Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Cloud Computing. The interviews provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective. A full list of interviewees can be found here.
Gaurav Dhillon, CEO and Chairman, SnapLogic
An early investor in SnapLogic, Gaurav joined as CEO in 2009 when he saw the tremendous potential for the company’s cloud and on-premise integration products, strategy, and unique business model. Gaurav has spearheaded the rapid growth of the company and manages its financing, products, strategic relationships, and operations.
As the former CEO of Informatica Corporation, (Nasdaq; INFA) a silicon valley company that he co-founded in 1992, Gaurav feels that there is more to be accomplished in connecting companies’ applications and data sources. He should know; as he was Informatica’s first employee, and CEO for more than 12 years, where he led Informatica from a startup idea to a leading software enterprise with customers and operations around the world. His tenure at Informatica included the initial company launch, its successful IPO, and expansion to Europe and Asia. He was the leading figure in developing alliances with major technology players, ultimately forging a broad acceptance of the vision he pioneered in the software industry. Prior to Informatica Gaurav held management and engineering positions at Sterling Software and Unisys Corp.
1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Cloud Computing is changing the world for your customers?
Gaurav Dhillon (GD): Three main changes impacting our customers today are the increasing number of business applications and application providers on the market, new application delivery platforms, and growing sources of complex data. Companies today use a much wider selection of best-of-breed, highly specialized applications than ten or fifteen years ago, many of which are cloud-based. These solutions are not hosted or accessed on-site over a Local Area Network during normal business hours, as was most common with legacy applications from the 20th century.
In addition, vast quantities of valuable business data now reside outside enterprise applications – in cloud-based solutions, externally purchased data, government-supplied information, and even social media streams and mobile sources. The majority of this data is non-relational, and often comes from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that don’t provide access to underlying databases. All of these cloud-driven factors make integration a much more difficult task than it was just ten years ago, and drive demand for a modern connection architecture like SnapLogic’s.
2. What makes cloud computing disruptive?
(GD): Cloud computing is allowing companies to exploit the power and ease of the consumer Web to connect the Business Internet. By leveraging Web standards and private or public clouds, any organizations can be as responsive, accessible, and adaptable as the best consumer Internet services. In the age of the QR (Quick Response) code, information from sources like mobile devices and social media, as well as all kinds of new specialized applications, is growing faster in the cloud. In order to benefit from this, companies require data they can trust, at the exact moment it’s needed. With this, they can shift their business focus from the rear-view mirror to an over-the-horizon radar that looks ahead to accurately anticipate future customer needs before anyone else.
Many companies are fundamentally transforming their IT strategies to make this all possible. Rather than relying on cumbersome stacks of enterprise applications to run their business, IT leaders are employing a new kind of loose coupling to create what Amazon’s Werner Vogals coined a “collection of services” – built, borrowed, or bought – that meets their exact technology needs. This disruptive approach results in a directory meta-application, which links (like a browser calling up a Web page) to every individual application, cloud service, or Web site employees need. As a result, the whole is made greater than the sum of its parts, and businesses can achieve unprecedented speed to innovation and speed to insight.
3. What is the next big thing in Cloud Computing?
(GD): Ray, this might not be the next big thing tomorrow, but in the not-too-distant future, I think a big opportunity for cloud computing will be to power the “Internet of Things” and all the fascinating possibilities that creates. Remember how quickly bar codes shifted from being used for basic inventory management to enabling never-before imagined analytics for manufacturers and retailers via data warehousing? That changed retailing forever, and a massive new market around analyzing bar codes was established, which is probably ten times the size of the original market for managing inventory.
We think we have Big Data today, but when we start putting sensors and RFID tags on the physical objects we use daily, and collect more and more data from our fitbits, appliances, cars, etc., we’ll have a humongous new after market for analyzing the streams of information that flow from those things. Only cloud computing will be able to handle this next phase of Big Data and help us benefit from it.
4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Cloud Computing?
(GD): SnapLogic’s solution is transforming how companies connect business applications – both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground – with a modern connection architecture that delivers fast, smart data. We’re eliminating the need for brittle adaptors by giving companies a flexible connection fabric to weave throughout their enterprise. Our approach incorporates a high degree of automation – a “sixth sense” for information if you will – identifying similar application patterns and templates for data, and building a virtual assembly line for connections that automatically adapts when data sources change.
Like the standardization of shipping containers in the 1950s, SnapLogic offers unique standardized connectors (aka Snaps),which can integrate any volume or type of data – semi-structured, relational, social, mobile, you name it. By creating an open development environment for these connectors and launching the industry’s first online integration store, SnapLogic is empowering developers, system integrators, or independent software vendors to rapidly create, buy, or modify Snaps for any data source. This means unlimited connection possibilities, so companies are able to make the most of Big Data in the cloud.
5. Where do you see technology convergence with Cloud?
(GD): Ray, I see convergence with all things data – social and mobile data sources will only continue to grow exponentially, and we’re betting there’s a huge opportunity in bringing integration into the cloud. I’m a big believer that Big Data processing, transforming and integrating in the cloud will become a way of life for any business, small or large. By performing data and application integration in the cloud, companies can take advantage of more flexible, adaptive, intuitive, elastic, and resilient ways to connect their growing collections of business services.
6. If you weren’t focused on Cloud Computing what other disruptive technology would you have pursued?
(GD): I think opportunities with “green” technologies are amazing, and I would love to pursue disruptive technologies where they’re needed most – in the developing world. The chance to change lives with even just a modest solution to a problem that’s huge in other parts of the world is certainly appealing. If I hadn’t focused on cloud connection technology, I’d probably try to work on something like a solar-powered motor bike that farmers in a place like Kenya could use to transport their produce more quickly and easily to wherever their demand is.
7. What’s your favorite science fiction gadget of all time?
(GD): While not a gadget, per se, my favorite science fiction invention is Star Trek’s warp drive propulsion system. I can only imagine everything we’d accomplish if we could move faster than the speed of light and break the confines of our solar system. And I love the idea of discovering some element, like Dilithium crystals, to harness energy for things humans never believed possible.
What do you think? Got a question for Gaurav? Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) com.
Additional interviews will be added and updated! To be considered for the series, please reach out to Elaine (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com.
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Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Cloud Computing – Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic
Published on July 27, 2011 by R "Ray" Wang
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