The Performance Beacon

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How a Baseball Hall of Famer Hits a Home Run in the Cloud [Q&A Series]

The following is a guest blog from Kristen Nicole, a Senior Editor at Ms. Nicole was named by Forbes as a top influencer in Big Data and her work has been syndicated across a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, and MSNBC.

Being inducted into an athletic hall of fame is no easy feat, but SOASTA CEO Tom Lounibos managed to do it.  An avid baseball infielder at the University of San Francisco, Lounibos is now honored with a name plate in the school’s Hall of Fame.  Lounibos learned a few important lessons in baseball that carried over into his work with SOASTA, which he shares with us in today’s Profile series.

SOASTA, a cloud and mobile testing platform, has had some news of its own.  The company was one of the early supporters of HP’s new Cloud Services, which is the latest public cloud offering in a rapidly crowding space.  This is another topic Lounibos discusses, as well as his thoughts on the cloud market’s consolidation and his expectations for the future.

Where does SOASTA see the biggest area of impact from emerging cloud services like HP?

Cloud Testing is a very interesting workload. It requires a developer and/or tester to simulate the behavior of Mobile and Web App users accessing an application or site from a variety of locations around the world at potentially very large volumes.  Only then can they can fully understand performance. These requirements mean testers need to have access to hundreds of servers, in specific locations around the world, making Cloud Testing the killer application for Cloud Computing.

HP Cloud Services is the “second” major vendor to offer an available implementation of the OpenStack initiative.  This validation of OpenStack, combined with HP’s considerable resources (capacity) has the potential for spawning dramatic growth in a number of geographic locations and capacity available for development, testing and runtime for developers and testers around the world. We here at SOASTA have already built a federation of cloud vendors that delivers over 400,000 servers from 50 locations.  We expect OpenStack partners to quickly double this capacity and number of locations in the next 12 months.

You were recently inducted into the University of San Francisco’s Athletic Hall of Fame – what lessons from your baseball career have you applied to the cloud environment?

First, as with baseball, you’re going to strike out a few times when attempting to innovate quickly.  The successful entrepreneurs and Baseball players make the necessary adjustments/pivots to find a way to succeed.

The second point of comparison is that Baseball and the Silicon Valley are “team” sports. I may have been individually acknowledged by USF by their induction of me into their Hall of Fame but it took a team to get me there.  The same is true here at SOASTA and also in the Cloud. Just look at the emergence of all the PaaS offerings out there right now.  Every single one of them is a federation of different vendor tools. Developers and Testers are part of a team that design, build, test, deploy and manage a successful application.

What kind of market consolidation are you seeing now that vendors are pushing an all-in-one approach to cloud services?

For the past several years, the Cloud has been made up of leading edge companies advancing the evolution and automation of specific processes through innovation.  SOASTA is one of those companies and our area of emphasis happens to be Testing. While the best of breed technologies are great for leading edge users, they may not be as consumable by the rest of the marketplace. Tighter integration has begun.

Today, the ramp of the Cloud and Mobile markets has accelerated greatly in the past few months. Building an all-in-one approach has become virtually impossible, while staying up-to-date with the growing market demand.  Therefore PaaS vendors have begun to create loosely coupled “marketplaces” of cloud services to meet the demand. We expect to see an acceleration of acquisitions in the coming months as the market continues to ramp.

Your long-standing dedication to your passions has really paid off in your personal and professional life.  What gives you confidence in/for the future?

People, and our long standing desire to evolve.  The constant requirement of “give me something better than what I’m using today,” coupled with my own insatiable curiosity, gives me confidence that innovation will continue forever and the knowledge that I don’t want to be left behind, drives me forward.


Tom Lounibos

About the Author

Tom Lounibos

As CEO of SOASTA, Tom brings more than 30 years of experience building early stage software companies, leading two companies to successful IPOs. Tom is a regular speaker at both cloud and testing events, and has become a leading advocate in using the cloud to empower individuals and accelerate changes in how applications are built, tested and deployed. Most recently, Tom served as President and CEO of Kenamea. Prior to Kenamea, he was CEO of Dorado Corp., a financial services software provider. Previous to Dorado, he was EVP of Sagent Technology through its 1999 IPO, entrepreneur-in-residence at Crosspoint Venture Partners, and held executive positions at Digitalk Corp., Knowledgeware (KWI) and Encore Financial Services. Tom also serves on several boards in the Silicon Valley.