Click here to close now.


Containers Expo Blog Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski

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
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgeniakhela will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgeniakhela is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing ...
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, will show how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He will use a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors to web services, and cloud integration to connect accounting and data, providing a Bluetooth...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.