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An Open Competitive Marketplace of Cloud Service Providers

An exclusive Q&A with Dave Peters, Manager, Systems Integration at ESRI

"As the cloud service provider market place grows, and cloud standards evolve to support interoperability and transparent migration capabilities, the corporate business risk concerns will be addressed and then, and only then, we may see the cloud architecture move toward replacing on-premise operations," said Dave Peters, Manager, Systems Integration at ESRI, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference and Tech Chairs Larry Carvalho and Vanessa Alvarez.

Cloud Computing Journal: How are cloud standards playing a role in expanding adoption among users? Are standards helping new business models for service providers?

Dave Peters: Esri is bringing the GIS community to the cloud. ArcGIS.com provides a Software as a Service platform for worldwide GIS information sharing and collaboration. Cloud standards play a key role in making this happen by expanding opportunities for interoperability between local business operations and cloud providers and building a common marketplace for future GIS operations. The ArcGIS Platform integrates cloud computing as an integral part of ArcGIS Enterprise operations. Interoperability standards enable deployment of new business models, including access to ready-to-use applications, maps, templates, and a variety of tile and feature based GIS content. All ArcGIS product releases are now fully integrated with the ArcGIS Cloud platform, and several new product releases are tightly coupled to cloud-based content and integrated deployment patterns. Cloud standards are critical in promoting interoperability and expansion of the ArcGIS Platform.

Cloud Computing Journal: How are hybrid clouds evolving to allow the coexistence of private and public clouds? What are the challenges to meeting a true hybrid cloud scenario?

Peters: Hybrid cloud deployment patterns are common within the GIS community. Most organizations are heavily vested in their own private data center operations, and their initial cloud migration strategies extend their data center operations where appropriate to leverage resources and opportunities available from ArcGIS cloud solutions. ArcGIS deployment patterns coexist with private on-premise and public clouds, fully integrating Infrastructure as a Service (ArcGIS Amazon Web Services), Platform as a Service (ArcGIS for Developers), and Software as a Service (ArcGIS for Organizations) capabilities. True hybrid scenarios must address interoperability, security, sustainability, and migration capabilities that meet or exceed what can be maintained in the private data center.

Cloud Computing Journal: Are on-premise software vendors successfully migrating their business model to a SaaS model? What are the challenges faced in this journey?

Peters: Esri is successfully including the cloud as a fully integrated expansion of the ArcGIS Platform. Business organizations that incorporate ArcGIS.com and the variety of cloud-based applications and content within their business model are reaping huge benefits. Esri software licensing and product migration initiatives enable organizations to leverage cloud capabilities within their current ArcGIS investment, encouraging migration to the ArcGIS Platform that includes ArcGIS Online SaaS capabilities. The ArcGIS Platform, which includes ArcGIS.com cloud based content management and associated resources, is a revolutionary expansion of GIS content and capabilities for the GIS community.

Cloud Computing Journal: With several vendors lowering costs for infrastructure, is there a way for new cloud service providers entering this space to make money?

Peters: An open competitive marketplace of cloud service providers is critical for successful business transformation to a cloud-based infrastructure. There are many potential candidates with large data centers that are able to compete in this new marketplace. More competition will encourage more efficient operations and technical innovation, bringing pressure to continue reducing the cost of cloud services. There is a potential for providing cloud services at a cost well below standard private data center operations, well below the costs available in today's marketplace. As the cloud service provider market place grows, and cloud standards evolve to support interoperability and transparent migration capabilities, the corporate business risk concerns will be addressed and then, and only then, we may see the cloud architecture move toward replacing on-premise operations.

Cloud Computing Journal: What are the challenges for end users to adopt a new model for application development using Platform as a Service? Are vendors doing enough to meet their needs?

Peters: Esri is bringing cloud capabilities to the ArcGIS development community. ArcGIS for Developers provides a PaaS platform for developers, a location for building applications for the Web, mobile and desktop using Esri's cloud services, developer APIs, and ready-to-use content and self-hosted solutions. The ArcGIS Marketplace is a location for ArcGIS developers to build, demo, and sell their applications to the ArcGIS community. The ArcGIS development community capabilities and opportunities have benefited from the cloud platform capabilities, promoting business opportunities and rapidly expanding developer capabilities beyond what was possible without the ArcGIS Marketplace.

•   •   •

Dave Peters, Esri Manager for Systems Integration, is author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers initially published in August 2008 (second edition published January 2012). He is also content author and principal instructor for Esri System Architecture Design Strategies educational services, developing materials and training Esri Distributors and Business Partners worldwide, promoting services for design and implementation of customer GIS operations. Mr. Peters is author of the System Design Strategies wiki site (wiki.gis.com), providing an online resource for effective system design training and consulting services. He also develops and maintains the Capacity Planning Tools shared on the Esri Press Building a GIS Online Resource Center and referenced throughput the wiki site.

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