be able tocompete with the larger business.So the barriers to entry for a lot of use cases, batch processing or processing a market dataare pretty much going away or are much smaller than they used to be.The third was sort of that classic elasticity use case, which I think it more applies to thatbatch processing or sort of the Animoto use cases.And then a fourth, which I think we are going to see -- which we are starting to see now,but hasnt quite got there, is what I call sort of the reach use case, which is that, you see alot of -- as there gets to be more and more clouds globally, you see a lot of use cases thatare about being able to put your infrastructure in another country or your application inanother country with very little friction. So that really changes the dynamics.(00:15:02)The two examples I like to give are Friendster, which I dont know how many of yourlisteners know the history about it. Friendster was one of the first social networking sitesand it was based in the U.S., but then was run over by Facebook and MySpace, and itwound up that the vast majority of their users were in the Philippines, but they wereservicing them from the U.S., and they had no way to pivot and go move their application tothe Philippines, and if they had, it might have made a difference for their longevity.And then the next use case is, I love 99designs. They are a small Australian outfit that putstheir production servers on Amazon in the U.S. to sell to U.S. customers’ logos and graphicdesigns that are contributed by people from second and third world countries.So you have got a guy in Latvia with the laptop contributing an entry. And so you have gotfolks in Australia basically bringing up application on demand in the United States and thenservicing the global market.I just see that those dynamics really -- all four of those use cases are sort of the bigbuckets I kind of put all those cloud use cases in.Michael Coté: Yeah, its kind of like the last case, really, that I feel like I have been -- Ihave this kind of hope, where I have kind of been searching mentally in my head for like --if I were to go to any given medium to large size business and tell them, like, here is whyyou should do cloud and why its generative beyond, like, you will just be able to do stuffbetter, right?Because I am always trying to avoid like, well, it just lets you do things better, becausethats kind of what IT has done since the dawning of time, since probably the stone wheel Iguess.And its almost like to some extent every business would like to increase its reach andinteraction with its customers or whoever is sort of moving the money primarily that comesin and out of the business. And I sort of feel like that kind of brings in all of the aspects youwere just talking about.www.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 7. Like one: you want to be able to spin up different pieces of IT or applications to do differentlittle business models here and there in a cheap way so that -- its almost like you arelowering the bar for how IT can help with the business. Like with the more traditional IT,enterprise sort of applications, if you will, or enterprise IT, there is sort of like this minimumbuy-in, like, well, anything we do is going to cost like $2 million.So to some extent it better be like a big business if you are going to do -- a moderatelysized new business. Whereas with the speed that you can do and the certain amount ofleverage and everything, essentially a business of any size, including businesses andsmaller ones, can start to use IT in ways that were just very cost prohibitive to do in thepast.And more importantly, to the speed that you were talking to, its not necessarily all aboutthe money side of cost, but also just the time and opportunity.And so I think thats a lot of the more interesting things that I am starting to see recently ofpeople using cloud is that: it may not be sort of like a traditional or legacy type of ITapplication, but its a business figuring out something new that they can do with IT, which Ithink is somewhat -- I mean, thats another thing that you get into quite a bit is the ideathat a lot of what you see people using cloud for is not necessarily like legacy app migrationor something like that.Randy Bias: Right. I mean, if you go and you look at it right now, most larger enterprisesare sort of split into two kind of what I will call adoption groups. So adoption group numberone are sort of the app developers and the folks in line of business who are trying to getthings done in order to help the business succeed. Mostly what they are looking at is topline revenue generation opportunities.Adoption group number two is really a centralized IT department which is looking at waysthat they can reduce cost and get bottom line efficiencies, and mostly they are looking atpreexisting legacy applications. They are saying, well, I have got a bunch of virtualizationdeployed, I am going to automate it, and then I have got a cloud and things are going to berosy and sunny.I think part of the problem, part of the disconnect here is that, there is a certain amount ofthe app developers line of businesses going around centralized IT to adopt a certain amountof flight and it looks very similar to -- the drivers and motivators look very similar to theones that are around sort of the Salesforce.com use case, which is, I could go to centralizedIT and I could try to get their help, but the red tape, the length of time it will take me to getservice, the responses, all of that is sort of problematic. So instead I am just going to putmy credit card online and get going, because I am trying to get something done for thebusiness in time.Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, its kind of like -- you could call up a companys customerservice line and go through their IVR system, their Interactive Voice Prompt or talk to aperson or you could just go to Google and like search for it. Its, like, so often the case thatthe services set up by a company are the last place you actually want to go to get help withthat company.(00:20:05)Randy Bias: Yeah, and to be fair to the centralized IT teams, I mean to some degree theyhave been set up for failure. I mean, whats happened is that they have been sort of in aninherent monopoly, whether intentionally or not, over the past 30 years and they are on thewww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 8. hook for the service levels that they provide internally, and so they have gotten more andmore risk averse.And this really comes out when you look at buying decisions, because I sort of see this likevery dysfunctional relationship between the centralized IT department and typical enterprisevendors.So what tends to happen is that -- that’s an old saw of, nobody ever got fired for buyingIBM or Cisco or whatever. And part of what that deal is, is there’s a somewhat inherent dealthat whenever there is any large infrastructure undertaking, centralized IT will go at theirstrategic enterprise suppliers, and if there’s a failure or a problem, those suppliers will fallon their sword and kind of save that person.So I think there’s a lot more motivation for typical centralized IT folks to focus on what I callCYA decisions, Cover Your Ass. And if you go and you look at a service provider whose verylifeblood is on the line, I mean whatever they are providing in terms of informationtechnology services to their customer base directly impacts the liability of the business thatthey have to make ROI decisions all the time. They cant make CYA decisions. If they makea CYA decision, the business dies.Whereas, the large financial institution might be, “hey, 10% of our revenue just goes rightinto the IT budget, its cost of doing business, we don’t know what happens to it. We haveto get value.”Michael Coté: That’s funny. I was just reading, like, a review of a book about the history ofhedge funds and they kind of made exactly that same point about hedge funds versusinstitutional investors, like big banks, that people at large banks, its sort of like, I don’tknow, they are not -- their success and their wealth, actually in this case, is not reallydirectly tied to the performance of the work that they are doing in the same way that hedgefunds investors are. Its very similar to a service provider. A service provider needssomething that works, not just something that looked good on paper, therefore its not theirfault when it breaks.Randy Bias: Right, which is why -- its part of why I have had this kind of like rant aboutthe enterprise cloud lately is because, I really figured out lately that this whole approach tobuilding sort of these “enterprise clouds” is fundamentally broken from the ROI point ofview.I mean, you have sort of got this weird disconnect or you have got the larger serviceproviders, I don’t want to name anybody’s name, they are pretty obvious when you go outthere and look at them, they have got these big enterprise spaces and they are saying,“hey, enterprises don’t want what Amazon has got, they want something different, theyneed to support all these legacy applications.”So they are trying to build these very complex, very expensive clouds that are not going tobe anywhere near cross-competitor with Amazon. And at the same time you look at thecentralized IT department and they are making a decision. They are like, “well, are we goingto outsource all these legacy apps and our jobs go away, or do we just build our owninternal private cloud?” Most of them are choosing to go down building that internal privatecloud route.So you have got centralized IT going to the enterprise vendors to build an infrastructurethat looks exactly the way these external public enterprise clouds look, same people, sametechnology, same management processes. And I don’t understand how there’s -- I don’t seewww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 9. success in the future for either of those paths, and they are inherently competing with eachother as well, and Amazon has kind of run away.Michael Coté: If we can construct a strawman, as it were, like what are the argumentspeople are using to build their own private cloud, if you will, or enterprise cloud, like whatsmotivating, beyond the losing their job like what are the other -- whats the checklist ofthings that don’t work out for them?Randy Bias: Well, I just want to draw a distinction because its not as clear in some of theirpresentations, its like there is a difference between an enterprise cloud and a private cloudin my mind. The enterprise cloud is using enterprise computing techniques to build a cloudwhereas a private cloud is a cloud for a single tenant. So you could use enterprise cloud tobuild a private cloud or you could use commodity cloud to build a private cloud, either one.So you can build your cloud like AWS or you can build it like how Cisco and EMC built it, andthose are very different.Michael Coté: Right, that makes sense.Randy Bias: Yeah. Sorry.Michael Coté: Oh, no, no, no, its good to -- I always joke that there is about 50 differentwords you can stick in front of cloud nowadays, so its always good to define what -- that’sright, what the combinations are.