Java IoT Authors: TJ Randall, Dana Gardner, Christopher Harrold, Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: CRM, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, Government Cloud

CRM: Article

Leveraging Public Clouds to SaaS-Enable Enterprise Applications

Exclusive Q&A with Marty Gauvin, President & CEO of Virtual Ark

In this Exclusive Q&A with the Founder, President & CEO of Virtual Ark, Marty Gauvin (pictured), the visionary serial entrepreneur speaks with Jeremy Geelan, Cloud Expo Conference Chair, about a variety of issues around Cloud computing including the all-important security aspects.

"Security in the Cloud isn’t bad, it’s just different," Gauvin at one point notes, adding: "It is essential to take a measured, careful approach to security issues." Here in the interview in full.

[On April 20, 2010 at 5th Cloud Expo in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City, Gauvin gave a General Session presentation in the keynote room]

Cloud Computing Journal: As a successful serial entrepreneur and now the CEO of a major new player in the fast-emerging Cloud ecosystem, how do you see your company fitting in? What layer of the ecosystem are we talking about?

Marty Gauvin: Virtual Ark fills a significant gap between the Cloud vendors like Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft etc and the customer. By providing deep application management services and support, we help SaaS-enable applications on the Cloud with our ISV partners.

Rather than being a "cloud vendor", Virtual Ark is a Cloud expert that uses Cloud services on behalf of its customers to deliver their enterprise applications in a SaaS model with consumption-based pricing similar to that delivered on public clouds.

As a result, customers can choose their preferred application as a SaaS solution. Because of our expertise and use of Public Cloud infrastructure services, Virtual Ark has virtually instant international reach enabling customers to use their applications globally, quickly and easily.

Virtual Ark was Platinum Sponsor of the 5th International Cloud Expo held April 19-21, 2010 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York

Cloud Computing Journal: What kind of existing enterprise applications does the Virtual Ark platform support?

Gauvin: ERP, CRM, Financial, Web, Content Management Systems and line of business applications across a wide range of industries. Virtual Ark works with ISV partners to SaaS-enable their applications. There is typically very little coding required by our ISV partners of their original applications and Virtual Ark does almost all of the work to SaaS-enable these applications.  Significantly for the enterprise, multi-tenancy is not a requirement in order for Virtual Ark to SaaS-enable these applications.

Cloud Computing Journal: But what about security issues: Is it really sensible for a Tier 1 company to be running its core business applications in the Cloud?

Gauvin: Enterprises require a risk analysis process that systematically identifies and assesses the relevant aspects of the chosen computing model or service. This equips them to analyze risk by examining the technical and process dimensions of a specific implementation rather than trying to second-guess the security needs of a generic service identified as "Cloud Computing."

Security in the Cloud isn't bad, it's just different. It is essential to take a measured, careful approach to security issues. This approach should apply whether you protect a person, a physical asset or your data. What changes are the risks and threats to which you respond.

In the case of the Cloud-enabled applications, techniques such as encryption and overlay tools are available to meet significant security accreditation when implemented correctly.

Cloud Computing Journal: What is the cost model? Is the platform available - in true Cloud fashion - on a pay-as-you-go/usage basis?

Gauvin: Absolutely. Because we have no underlying fixed cost of infrastructure, we can bring very flexible billing models to market. While billing varies from application to application, all are aligned as close as possible to a sensible consumption based-pricing model. Some use "number of users per hour"; others use "by transaction". Ultimately, because we leverage existing Cloud service providers, we are able to bring pricing billed on a pay-as-you-go basis.

This is the central tenet of Virtual Ark's approach to SaaS because it provides our ISV partners with a strategic advantage over their competitors. Other SaaS options are typically billed on a minimum number of user licenses over contract terms of two years or more. Our pay-as-you-go model enables our partners to align licensing as closely as possible to how the customer consumes the application.

Cloud Computing Journal: How about other front-loaded costs, are there any? And what about the minimum length of any contract that a customer may have to commit to - how long is that?

Gauvin: Customers can choose to have no minimum contract term obligation. This could apply where a customer converts an existing on -premise solution to our SaaS model. Customers are free to leave at any time, or if they wish, to license the Virtual Ark Platform in the Cloud and simply "take over the keys" and drive the application themselves without any migration!

If the application is new to the customer, then implementation service costs may apply, which can vary considerably due to differing customer requirements. However, implementation timetables are massively reduced by using our templated solutions and because our software can be deployed instantly.

Cloud Computing Journal: Does an app need multi-tenancy to be SaaS-enabled on the Virtual Ark SaaS Application Management Platform?

