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Cloud.com CEO Sheng Liang Discusses Open-Source Cloud Computing & Asia
Company Has Developed a Platform for Public and Private Cloud Computing

Cloud.com CEO Sheng Liang was the lead developer on Sun Microsystems' original Java Virtual Machine (JVM) team. Today he is a co-founder and CEO of Cloud.com, based in Cupertino, CA. The company delivers an open-source platform for both Public and Private Clouds, and will be discussing all this at the upcoming Cloud Expo In New York June 6-9. Cloud.com also has a significant focus on Asia.

Here are a few things we discussed in a recent interview...

1. You envision companies building Cloud structures through an open-source approach. Can you describe how this works with Cloud.com?

We believe datacenter operators will build Cloud infrastructure using best-of-breed open source software. The Cloud.com CloudStack is open-source software that controls server, storage, and networking resources, and transforms datacenters into cloud. Cloud.com also supports emerging open-source cloud control software such as OpenStack.

Beyond the infrastructure control layer Cloud.com additionally develops proprietary software products that enable our customers to run successful Cloud Computing businesses.

2. How did your JVM work at Sun influence what you're doing now?

The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) experience showed me how a new computing paradigm can be developed and can be accepted by the mainstream IT. I believe the adoption of Cloud Computing could follow a similar path as the JVM technology. The JVM was initially adopted by web developers and later became a dominant deployment platform for enterprise IT. Amazon EC2 initially gained traction with developers, but much bigger opportunities are in helping the IT industry adopt Cloud Computing. Cloud.com can play a major role in enabling the transition.

3. Do you have a "prototype" customer, ie, a certain size or type of organization? Or more generally, what sort of customers do you aim to serve?

Cloud.com customers are datacenter operators. They believe the most efficient way to run a data center is to run it as a Cloud. They either operator the datacenter for public consumption or for their own use.

When I started Cloud.com two and half years ago, Amazon EC2 was already very successful, and service providers like Rackspace were hiring their own engineers to build EC2-like services. So it was quite obvious early on that Cloud.com software will be extremely attractive to Telecoms, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and hosting companies. These companies need to transform their existing services into a Cloud service. In the last year, we have also seen tremendous adoption by companies who want to build on-premise private Cloud. For example, companies that run large-scale web operations, encoding farms, and social gaming sites are building large-scale Cloud Computing infrastructure using Cloud.com software.

4. What's your view of on-site vs. hosted Cloud? Which will command the largest share today and within five years? Or is this even the right question, ie, are we in fact looking at more of a hybrid world for the most part?

Public Cloud operations like Amazon EC2 have larger market share than Private Cloud today. MSPs that deploy Cloud.com software are successful in offering both Public Cloud and hosted Private Cloud services. We are seeing tremendous growth in on-premise Private  Cloud space. We believe Private Cloud adoption will closely follow Public Cloud adoption.

We believe Public Clouds and hosted Private Clouds will continue to grow very quickly, and that represents tremendous business opportunities for Telecoms, MSPs, and hosting providers. We believe in the future Cloud will be hybrid by nature because true benefits of elasticity can only be delivered using a shared resource pool. We believe some of the problems that prevent Cloud adoption today, such as security, software licensing, and legacy deployment models will be solved with technology advancements. The value of Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Computing is simply too great.

5. Do you view China as an innovator in the Cloud space? Do you think we will see innovative software and services emerge from China over the next several years to compete with the software.com's, VMWare's, and Amazon's of the Cloud world?

The great advantage of China is they offer a huge market and there is very little legacy technology to impede innovation. I am very excited about Cloud Computing in China. Watch out for big news for Cloud.com in China. China has already produced innovative technology-rich Internet service companies that rival Google, eBay, and Amazon. China is in a great position to leverage Cloud Computing technologies and leapfrog Western companies that run on traditional IT.

6. You've also announced some major Cloud activity in Japan and South Korea. Could you describe that for us?

Asia has played a big role in our success to date, and we view the region a key market for us to lead in.  KT uses Cloud.com software to build both their Private Cloud and Public Cloud services. They are really innovating with the platform, demonstrating great use cases around mobile enablement and commodity Cloud services.

In fact, using open-source technology on Cloud-native hardware has enabled them to deliver a highly profitable service that still represents a 40% savings over the similar service on Amazon AWS.  In Japan, we've recently announced our alignment with Kumoya. They are a local distributor and partner in the region, helping us capitalize on the opportunity while getting our business established in the region. Their successful engagement with us will become evident shortly as we have some key announcements around successful customer deployments in Japan coming up.

About Roger Strukhoff
Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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