One way to look at cloud computing is this: Based on the amount of data they are producing, we don’t have enough trees or data centers for the next generation, so we need cloud computing’s promise of consolidation and efficiency to solve that problem.
This was one of several original perspectives on cloud provided by Siki Giunta, CSC’s Global VP for Cloud Computing and Software Services, as she appeared on SiliconAngle.tv at SAP Sapphire 2011 this week. Giunta, who has been a CIO herself and has worked in the cloud computing realm for some time, notes that “cloud has changed over the past three years – and in the last 12 months – where people now have projects and investment, while they were just trying to understand it before.”
Cloud is transforming CSC’s business and the way the large outsourcer/integrator interacts with customers, Giunta told Wikibon.org’s co-founder David Vellante and SiliconAngle.com founder John Furrier at Sapphire. “With cloud, we don’t take assets and people like in an outsourcing deal,” she noted. “We put their workloads in our cloud fabric, or we deliver cloud fabric at the customer data center and manage it for them there, or we just give them the cloud fabric and they can run it themselves, be their own service provider.”
One of cloud’s key benefits is speed and agility, especially regarding application development, she noted. “Customers want to build applications in weeks rather than months,” Giunta said. “The end-user uses the consumer cloud at home – Facebook or Twitter or games – and then goes to work and says, ‘Why do I have to wait six weeks for an application at work?’” The challenge, she noted, is to accelerate the business process and provide the same end-user experience in the corporate setting.
“At CSC, we let customers pilot applications in our clouds,” she said. “We say come, use our portal, upload workloads and start to understand what it means.” Her company helps customers evaluate workloads and classify those that will never move to the cloud; applications that can move to the cloud with a lot of heavy-lifting; and those that straightaway fit in the cloud, such as dev-and-test or email. “The customer also has to ask, ‘Is it core that I build it and own it, or could I SaaS it?’ Doing this exercise lets them know what is core and what is not,” she said.
Looking at the IT services business, Giunta noted that it is changing in fundamental ways. First, the view is becoming more strategic for customers: They are analyzing their asset portfolios and deciding where they want to be in three years. Secondly, the business is becoming very technical, and being driven to some extent by “youngsters who can write applications very fast – the young coders,” Giunta said. This is in contrast to the traditional consultant with suit and tie, geared to the long-term project, she said. Fortunately, “the beauty of the traditional thing is that you can provide structure to the creativity – you don’t want to have a cowboy mentality, especially with our customers,” Giunta commented.