Srikanth Sundararajan, Worldwide Head of Corporate Strategy for Persistent Systems, discussed cloud computing technologies on Monday, July 26, at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute’s (VBI) Conference Center. Srikanth’s visit was sponsored by VBI’s Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory (NDSSL).

In his talk, “The Cloud: A Perspective,” Srikanth answered what he considered to be the 10 key questions to developing a more complete understanding of cloud computing. Answering his first question, “What is a cloud?” Srikanth explained that it’s a place where scalable and elastic computing capabilities reside and include administrative, applications, and infrastructure services. Services can be layered and applications can be hosted or even optimized on a cloud. According to Srikanth, this is leading to the creation of massive data centers composed of portable containers filled with server racks that can be swapped in and out when repairs, replacements, or upgrades are needed. He explained that these facilities are exactly like real warehouses, except they are filled with applications and data.

Cloud types include the IaaS cloud – infrastructure as a service; Private cloud –an operator handles some functions of the infrastructure; SaaS cloud – software is offered as a service; and PaaS – platform is offered as a service and pre-built components are deployed on a platform. Srikanth discussed the ways cloud computing could impact enterprises and independent software vendors, such as changing they way they provide software packages and their pricing structures. He detailed some of the leading cloud options currently available and provided a comparison between cloud service providers, which included a comparison of costs, as well as the development tools offered on leading cloud platforms.

Srikanth’s key take away messages were:

•    Economic conditions drove the need for cloud computing, but the benefits generated are sustaining this need

•    Technology improvements continue to raise the bar in tackling the challenges

•    Cloud value assessment involves economics, agility, innovation, and simplification

•    Cloud challenges include security, standardization and maturity, legacy infrastructure, service-oriented architecture, and application integration

•    Cloud capabilities today operate as multipurpose clouds, but in the future there will be more specific, domain-oriented clouds (testing and development cloud, low cost cloud, high availability cloud, etc.) working together

•    The Cloud is real and the opportunity is now

Persistent Systems is a technology company specializing in software product development services with customers ranging from numerous global software product companies to early-stage technology companies that are developing cutting-edge technology products. Sundararajan has more than 22 years of innovative international IT experience with Hewlett-Packard (HP), Informix (his own successful startup), HCL Technologies, and Cognizant Tech Solutions.

Srikanth is also teaching a Cloud Computing course at VBI on July 26 – August 12.

Published by Barry Whyte, August 02, 2010