Brain Trust Q&A: Two Sides of Global Cloud

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While the footprint of cloud services grows exponentially to keep up with the growth of “big data,” a variety of issues — and solutions — will be needed.

According to research firm Gartner, the cloud services market is expected to grow over 20% to $185 billion this year, with the largest segment being cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which will make up almost $41 billion of that total.

The top 10 participants — starting with Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud — will make up 70% of that market, says Gartner, which means the remaining market participants will need to find ways to make themselves stand out: by regional focus, sectoral specialization or other means.

In this, our first RTInsights Brain Trust Q&A, we talk to Stefano Sordi, CMO at Aruba.it, one of Europe’s largest cloud providers and Marty Puranik, CEO and Founder at Atlantic.net, a Florida-based cloud solutions provider, about expansion plans, why one size doesn’t fit all in cloud and tackling security and how a global “best practices” resource could be coming.

Why there’s room for everyone in cloud

RTInsights: Hyperscale cloud providers are expanding dramatically. How do you fit into this world?

Puranik: Similar to restaurants, it’s not a one size fits all world. We are a boutique provider that focuses on lower total cost of ownership, functionality, and better outcomes. Whereas the big guys focus on scale and features leading to cloud sprawl (lots of services used) and higher costs because you have to use certified people to manage these new services which are very expensive.

See also: Baidu leverage AI for an edge in coming “cloud wars”

We also provide custom server sizes, for example, which means customers don’t need to “overprovision” or buy way more servers than they actually need because Megacloud’s don’t offer the actual sizes they need. Our egress bandwidth pricing bundled giving customers to have more predictable billing. So, for example, if your application needs all the services AWS provides, it makes sense to build there. But for many applications, they don’t need all those features, all that complexity. Since its easier to use our cloud they can employ less expensive or junior people to handle deployments drastically lowering cost.

RTInsights: How do you enable global expansion for cloud services from your regional perspective? How many multi-cloud clients do you have?

Puranik: We have a growing segment of our customers who multi-cloud as they bring some of their less complicated needs to us and they leave the expensive deployments on AWS (or they need a specific regional we don’t service). We don’t know for sure how many we have, but we do see anecdotal evidence via support tickets about us inter-operating with them.

RTInsights: It’s not just AWS/MSFT/Google, it’s Alibaba in China wanting to expand, It’s Aruba in Europe. Beyond your own “backyard”

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Marty Puranik, Atlantic.net

Puranik: For the most part, most cloud players need to be global in focus. Low latency, compliance, data sovereignty and contractual obligations are all factors. However, that doesn’t mean a specialty cloud that might services a segment of government in say Germany might be exclusive to Europe.

RTInsights: How do see the impact broad regional regulatory schemes, like GDPR, playing into “global cloud”?

Puranik: Over time, there will be more regulation and compliance as Internet & Mobile services become integral to society. With the growth of IoT, this will become an even bigger deal and lead to more regulation. So it’s a fact of life and needs to be factored into a longer-term business strategy.

RTInsights: Your European partners — and competitors — have created Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers of Europe (CISPE) to help guide cloud expansion, but is there room for this type of organization globally? What gets in the way of this? Will we get to an era of cloud service provision across borders with real ease?

Puranik: This isn’t new. I’m one of the founders of FISPA which we founded in the 1990s for ISPs in the USA. The natural result of a growth industry is for trade groups to form to advocate for their members, or at least try to keep larger corporations from lobbying regulators to limit competition. There is always an old guard trying to slow down or prevent the progress technology can bring.

Are European privacy rules leading the way?

RTInsights; For your team at Aruba.it, you’re expanding quickly. What does your new Hyper Cloud Data Center in Rome mean for Aruba and its customers?

Sordi: As a leader in data center, cloud, web hosting, email, certified email and domain registration services, we have a vision of creating a modern ecological network of data centers in the country. To help reach that goal, we recently launched a fourth Italian data center, bringing us to nine total across the entire European network.

