Abe: And welcome to this special segment of TIA Now. We’re joined with David Walsh. He’s the chief executive officer of GENBAND. And, David, welcome to the program.
David: Thanks so much. Happy to be here.
Abe: Well, it’s great that you’re having… you invited us to your campus right here in Frisco, Texas. So, it’s a pleasure to talk to you.
David: It’s always good to get people here to the shop.
Abe: David, I feel like I’m in a unique position here to be able to ask somebody that’s been in the business for such a long time about where you think the cloud… or what you think the cloud will look like? How will it change the landscape of our industry over, let’s say, the next 5 years?
David: Well, as you know, there’s a lot of talk about the cloud. And, you know, you’re seeing an enormous amount of focus by all the suppliers in the industry on this topic. Clearly, what people are looking for is the potential savings that would come along with shared computing. And what we’ve seen over the last several years is there’s been a massive reduction in computing costs and storage costs and network costs. But those savings could be further optimized if they could be shared in a scaled way. So, rather than buying compute storage in small pockets, and having that populated in many different locations, if you could centralize that, of course, it would be substantial savings to be had, not just in economies of scale, but in peak times. So, there’s lots of efficiencies that in optimization that can be driven out of that supply chain, if you could really move to a cloud infrastructure.
Abe: David, there’s a cons… the consumer markets has used various forms of the cloud over a number of years, but it’s only in relatively recent history that the enterprise sector has found the clouds so appealing. Was there a tipping point in recent history whereby the enterprise began to migrate towards the club?
David: Well, I think as you mentioned, you know, in the consumer market, as consumers who also are people who work in enterprises become comfortable with using the cloud for their day-to-day life, they’ve… you know, they become rely on it, they find out it’s reliable, they feel safe and secure. And I think that’s paved the way to… you know, for the… the enterprises now to take a more serious look, and to start… start doing things. So, it’s clear that that has helped a great deal in sort of paving the way.
Abe: And you mentioned briefly about security in the cloud, do you think that as we become… as the enterprise becomes more reliant, and feel more secure in the cloud, that it will accelerate that technology even faster?
David: No question about it. I mean, people are concerned about security. You know, it’s wonderful to have all this access, but the moment something happens, and there’s a compromise, that’s… you know, that can, you know, impact a company or a government or an agency or something of significance, you know, people are going to… going to pull back. So, we are going to probably see this advance, and then we’re going to see some setbacks along the way, and people are going to have to readdress. Security is not easy to do in a multi-tenant… tenant world. But now that we’re moving that way, there’s a lot of people focused on those areas. So, they’ll get it sorted out. So, I think that, you know, the die has been cast. The world is going to move to… to the cloud. They already are. The adoption rates are enormous. They’ll probably be some bumps along the way. There’ll be some setbacks. But I don’t think there’ll be setbacks that stopped this from… from moving forward.
Abe: I’m glad you mentioned that. It actually segues nicely into the next question. Can you go into a little more detail about maybe a couple of those several bumps that you just briefly mentioned? What can we expect over the next couple of years, as far as challenges, but also opportunities?
David: Well, we now know that there are organized forms of terrorism out there sponsored by government. And… and these aren’t just, you know, kids who are hackers. So, there’s lots of money. There’s organized people, very smart people out there attacking networks. So, there’s an enormous amount of focus on this from the, you know, large institutions, protecting copyright, financial data, personal data, and so forth, and so on. So, when you have an environment where you know, there’s bad people out there that are organized, that are smart, that have money, you… you really gotta… you know, before you go to move to something like cloud computing, you really have to feel comfortable with security. So, this is an area that’s going to get a lot of focus and attention.
And the way I think the market is going to migrate is people will move the less sensitive areas of their business to… to the cloud first. So, they’re not going to just toss something in there that’s highly sensitive first. That’s not how this is going to work. People are going to… they’re going to… they’re going to… they’re going to… in a very thoughtful way, as they get more comfortable with security, and there’s been no breaches or no problems, then they’ll… they’ll probably accelerate. And each company is going to have a different tempo. You know, some industries are going to move a lot faster than others. I suspect industries that support the government will be, you know, laggards. I think some of the financial markets, certain parts of that is going to take a long time before they get comfortable with it. But there will be areas in every industry that people are going to move to the cloud immediately.
