Over the last several years CA Technologies has made a number of cloud-related acquisitions--3Tera, Oblicore, Nimsoft--companies focused on the management and associated necessities of cloud infrastructure, if not direct components or providers of clouds themselves.
At this week's Structure conference in San Francisco, I spoke with Jay Fry, vice president of marketing for cloud computing, about what the company is doing to address the burgeoning cloud marketplace. (The company changed its name last year from CA, and before that it was Computer Associates.)
According to Fry, this year is about figuring out what customers really want--not just from CA Technologies, but from any vendor focused on the emerging cloud market. Enterprise users are trying to keep things under their control while service providers are looking to get users connected to their services. The rate and pace of cloud adoption are very different depending on the use case.
Cloud adoption is occurring in a number of markets that are within CA Technologies' focus areas, with a lot of interest from companies that took the virtualization plunge and want to take the next step toward full private clouds. Enterprises have virtualization under control, which helps with cost savings but haven't yet figured out how to best take advantage of new cloud tools.
Fry suggested that there is a large private-cloud opportunity available in financial services and government--customer areas that have need and the budget but aren't prepared to move their applications onto public clouds. Additionally, Fry believes that large organizations can learn a great deal from service providers about scaling their infrastructure as well as how to maintain one consistent software stack.
Ultimately, the big opportunity for cloud-focused vendors likely remains in management and security. Both of these areas are front and center in the cloud discussion and really need to be the first thing you think about in developing applications. History suggests that CIOs will continue to spend on both, and that the infrastructure will become a commodity.
As a side note, I've always thought of CA as a place where software goes to die--an image that the company is well aware of and working to fix. I was impressed with the focus and forward-looking comments from both Fry and Debra Danielson, senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions, and I expect to see them be more aggressive about marketing their cloud-oriented products.