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Monday, Jul 23rd

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The Scale Out Hipsters of OpenStack - Conversation with Piston Cloud CEO Jim Morrisroe

Since its inception in July 2010, OpenStack has emerged as the leading open source cloud software alternative to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for a common platform for cloud hardware management. More than 150 companies have pledged support for OpenStack, including San Francisco-based Piston Cloud, which was founded by key members of the NASA and Rackspace teams that conceived of OpenStack. To give us insight into the dynamics of OpenStack, the benefit of scale-out architecture, and its potential as a next generation cloud operating system we invited Piston Cloud CEO Jim Morrisroe to join us for 20 Questions – an MGI Research Interview Series with leading technology industry executives, innovators, and investors.

Key Issues

  • Who are the early leaders of cloud infrastructure software?
  • Who are the winners and losers of cloud computing?
  • What new business models are enabled by the cloud?
  • What are the economics of cloud computing?
  • What are the limitations of cloud computing?
  • Is cloud computing a zero-sum game for the IT industry?

Jim Morrisroe Profile

Prior to joining Piston Cloud, Mr. Morrisroe was the Vice President and GM of Zimbra at VMware and Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Cemaphore Systems. Mr. Morrisroe holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from Gonzaga University School of Business

Here are a few sample question covered in the report. The full report is nine pages.

Andrew Dailey: Welcome to MGI Research 20 Questions – interviews with leading technology executives, innovators, and investors. Our guest today is  Jim Morrisroe, CEO of Piston Cloud. Jim, give us a quantitative sense of your business today.

Jim Morrisroe: We are a young company, two-and-a-half years old, and have just shipped the 2.0 version of our flagship product, Piston Enterprise OpenStack - a scalable private cloud operating system built on OpenStack. We are targeting two groups: first, the Amazon or public cloud refugees looking to bring their web scale applications in-house; and second, DevOps-oriented folks in the enterprise looking to build greenfield private clouds with API-based consumption of resources. Typically these are for consumer grade and web scale-out environments. We have about 30 POCs (proof of concept projects), many are paid POCs, and another half-dozen production customers. Our customers and prospects come from a wide-range of vertical industries (other than web companies). Companies building private clouds as the best way to meet regulatory or security requirements are attracted to our solution.

Andrew Dailey: In an industry filled with generic brand identities, Piston Cloud stands out – what is the founding history of the company, and how did you create the unique brand of Piston Cloud?

Jim Morrisroe: All credit goes to the founding team, Gretchen Curtis and Joshua McKenty, who came out of NASA and Christopher MacGown from Rackspace. Not only are they dynamic personalities with technical and business expertise, they also envisioned a creative working environment that is in the style of the tech and media companies blossoming all over San Francisco. They captured the energy and innovation and directed it towards an enterprise solution.

Andrew Dailey: Given that we are in the very early stages of the shift to cloud computing, where do you see the biggest opportunity for growth in the IaaS market?

Jim Morrisroe: The main barrier to growth is that the IT organizational structure is not ready to consume the cloud.  IT teams are still organized into silos (compute, networking, storage, virtualization, security, compliance, etc.).  Products like Piston Cloud converge these various technologies into cloud computing. Because of such IT issues, we focus on DevOps teams that are organized for agility and the reality of innovative business models of today. The real growth opportunity will emerge when corporate IT aligns with the business. Line of business innovation, bring-your-own-device and mobility, public-cloud infrastructure -- these are the forces that will drive the transformation of IT.  As that picks up, we will see adoption explode across the enterprise.

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