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March 10, 2011

UC4 says cloud is infiltrating the enterprise, like it or not

Firm says staff are using cloud behind IT's back

By Jason Stamper

Job scheduling and automation player UC4 Software’s CEO Jason Liu told CBR that cloud will be the "largest transformational event" of his career, and that cloud is pervading the enterprise often without the IT department’s knowledge.

Liu said many of its customers are having to look at cloud whether they like it or not. "I was talking to the head of infrastructure at BP and he said they found about 15 employees already using cloud in some way, unbeknownst to them," Liu said. "I spoke to a French conglomerate that found it had five units using, and they had no idea."

"50 per cent of companies have people using some kind of cloud computing without IT’s knowledge," said Liu.

Liu, who joined UC4 last July after successfully running four other IT firms, said since joining he has been doing some work to reposition the company to make sure it is ready for cloud. He said that most of its large enterprise customers are focusing first on private cloud and running what he called science projects on public clouds.

UC4 says its technology handles six types of automation: job scheduling, application process automation, run book automation, application deployment, virtualisation management and managed file transfer. It is gearing up to launch a major new product on March 15.

Liu said that with the launch on Tuesday UC4 will move its portfolio on another notch, though we can’t say more until the news lands. "With the next version we will address the six key areas of automation," he said. "No one else does this. Rivals have point solutions but we will be the only firm with complete integration."

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Liu said he considers the firm’s nearest rivals CA and BMC. "Our competition are just getting started trying to unify all of these areas – they’ve bought all these third party tools and now they have the complexity of trying to mesh them all together."

UC4 Software claims to have around 2,000 customers, one third of which are in the Fortune 500, and 300 staff.

Liu added that much of the discussion around which applications are suited to cloud misses an important point: "Many are saying that choices about whether to use cloud should be that it depends on the application," Liu said. "But in fact what you find is that some enterprise apps appear quite harmless but occasionally touch highly confidential information. Choices around cloud should be workload driven, not application driven."

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