If there ever was a moment for IT organizations to accelerate cloud adoption, its now. Consumers and businesses are relying on cloud more than ever with the recent massive shift to remote working and learning, not to mention the increasingly widespread expectation for "always on"services.
Evan Kotsovinos is no stranger to that reality. As head of global infrastructure for American Express (Amex), one of his responsibilities includes overseeing cloud strategy for the globally-integrated payments company, which serves more than 100 million card members around the world. Kotsovinos also manages the firms technology response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wecaught up with him to discuss his perspective on the cloud.
In this interview, Kotsovinos discusses why cloud adoption is all about maximizing business outcomes. Heshares a misnomer he still frequently hears from peers about the cloud (hint: it has to do with pricing), and he explains why infrastructure teams and leaders should consider themselves curators.
The Enterprisers Project (TEP): Cloud computing continues to grow, yet many CIOs are still working on their cloud adoption and migration plans.Does cloud adoption still have a long way to go? Is it inevitable for IT organizations?
Kotsovinos: Looking at the economies of scale that cloud providers can reap, and the engineering and innovation capabilities they have, in my mind the cloud is a complete inevitability. The question is not if, but how, and how fast. How will enterprises move to cloud and what cloud model (private, public, hybrid, and what specific flavor of these) will they embrace? And how fast will they move?
TEP: Can you provide a brief overview of how Amex is using the cloud right now?
Kotsovinos: Our approach to cloud employs a hybrid architecture that allows us to build applications once, inside a secure container, and have the flexibility to deploy those applications on private cloud, public cloud or both at the same time. We have been on our cloud journey for a few years now and have seen strong adoption of the platform as well as of cloud-native development principles and practices.
TEP: What makes you a believer in the benefits of cloud?
We believe the economies of scale achievable through our cloud strategy will drive significant advantage for us over time.
Kotsovinos: The cloud offers significant advantages compared with traditional, on-premises data centers. Three of those benefits stand out in my mind. First is the combination of productivity and speed that cloud offers. Today, thanks to cloud, you can tap extremely powerful, out-of-the-box capabilities in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, or data analytics. Before cloud, that might have taken teams of engineers years to build.
Second is resiliency. At Amex, the ability to run the same application on multiple clouds gives us a high degree of resiliency, allowing us to deliver the always-on experience that our card members crave and deserve.
And lastly, economics. We believe the economies of scale achievable through our cloud strategy will drive significant advantage for us over time.
TEP: Can you describe your approach to application development given the prevalence of cloud today?
Kotsovinos: We are committed to cloud-native application development and to evolving with cloud-native as a standard. As cloud technology matures, we will continue to raise the bar on these cloud-native principles and the service we provide to our customers.
Cloud-native applications are architected to be highly available and continue to serve our customers in a multitude of scenarios. They are built to scale out as well as in, accommodating changes in volumes. They are built based on reusable components. They embrace a number of best practices in terms of logging, configuration management, port binding, and dependency mapping, which support portability.
TEP: Amex is quite advanced in its cloud journey; what are some considerations you are passionate about and believe other CIOs/IT execs should consider as they embark on their cloud journey?
Kotsovinos: As with any new venture, you need to be able to effectively measure results. But its also critical to understand the bigger picture of what youre solving for. To measure our success in cloud, we focus on overall business outcomes rather than the isolated costs of cloud versus on-premises infrastructure.
In addition, to reap the full benefit of cloud computing, you have to move to the cloud in the right way. Lifting and shifting legacy applications to the cloud provides limited benefit. Moving applications that are cloud-native, fully or partially, has a greater return.
Again, its all about maximizing business outcomes, not moving to cloud for clouds sake.
Next, consider how you are going to address your non-cloud native applications. Distinguish between your technical debt those applications in your portfolio that will be out of date and need to be refreshed and those applications that are current, but just are not built for the cloud. Youll likely have more success by reviewing your application refresh cycles and prioritizing your portfolio to move gradually to the cloud. Again, its all about maximizing business outcomes, not moving to cloud for clouds sake.
Finally, account for bubble costs. As you are migrating applications to the cloud, you are likely running parts of your applications on both cloud and traditional infrastructure, which will temporarily inflate your cost base.
TEP: Is there a pet peeve or misnomer you hear from CIOs or even your peers in infrastructure that you wish you could debunk or clarify?
Kotsovinos: A misnomer I still hear is that the cloud is cheaper, or the cloud is more expensive. Both of these statements oversimplify the problem. The cloud is neither cheaper, nor more expensive. The cloud is a different way of delivering a service and what matters is the total cost of the technology stack you are delivering, not the cloud versus on-premise calculation.
TEP: What are some key talent challenges that organizations should consider as they shift to the cloud?
Kotsovinos: I think a crucial aspect of cloud adoption is investing not only in training and upskilling, but also in evangelizing and helping engineering teams adopt the right mindset and tools. Without that, you may not get very far.
[ Hiring for Kubernetes? Read: 14 Kubernetes interview questions: For hiring managers and job seekers ]
Do not assume that if you deliver it, they will come. In 2020, the role of an infrastructure organization is not just to build and deliver those capabilities, but to make sure they are understood and adopted in the right way. The infrastructure team is responsible for being a trusted partner, a consultant, and an advisor to the software engineering teams. Infrastructure teams and leaders are curators of developer experience above all else.
