|By Dana Gardner||
|November 16, 2012 03:35 AM EST||
The next BriefingsDirect IT leadership discussion focuses on how leading Australian IT services provider Thomas Duryea Consulting made a successful journey to cloud computing as a business.
We'll learn why a cloud-of-clouds approach is providing new types of IT services to Thomas Duryea’s many Asia-Pacific region customers.
Our discussion kicks off a three-part series on how Thomas Duryea (TD) designed, built, and commercialized a vast cloud infrastructure to provide services to their clients. The first part of our series here addresses the rationale and business opportunity for TD to create their cloud-services portfolio built on VMware.
To learn more about implementing the best cloud technology to deliver and commercialize an adaptive and reliable cloud services ecosystem, please join Adam Beavis, General Manager of Cloud Services at Thomas Duryea in Melbourne, Australia. The interview is conducted by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: Why cloud services for your consulting and business customers now? Have they been asking for it
Beavis: Certainly, the customers are the big driver while we are moving into cloud services. Being a traditional IT integrator, we've been very successful showing a lot of data-center solutions to our customers, but more and more we're seeing customers finding it harder to get CAPEX and new projects and they are really starting to look at the cloud alternative.
Gardner: Why then have you looked at moving toward cloud services as a commercial offering, rather than going yourself to a public cloud and then availing yourself of their services? Why build it yourself?
Beavis: We reviewed all the possibilities and looked at moving to some of the larger cloud providers, but we've got a strong skill set, a strong heritage, and good relationships with our customers, and they forced our hand in many ways to move down that path.
They were concerned about telcos looking after some of their cloud services. They really wanted to maintain the relationship that they had with us. So we reviewed it and understood that, because of the skill sets we have and the experience in this area, it would work both commercially and then relationship-wise. The best move for us was to leverage the existing relationships we have with the vendors and build out our own cloud.
Gardner: So who are these eager customers? Could you describe them? Do they fall into a particular category, like a small to medium-size business (SMB) type of clientele? Is it a vertical industry? Where is the sweet spot in the market?
No sweet spot
Beavis: That’s probably the one thing that surprised me the most. As we've been out talking to customers and selling the cloud, there really is no sweet spot. Organizations that you talk to will be doing it for different reasons. Some of them might be doing it for environmental insurance reasons, because having their data center in their building is costing them money, and there are now viable opportunity to move it out.
But if I were to identify one or two, the first one would be independent software vendors (ISVs). Cloud solutions are bringing to ISVs something they've looked for for a long time, and that’s the ability to run test and development environments. Once they've done that, they can host their applications out of a service provider and not have to worry about the underlying infrastructure, which is something, as a application developer, they're not interested in.
So we're seeing them, and we're working with quite a few. One, an Oracle partner, will actually run their tests in their environments in a cloud, and then be able to deliver those services back to some of their customers. In other cases they'll run up the development in their cloud and then import that to an on-premise cloud afterward.
The other area is with SMBs. We're certainly seeing them, for a financial reasons, want to shift to cloud. It's the same old story of OPEX versus CAPEX, reduced budgets, and trying to do more with less.
The cloud is now in a position where it can offer that to SMB customers. So we're seeing great opportunities appear, where not only are we taking their infrastructure into the cloud, but also adding on top of that managed-service capability, where we will be managing all the way up to the application.
Gardner: Based on this mixture of different types of uses, it sounds like you're going to be able to grow your offerings right along with what this market demands. Perhaps some of those ISVs might be looking for a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) direction, others more of a managed services, just for specific applications. Was that important for you to have that sort of Swiss Army knife for cloud advancement?
Beavis: Exactly right, Dana. Each one is addressing a different pain point. For example, some of them are coming to us for disaster recovery (DR) as a service, because the cost of renewing their DR site or managing or putting that second site out is too expensive. Others, as you said, are just looking for a platform to develop applications on. So the whole PaaS concept is something near and dear to us on our roadmap.
Each one continues to evolve, and it's usually the customers that start to drive you as a cloud provider to look at your own service catalog. That’s probably something that’s quite exciting -- how quickly you need to evolve as a service provider. Because it's still quite a new area for a lot of people, and customers do ask for varying things that they expect the cloud to be or what a cloud is. We're constantly evolving and looking at new offerings to add into our service catalog.
We see it being more than just one offering in our eyes. We see us being able to provide it to anyone, from a small reseller to an ISV, someone who develops their own applications. Or, it's someone who works specifically with applications and they're not just interested anymore in running their own infrastructure on their site or caring for it. They just want to provide that platform for their developers to be able to work hassle-free.
Gardner: So this means that you've got to come up with an infrastructure that can support many different type of uses, grow, scale, and increase adaptability to the market. What were some of the requirements, when you started looking at the vendors that you were going to partner with to create this cloud offering?
Understanding customer needs
Beavis: The first thing that was important for us was, as you said, understanding our customers’ needs initially and then matching that to what they required. Once we had that, those words you mentioned, scale and everything, had to come into play. Also the cost to build these things certainly doesn’t come cheap. So we had to make sure we could use the existing resources we had.
We really went in the end with the VMware product, because we have existing skill sets in that area. We knew we would have a lot of support, with their being a tier-1 vendor and us being a tier-1 partner for them. We needed someone that could provide us with that support from both a services perspective, sales, marketing, and really come on the journey with us to build that cloud.
It had to be something that we could rapidly build, I won't say out of the box, because it’s a lot that goes around building a cloud, but something that we knew had a strong roadmap and was familiar to all our customers as well.
