SAN FRANCISCO - At the Google I/O developer conference here, Google sponsored a roundtable on the business implications of developing in the cloud.
Mike Patterson, CEO of Google partner StrongTech, said his company was founded to manage assets, "and we manage assets in the cloud. We integrated our tools with a number of Google apps that our customers wanted, like calendar, maps and Docs. And we hosted it on Amazon's Elastic Cloud."
In a keynote speech on May 28, Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google, said, "Amazon deserves a round of applause for taking a leadership position" in delivering cloud computing solutions to users.
"When Salesforce.com came out the market wasn't all that receptive initially, but today it is," Patterson said. He said StrongTech manages assets as varied as cattle, to weapons to kids' trading cards.
Paul Marsolan, president of technology at Columbus, Ohio-based StrongTech, said initially, the company started out with a local Web-based application, "and we saw the cloud as a way to move forward and have the ability to access a large set of resources."
Patterson added that "what we believe is you don't have to buy any hardware to use our product at all -- it's hosted, there's no hardware to maintain. And there are no integration costs; you can launch and customize on the fly."
Paterson said StrongTech built a powerful model for managing inventory by mixing Google and Amazon's cloud services with their RFID tracking capabilities.
Appetite for the Cloud
Rajen Sheth, senior product manager, Enterprise, Google, said he has seen that "there is an appetite for organizations to move into the cloud -- there are many companies of varying sizes pushing this move into the cloud. And the more we can bring these people together the better it will be." Sheth said he believes three main areas need to be highlighted to bring the groups together: openness, with open APIs; simplifying integration and quick deployment.
Meanwhile, Narinder Singh, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Appirio, San Mateo, Calif., said Appirio focuses on accelerating the adoption of on-demand in the enterprise.
"We believe the cloud is inevitable," he said. "I was most recently working at SAP where I was in the ultimate Ivory Tower of the old way. They were physically and emotionally closed systems."
With that in mind, "We looked at this [cloud computing] as being a huge opportunity for the enterprise," Singh said. "So we have a bevy of enterprise and we've helped them with solutions like Salesforce.com and Google apps to get more benefit out of the cloud."
Added Singh on his views of cloud computing: "This is not an 'if' or a 'can you;' it's more like why not and when?"
Appirio's business model is based upon plugging businesses into the cloud model.