(00:24:56)So what do you see is motivating people to use enterprise techniques to build their owncloud? I imagine there’s something they are fearing or they think is lacking from justrunning it on Amazon or something.Randy Bias: Right. So the key driver I think is when you look at a lot of the legacyapplications, they have some needs that to be honest are not met by Amazon Web Services.The best way to think about this, and Lew Tucker had a great presentation on CloudConnect right before mine, is what the history -- how we got here is that everybody kind ofcame in and they said, “okay, I have got a new application that’s going to go in the datacenter, and these are the requirements for my application in terms of compute, storage,and networking, and then those requirements were fulfilled.”So when you look inside of a typical enterprise data center, you have silos all over, everysingle application has its own stack. So you might have the Exchange Server running on topof EMC and then you might have some databases running on top of NetApp Storage, and itsdifferent everywhere.Michael Coté: Its almost as if each application has its own cloud that its running on.Randy Bias: Exactly. The way that I sort of recently have been sort of talking about this is,imagine that you were sitting at a desk and you have got ten different appliances in front ofyou, and one takes like 8 volts DC, another takes 12 volts DC, one takes 120 volts AC singlephase, and then another one takes 220 volts three phase. Now, if you go to the powercompany and you say, I want you to deliver the power that each of my appliances needsexactly as it needs it, no transformation. The power company’s cost jump up 5-10x.Now, if instead each appliance has its own transformer and then the power comes in as awww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 10. single type of power and then its changed, then you get -- now everybody who builds anappliance takes on the responsibility of having to transform the power to their needs. But onthe other hand, the power itself can be very reliable, it can be very cheap, and it can be thesame everywhere.So I think that’s part of what we are looking at, and part of what makes it that hard toswallow for a lot of the legacy apps is that they are preexisting appliances that don’t havethose power transformers in them. I mean, you have to make a decision, are you going torefactor them so that they are cloud ready? Are you going to migrate off of them to someother new Software-as-a-Service based application or rewrite them from scratch? I mean,how do you handle that?I think most people are trying to figure out a way to get the value that Amazon brings whiletaking legacy apps as they are and putting them on top of it. And while I think that’spossible, its not going to be done through building very expensive 10x, 8-10x moreexpensive clouds.Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, its kind of -- its almost impossible to, sort of, quantify whatit would take to modernize all those applications out there. I mean, I think -- I guess likethe only touch point I can think of is like the Y2K scare where everyone was sort of forcedto go make this very small change, or relatively small change to every application that wasout there, because they thought it was going to be Mad Max the next day or whatever. As Irecall, that was not cheap.So like changing the nature of an application that it can run on a different platform is, therewill be things that like will work out, but its quite an onerous process.Randy Bias: The thing here is that Moores Law is basically our friend, and if you go andlook at a bunch of the capabilities that Amazon has added over the past couple of years likevirtual private cloud, the dedicated instances now, the new networking features in thevirtual private cloud, I mean, you can see that they are slowing eating away at a lot of thecore use cases that legacy apps require. And I think what we are going to see is acombination of features added on top of commodity clouds like Amazon Web Services, plusjust the hardware gets that much better.We have a big -- our big client in Korea was in the process of doing their [migration] andthey got concerned because they had some databases running on some Pentium IIIs from2000 on Windows. And I said, look, as soon as you virtualize those, they are going to beblazing fast. Because the hardware under the cloud is just so much better than thosePentium IIIs that the overheard just doesn’t matter, and there will be tons and tons of thatstuff that over the next three to five years it will be easier and easier going to cloud,because the impedance mismatch will lessen.Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, they are going to need one of those turbo buttons from theold 386, where you had to slow the computer down so you use old software without it goingcrazy.Randy Bias: I still play those old games.Michael Coté: That’s right, little Lode Runner here and there or whatever, or Sopwith orsomething.Randy Bias: I have a soft spot for Ultima actually.www.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 11. (00:29:56)Michael Coté: Oh, yeah, yeah, and there was always plenty of editions of that to play on.Being in Austin, Ultima was a very popular thing around here since --Randy Bias: Oh yeah, of course.Michael Coté: Yeah. In fact, while we are ratholing here on games, like Richard Garriott,like he is renowned for his Halloween party every year, because as you can imagine beingthe Ultima guy, he has like a castle somewhere around here.Randy Bias: Awesome!Michael Coté: And there is like 20 secret doors and all sorts of things like that, so heinvites some people out every Halloween to, like, go to the Richard Garriott Haunted HouseCastle thing. I have never been, but it’s supposed to be pretty awesome.So yeah, anyhow, getting out of that rathole, going through a secret door back to our mainconversation. I mean, I am curious, like you were saying you can see Amazon eating awayat these enterprise concerns like -- not that I want you to detail like a list of 50 things, butlike whats kind of like the handful of top things that are like enterprise concerns? What doyou see those requirements