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3/11/2009
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Q&A: Sun's CTO Talks About Cloud Computing

Sun Microsystems CTO Greg Papadopoulos discusses cloud computing, open source, and open storage against a backdrop of an economy that's acting as a huge accelerant.

InformationWeek: In a recent keynote, you talked about the intersection of cloud computing and open source. What are the advantages for data centers?

Papadopoulos: The message there is, for those two things, the economic times will help accelerate their acceptance and not inhibit them. People are going to move rapidly to these types of environments. I think cloud computing and open source are deeply related to each other. If you're using a cloud -- especially a public cloud -- proprietary software licensing hasn't caught up there yet. It's really difficult to run Oracle or Windows in these cloud environments. Because the open source stuff is freely accessible, developers can make it happen more easily.

InformationWeek: So you feel cloud computing really is the Next Big Thing for the industry to focus on.

Papadopoulos: Well, we're all reluctant to call it the next big thing, maybe because we are all hype-cycled out. On one level this [cloud computing] is the path we have been on for a couple of decades with things like network computing. There are services that are presented through the network and that's a pattern we all know and understand and are comfortable with, so, nothing new there.

The thing that makes cloud computing distinct, where in fact there has been an evolution in network computing concepts, [is in] the developer on-ramp. It's different now than it was even two years ago. The stuff is actually accessible by grad students, startup developers, or people in IT shops. That's different. We know that when things are accessible and easy for developers, well, stuff happens.

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