Friday, June 19, 2009

EDS's David Gee on the spectrum of cloud and outsourcing options unfolding before IT architects

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Read a full transcript of the discussion.

HP's purchase last year of EDS came just as talk of cloud computing options ramped up. So how does long-time outsourcing pioneer EDS fit into a new cloud ecology?

Is EDS, in fact, a cloud provider? And how will IT departments properly factor their decisions on what to keep on-premises in data centers versus placing assets and workloads on someone else's cloud infrastructure?

We pose these and other "fluid sourcing" future questions to David Gee, Vice President of Marketing at EDS, in an interview by me, BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner. It comes as part of a special BriefingsDirect podcast series from the Hewlett-Packard Software Universe 2009 Conference in Las Vegas this week.

Here are some excerpts:
One of the fastest ways to ... free up more of your IT spend and spend less on maintenance to drive a transformation or innovation ... is to flip the knob between capital expenditure and operating expenditure and to look at a third party or an outsourcer for some help and guidance.
"[For IT spending] 'flat' is the new 'up,' in terms of what the opportunities are. We're also seeing a recognition that six months is the new 12. How do you get to a faster return on investment (ROI)? Don’t show up with a project that has a 12-, 24-, or 36-month timeframe.
One of the things we hear people at Software Universe talking about is performance and quality testing, and do you need all the resources in-house to be able to do that? Or, if you have peak load, why don’t you use a third party to help you do performance, quality, and security testing and, from a software standpoint, maybe even do that in the cloud. You can either use a third party or have it delivered as a service to you inside of your infrastructure.

In my mind we’re a cloud provider. EDS created the outsourcing industry over 40 years ago. Think about everything that we do today in delivering services to our client base. If you then extend that, those services are effectively cloud-based services, depending on what your definition is. In my mind, we’re absolutely a cloud company.

We’re at the forefront of delivering that in multiple countries, across multiple industries and in some cases, highly mission-critical services for airlines and financial institutions. Do they have a consumer orientation to them? Probably not. In fact, you may not even realize that we're doing that behind the scenes for some of the most well-known brands on the planet.

Cloud means a lot of things to different people. Right now, the objective, particularly for large enterprises, is to experiment to understand what the implications are.

Architecturally, it’s very different, particularly as enterprises want to offer services to their end customers. Equally, how does an enterprise deal with or adopt private cloud infrastructure to be able to offer Web services in an architecturally sound, distributed, and scalable way?

First, we can help in a number of different ways from a consulting standpoint, in terms of how to architect around those things. Second, we can build them for our clients and we do that already today in terms of private cloud infrastructure. And, third is to provide maybe just core infrastructure to third parties, and they then build their clouds to offer to the marketplace overall.

My experience thus far has been that clients are looking for leadership, some direction, and flexibility. Certain things I absolutely want to control and retain within my own firewall. Certain things I'm going to want EDS to help me manage, host, drive down operational cost, and provide some level of innovation -- and to deliver those services as effectively private cloud services to my client base and ultimately to their customers as well.
Read a full transcript of the discussion.

Listen to the podcast. Download the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HP.