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@CloudExpo: Interview

Cloud Computing: It's All About Self-Service

An exclusive Q&A with James Weir, CTO and co-founder of UShareSoft

"Cloud computing is all about automation and self-service and [at CloudExpo] we'll be showing attendees how they can extend that to the application layer," stated James Weir, CTO and co-founder of UShareSoft in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. "I will be speaking at the conference on how cloud providers can build dynamic app stores where enterprises and ISVs can share and consume applications," Weir continued, "and how enterprises can migrate applications to the cloud with full software governance."

Cloud Computing Journal: How fast will the remaining barriers to enterprise-wide cloud adoption melt away? Are secure public clouds feasible, for example, or only private ones?

James Weir: It will still take some time before we see widespread adoption of cloud computing in the enterprise. Enterprise cloud projects - both public and private - are often in the early stages and there are few reference implementations available to demonstrate the real cost and agility benefits. Moving to the cloud often requires a significant upfront investment that many companies simply cannot afford without having a solid understanding of the benefits, particularly in the current economic environment. The Loose Couple has an excellent blog post on this. As more real-world use cases filter through, we will start to see broader enterprise adoption.

Cloud Computing Journal: What is the biggest new dimension of consumer cloud computing? Is it Cloud Telecoms, Cloud TV, Cloud Music, or what?

Weir: First, Apple iCloud will open up cloud computing to the consumer market as whole, providing an easy way for storing apps, photos, videos and other content. In addition to giants such as Facebook and Google, we're already seeing the start of this trend with smaller companies: DropBox, for example. Second, online gaming, which is already massively popular.

The beauty of the cloud is that it's transparent for the consumer, and it's all about self-service. Users enjoy on-demand access to applications, content and services, without necessarily being aware that they are consuming them in the cloud. IT and business applications are also becoming more "self-service" for their users, which is where UShareSoft comes in. By automating software onboarding to cloud, we enable cloud providers and enterprises to provide users with on-demand access to software via a dynamic app store.

Cloud Computing Journal: How much of an influence on cloud adoption is the U.S. Government's continuing support of cloud strategies for all government agencies?

Weir: We can see the impact internationally. We're a European company and the U.S. Government's support for cloud adoption is influencing other governments to support their own local cloud projects. In France, where we're based, government IT resources are highly centralized and there is significant investment in cloud computing. For example, UShareSoft is working with France Telecom and leading IT vendors, ISVs and academic institutions in France on a project known as CloudForce. The goal of CloudForce is to provide a self-service open-source development platform enabling collaborative development, deployment and maintenance of applications, with portability to all leading IaaS platforms.

Cloud Computing Journal: What impact does the arrival of Microsoft, Oracle, Dell, IBM, Cisco and other giants have on the smaller cloud players?

Weir: In many areas, it's extremely positive. Much of the innovation continues to happen among smaller players and start-ups. However, the entry of large IT vendors gives the cloud space real validity and credibility within the enterprise market. On the other hand, Microsoft Azure creates some interesting market dynamics, bringing Microsoft into direct competition with traditional hosting providers who offer Windows-based hosting services. It will be interesting to watch the evolution of this market.

Cloud Computing Journal: What can Cloud Expo attendees expect to see from you in Santa Clara?

Weir: Cloud computing is all about automation and self-service and we'll be showing attendees how they can extend that to the application layer. I will be speaking at the conference on how cloud providers can build dynamic app stores, where enterprises and ISVs can share and consume applications, and how enterprises can migrate applications to the cloud with full software governance. That session will be complemented by a demo on the UShareSoft booth (#423) showing how to create your own app store for internal or external users.

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.

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