Web hosting giants Rackspace have hired former Altium CIO Alan Perkins, one of Australia’s thought leaders on cloud computing.
Perkins has been appointed as director of technology and product for Rackspace Asia Pacific. He is also a last minute addition to the stellar speaking line-up at iTnews’ Data Centre Strategy Summit, which kicks off on the Gold Coast this evening.
At Altium, Perkins was among the first CIOs in Australia to move a significant share of the company’s processes into globally-available ‘cloud’ services.
Altium — which develops software for the electronics industry — experimented early with hosting its systems on the Infrastructure-as-a-Service platforms made available by Google and Amazon Web Services. Some 18 months ago the company moved these services onto Rackspace’s OpenStack-powered hosting service.
Perkins was also amongst the first to recognise the potential of platform-as-a-service - extending the company’s use of Salesforce.com beyond CRM and sales support and into the areas of supply chain management, quality control and the licensing system behind its software.
The company has developed some 400 custom components on the Force.com platform.
Perkins told iTnews he moved services from Amazon to Rackspace “for reasons of support.”
“A few years back, when something went wrong, there was nothing available to give us an explanation, there was no ‘sorry its down’, Amazon would not really be sure how to help you,” he said.
Hiring your own support staff for Amazon Web Services during its early years was also prohibitively expensive, he said.
He concedes that the market is changing rapidly and that most cloud providers are adding new features to reduce this friction.
Perkins replaces Rackspace CTO Nigel Beighton on the speakers list at iTnews’ Data Centre Strategy Summit, where he will provide some insights from a customer point-of-view on his early experiments with cloud computing.
Perkins argues that organisations “taking an incremental view of cloud are missing the point.”
Cloud computing - especially the ability to engage in collaborative develop on PaaS platforms, is the real game-changer.
“You need to think cloud,” he said. “Try to see the underlying structure of what you can do differently. You can now as an IT department innovate with a fail-fast. That $15,000 test framework you used to need to test new features is now a $5 cloud instance.
"Sure, I can run my apps cheaper and more reliably. But the real question we should be asking is, what is it the cloud can enable that we have not thought of up until now?”
Readers can follow all the action at the Data Centre Strategy Summit on Twitter at #dcsummit.