Gauvin: No, not at all. Virtual Ark can manage dedicated instances of the application for specific customer needs as if they were "one" application instance. In our view, the security, integration and performance requirements of our target market, large enterprise customers, are ill-suited to multi-tenant solutions. We think this is a key reason why SaaS has not been taken up more strongly by this market segment, and why many ISVs have not modified their applications to be multi-tenant. Virtual Ark sees this as an important differentiator in its value proposition.

Cloud Computing Journal: How does a potential customer know that Virtual Ark is for real? What kinds of partners have you already attracted?

Gauvin: Virtual Ark commenced operation in July 2009. The company is backed by private shareholding and the investment bank, Baron Partners. The shareholders and management team (which has worked together for a decade), sold their previous company to the Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group for US$64m.

Current partners include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace with major announcements regarding ISV partners to be made at next month's Cloud Expo in New York.

Cloud Computing Journal: Virtual Ark is an international business. Why are its primary markets North America and Europe rather than, say, the Far East and/or China?

Gauvin: Virtual Ark's market entry is largely determined by the availability of Public Clouds in various regions. Amazon, Rackspace and Microsoft Azure for example all currently have plans to build out their Asian Cloud presence during 2010.

Having said this, some applications will perform acceptably in Asia today, so we are already working with ISVs in this region today.

Cloud Computing Journal: Cloud Expo has already mushroomed in size to the extent that we have now moved it into one of the largest convention centers in the world, New York's Jacob Javits Center.  As a successful serial entrepreneur, what was it particularly that led you to foresee that Cloud Computing would become so much the flavor of enterprise IT already by 2010?

Gauvin: Most Cloud vendors are focused on the small to medium enterprise market. As a result, this market is hotly contested and at the commodity end of SaaS and Cloud services.

By contrast, Virtual Ark's target market (the top end of the enterprise market) has been slow to adopt SaaS and Public Clouds. This is primarily because it is a much more complex market and thus more difficult to address. Also, ISVs have been slow to bring SaaS versions of their products to this market because of the perceived cost and complexity of doing so.

The opportunity for Virtual Ark is that these large enterprise customers want to continue using applications they are comfortable with while gaining the benefits of the Cloud. Virtual Ark removes almost all of the barriers I've outlined! As such, we expect to be at the forefront of SaaS and Cloud take-up by the top end of the enterprise market.

Cloud Computing Journal: You will be personally giving a General Session in the keynote room at the New York event. Would you care to share with our readers a ‘sneak peek' of your theme/s?

Gauvin: My presentation aims to challenge traditional views of outsourcing, cloud security, SaaS and the likely adoption of Public Cloud services by large enterprise customers globally.

Outsourcing is entering its third generation with advent of the Cloud. The first iteration of outsourcing was "your mess for less", followed by strategic or selective sourcing, which included hosting. Due to the emergence of Cloud Computing, "third generation outsourcing" stands to materially revolutionize and challenge traditional outsourcing models in a way that no previous models have. The Cloud also delivers an opportunity for the wider adoption of existing enterprise applications in a SaaS model.

When we started putting Virtual Ark together with a team that had worked firstly in ‘conventional' IT outsourcing and then in the selective sourcing world of the last 10 years, I recognized that the capacity for well-executed Cloud computing to revolutionize IT sourcing was profound.

So much of what customers and vendors take for granted in their sourcing frameworks has its roots in the assumption that infrastructure is expensive and fixed. It is extraordinary how far and how fast things can change when these constraints are removed. Virtual Ark is evidence of that fact.

Cloud Computing Journal: Why did you call your company "Virtual Ark"?

Gauvin:: We see the combined effect of Cloud computing and outsourcing - "Generation 3 Outsourcing" - driving the use of IT for a significant period of time. Enterprise customers will depend upon successfully leveraging this confluence of trends to secure their business operations, IP, brand and data. The ‘ark' is the place where a civilization puts their most precious resources. The ‘virtual ark' is the ideal metaphor for how enterprises must view their information and its migration to this new generation of services.

Cloud Computing Journal: Who in your view are currently the world's top five Cloud Computing companies?

Gauvin: Amazon, Rightscale, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure and Virtual Ark!

Cloud Computing Journal: What's your top tip, as a seasoned software executive, to those other CEOs out there who may be looking for some certain way to ensure they're alive (and preferably well) as a company in 2011?

Gauvin: My top tip is to build flexibility into your organization so it can be incredibly responsive to both opportunities and threats. The GFC has demonstrated to businesses globally that we face an unpredictable future with a higher rate of change. Accordingly, at Virtual Ark, we "eat our own dog food" by maintaining all our business systems in the Cloud. That gives us both the flexibility and the focus to meet our customers emerging needs for SaaS-enabled applications on the Cloud.

[On April 20, 2010 at Day Two of 5th Cloud Expo in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City, Gauvin will be making a General Session presentation in the keynote room: Register for Cloud Expo here.]

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...