being, whether they are good requirements or not thatenterprises are coming out with?Randy Bias: So I mean, there are three that people like to trot out regularly as sort of thehigh level bullet points, which I don’t necessarily agree with, but there is security,availability, and performance, those are the three that get trotted out.Security is sort of a nonstarter. You can build a cloud to be as secure as you want, doesn’tmatter what techniques you use. I just pretty much ignore that.And performance, that’s more related to the underlying hardware than anything else. Soagain, I would pretty much ignore it, because I think it’s very easy to build a commoditycloud that’s got significantly better performance characteristics or at least on par with anykind of enterprise cloud, no matter how much it is spent.And then the third is, sort of, availability. There is something here that kind of gets to alittle bit of the heart of the matter, which is that there is an assumption that legacyapplications need the infrastructure to be fairly robust because they aren’t. So there is aneed to have a lot more HA and redundancy all throughout the infrastructure. So whenAmazon says, hey, just assume that these virtual machines can disappear at any time, formost legacy apps that’s a nonstarter.And one way to get around that is to make the cloud ready to refactor them or rebuildthem. Another way is to adopt somebody else’s service and just deprecate your oldapplication.But I think we are going to see probably some things out of the AWS pipeline and othercommodity cloud’s pipelines that deal with sort of that persistency and availability issuewithout necessarily adding in all of the HA and redundancy that a lot of the enterpriseswant.Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah. No, that reminds me -- I mean, perhaps as one specific thinglike I remember back when I first got into working at an enterprise software ISV. I was sortwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 12. of shocked to discover how often, like, shared network drives were, like, a fundamental partof the way a lot of enterprise applications ran. It was kind of to what you are saying, is, like-- I mean, shared network drives are kind of none of those three things.Like they are very unreliable, they are very unsecure, and their performance is alwaysquestionable, and there is always stuff happening. Yet, it’s kind of like that’s a hugesuccessful anti-pattern, so to speak, of enterprise application design. So like I said, it’s kindof an example of, if you have an application that’s depending on that, it’s not really going towork out extremely well in a cloud situation.I mean, you can kind of rewrite it to be the equivalent of doing something like that, butthere is all these sorts of networking things that don’t really work out very well. And alsolike you are saying, dedicated nodes in your cluster, so to speak, are not -- there is acertain amount of redundancy that you need.Randy Bias: And the thing about redundancy that I am not sure that people get is, whenyou go and you look at typical redundancy in an enterprise data center, and this is what Isort of call sort of the design for failover model as opposed to the design for failure model.But you see all throughout the enterprise data center this kind of pairing. So it’s HA pairseverywhere, you have got pairs of load balancers, pairs of switches, pairs of file servers,and it kind of turtles all the way down, it’s just pairs everywhere.And the thing is, is like by pairing everything you increase the cost 2x right off the bat,almost all the time. And some people will make an argument, well, you can run themactive-active, but most people don’t run them active-active, because -- or if they do, theyget bigger boxes, because they want in their failure condition not to lose any capacity. Soeven if you are running active-active, you are trying to run both those boxes at 50%, soyou overbuild them both, so that when you failover, you can run one 100%.So the pattern -- I mean, you go and you look at sort of the cost of rebuilding a newapplication, a greenfield application that you -- or building a greenfield application versusadopting sort of that design for failure methodology where you actually build and assumethat any of the virtual machines or instances can go in anytime, and you move away fromthe HA. When you do that and you look at the price differential, suddenly that 2x doesn’tlook very good for the greenfield applications. I think that that’s going to drive a lot ofchange.(00:35:12)Michael Coté: Yeah. There is another interesting sub-point that you raise up, and to ask aquestion around it: how important do you see the role of comparing cost of doing somethingversus one way or the other? How important does that become at every level of thinkingabout using cloud? Like is it something that like architects think about or is it only themanager who thinks about it? Because the sense that I get is, if you are not thinking aboutcost as something that drives possibilities, if you pay less for something you can do morestuff I guess, then you are kind of also missing out on some of the advantages of cloud stuffyou are doing.Randy Bias: So I think that if you -- sort of the way that utility providers arise, going backto Nick Carr’s ‘Does IT Matter?’, and the utility providers arise because there is anopportunity in the marketplace for somebody to specialize in a particular kind of businessinfrastructure, whether it’s power or telecommunications or something else.What that means is that by doing only that one thing and making it a core competency, youwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 13. can be extremely successful at it. And if we look at Amazon and Google, in many ways theybacked into being some of the largest