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Building the Cloud: Notes on Apache CloudStack (incubating)

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Build a Cloud Day Interview with Brian Proffitt

build-a-cloud-dayToday, we continue our series of Build a Cloud Day interviews with Brian Proffitt, a man who needs no introduction if you’ve been reading about technology in the past decade or more. Brian has written for a long string of publications, most recently ReadWriteWeb and ITWorld.

Brian will be speaking later this week in Columbus, Ohio at the Build A Cloud Day ahead of Ohio LinuxFest 2012. If you’re in or around Columbus, be sure to sign up for a seat today and join us on Friday!

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background, and what your interest is in cloud computing?

Brian Proffitt: I was born in a small Indiana town… wait, too much? Okay, okay, let’s try the short version: I am a veteran technology journalist and analyst with a strong interest in open source software. That’s a pretty strong connection to cloud computing right there, since much of the cloud technology in use today is or has roots in open source tech. For me, cloud computing ins one of the coolest implementations of Linux and open source technology.

Q: What will you be speaking about at Build a Cloud Day?

Brian Proffitt: Something cloudy. More specifically, I will be talking about the next inevitable stage in cloud: consumerization. From CloudStack to SUSE Cloud, setting up and running a cloud has never been easier. The impact on businesses, cities, schools, and even individuals is enormous. Seriously, imagine what your start-up could do with a just-add-cloud IT solution. Or a city manager seeking to interface with her community in ways never before done, thanks to the elastic nature of the cloud. Governments will change, and businesses will become even more distributed. That trend, what people are doing with cloud and will be doing, is fascinating.

Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to companies starting to adopt IaaS and/or PaaS solutions?

Brian Proffitt: Here’s what I tell anyone who asks me about such things: do the leg work. There’s a lot of confusion out there about what IaaS and PaaS even is. Make sure you know, and then talk to lots of providers. There are real differences in service levels out there. And, no matter which one you choose, make sure you know how your data is going to be secured and what local laws will apply to your data in whatever rack it ends up.

Q: A big topic in cloud computing right now is the “open” cloud. Opinions differ, though, on what “open” is. What do you think an “open” cloud looks like, and how important is it that a company or organization has an “open” cloud?

Brian Proffitt: For me, it’s all about your apps and your data. An open cloud is one that, should you not find the level of service to your satisfaction, you can pick up and move your online assets to another providers’, without fear of lock in.

Q: Do you see any parallels between open cloud computing adoption and previous technologies, like Linux?

Brian Proffitt: I have to admit, on the surface, it reads like a made-for-TV comedy movie script: unpolished yet powerful software goes to the big city of Enterprise and after a dealing with a nutty set of adventures and wacky nemeses, our intrepid software hero Makes It Big. That’s what Linux has done, are there are parallels to cloud. But cloud is very much a commercial game these days, despite its use of open source software. And that means the story of cloud will always be heavily influenced by its commercial upbringing.

Q: Cloud technologies are still in early stages, what predictions do you have for the industry over the next five years?

Brian Proffitt: Things are going to settle down and cloud will fade into the background a bit, just as Linux is doing now. It will be come the fabric, not the fashion. But, in doing so, it will become the architecture for so many cool implementations.

Q: What’s the biggest opportunity you see around IaaS and PaaS technologies for companies that are adopting these technologies?

Brian Proffitt: If done properly, cloud can be a tremendous asset for a company in terms of reducing hardware overhead and being more nimble. But…

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you see around these technologies?

Brian Proffitt: …businesses have go to be ready to adapt to how the cloud really works. If you don’t take advantage of the flexible nature of the cloud and stick to old-school IT ways like multi-week provisioning, then what the heck’s the point?

Thanks Brian, for taking the time to answer our questions! If you missed them, be sure to read our interviews with Sebastian Stadil and Erica Brescia, who will be speaking at this week at Build A Cloud Day events in San Francisco.

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Joe Brockmeier, known to many as "Zonker," is a member of the CloudStack evangelism team at Citrix. Prior to joining Citrix, Joe worked with Novell as the openSUSE community manager, and as Editor-in-Chief of Linux Magazine. He's also worked as a freelance technology journalist, and has written for LWN, NetworkWorld, ReadWriteWeb, and many other publications.
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Guest Saturday, 19 July 2014

Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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