In a 2009 issue of the MIT Technology Review, James Urquhart was named one of the 10 most influential thinkers in cloud computing. That was back when the term was still being disparaged by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and (at the time) HP CEO Mark Hurd. He was also named one of the top three cloud bloggers by The Next Web in 2011. From 2006 to 2008, he was a senior sales engineer positioning the Cassatt data center platform to deliver automated application deployment and operations, prior to its acquisition by CA Technologies. From 2008 to 2011 he was market strategist and technology evangelist for cloud at Cisco Systems. During this period, Urquhart spoke on the role of Linux and open-source code in cloud at the 2010 Linux Collaboration Summit, one of around 60 speaking engagements that year.
He is the former writer of The Wisdom of Clouds blog on CNet, which ran from 2008 to 2011. In his postings and appearances, he made concise, logical arguments for why cloud computing, mistaken as a new technology, was really a new operations model. He dissed the frequently used analogy between cloud and electric utilities, saying using data intelligently and distributing electricity are two different things. He did a five-part series on how cloud and virtualization were forcing a rethinking of the enterprise IT software stack.
He is currently VP of product strategy at enStratus, a cloud workload management firm where he works with another cloud advocate, Bernard Golden. His latest job has cut down his frequent commentaries, but he is still a contributor to the technology news site GigaOm/Cloud, including a Jan. 27 post on DevOps and fragility versus stability in IT operations.
Urquhart is described as having "a profound interest in the broad landscape of the software industry" along with "a great combination of interpersonal and technical skills" by Christopher Kriese, an independent, San Francisco Bay-area senior software engineer with whom he has worked.