- Rob Helm, director of research, Directions on Microsoft
Lew Tucker, VP and CTO, Cloud Computing, Sun Microsystems
According to Helms, he and his company Directions on Microsoft have covered Redmond's shifting product road map and corporate organization for the past 11 years. "We're like the little bird that sits in the crocodile mouth and picks at its teeth," he said.
Sun panelist Tucker recently rejoined Sun Microsystems after creating AppExchange, a SaaS platform for business applications, when he was a VP at Salesforce.com. He went on to be CTO at Radar Networks, a semantic-Web-based Internet service for tracking interests, before returning to Sun to lead its cloud computing efforts.
In answer to moderator Berlind's question about when enterprises should consider embracing cloud service, both Helms and Tucker agreed that it depends on where your enterprise is in its lifecycle. "If you're a startup, it makes no sense to buy racks of servers," Tucker said. "There are rooms of legacy computers downstairs here in the Computer History Museum -- you don't want to spend your startup money on hardware that will join them."
Asked if Microsoft was "coming out of its cave" on cloud computing, Helm said from his experience that Microsoft has three approaches to the cloud: