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A Seamless Path to the Public and Private Cloud

Meet Avere Systems at Cloud Expo

"A strategy that will work for the new cloud providers is to focus on a vertical industry / application and provide a deeper and more complete solution than the big guys currently provide," noted Jeff Tabor, Senior Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo conference chairs Larry Carvalho and Vanessa Alvarez. "After succeeding in one vertical, move on to the next vertical to grow the business."

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

Jeff Tabor: Standards always help users since with standards the users don't have to treat all the vendors as separate entities. Standards can eliminate vendor lock-in and give users bargaining power since multiple vendors can sell them technically equivalent solutions. Standards create an ecosystem of users and vendors that allow new business models to get started. Without this ecosystem, there is too much risk that users will head down the wrong vendor-proprietary path and new businesses can't get off the ground.

A specific example of a standard that has helped Avere is that Amazon's S3 protocol is becoming a de facto-standard API for talking to cloud storage. This makes life simpler for Avere and our customers since we only have to code to the S3 API and we can support cloud storage solutions from Amazon, Cleversafe, Amplidata, and others.

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?

Tabor: Solutions like Avere Cloud NAS help private and public clouds coexist. Avere creates a global namespace across private and public cloud, presenting standard NAS protocols (e.g., NFS and SMB) to the users. Avere Cloud NAS allows transparent movement of data between public cloud, private cloud, and NAS. For the user who has NAS infrastructures, we provide a seamless path to the public and private cloud. With Avere, users can move data to a public cloud for maximum cost savings or to a private cloud if they have security concerns or other policies regarding public cloud.

Standardization is a primary challenge for true hybrid clouds. As public and private clouds standardize on the same interfaces and features, hybrid clouds will become a reality.

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?

Tabor: A strategy that will work for the new cloud providers is to focus on a vertical industry / application and provide a deeper and more complete solution than the big guys currently provide. After succeeding in one vertical, then move on to the next vertical to grow the business. It will be hard to beat Amazon and Google strictly on $/GB since they have economy of scale in their favor and a business model that allows them to give away certain services to benefit other services. Ultimately the customer bases a buying decision on total value not simply cost.

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?

Tabor: Two big challenges are security and migrating to a new development environment. The PaaS vendors are providing encryption and compliance to industry-specific compliance standards to address the security concern. The PaaS vendors are also providing automated tools (e.g., APIs, scripts, wizards) to make it easier to migrate to the new environment. The benefits of PaaS far outweigh the concerns which in most cases are "fear of the unknown" and not difficult technical challenges.

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As Senior Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, Jeff Tabor leads all product definition, release planning, and product marketing efforts. Prior to Avere, he was a Senior Manager at NetApp, where he managed the Data ONTAP GX and Data ONTAP Cluster Mode product lines. Before NetApp, he was the Product Manager at Spinnaker Networks, which developed a clustered NAS solution and was acquired by NetApp. Jeff holds S.B. and S.M. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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