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Acadia CEO: Time to lose the word 'Cloud'

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1st Nov 2010
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The definition of The Cloud has been used as a beating stick recently, with Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff taking turns to bash each other's businesses, and even Steve Ballmer joining the fray.

However, according to Michael Capellas, CEO of Acadia - whose primary goal is the devlopment and promotion of the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) - we should drop the term 'Cloud' altogether!

Acadia is the joint venture operation formed by Cisco and EMC, with additional investment from Intel and EMC’s major subsidiary, VMware, and it is intended to help businesses transform their datacentres and help them move towards creating private cloud infrastructures.

As Capellas put it, they have pre-engineered the datacentre on demand, making it a no-brainer that is squarely aimed at the private cloud marketplace. But he also indicated that he thinks the concept of the private cloud is only the first step on the road. "Compute is now a dial-tone, so maybe it is getting close to the time when we need to lose the term 'Cloud'," he said. "It is now really about convergence and virtualisation."
It has certainly been the case that users’ classic psychological reaction to this trend has been the fear of losing control over their data and, even their business processes, because they are `out there’ in the Cloud rather than in a tangible 'box' somewhere on-premise.
"I have a different view of that," Capellas said, pointing to the way users accept converged technologies in other areas. "If you think about the way we work today, whatever your smartphone of choice is, you are sitting there with a converged device. It is unified voice, data, and video in the one device. The data on that converged device sits out there in the Cloud somewhere. You probably have a mini-cloud in your home. So you have an application framework on which for $1.99 you can buy an app which is built on a framework that can be rapidly deployed across it by a group of people who are not professional developers but a group of people who had an idea. This extends networks into a different user interface where we’re comfortable living our lives – for example my calendar doesn’t live on my phone, it has a service-based orientation.
He pointed to the steps now being taken to exploit social networking as a collaboration tool in business management, observing that most businesses have flatter management structures are do use collaboration as part of the management process. "Ask a 17 year-old how much content they generate and where does it sit -  it’s enormous," he said. "I would almost argue that the social pattern of how we consume has more natural inclination to this, and the consumer side has led it, while the rest of the principles are sort of the same. So I think we’re ready for it."
He admitted that one which drives him crazy is the amount of money even really good IT departments spend on developing new applications. "It is 20% of their time – and that is good. And physical infrastructure is such a huge part of it, so we spend all this time and money deploying plumbing," he said.
"The crazy adoption of IP networks changed everything about what people did. Do you remember wiring closets in the old days? This is the same thing. Once you have the IP networks, plus that massive innovation of broadband, wireless and smart devices - the world of having an alternate way of rapidly deploying infrastructure creates a whole new wave of innovation. It has got people focussed on a very broad base of innovation."

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