information technology infrastructures in the worldthat have provided as a service.When you are up against that, and they are ruthlessly cutting out the cost of everything,their data center and power cooling, the cost of their server hardware, the cost of theirsoftware, their development cost, as they are ripping all that out, I mean if you are notthinking about that, you windup trying to compete against somebody who is continuallydropping their cost and passing that on in their pricing.We have done several blog post on this in the past and if you go and you look at it. Amazonjust keeps reducing their prices, I mean, it’s relentless. I mean, they know the game theyare in and they are playing it to win from the get-go and so one of the things that I findhumorous here is that, I don’t think a lot of the enterprise cloud guys are actually bakingthis in, they are not baking in the price drops into their model.Michael Coté: Yeah. It’s always easy to be sort of two-faced or talk out of both faces ofyour mouth -- I mean both corners of your mouth about cost and cloud. Because on the onehand, like you are exactly right, like if -- and as I was saying at the beginning, like if youare not concerned -- if you are not driving down the cost, then you might kind of be wastingtime essentially, or if you are not paying attention to that, things will get overrun. Then onthe other hand, you also want to have that not be the only thing that you are focusing on.So what I have kind of discovered is, it seems like good advice for people is, not that youonly pay attention to cost but make sure you are at least paying attention to that as one ofthe criteria for doing cloud stuff. And it’s just sort of like -- it sounds kind of ridiculousbecause it’s dealing with money, which is always supposed to be very important andprecise, but it’s almost as if, like, thinking about cost is a good rule of thumb to judge if youare doing the right thing.Just like you are saying, if you are paying a lot more than you would just be getting for offthe shelf cloud stuff, so to speak, then you are probably doing something a little wonky. Soit is -- I don’t know, it does seem like it plays a pretty important role.And it’s funny when you were going through that I was thinking it’s kind of analogous to the-- in the realm of U.S. politics to this theory of starve the beast. The way you are going tomake any bureaucracy efficient is basically to deny it money and then figure out.Because any sort of organization or organism, if you will, including a bureaucracy, wants tosave itself, so even if they don’t have money, they will figure out something in order to notdie I guess. But that’s perhaps a little Draconian for what IT people want to hear.Randy Bias: Well, I mean, I really want IT folks to be successful, but I mean there is a bigtransition happening and people need to think about what that means. I don’t think the ITthat we see today is going to be the same as the IT of tomorrow. I think the IT of tomorrowis going to be a lot more application focused and a lot less infrastructure focused.I am not sure people really want to except that, because in many ways it’s easy to letthings remain as a status quo, but I mean, the disruption is so industry wide and you can --I mean, Amazon has gone -- basically Amazon Web Services has turned into a billion dollarbusiness in about five year’s time, and I mean that’s a huge wake up call. I mean, you don’tsee those levels of growth very often. So something very fundamental is happening here.Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, one of the things you use and that other people mention a lotwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 14. -- I am surprised more people don’t mention it but that comes up is that, the Bechtel CIOdid, like, a study of storage cost and other things when it comes to cloud and that kind ofshocking moment. I mean, I forget what the multiplier is, but that kind of shocking momentwhere there is a huge difference between their most optimal way to do storage and whatAmazon charges for it.(00:40:03)And if you get over the sort of like the trinity of FUD, like security, availability, andperformance, you start to wonder like why am I paying so damn much for storage. And itjust gets to that point that you keep butting up against is that, there is just this kind offundamentally different way of operating your IT that you get to, where things change quitea bit and the cost go down dramatically.Randy Bias: Yeah. And that’s what I am really seeing right now across the board. We focuson service providers and telcos because we think they have the DNA to be the nextgeneration service providers, but even still now talking to certain enterprises, I mean, theyare either trying to figure out what Amazon and Google are doing differently, the smartones that are kind of visionaries, or they are trying to figure out how to get used to [cloud].I guess what I mean by that is, they are either trying to figure out how to reproduce thatinternally or they are trying to figure out how to get immediate leverage from it and getcompetitive advantage from today, and then looking at their long-term roadmaps.So it’s going to be a longer term shift, there is no doubt about it, but it’s hard not to see ittaking place today. And it’s a little confusing to me when you get some of the fear,uncertainty, and doubt coming from big enterprise vendors, and there is a certain need theyseem to have to try to protect the existing infrastructure, IT infrastructure spend from largeenterprises without regard for what those large enterprises actually mean, and I think a lotof times they need to just use a proper cloud, not necessarily build their own.Michael Coté: Yeah. Well, let’s kind of close out with that thing I kind of earmarked at