Abe: Anytime you experienced the advent of a new technology, a pervasive technology like cloud and all the services and products within the cloud, you have policy issues that could have a chilling effect on those technologies. Do you… are you aware right now of any current policy issues surrounding that?
David Walsh, Bronxville NY: Well, there’s clearly some policy issues out there that are… you know, we’re going to have to deal with. In the financial markets as an example, in certain countries, certain applications, certain information is not allowed to be stored in certain, you know, ways that it can’t be stored outside certain countries, has to be stored in the country. So, there will be regulatory issues that will be specific to… industry specific to countries that people are going to have to work around. There’s no… there’s no question about that. This is not something that will not get oversight. But once again, I don’t feel the regulators are going to be looking and focusing on every area of the enterprise, certainly not the consumer, there’ll be some… some areas that there… the regulators are very concerned about, and they’re going to want to protect the consumer. And there’ll be other areas and, you know, an industry that… that they’re going to want to protect. But that’s not going to stop, I don’t believe, the progress of the cloud. It’ll slow down certain aspects of certain parts of the market. But once again, you know, this is going to be an evolution, and different parts of the market are going to move at different paces. And the policies will certainly affect the pace from which that happens.
Abe: Now, of course, with all these new devices and services out there in the ecosystem, it’s required to have a robust infrastructure, that infrastructure heats, as we all know, and you have to have a cooling mechanism to mitigate that heat. I know that you are doing some work with Intertek and I want you to elaborate on that work a little bit.
David: Yes, well, with all of these applications moving to the cloud, that means data centers. So, you’ll… you’re seeing this, a rapid construction of these massive data centers, which if you remember, years ago, people used to talk about, you know, “I have a large data center in square feet.” People don’t talk about square feet. They talk about power. Data centers are power. So, if you look at the sort of OSI layer… layers, they’ve all been optimized, right? I mean, there’s been enormous compression and optimization, each layer of the stack. But down at layer 0, the physical layer, there’s really been no changes in the last 30 years. So, the way data centers operate today are the same way they operate 30, 40, 50 years ago. There’s been no optimization.
So, the big challenge now, the cost isn’t in compute, it’s not in storage, it’s not network. We’ve seen dramatic declines in that. And we’re seeing more declines, because cloud gives you the ability to share those resources. But all of that has to sit on a physical infrastructure, and it’s massively expensive, and also not particularly reliable. And it wasn’t built for the type of computing needs of today. So, there’s been generations and generation of change in computing and storage and network, but nothing in the physical infrastructure. So, there were… there’s a requirement now to rethink how you’re going to actually cool these massive facilities. It’s not practical to move them to the… to the North Pole. This… you know, this is just not practical. We’ve got to find solutions, where people can put these applications close to where the users are, the consumers of this data.
So, Intertek has come up with a completely revolutionary way of… of cooling data centers by distributing their technology, using refrigerant instead of water and air, which is many, many times more efficient. So, this new technology shrinks the footprint of the mechanical infrastructure by 75, 80%. Cuts your cost in half, reduces capex, gets rid of enormous amount of wasted water. So, finally, I believe that the cloud is going to get a further push, because while the… the technical infrastructure of computing cost has been optimized, the physical infrastructure hasn’t. So, it’s still very expensive to move applications into the cloud, because you’ve got to cool them. And it costs as much to cool these data centers as it does to power the electrical load that sits inside them. So, there’s a whole nother industry, I believe, that is going to have a big boom, which is the cooling and mechanical infrastructure business. Because now at layer 0, where there hasn’t been any optimization, there’s going to be enormous improvements, just like in the other areas.
