3 min read

EMC works to boost acceptance of public and private clouds

The company will push a "cloud curriculum" for a workforce that can support Big Data

EMC has tied its fortunes to the future of cloud computing and is working hard to change the hearts and minds of IT executives so they will embrace the same vision, according to the firm’s chief marketing officer.

To that end the company is promoting college degree programs for data scientists, helping service providers develop cloud services and trying to lessen the perception that cloud adoption threatens traditional IT jobs, says Jeremy Burton, EMC’s CMO.

In the new year, EMC will push cloud curriculum into colleges to prepare a workforce that can support Big Data, Burton says. EMC proposes creating data science as a major in select colleges that will lead to a degree similar to the computer science degree. This will help respond to a need and develop advocacy for EMC’s vision in the corporate world, he says.

Meanwhile the company has been working with service providers to develop cloud infrastructure that is compatible with the same types of infrastructures being built privately. That way the providers can readily offer up services that businesses can buy to create hybrid clouds that offer better costs and flexibility, he says.

Related story: #18 Newsmaker: Michael Sharun of EMC Canada

EMC already promotes cloud administrator and cloud architect certifications for current IT workers. There are 1,200 certified cloud architects now who bring knowledge about the infrastructure to their workplaces. As IT departments become more cloud savvy, adoption of cloud services will increase, he says.

Once IT staff is familiar with the practicalities of cloud and views it as a career opportunity, their fears that it threatens their jobs will fade. “It will become an unemotional economic decision, and use of cloud will be managed to a service level. There won’t be turf wars over who will build it and whether jobs will be lost,” he says.

IT departments will be run as service providers with a catalog of services needed for applications to run. They will be able to set a price for the cost of each application because IT will be more transparent. This would support chargeback to business units for services they consume. And if a service provider offers the same service for a set price, IT will be able to say whether that is a good deal, Burton says.

As IT looks at its application portfolio and manages for costs versus business value, the line between what can be trusted to the public cloud will move, with more applications being trusted to public clouds, he says.

EMC and its virtualization partner, VMware, are working with 30 to 40 reputable providers including AT&T, Rackspace, SingTel and Verizon to develop cloud services, Burton says. If businesses and service providers use similar architectures, it becomes easier for businesses to move applications between private and public clouds as needed.

With this type of transparency, it becomes possible to manage for cost, he says. Large service providers are working with EMC to do workload classification and determine which applications should be handled in public vs. private clouds.

Big Data poses other challenges. Analytics is important, and EMC is talking to service providers to deliver analytics as a service.

For example, in conjunction with VMware, EMC has built a high-performance financial services cloud for the New York Stock Exchange that includes storage for low-latency trading applications. The network was relatively idle after the trading day so it is being used to do backup at night for financial customers and crunch data about the day’s trading and push it to traders so they can use it to prepare for the next day. Number crunching is table stakes that everyone in the field does, but this enables doing it for less, Burton says.

Other similar niche cases will result in other unlikely service providers emerging to support unlikely use cases, he says.