thebeginning which was, for us talking about how dramatically things shift and with thechanges and everything, I mean: can you give us a sense of what it does look like if you arerunning sort of a legit cloud? I mean, we have talked a little bit about kind of, like, needingto change applications to run on that kind of infrastructure, but in the work that you havebeen doing, like what is the end result of this shift that people go through so that they canactually have, I don’t know, to use a cheesy phrase, better cloud economics and get thoseadvantages of doing cloud without kind of getting stuck in the enterprise cloud cul-de-sac, ifyou will?Randy Bias: Any kind of infrastructure cloud is basically going to look a lot like Amazon.Your CAPEX costs are going to be reduced by something like 75%. Your operational costsare going to be reduced similarly, at least for the infrastructure side. And you will probablysee a change of a factor of 10 or a 100x in the number of infrastructure people you need torun a successful private cloud.I think that one of the other key things is that they will be a lot more focus on what do weactually need to run on it versus what needs to go outside and be run on somebody else’s.So what I mean by that is, if you are running Microsoft Exchange today, rather than puttingyour email through somebody else’s on-demand service, whether it’s Microsoft or Gmail,that just doesn’t really make any sense, because the reality is, is that, that provides you nocompetitive differentiation, there is no business advantage. I mean, it’s IT that is just there,www.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 15. it just provides some basic service to the business.Any kind of IT that provides simply basic services to the business probably shouldn’t be runby the internal IT department. The internal IT department should be focused on those partsof the business that are fundamentally differentiating and that should be what your privatecloud is focused on.Michael Coté: Right, right. Like you said, this transition, like, takes several years or somelong time, but like how -- at this point, like with the people that you are seeing doing this,how are people gearing up for it? I mean, are they really charting out like multiyearprojects, or did they start with small things? I mean, you are kind of laying out a prettydramatic goal, if you will, as far as like different from the here and now. I mean, how arepeople taking on that challenge? And part of what you said, MSPs are a lot more likely toget it than enterprises I guess.Randy Bias: So what most enterprises are doing right now is they are buying veryexpensive solutions from their strategic enterprise vendors, they are slapping a little bit ofautomation on top of virtualization, and they are declaring a win. So what we are going tosee is, what we think of as sort of fail forward, which is that as those victories are declaredand then they fail to deliver business value, there is going to be more retrenchments tofigure out how to get it done properly.A few things are going to happen, either CIOs and CTOs are going to figure it out and theyare going to go to the next generation suppliers and move away from the enterprisesuppliers and actually get something done inside the business that makes sense, or headsare going to roll and people are going to be brought in that will more broadly adopt publiccloud services or some combination.(00:45:01)Michael Coté: Yeah, to use another fantastic model next to the disruptive one, that’s theTrough of Disillusionment, if I remember from the Hype Cycle, which is always an excitingtime. I think that’s one of my favorite points of any model that’s existed for a while. I mean,you never really come across disillusionment in the model.So like you are saying, people now are buying kind of like these expensive solutions, if youwill, or systems to be all inclusive of the hardware and the software and everything, and Iguess what I have been wondering recently is like what are the alternatives, like is theresort of like the cloud hardware and stack that you can buy or acquire nowadays? I mean, Iguess I am kind of unclear like if I wanted to do cloud the right way, like what would Iassemble together to do it the right way or is it sort of like a one-off each time?Randy Bias: It’s very challenging, because there are a few different dimensions here thathave to be conquered. The first is capital efficiency parts. Second is the operationalefficiency parts. And then the third is sort of the cultural change.And there is really nothing today that addresses all three of those things, but there might bein the future, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.But I think the things there that people are still looking at this as sort of a product probleminstead of a transformation problem, and I have literally had senior enterprise people say tome, “wow, we are buying this new automation software, we are going to put it in our datacenter and we are going to turn our data center into a cloud,” and I just tragically fell off mychair laughing it was like, there is no software you can buy to automate your data centerwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 16. and turn it into a cloud, if there was somebody would have been successful with all theattempts that have happened over the past 30 years to automate data centers. I mean,that’s not what’s happening.So I think it’s a holistic problem, it’s a systems level problem, it’s like sort of turn the datacenter into like a gigantic IT service, but people look at it as sort of being solved byproducts, and I don’t think it can be solved by products, it has to be solved by acombination of products, architecture, and cultural change. And products will get us part ofthe way but they won’t get us all