The move to cloud is something that is new to them, it's stressful, and they're wondering how to do it. In Australia, 99 percent of customers have some sort of VMware in their data center. To be able to move to a platform that they were familiar with and had used in the past makes a big difference, rather than saying, "You're moving to cloud, and here is a whole new platform, interface, and something that you've never seen before."
The story of the hybrid cloud was something we sat down and saw had a lot of legs: The opportunity for people to stick their toe in the water and get used to being in the cloud environment. And VMware’s hybrid cloud model, connecting your on-premise into the public cloud, was also a big win for us. That’s really a very strong go-to-market for us.
Gardner: As a systems integrator for some time, you're very familiar with the other virtualization offerings in the market. Was there anything in particular that led you away from them and more toward VMware?
Beavis: It was definitely a maturity thing. We remember when Paul Maritz got on stage four years ago and defined the cloud operating system. The whole industry followed after that. VMware led in this path. So being a market leader certainly helped.
Needless to say, we're very good partners with some of the other providers as well. We did review them all, but it was a maturity thing and also a vision thing. The vision of a software-defined datacenter really came into play as we were building Cloud 2.0 and that was a big winner for us. That vision that they have now around that is certainly something that we believe in as well.
Gardner: Of course, they've announced new and important additions to their vCloud Suite, and a lot of that seems to focus on folks like yourself who need to create clouds as a business to be able to measure, meter, build, manage access, privacy, and security issues. Was there anything about the vCloud Suite that attractive you in terms of being able to run the cloud as a business itself?
Beavis: The fact it was packing stuff as a suite was a big one for us. The integration of the products now is something that’s happening a lot more rapidly, and as a provider, that’s what we like to see. The concept of needing different modules for billings, operations, even going back 12 months ago, made it quite difficult.
In the last 12 months with the Suite, it has come a long way. We've used the component around Chargeback, vCenter Operations Management, and Capacity Management. The concept now of software-defined security, firewalls, and networking, has become very, very exciting for us, to be able to all of a sudden manage that through a single console, rather than having many different point solutions doing different things. As a service provider that’s committed to that VMware product, we find it very, very important.
Gardner: Margins can be a little tricky with this business. As you say, you had a lot of investment in this. How do you know when you are succeeding? Is there a benchmark that you set for yourself that would say, "We know we're doing this well when "blank?" Or is this a bit more of a crawl, walk, run approach to this overall cloud business?
Beavis: Obviously that comes with a lot of the back-end work we're doing. We take a lot of time. It’s probably the most important part. Before we even go and build the cloud, it’s getting all that right. You know your direction. You know what your forecast needs to be. You know what numbers you need to hit. We certainly have numbers and targets in mind.
That’s from a financial perspective, but also customers are coming into the cloud, because just like physical to virtual, people will come, initially, just with small environment and then they'll continue to grow.
If you provide good service within your cloud, and they see that risk reduced, cost reduced, and it’s more comfortable, they will continue to move workloads into your cloud, which obviously increases your bottom line.
Initially it’s not just, "Let’s go out and sell as much as we can to one or two customers, whatever it might be." It’s really getting as many logos into the cloud as we can, and then really work on those relationships, building up that trust, and then over time start to migrate more and more workloads into the cloud.
Gardner: Adam, help us understand for those listening who might want to start exploring your services, when do these become available? When are you announcing them, and is there any roadmap that you might be able to tease us with a little bit about what might be coming in the future?
Beavis: We've got Cloud 1.0 running at the moment, which is a cloud where we provide cloud services to customers. We have the automation level that we are putting in Cloud 2.0. Our backup services, where people no longer have to worry about tapes and things on site, backup as a service where they can just point to our data center and backup files, is available now.
Also DR as a service is probably our biggest number one seller cloud service at the moment, where people who don’t want to run those second sites, can just deploy or move those workloads over into our data center, and we can manage their DR for them.
New cloud suite
Then on the roadmap, the areas that are starting to pop up now are things like desktop as a service. We're exploring quite heavily with big data on the table, business intelligence as a service, and the ability for us to do something with all that data that we're collecting from our customers. When we talk about IT as a service, that's lifting us up to that next level again.
As I said earlier, it's continuously changing and new ideas evolve, and that’s the great thing working with an innovative company. There are always plenty of people around driving new concepts and new ideas into the cloud business.
Gardner: This discussion kicks off a three-part series on how TD designed, built and commercialized an adaptive and reliable cloud services ecosystem. Look for the next installment in our sponsored series when we delve more deeply into the how and what behind Thomas Duryea Consulting's cloud infrastructure journey.
You may also be interested in:
- VMware-Powered Cloud Adoption Delivers Bevy of Data and Performance Benefits for Revlon, Says CIO David Giambruno
- Services Provider BancVue Leverages VMware Server Virtualization to Generate Private-Cloud Benefits and Increased Business Agility
- Roundtable: Revlon and SAP executives describe accretive benefits from aggressive cloud adoption
- From VMworld, cosmetics giant Revlon harnesses the power of private cloud to produce impressive savings and cost avoidance
- VMware CTO Steve Herrod on How the Software-Defined Datacenter Benefits Enterprises
- Case Study: Strategic Approach to Disaster Recovery and Data Lifecycle Management Pays Off for Australia's SAI Global
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 30, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 999
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
Jun. 30, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 351
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jun. 30, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,264
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Jun. 30, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 295
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...
Jun. 30, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 665
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Jun. 30, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,337
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Jun. 30, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,500
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
Jun. 30, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 471
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 30, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 532
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 30, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 589
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Jun. 30, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 628
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Jun. 30, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 729
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
Jun. 30, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 452
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jun. 30, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 483
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jun. 30, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,106
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Jun. 30, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 685
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jun. 30, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 575
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jun. 30, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 992
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Jun. 30, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 557
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Jun. 30, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 453