TEP: The world is changing before our eyes, including technological advancements. What are some critical long-term technology infrastructure considerations we might not yet be thinkingabout?
Kotsovinos: I would highlight two long-term developments that may fundamentally transform everything we know about computer architecture, and therefore technology infrastructure, over the next several years. First, quantum computing, which promises vast speed improvements for specific classes of problems but is nowhere near general-purpose computing or the level of hardware stability and usability that would make it mainstream. Secondly, the rise of very large non-volatile memory, which over time can lead to the collapse of the memory hierarchy (cache, RAM, storage) into one large persistent memory array.
[ Read our deep dive for IT leaders:Kubernetes: Everything you need to know. ]
- Every Thing You Need to Know About Quantum Computers - Analytics Insight - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum computing will impact the enterprise--we just don't know how - TechRepublic - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing and the Cryptography Conundrum - CXOToday.com - October 23rd, 2020
- IBM and Mastercard among partners of 11.1m Irish quantum project - Siliconrepublic.com - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Research including Growth Factors, Types and Application by regions by 2026 - Eurowire - October 23rd, 2020
- University of Rhode Island names respected professor, researcher, computational scientist to lead research computing efforts - URI Today - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Trends and Forecast to 2028 - TechnoWeekly - October 23rd, 2020
- New York needs to be reimagined with technology and job training - Crain's New York Business - October 23rd, 2020
- Global Smart Cities Market Analysis 2020-2025: AI, IoT, and 5G (AIoT5G) will be the Most Influential Technologies - 63%, 34%, and 52% Respectively -... - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market 2020 | Outlook, Growth By Top Companies, Regions, Types, Applications, Drivers, Trends & Forecasts by 2025 - PRnews... - October 17th, 2020
- What is an algorithm? How computers know what to do with data - The Conversation US - October 17th, 2020
- Put Employees at the Center of Your Post-Pandemic Digital Strategy - Harvard Business Review - October 17th, 2020
- Most Read articles - LED drivers, Foundry market, Arm staffing - Electronics Weekly - October 17th, 2020
- 4 Reasons Why Now Is the Best Time to Start With Quantum Computing - Medium - October 15th, 2020
- The Future of Computing: Hype, Hope, and Reality - CIOReview - October 15th, 2020
- Menlo Micro, a startup bringing semiconductor tech to the humble switch, is ready for its closeup - TechCrunch - October 15th, 2020
- Rare magnetism found in the world's strongest material - Live Science - October 15th, 2020
- Room-temperature superconductivity has been achieved for the first time - MIT Technology Review - October 15th, 2020
- Global quantum computing market is projected to register a healthy CAGR of 29.5% in the forecast period of 2019 to 2026. - re:Jerusalem - October 15th, 2020
- Bring On The Qubits: How The Quantum Computing Arms Race Affects Legal - Technology - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - September 30th, 2020
- Under the dragons thumb: Chinese heft in VPNs and Indias vulnerability in a quantum-computing era - Economic Times - September 30th, 2020
- New Study Reveals 81% of Fortune 1000 Decision-Makers Have a Quantum Computing Use-Case In Mind For The Next Three Years Quantum computing emerges as... - September 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market Potential Growth, Size, Share, Demand and Analysis of Key Players Research Forecasts to 2027 - The Daily... - September 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Analysis, Trends, Opportunity, Size and Segment Forecasts to 2028 - Crypto Daily - September 30th, 2020
- Pentagon Is Clinging to Aging Technologies, House Panel Warns - The New York Times - September 30th, 2020
- The global silicon photonics market accounted for $520.0 million in 2019 and is expected to reach $3.07 billion by 2025 - PRNewswire - September 30th, 2020
- Are We Close To Realising A Quantum Computer? Yes And No, Quantum Style - Swarajya - September 14th, 2020
- Spin-Based Quantum Computing Breakthrough: Physicists Achieve Tunable Spin Wave Excitation - SciTechDaily - September 14th, 2020
- NSF and DOE to Advance Industries of the Future - ARC Viewpoints - September 14th, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market 2025 To Expect Maximum Benefit and Growth Potential During this COVID 19 Outbreak: D-Wave Systems, Google, IBM, Intel,... - September 14th, 2020
- Why quantum computing matters - Axios - August 26th, 2020
- The future of artificial intelligence and quantum computing - Military & Aerospace Electronics - August 26th, 2020
- BBVA Uncovers The Promise Of Quantum Computing For Banking And Financial Services - Forbes - August 26th, 2020
- Has the world's most powerful computer arrived? - The National - August 26th, 2020
- Giant atoms enable quantum processing and communication in one - MIT News - August 4th, 2020
