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From PaaS to SaaS to Hybrid Clouds

An Exclusive Q&A with Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.

"I see almost no one running hybrid clouds," noted Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo conference chairs Larry Carvalho and Vanessa Alvarez. "The few examples are usually public cloud deployments with backup and/or DR options in a private setup."

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

Seth Proctor: I think the only standards are de facto standards like OpenStack or the AWS interfaces. Honestly there are no "cloud standards" I know of that are fueling adoption. What have become standard are the assumptions around virtualization, provisioning tools, monitoring methods, etc.

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?

Proctor: I see almost no one running hybrid clouds. The few examples are usually public cloud deployments with backup and/or DR options in a private setup. For most users, once they decide they're ready to take the plunge into public cloud they're usually all-in.

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?

Proctor: Many of the challenges here are business-related, since it requires convincing customers to give up control, move to recurring revenue and put previously controlled data onto a public network. Vendors are showing success with this move but it tends to happen where the pain in maintaining a private data center outweighs the pain of losing control.

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?

Proctor: New cloud infrastructure providers will need to differentiate on specific services, SLAs, security or other core capabilities that users are willing to pay for. For instance, an AIX-based cloud would be niche but could be very lucrative. The other option is for players who already have infrastructure to offer services with no revenue on the core facilities but to drive new users to higher-level services or brands.

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?

Proctor: There's more need to think about security and monitoring up-front, to automate provisioning and take into account reactive resource management in the face of failure. There are many great tools and services out there to help but ultimately it's about getting each end user comfortable with the semi-public and semi-reliable nature of the model.

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