Cloud Trends 2014 – An Interview with John Derrick, CEO, Jelastic, Inc.

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John Derrick, Jelastic CEO

Chief Executive Officer, Jelastic

John has led multiple private and public companies to success as CEO, COO, and Advisor. Extensive business leadership experience in private and public cloud, big data, data base, and enterprise markets.

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the cloud space.  Why do you think that is?

There is a lot of confusion, which is natural for an emerging technology, and many of the customers I speak to are faced with competing messaging from the market players. In the end, though, everyone understands the benefits of moving to a shared, always-on, scalable infrastructure. The question for the enterprise CTO is “how do I get to cloud quickly and efficiently”?

What are the problems facing those CTOs today?

Fundamentally, businesses use technology to achieve competitive differentiation, so the corporate IT department has become a service provider to the rest of the organization. Part of its function is to provide a stable, scalable, highly available platform for deployed applications but it also needs to provide developers with an infrastructure that supports agile development and deployment of new applications.

If developers can’t get the service they need from the internal IT department, they start to go elsewhere and develop applications in the public cloud or wherever they can get resources quickly.  This leads to “shadow” IT departments emerging bringing with them a myriad of other problems, not least potential security breaches.

So what are the choices available?

Well, any CTO can take the conservative choice, and stick with existing private virtualization solutions. But the complexity of management, lack of easy scalability and sheer cost of those solutions simply don’t make sense any more.  So enterprises really have a choice between cloud infrastructures, public, private or hybrid.

Even then, messaging in the market is confused with at least two major open-source groups providing building-block solutions that address cloud platforms and infrastructures and then a whole host of smaller companies providing cloud components, maybe a PaaS, maybe infrastructure, perhaps management or billing, that either complement one of the open-source stacks or proprietary solutions.

So lots of choices, how does the CTO decide?

Well that’s the point.  Some of the building-block solutions are major strategic commitments that require complex and lengthy integrations with no guarantees that legacy applications will be supported or that new innovations will be integrated effectively. Proprietary solutions almost always involve coding to custom APIs that lock in the enterprise to that solution.

So CTOs must ask the following questions:

–         What are my goals for my cloud implementation today?

  • Regain control?
  • Enable agile development?
  • “Cloudify” legacy applications?
  • Accelerate new application development?
  • Private cloud only?
  • Run with existing virtualization solution?
  • Hybrid cloud future?
  • Self-management for developers?

–         What functionality is non-negotiable?

  • Seamless scalability
  • High-availability
  • Simple management
  • Security

–         How can keep my infrastructure flexible?

  • No code lock in
  • No APIs to code to
  • Open technology where available

–         How quickly can get to a functional private cloud?

  • Major hardware vendor support?
  • Cloud in a box?  Cloud appliances?

Where does Jelastic fit into all this?

Jelastic provides an alternative choice to complex and costly cloud implementations.  Our Platform-as-Infrastructure solution gets enterprises up and running with a private cloud quickly and simply, and offers all of the enterprise-class scalability, availability and manageability features that they need.

Our approach has been to build a cloud implementation from the ground up, using the best open technologies, providing a combination of IaaS and PaaS that are integrated.  By combining the technologies, we are able to provide new efficiencies and features that go beyond current cloud implementations.

In what way?

First, we offer a turnkey implementation that gets reduces “time-to-cloud”. Once the cluster is up, our comprehensive management console allows the whole cluster to be administered as a single resource, providing a highly available, scalable cloud to users. Both vertical and horizontal scaling are automatic, with high availability features like live migration and isolated containers providing optimal uptime and density.  Finally, our platform runs new and legacy applications without any changes, accelerating time to application deployment.

What industry trends do you see in 2014 for the cloud?

Many analysts are predicting a continuation of the blurring of the lines between PaaS and IaaS and, of course, we agree with that.  But I also see continued confusion in the marketplace as the cloud wars continue to muddy the waters. I’d also predict further vendor consolidation as larger players see fit to bolster their offerings with new technology.


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