The new hypercloud data center in Rome— called IT4— will help us consolidate our position as an enterprise level IT service provider based on our unique network of existing data centers spread across the Italian peninsula. The data center also opens the door for both U.S. and international organizations to build a robust foundation for their IT infrastructure in Italy. For example, disaster recovery and business customers will have the option to decide where to base their primary and/or secondary infrastructure by choosing between colocation, cloud or hybrid solutions.

RTInsights: This expansion seems great for Europeans clients, but how can this benefit non-Europeans cloud users?

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Stefano Sordi, Aruba Cloud

Sordi: U.S. customers operating in the European Union can easily comply with regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Despite a two-year notice, recent CompTIA research showed that several U.S. organizations weren’t prepared to comply just one month ahead of the GDPR deadline, which went into effect on May 25, 2018. Gartner also estimates that over 50 percent of affected companies still won’t be fully prepared by the end of 2018— seven months after GDPR becomes law of the land.

See also: Building a unified edge-to-cloud-to-data center platform

With Aruba, all personal and administrative data is managed in Europe, in accordance with European laws, even for non-European cloud users. We use this data exclusively for the services purchased, and it is not sold to third parties because our business is not to commercialize our customers’ data.

RTInsights: The cloud universe is getting bigger. Where do you see Aruba compared to the big U.S. providers like AWS, as well as the Chinese, who want to expand globally, like Alibaba?

Sordi: Although the cloud universe is growing, we’ve been actively involved in this world for over five years since expanding our portfolio. While we have a strong European presence, being a flexible data center company allows us to fit the needs of companies from all over the world that want physical and cloud infrastructure to coexist— which is pretty unusual to find. Typically, customers select a cloud provider, who then finds a data center to collocate their physical infrastructure, which involves a data center service provider. With Aruba, there’s only one major party customers work with, instead of being introduced to two different suppliers.

RTInsights: You are members of CISPE. Can you explain your involvement?

Sordi: Aruba is a founding member of CISPE, which created a specific Code of Conduct to anticipate the GDPR to help customers and end users retain control of their data and trust their service providers. To comply with the requirements of the CISPE Code, our services are identified by a ‘CISPE-declared service’ hallmark, which certifies that the provider will not access or use the data of customers for its own purposes, such as data mining, data profiling or direct marketing.

RTInsights: Is there room for a CISPE-type of organization globally? What gets in the way of this? Will we get to an era of cloud service provision across borders with real ease?

Sordi: Even though the membership currently includes companies operating in 16 European countries, there is room for growth. What’s now changing is the way businesses are challenging their cloud providers by beginning to vet them properly, especially in light of the GDPR. Companies are now asking: are you sharing my data with third parties? Can you show me your subcontractors and their processes?

With a better understanding of how data moves from place to place, both businesses and consumers are now taking more of an interest and asking about how cloud providers are storing personally identifiable information (PII) and how data moves around the world. As cloud providers continue to feel the heat, we expect to see a CISPE-type organization with a global presence soon.

About the RTInsights Brain Trust: We are looking to executives across the real-time analytics ecosystem, from big data service providers, to IoT platforms, to open source organizations and everyone in between — to join our Brain Trust, our group of like-minded fellow executives, “evangelists” and technologists looking to explain and understand the complexities of managing implementations of all of these new enabling technologies. More information is here. And it’s free.

Trevor Curwin

About Trevor Curwin

Trevor has been a new industries analyst and editorial leader in New York and San Francisco for over 15 years, where he has worked in advisory, marketing and capital formation for alternative investments and distributed infrastructure projects. He was Editor-in-Chief of Readwrite, where he turned a 13-year-old tech blog into one of the leading media platforms on IoT and the connected world. He’s an award-winning journalist who’s worked for CNBC, DVICE.com and other NBCUniversal web properties, as well as the Toronto Star, Outside, GigaOm, AWARE Magazine, and Environmental Finance. He’s also a successful angel investor and start-up advisor.

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