These industry leaders helped propel cloud computing to the forefront of technology innovation.
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David Linthicum had such a strong technology reputation before the cloud era that he isn't associated exclusively with it, as are Werner Vogels, Google's data center architect Urs Hozel or Enomaly's Reuven Cohen. Linthicum was an early explainer of the client/server era, the possibilities of integrating Windows and Linux environments (a common practice today), and the mind-numbing complexity of enterprise application integration. Six of his 13 books mark major phases of computing architecture, including those on client/server, e-business, Web services and cloud computing.
In October 2009, his publisher brought out Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence In Your Enterprise, A Step by Step Guide. It played to mixed reviews because people who wanted to learn about the cloud weren't necessarily approaching it from the perspective of managing data and services in a services-oriented architecture environment. But many IT managers were, and it became a guidebook for enterprise architects who had concluded the cloud was real but didn't know how to approach it.
His role has been more than technical. He has been a constant interpreter of how the role of IT will change in the cloud era and how disruptive it will be to traditional ways of doing things.
With his stone-cold realism, his implementer's practicality and his intellectual unwillingness to rationalize away drawbacks or complexities, Linthicum played a key role in converting doubters to the ranks of cloud computing. His is not the most impassioned voice on cloud; he is, nevertheless, one of the most persuasive to entrenched IT managers, skeptics and non-believers.
He is currently founder and CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, a cloud-computing consultancy, and writes a regular column on cloud computing for InfoWorld and GigaOm Pro.
Jeremy Geelan, senior VP of Sys-Con Media and Events and conference chair of the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo, says Linthicum's 2009 book "does that rarest of things: he manages to combine showing why SOA [service-oriented architecture] and cloud computing complement one another, with a lucid game plan of how a business can take advantage of the synergies."
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