Views from the Top: 5 Key Pieces of Advice from Talend CTO on the Future of Cloud
At Talend, we always have our eye on future trends in technology. Cloud—once just a buzzword—is now a widely-adopted technology across all businesses. No longer is it a secret that Cloud is more secure, cost-effective and scalable than the majority of alternatives. However, we also acknowledge that cloud solutions will not entirely replace on-premises infrastructures. Rather, they will largely enhance and extend the processing power and accessibility of those data sources.
This is why we decided to sit down with Talend’s Chief Technology Officer, Laurent Bride, to get his views on what’s ahead for the cloud and why having a solid hybrid cloud integration strategy is shaping up to be the way of the future for most companies.
In this two-part Q&A series, we’ll explore these topics. We also welcome your comments and additional questions in our TalendForge Community Forum.
Q1: What are some of the main disruptions you are seeing in the cloud marketplace today?
LB: From an infrastructure standpoint, I see more evolutions than disruptions. When I look at the cloud technology movement, I really look at it from four different benefit standpoints:
We aren’t really seeing massive disruption in any of these areas, but we do see a lot of incremental improvements that add business value and help companies accelerate their overall time-to-market. Take security, for example, which was at one point a major concern for businesses wanting to migrate to the cloud. The cloud that we have today is likely much more secure than most on-premises IT environments. While it’s not a massive change, it is a necessary evolution of the technology. Where I’m really seeing the disruption is from the rise of cloud services that are now more packaged than they have been in the past because of the layers of abstraction that make these services more consumable.
Q2: What about disruptions for Big Data in the Cloud Use Cases?
LB: I see a lot of changes as well as challenges happening in the next 1-2 years with Big Data use cases in the cloud. Advanced Big Data concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, machine learning and predictive analytics all require a massive investment in not only infrastructure, but also in the ability to package these complex technologies in a way that enables all business users to take advantage of them. Therefore, most companies are missing out on reaping the full benefits of their data by not being able to deploy Big Data projects focused on these use cases. Major cloud players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Azure will make it possible for these use cases to be easily deployed in the cloud and will push the economic boundaries of these projects. For example, emerging image recognition services such as Google’s TensorFlow, have the ability to help the visually impaired and safety features in cars that detect large animals to auto-organizing untagged photo collections and extracting business insights from socially shared pictures, the benefits of image recognition, or computer vision. Google’s TensorFlow is used to develop many of the company’s AI initiatives, from autonomous cars and translation to Google Now and Google Photos.
The service uses open source picture sets to feed their machine learning beasts, and they have the advantage of access to millions of user-labeled images from apps such as Google Photos. Have you ever wondered why Google allows you to upload so many pictures for free? It’s because those pictures are used to train their deep learning networks to become more accurate.
But TensorFlow is hardly the first — or only — open-source framework. UC Berkeley’s Caffe has been around since 2009, and remains popular because of its ease of customizability and large community of innovators, not to mention heavy use by Pinterest and Yahoo!/Flickr. Even Google turns to Caffe for certain projects such as DeepDream.
Q3: It seems like every software or infrastructure vendor has some kind of cloud strategy. What questions should customers be asking when evaluation one vendor's approach from another's?
LB: Years ago, when the cloud really started gaining traction, companies like Salesforce pushed the idea of “no software”. In fact, that was their tagline for a long time. Salesforce had an absolutely cloud-first mentality in their business. The tagline really didn’t mean that Salesforce wasn’t software, but instead meant that you wouldn’t experience the type of IT issues that were typical of licensed, on-premises software.
As legacy software and infrastructure companies started increasingly shifting to a cloud strategy, they quickly realized that you couldn’t develop cloud products the same way as you would with on-premises software. They ran into integration, speed and security issues such as resource-sharing and multi-tenancy that were critical to success in the cloud. This isn’t to say that all legacy vendors couldn’t make the shift (look at Microsoft for instance), but that it really takes the mentality of “cloud first” to be successful in the web-based, on-demand computing world.
When IT teams are looking at cloud solutions, there is a simple checklist of 5 questions that they should ask themselves to guide their evaluation and design a “cloud first” approach:
1. Has the app been designed for the cloud up-front or is it just supporting something that is actually an on-premises software?
2. Is the product portfolio truly integrated or will you experience problems moving from one application to the other?
3. Can you avoid vendor lock-in with your data?
4. Will the service have top performance anywhere in the world that your business is?
5. As your business needs scale, will the pricing of the solution scale disproportionately?