Abe: David at TIA Now, we like to highlight game changing technologies. In recent months, we’ve been discussing software-defined networking, and how that’s a game changer for the telecommunications network. But there’s another game changer for the cloud. And I think you’re sponsoring… or I know you’re sponsoring an event, and sometime in November of this year, called web RTC. Can you explain that a little bit further?
David Walsh, Bronxville: Yes, well, this is a… this is clearly going to change the way we operate. Because what’s going on is we see how ubiquitous the web is. We’re all very used to going to the web, finding information and interacting with the web. But what the web doesn’t do particularly well, today, is real-time communications. So, if you want to do real-time communication, you want to watch a video, you got to download a video. If you want to make a phone call, you have to have an application to make a phone call. If you want to send an SMS text, you got to have a different application for that. So, there’s a lot of maneuvering that you have to do to be able to do real-time communications. So, think about the next web being a web where you don’t have to do any of that. Embedded in the website itself is the ability to perform real-time communications.
So, that’s what web RTC is all about. It’s allowing real-time communication to exist within the web format, which is great. So, you can imagine that every website out there now can be its own communications application. So, you’re just going to see… in my opinion, you’re just going to see thousands of communications apps and features and functions develop on the web. And because of these tools are going to be embedded in the ability to do this, like off the shelf, that the barrier, the cost barrier is going to come way down. So, you’re just going to see a massive amount of communications being built into the web, which I think is going to be really interesting. I’m just curious to see what functionality develops, because there’s going to be things that we will become, I believe, dependent on a few years from now we haven’t even thought about. So, it’s going to be really interesting.
Abe: Would you say, David, that the… that web RTC technologies will be a friend or a foe to the telco sector, at least initially?
David: Yeah, I think that, you know, it’s going to run both ways. I think there’ll be certain applications that will, you know, hurt some of the core areas of the telco infrastructure or the telco business, or that they’re… they’re sort of meat and potato business. But I also think that they are the incumbents. They have the customers. They have the infrastructure, they have the money, and they will have the ability to launch products and services as well. So, I think it all depends, if you look at this being an optimist and you’re aggressive, I think you can capitalize. And I think if you just step back and don’t do anything at all, then it’s likely that some of these new services that hit will impact the carriers. But, you know, time has proven that the carriers know how to adapt. They… sometimes it takes a little while for them to do it. Sometimes they wait until they see critical mass. But they’re still in a great position to take… take advantage of this technology.
Abe: David had the pleasure of talking to Sam Weisberg about endpoint security concerns. Can you talk a little bit more about your alliance with Samsung as far as endpoint security goes?
David: Yes, well, we all know that Samsung is an absolute powerhouse in the mobile space now. I mean, they have demonstrated through their very clever marketing to become probably the top guy out there in the market. And they have targeted the enterprise market as an area that they want to focus on. They feel it’s fertile ground. They feel that this is a way they can extend what they’re… they… they’re good brand, they can extend into the enterprise space. But what they realized right off the bat is that the enterprises are going to focus on slightly different things than the consumer, and specifically security. So, they have 2 different programs. One’s called Knox and Safe, which is all designed around making sure that the applications that run on your enterprise device, your smart devices, whatever it is, is secure. So, we spend most of our time marketing into the enterprise world. So, we know a lot about that.
When Samsung was looking for partners that had a key applications, like anchor applications, they saw our unified application as a way to get into the enterprise. And so, what we’ve done is we’ve embedded our application into their container, which ensures security, so that we can go to market together, and we can show enterprises how they can actually use these tools, use them in an industrial way and feel comfortable, that they’re not going to be any security breaches or any performance issues, or any of the typical things that people worry about, as a consumer, just downloading an app off the web. So, we’re really excited about this application, this… this opportunity with Samsung. There’s not a better brand to partner with. We’re happy that they saw us as an opportunity into the enterprise where they want to focus. So, we’re really excited about pushing this, you know, very aggressively next year. We’ve already kicked this thing off, but we’re hoping to see some really great results from the partnership next year.
Abe: David, thanks for your time.
David: Thank you.