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Interview: Mac Devine, CTO, IBM Cloud on the Conflux of Cloud, IoT & Big Data


We discuss the implications of Cloud Speed of technological advancement, significant trends in Internet of Things (IoT), future of cloud computing and more.



Mac DevineMac Devine is currently serving as Vice President of SDN Cloud Services and CTO, IBM Cloud Services Division and as a faculty member for the Cloud and Internet-of-Things Expos.

Mac has 25 years of experience with networking and virtualization. He became an IBM Master Inventor in 2006, an IBM Distinguished Engineer in 2008 and is a Member of the IBM Academy of Technology since 2009.

He served 2 years as the Chief Architect for IBM System z Enterprise Software and 2 years as the CTO for IBM Cloud partnerships and client innovations within the IBM Corporate Strategy team.

Mac served 2 years as Director and CTO Cloud Portfolio within IBM Global Technology Services. He leads the technical due diligence for the SoftLayer acquisition which lead to the creation of IBM Cloud Services Division. He co-authored Springer’s Handbook of Cloud Computing used by colleges and universities

First part of interview.

Here is second and last part of my interview with him:

Anmol Rajpurohit: Q5. What do you mean by "Cloud Speed"? Given such rapid pace of technology advancement, what are the most important skills needed by business managers in order to stay on the top of their game?

Mac Devine: Cloud Speed Cloud Speednot only refers to the rate of technology advancement but also the way technology is delivered. We live in a continuous services delivery world. Consumers expectations are also moving at "Cloud Speed" so business managers and developers need to develop skills which will allow them to optimize the quality of experience to the customer and continuously delivery value to them.

AR: Q6. In your over 25 years of experience what were some of the most unexpected events that you witnessed in the evolution of technology?

MD: evolution-technologyMost of the unexpected events I have seen over the last 25 years have been related to the rate a pace of change. I remember being surprised as how quickly TCP/IP and Open Source matured within Enterprise IT. I was also surprised that Linux and Mobile did not happen more quickly (after a few false starts, they did finally both take off quickly within the enterprise).

AR: Q7. Which trends in the field of Internet of Things (IOT) appear interesting and promising to you?

Internet of ThingsMD: That is a difficult question as there are many interesting trends but I will call out a couple of my favorites. I am really starting to see a 5th "V" emerging for BigData. In addition to "Volume", "Variety", "Velocity" and "Veracity", enterprises are starting to focus on data "Vibrancy". The definition of Vibrancy is "pulsating with life and vigor" and by providing Data-as-a-Service, enterprises can allow an vigorous ecosystem to extend the value of the data to bring new services to life. Another emerging IoT trend which is very interesting is how the IoT ecosystem is starting to leverage "Block Chaining" to provide secure and collaborative commerce.

AR: Q8. Where do you see Cloud computing in next 3-5 years? What do you foresee as the hot areas of innovation in Cloud?

MD: It is hard enough to predict what the Cloud Computing landscape will truly look like in 1 year Cloud Computing Trendsmuch less 3-5 years. That said, I do believe that we will continue to see innovations which increase the scale and speed of business. I also believe that Data and Analytics will continue to be hot areas of innovation. In particular, I believe IoT "Data Stories" will become more common meaning that it will no longer take a Data Scientist with multiple PhDs to get value from the data generated by IoT use cases.

AR: Q9. What is the best advice you have got in your career?

MD: It was from an IBM Vice President that I used to work for. He said that if everyone is happy/agreeing with what you are doing then you clearly are not "pushing the edge of the innovation envelope".

AR: Q10. On a personal note, are there any good books that you’re reading lately, and would like to recommend? What keeps you busy when you are away from work?

MD: HarbingerI find it difficult to find time to read too many books but I am enjoying reading through The Harbinger. I enjoy spending time with my wife and 2 sons away from work. I especially enjoyed this Thanksgiving as it was the first time all 4 of us have been together since my oldest son joined the US Army and my youngest Son went to The Kings College in New York City.

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