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Cloud Pulse: Wherever You Go, There You Are

Those of us who are in the cloud game to win it are excited to see even more capital pouring into the cloud market

There are people who take life slowly, accept it on its terms, meditate, read about meditation, and internalize books like "Wherever You Go, There You Are," a bestseller by a guy with a hyphenated name. I'm more of a Malcolm Gladwell fan -- Outliers or his newest book "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants."

Maybe I'm just naturally the type that will spend 10,000 hours practicing, sharpening, mastering, thinking about the advantages a startup has over leaders in the market, getting back in the game. I've been in enterprise software for 30 years and the cloud since its formation. A long time ago, I faced the fact that I don't have the basketball gene (although I do coach several boys' sports teams) and I'm pretty sure meditating will not increase my productivity as a start-up CEO. I could be wrong on the meditating part.

Recently, I was in Las Vegas at IBM's Pulse cloud conference. There were some great presentations and a lot of good conversations about transforming computing and easing the ever-evolving job of the CIO and her IT organization. In cloud computing, we've actually come quite far. Where only a short time ago, our industry was focused on how to help IT combat a loss of control in the cloud, now we see more and more smart CIOs embracing shadow IT, enabling their users to make use of cloud self services and admitting that, perhaps, deploying safe and effective clouds and hybrids is not just a dream.

The big news at Pulse was that IBM is making a $1B investment in helping customers connect their software investments to clouds and cloud-enabling new businesses; and in the process, creating huge opportunity for developers.

Those of us who are in the cloud game to win it are excited to see even more capital pouring into the cloud market. There's extraordinary opportunity for companies that can help connect enterprise applications to the cloud, especially those focused on how to bridge new cloud and legacy environments and how to be the best at what they do. The IBM strategy is clear: enable enterprises for the cloud, integrate across enterprise environments, and provide an open ecosystem platform for development. The timing could not be better. Today's cloud is much more scalable than ever, considerably more secure, more service-oriented and better able to handle modern IT requirements.

Yet, as I think about the opportunities for cloud developers to leverage these fast-emerging opportunities, I return to some of Gladwell's core themes and how seizing on opportunity means hard work plus an approach that is fundamentally different than the giant in the market.

When we started AppZero we wanted to do something completely different by migrating just the server applications rather than the whole machine.  This initially turned out to be particularly good when moving server apps to the cloud because you can modernize your underlying infrastructure but keep your apps and data. Now comes Microsoft's end of support for Windows Server 2003 and it looks like another market driver is working in favor of cloud developers who can help solve thorny problems like "up-level" OS and cloud migration.

For sure, the cloud is maturing from a development sandbox to its promise of being able to run everything all the time in the cloud. Migrating existing systems to the cloud is a 20 year shift that is just getting started. That's our strategy and we're sticking to it.

No matter where you go, being irreplaceable to customers by being the best at what you do is, in the cloud and everywhere, always a good strategy for success. In any case, that is what I'm thinking about. Or meditating on. What about you, what do you think are the best opportunities for cloud developers? What's your strategy?

"I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of any discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject drop me a line at GregO {@} Appzero {dot} com or tweet me at @gregoryjoconnor."

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.