the way there, and it certainly won’t be any of the oldproducts.Michael Coté: Right. Let me ask you another question along those lines, because I havebeen in thinking about this. Recently I have been wondering if there is a certain, I don’tknow what to call it, so I will just come up with something, a certain line of scale, where ifyou are not past this line then building your own sort of private cloud is not really going tobe worth it.Like it’s almost as if to do the capital lay-out and to go through the cultural change and todo all this stuff, it’s kind of ironically like I was describing enterprise software earlier, thatit’s going to be a multimillion dollar thing, if you will, so whatever it is you end up with, youbetter generate a lot more revenue than that. And if you are not past this line, then youshould just use public cloud, if you will. But I don’t know, like I said, that’s just some wackytheory on my part.I wonder if you are seeing that there is a certain scale of business you have to be in orderto sort of justify caring about having your own private cloud?Randy Bias: I mean, I certainly think there is. I think people get confused though becausethey think it’s about buying power, and it’s actually not that hard to get enough buyingpower to get things like servers inexpensive, that’s not really the challenge.The scale problem is around, if you look at just taking the Amazon as an example, I meanthey are reducing prices every year while increasing features. I mean, if you can’t do that,and that’s a significant change, then you shouldn’t be in the game. And I think to do thatyou are looking at an investment between $10 million and $100 million and it’s going to bevery difficult for you to find the kind of talent, and there is going to be a lot of failures to getyou there.Now, I am not saying people shouldn’t go do that when it makes sense for their business,it’s just, if you are not ready to put that kind of new investment into being a successfulcloud based business with those core technology, then I don’t think it makes any sense tobuild your own private cloud.Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting that -- I guess they call it economies of scale, ifyou will, which is one of the motivators to be a big company is that, you can drive downyour operating cost per whatever unit you measure, if you will.And I guess to some extent, aside from like negotiating enterprise agreements and stuff, Idon’t know if that’s always applied in IT as much as it has, for example, with Walmart andtheir vendor relationships. Walmart can make things really cheap because they just buy somuch, whereas just the cliché mom and pop store can’t necessarily get cheap stuff fromtheir suppliers. So there is that certain -- I don’t know, if you can operate with thoseeconomies of scale the way you are deploying your own IT then it would make sense,otherwise you want to go with the utility, as you keep saying.www.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 17. (00:50:03)Randy Bias: Yeah. I mean, the economies of scale argument -- an important thing toremember is just that, it’s not purely about buying power. Getting buying power is not verydifficult, there are other economies of scale. I mean, how has Amazon got 400 engineersand data center techs basically running 80,000 plus physical servers? I mean, it’s becausethey are doing things very differently.Michael Coté: And that’s the cultural stuff you are talking about essentially.Randy Bias: Right. And part of the economies of scale is like very homogenousenvironments. Like Google is reputed to have five hardware configurations across one totwo million servers, whereas in a typical enterprise environment I have seen hundreds ofhardware configurations across a much smaller footprint.So it’s not -- that’s part of that whole transformation, that completely new way of doingthings that is fundamental. It’s software development and automation, that’s one piece. It’shomogenization, commoditization, and standardization, that’s another piece. It’s servicebased delivery models. So I think the part of the focus of an Amazon or a Google is 24x7service delivery that in many cases, many enterprise use cases, doesn’t really exist.And the fourth is what I call sort of more the layered service architecture. So if you look atGoogle, I have got these data centers that are designed for certain efficiencies aroundpower and cooling. And then I put in very inexpensive hardware. And then I put in softwarelike Google FS which turns a bunch of that hardware into storage. And then I layer BigTableon top of that which gives me a columnar database, which leverages Google Storage,Google FS. And then I put MapReduce on top of BigTable, which leverages the columnardatabase to do data processing. And so then I put my applications on top of that.So I have got Gmail and I have got Search and I have got Google Apps and all of thosethings share that same stack of software and hardware. Every single one of them usesGoogle FS. Every single one of them uses BigTable and MapReduce. And you just don’t --they are getting a certain amount of efficiency, both at the hardware and at the capital andthe operational side by doing that, and that’s very, very difficult for an enterprise which isused to having very specific bespoke requirements for every single application that getsdeployed in the data center.Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, that’s interesting because that makes me think of that -- oneof the things that cloud computing has done is, it has introduced the next generation oflegacy software, if you will. I mean, I used to think of legacy software as sort of like AS/400stuff and things on mainframes and kind of like that weird gray area between mainframeand enterprise computing before Windows came around.But to some extent, like drawing from what you were just saying, there is sort of this newclass -- there is a ton of legacy software out there now that most people don’t think of aslegacy software, assuming this cloud thing has legs, if you will, which -- it’s kind ofinstructive to think of it that way, because people like IBM and other people have figuredout how to keep legacy software alive, if you will.And it’s kind of -- I mean, it’s not cheap necessarily, but it’s sort of possible. But I thinkwhat’s interesting is to sort of apply those same strategies to, like, the bulk of software thatwe have now and start thinking about what -- if you believe in all this cloud stuff like whatyou would need to do to get to those greenfield things? Because that does seem to be a lotwww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 18. of what the painfulness of cloud transitions that I hear about is, is essentially all thatsoftware that you have, it’s not really going to work in this new way of doing things.And it’s almost like it is what it is and the cost structures are only going to be improved alittle bit by -- you can virtualize something and do some things here and there, but there isa certain ceiling you are going to hit that you are not -- or a floor I guess, that you are notreally going to get much past unless you do a lot of serious rewriting.Randy Bias: Right. Again, I like to go back in history, and if you look at some of thetransition from mainframe computing to enterprise computing, people made a lot of thesesame kinds of decisions there as well.One of the examples I like to give is Kaiser Permanente. I mean, they have their electronichealthcare record system is still running 100% on mainframes. They have spent 10 or 100x,but it’s the core competitive differentiation as a business, and it works, and they are happy.So maybe they will never move it off a mainframe, and that’s totally okay.(00:54:50)And then you have got some other businesses, like there is a financial company in Koreathat we spent some time with, and they started out on mainframes but now everything runson RISC UNIX boxes, but it’s all COBOL. They use a mainframe emulation technology calledMainframe Rehosting. So Mainframe Rehosting basically allowed them to deprecate all thosemainframes and to adopt and mask without changing their business process or theirapplications, which don’t run like they are on the mainframe.And I think we are going to see all of that and we are also going to see sort of that samekind of Salesforce.com adoption model, which is, I have got us AP deployed and I can keepspending millions to maintain it to map it to my business process, or I can just go outsidethe firewall and use somebody else’s service, because it’s CRM, I just need my sales guys tobe effective.So I think we are going to see everything between, it’s never moving, to it’s moving withsome kind of enabling technology. Like the current example of this is CloudSwitch, whichallows you to take sort of that legacy application and just wrap it in a bubble and stick it outthere unchanged, to I am going to adopt something new and I am just going to migrateaway from my current application usage. And it’s going to be either a new service I rebuildinternally that’s cloudy or somebody else’s service outside.Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah. I have been using the phrase recently, “if ain’t broke, don’tcloud it,” which sort of -- it applies to -- that’s kind of like a legacy modernization term. Toexactly your point, like there are plenty of people, not a lot, but there are plenty of peoplerunning stuff on mainframes and it works perfectly fine so why would you screw with it?Assuming that the costs are fine and all that kind of business, but if there is not somethingfundamentally wrong with some piece of technology or something wrong with it, includingthe cost, then it’s better to kind of look at other stuff that you would move along thetechnology spectrum, if you will, or modernize it seems.Anyhow, well, I think we have kind of filled up an hour, so that was very exciting. I knew wewould have a lot of fun stuff to talk to. We’ve gone through all sort of exciting schedulingcarouseling to finally find a time that works for both Randy and I. So, I am glad we foundthe time to set aside and just kind of a chatter about the stuff you see in the cloud area.Randy Bias: Yeah, that was awesome Coté. Thanks.www.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 19. Michael Coté: Yeah, and we’ll see everyone next timewww.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011
  • 20. About RedMonkRedMonk is the first and only "maker" focused industry analyst firm. We believe thatdevelopers, operations staff, and those who are on the front lines of implementing andusing IT are the most important constituency in technology.We focus on how new and old technologies are being applied by these makers to runbusinesses and help achieve the goals of their organizations. RedMonk advises both buyersand sellers of technology, providing all of our research for free at RedMonk.com in the formof blogs, podcasts, videos, presentations, and other mediums.While it’s impossible given the breadth to simply distill our coverage and views, the corethesis that guides much of our work is that technology adoption is increasingly a bottom upproposition. The supporting evidence abounds; think Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Firefox,Cloud Computing, Eclipse, and the consumerization of IT. All of these are successfulbecause they’ve built from the ground floor, often in grassroots fashion.So the question we pose to you is this: you may have analysts that help you understand topdown. Who do you have that does bottom up?www.RedMonk.com Copyright © RedMonk, LLC 2011