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Gartner Symposium, The Digital Industrial Economy, and Web-Scale IT

I went to my first Gartner Symposium last week for a big picture view of the intersection between business and IT. Symposium is billed as “the one show to go to if you only go to one show a year.” As such, my expectations were high.  It did not disappoint.

Keynote speakers, most notably Peter Sondergaard, in full prophet mode, discussed the disruptive nature of new cloud architectures, the Internet of Things, and 3D printing.  These trends, combined with other socioeconomic factors, would bring about the “Digital Industrial Economy.” He then offered this choice to today’s IT executive: either enable your enterprise to thrive in the Digital Industrial Economy, or be relegated to caretaker of legacy systems while other roles lead the transformation.

The unease in the audience was palpable.  Squirming continued as he discussed a simple graphic on-screen: 90% of CIOs believe they are doing a good job, while 50% of CEOs say they need more from IT.  The keynotes set the tone for the rest of the conference.  Clearly, Gartner is advising clients to do more, and think bigger.

Our first analyst meeting the next day reinforced this.  The Gartner research team focused on “Web-Scale IT” mentioned that many clients are asking how Google, Facebook, and Amazon “do what they do” with respect to globally distributed systems and rapid updates.

The big cloud companies, however, are not going to reveal their secret sauce for public consumption.  Gartner has set out to provide practical guidance on the topic, under the moniker: “Web-Scale IT.”

At CenturyLink Cloud, we harbor no such secrecy; our model is different.  With an ecosystem of go-to-market partners, disclosing “how we do what we do” is a selling point of our company and instrumental in why we have grown as fast as we have.

Under the backdrop of new pressures for IT, we thought it would be helpful to share a quick case study on how our engineering team has been able to accomplish so much in the last year.

Six Interesting Things from Cloud Connect

Cloud Connect, last week in Santa Clara, offered an insightful look on the state of the industry, with perspectives from analysts, big name vendors, and startups.  Here are a few things that caught our eye in the week that was.

The Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey Summary from Everest Group.  Done in conjunction with the organizers of Cloud Connect, the survey of 3 segments (cloud buyers, cloud service providers, and cloud advisors) offers a reality check on where the market is today, compared to the future-looking perspectives that are common in emerging spaces like this one.  One of the more interesting highlights that mirrors our experience:

Public cloud providers may need to modify their communication on the cost benefits of adoption from a pure cost/unit conversation to one that is more focused around lower TCO and ROI

The findings also paint a positive picture for platform-as-a-service (PaaS), indicating that a strong majority of survey respondents are already using PaaS, or plan to in the near future.  Check out the whole survey here.

Q&A with Joe Weinman of Telx.  Against conventional wisdom, Joe has long predicted that hybrid clouds will be the eventual end state of cloud computing.  Our own Richard Seroter catches up with Joe, and discusses the finer points of hybrid cloud and something called the Backseat Airline Magazine Bias.

PEER 1 Launches the Mission Critical Cloud, powered by CenturyLink Cloud. I didn’t see too many product launches at Cloud Connect, so this one (albeit self-servingly) makes the list.  There are many white-label products of this sort in the market today, but very few that are targeted upstream at businesses with more complex requirements.  This partnership helps CenturyLink Cloud scale, while complementing PEER 1’s product portfolio.  The product announcement is here.

6fusion, utility-metering of cloud services for the enterprise.  ROI and TCO calculations for enterprises considering the public cloud can be complicated, even for small workloads.  This complexity grows as hybrid cloud and additional vendors are thrown into the mix.  Solving this problem of cost transparency, and ultimately delivering “apples to apples” comparisons across multiple cloud, based on historical and real-time data, is the aim of 6fusion.

I saw a demo of their app, and it is very cool.  There are commodities trading overtones to their approach and the UI.  In fact, CEO John Cowan wrote a few weeks back:

“When the modern enterprise or resource supplier can apply the principles of financial trading to the IT industry we are going to see a force capable of completely redefining everything we currently think we know about the business of technology delivery.”

There will be a range of cloud services: vanilla commodity services for low-end deployments, other more differentiated offerings for mission-critical scenarios, and other tiers in between.  6fusion aims to help IT quantify the value difference between the inevitable layers of cloud services.  It will be interesting to watch their progress, and see how the industry in general grapples with delivering better cost transparency as complexity of cloud deployments grows.

Cloudmunch. This startup launched its DevOps platform, a “first-of-its-kind full-stack continuous delivery platform”, at DeployCon.  With this service, developers can leverage full-stack continuous delivery for applications and infrastructure, with integrations to GitHub and support for Chef.  It is a little surprising that this hasn’t been thought of before—there is a lot of flexibility and efficiency for all the devs out there.  Read the news of their launch here.

Flexiant receives funding for cloud orchestration.  This wasn’t anything specific to Cloud Connect, but the timing was apt.  Cloud orchestration remains a little mysterious to most enterprises (as well as the reseller channel), so traction in the category is encouraging (CenturyLink Cloud for our part, has built Blueprints).  Flexiant seems keen to use orchestration on a larger scale, actually helping with greenfield reseller cloud build outs, instead of targeted templates to assist end-user IT pros.  Sounds like a US expansion is in the works.  They will be one to watch in the States.

Join CenturyLink Cloud at Cloud Expo – Our Treat!

Join us from November 7 – 10 in Santa Clara, CA at this year’s Cloud Expo. As our gift to you, we are giving away a number of VIP tickets to the event—learn how to get claim your tickets at the bottom of this post. On Day 1 of the Expo, CenturyLink Cloud’s CEO Adam Wray will be presenting a live case study with HighJump Software and Equinix starting at 4:55 P.M., exploring how HighJump entered the on-demand warehouse management market by turning to the enterprise cloud. HighJump wanted to be a leading provider of cloud-based WMS without having to develop, host and manage a cloud platform internally—while still maintaining flexibility, speed, and the ability to scale up quickly to meet end user demands. At this session, attendees will learn how sophisticated cloud technologies were leveraged and deployed to change the way manufacturers and warehouses realize supply chain efficiencies. (Read all the session details here.) To claim your free VIP tickets to this event, follow @Tier3 on Twitter and tweet out a link back to this post. Be sure to mention @Tier3 in your tweet, so we can track your entry. The first participants will receive a free ticket to the event (while supplies last).

Plinko and Product Launches at VMworld 2011

It’s Day 1 of VMworld, and the CenturyLink Cloud team has finally touched down in Vegas! After months of preparation, we’re so excited to share what we’ve been developing with the rest of the industry. Curious what we’ve been up to in our Bellevue, WA headquarters?

  • Announced Environment Engine, our next-gen cloud deployment automation toolset
  • Designed our new tee-shirts (now with 100% more stick figure)
  • Announced the release of our new Client Backup app and service for enterprises
  • Played lots and lots of Plinko—best the falling puck or watch a demo at Booth 213 and you could win one of those great tee-shirts mentioned above

But VMworld isn’t all fun and games and product launches. With our solutions engineers, marketing, and business folks attending the event, we’re looking forward to brushing shoulders with the best and brightest in the cloud industry. Would you like to meet up with a CenturyLink Cloud team member at the event? Stop by Booth 213 for a demo of our Enterprise Cloud Platform—or to schedule a brief meeting with one of our executives, call Callie Sherrard at 206.724.2505 or email callie.sherrard@tier3.com. We look forward to seeing you over the next few days!