Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Angsuman Dutta, Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that App2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. App2Cloud is an online Platform, specializing in migrating legacy applications to any Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...