- Computer Scientist Don Towsley Named to Team Developing the Quantum Internet - UMass News and Media Relations - August 4th, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on Quantum Computing Market Research, Growth, Industry Analysis, Size and Share 2025 | IBM Corporation, Google - My Kids Health - August 4th, 2020
- IBM and the University of Tokyo Unveil the Quantum Innovation Initiative Consortium to Accelerate Japan's Quantum Research and Development Leadership... - August 2nd, 2020
- Insights & Outcomes: a new spin on quantum research, and the biology of sex - Yale News - August 2nd, 2020
- This simple explainer tackles the complexity of quantum computing - Boing Boing - July 29th, 2020
- UK firm reaches final stages of the NIST quest for quantum-proof encryption algorithms - www.computing.co.uk - July 29th, 2020
- Looking Back on The First-Ever Photo of Quantum Entanglement - ScienceAlert - July 29th, 2020
- Quantum reckoning: The day when computers will break cryptography - ITWeb - July 29th, 2020
- Ripple CTO: Quantum computers will be a threat to Bitcoin and XRP - Crypto News Flash - July 29th, 2020
- The 6 Biggest Technology Trends In Accounting And Finance - Forbes - July 29th, 2020
- Ripple Executive Says Quantum Computing Will Threaten Bitcoin, XRP and Crypto Markets Heres When - The Daily Hodl - July 25th, 2020
- D-Waves quantum computing cloud comes to India - The Hindu - July 25th, 2020
- Hear how three startups are approaching quantum computing differently at TC Disrupt 2020 - TechCrunch - July 25th, 2020
- The Hyperion-insideHPC Interviews: Dr. Michael Resch Talks about the Leap from von Neumann: 'I Tell My PhD Candidates: Go for Quantum' - insideHPC - July 25th, 2020
- The Computational Limits of Deep Learning Are Closer Than You Think - Discover Magazine - July 25th, 2020
- China's newest technology stock exchange is thriving despite the pandemic - The Economist - July 25th, 2020
- Almost One-Third of Life Science Companies Set to Begin Quantum Computing Evaluation This Year - Lab Manager Magazine - July 17th, 2020
- Europe Quantum Computing Market 2020 | Scope of Current and Future Industry 2025 - Owned - July 17th, 2020
- Opinion |Dance of the synchronized quantum particles - Livemint - July 17th, 2020
- Quantum Software Market 2020: Potential Growth, Challenges, and Know the Companies List Could Potentially Benefit or Loose out From the Impact of... - July 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Brief Analysis and Application, Growth by 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 17th, 2020
- Standard Chartered and Universities Space Research Association join forces on Quantum Computing - PRNewswire - July 13th, 2020
- The crypto-agility mandate, and how to get there - Help Net Security - July 13th, 2020
- Standard Chartered teams up with Universities Space Research Association on development of quantum computing apps - FinanceFeeds - July 13th, 2020
- MIT's New Diamond-Based Quantum Chip Is the Largest Yet - Interesting Engineering - July 11th, 2020
- Chicago Quantum Exchange Welcomes Seven New Partners in Tech, Computing and Finance - HPCwire - July 11th, 2020
- In 1st Of Its Kind Webinar On Quantum Information And Computation In India, IIIT Hyderabad Successfully Conducts Quantum Talks 2020 - IndianWeb2.com - July 11th, 2020
- Satoshi Nakamoto Inspiration Gives Advice On Bitcoins Next Move - Forbes - July 11th, 2020
- QCI Hosts Webinar Series Featuring Optimizations that Deliver Quantum-Ready Solutions at Breakthrough Speed - Stockhouse - July 11th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market to Witness a Pronounce Growth During 2025 - News by aeresearch - July 11th, 2020
- Topological Quantum Computing Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 6th, 2020
- Quantum Software Market (impact of COVID-19) Growth, Overview with Detailed Analysis 2020-2026| Origin Quantum Computing Technology, D Wave, IBM,... - July 6th, 2020
- Regional Analysis and Strategies of Quantum Computing Technology Market during the Forecasted Period 2020-2030 - 3rd Watch News - July 6th, 2020
- Healthcare Shopping: The new age of consumerism - The Financial Express - July 6th, 2020
- Six things you need to learn about quantum computing in finance - eFinancialCareers - July 4th, 2020
- Cybersecurity in the quantum era - ETCIO.com - July 4th, 2020
- There's a Hidden Economic Trendline That Is Shattering the Global Trade System - IDN InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters - July 4th, 2020
- How Will The World Look Like In 2025 And The Future Of Cybersecurity - Entrepreneur - July 4th, 2020
- Better encryption for wireless privacy at the dawn of quantum computing - UC Riverside - June 30th, 2020
- Menten AIs combination of buzzword bingo brings AI and quantum computing to drug discovery - TechCrunch - June 30th, 2020
- Paper Outlines the Role of ERM in Managing Risks Related to New Technologies - Business Wire - June 30th, 2020
- Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini: Aviation needs to tap emerging technologies, diverse talent to get climate-neutral - Verdict Medical Devices - Medical... - June 30th, 2020
- Is IT regulation in the DARQ? - IT PRO - June 30th, 2020
- Sen. Warner: 5G ORAN Bill Added to Must-Pass Legislation - Multichannel News - June 30th, 2020
- Is teleportation possible? Yes, in the quantum world - University of Rochester - June 25th, 2020