|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
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Sep. 4, 2015 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 451
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Sep. 4, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 532
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the data to create additional revenue streams, such as improved warranties or premium features. Or slash...
Sep. 4, 2015 04:00 PM EDT
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Sep. 4, 2015 04:00 PM EDT
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Sep. 4, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 147
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.
Sep. 4, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 979
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 4, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 227
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Sep. 4, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 272
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.
Sep. 4, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 237
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Sep. 4, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 123
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp 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. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 503
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,...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 297
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 111
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Sep. 4, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 402
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 433
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,619
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Sep. 4, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 666
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Sep. 4, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 338
Containers are not new, but renewed commitments to performance, flexibility, and agility have propelled them to the top of the agenda today. By working without the need for virtualization and its overhead, containers are seen as the perfect way to deploy apps and services across multiple clouds. Containers can handle anything from file types to operating systems and services, including microservices. What are microservices? Unlike what the name implies, microservices are not necessarily small, but are focused on specific tasks. The ability for developers to deploy multiple containers – thous...
Sep. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 218
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th 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 an...
Sep. 4, 2015 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,052