img > Issue XLIV: October - November 2010 > Cloud Computing Interview Series: Anthony Assi, Naveen Gabrani and Herbjorn Wilhelmsen
Amy Chou

Amy Chou


Amy Chou is a freelance Communications Editor. She has managed various publications, including issues of the SOA Magazine, and has overseen social-media platforms for the SOA and Cloud Symposium event series. As an IT journalist, Amy develops and maintains podcasts for which she conducts interviews and engineers the recordings. Amy is further responsible for various Web and marketing design initiatives and acts as a liaison between marketing and technology research groups.


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Anthony Assi

Anthony Assi


Anthony has intensive experience in large scale Web architectures and Information systems. He is currently working as a Senior Cloud Computing Consultant at Logica in Paris, creating value by successfully integrating people, business and technology to create effective, sustainable business ecosystems. Before joining Logica, Anthony worked for 5 years in the Research industry, first at the famous French national institute for research in computer science and control (INRIA) in the field of High Performance Computing (HPC) applied to bio-informatics and bio-technologies. During his stay at INRIA he participated in many R&D projects boosting the transfer of high-end technologies from the research domain to the user community. He taught courses in parallel computing at the University of Rennes 1, published and presented many articles in international journals and conferences. Then at Thales Group, a global technology leader for the aerospace, space, defense and security; he integrated the Research and Innovation unit, where he helped develop global security technologies for the civil and military domain. He managed and developed innovative projects around security and cloud computing, submitted a patent, and led a core technology activity around High Performance/Scalability/Availability of Critical Information Systems based on SOA standards. Anthony holds a Masters in Computer Science from the ESIB Engineering School where he graduated top of class.


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Naveen Gabrani

Naveen Gabrani


Naveen Gabrani is a senior IT professional with 18 years of industry experience. Currently Naveen is working as the founder-CEO of Astrea Infotech. Astrea provides services on Salesforce's platform. Naveen also runs two free tutorial sites on cloud computing and Salesforce certification. In his previous roles, Naveen has worked in senior engineering and management positions at CSC, ATG and Duet Technologies.


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Herbjorn Wilhelmsen

Herbjorn Wilhelmsen


Herbjörn is a Software & Innovation Independent Professional based in Stockholm, Sweden. His main focus areas are Cloud Computing, SOA and Innovation. Herbjörn has many years of industry experience working as a developer, development manager, architect, enterprise architect and teacher. He has worked with clients in several fields of operations like telecommunications, marketing, the payment industry, healthcare, public services and tourism.

Herbjörn is co-author of the 'SOA with .Net & Windows Azure' and the 'Service-Oriented Infrastructure: On-Premise and in the Cloud' books. He has written several articles on SOA and cloud computing, most notably for 'The Service Technology Magazine' and 'MSDN Magazine', and speaks at public and private events. Herbjörn holds a Bachelor of Science from Stockholm University.

He maintains two blogs: and He can also be reached at


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Cloud Computing Interview Series:
Anthony Assi, Naveen Gabrani and Herbjorn Wilhelmsen

Published: October 06, 2010 • SOA Magazine Issue XLIV

This article features interviews from the International SOA & Cloud Symposium podcast series. These dialogues focus on cloud computing related topics, each guest offers their own unique perspective on the industry. Anthony discusses his research in cloud computing and where he sees it headed, as well as his co-authorship with the upcoming book "SOA and Cloud Computing". Naveen from discusses issues such as the lack of industry standards, different definitions of cloud computing, and the educational value of vendor neutrality. Herbjorn Wilhelmsen from the Forefront Consulting Group covers a range of topics, including how cloud computing began, how it's evolved since it's first conception and where it is heading. Another important point he discusses is SOA in relation to cloud computing. Check out these cloudy discussions with the International Cloud Symposium's very own contributors...

Download the MP3 (Length: 14:12)

Exclusive Interview with Anthony Assi

This podcast features Anthony Assi, program committee member
for the Cloud Symposium, and a senior cloud computing consultant
from Logica. Anthony discusses his role as a consultant, and what
he's learned about cloud computing on the job. As a researcher, Anthony also discusses his special insight into the industry and where he sees it's headed. Anthony's co-authorship with the upcoming book "SOA and Cloud Computing", his impressions of the speaker sessions submitted so far (including information on his own talk"Large Scale Cloud Architectures" ), technology trends, and many more very interesting and new topics are explored. Tune in and don't miss out on Anthony's very engaging opinions on cloud computing.

SOA Magazine: Hi Anthony, my first question is could you tell us more about Logica and your role as a senior cloud computing consultant?

Anthony Assi: I've recently joined the Logica Business Consulting Group. Logica is one of top five cloud business consulting companies in Europe. Mainly, [Logica] concentrates in helping companies understand their problems and understand new technologies. Moreover, we help companies work more on efficiently and be able to innovate differently. During times [a company] is having a big crisis, they need to rethink their whole management framework, optimize their work and costs, and all their business processes. This is one of the things Logica can do for enterprises.

As I've mentioned, I've recently joined Logica and I am a senior cloud computing consultant. My role is to help organizations develop cloud strategies, roadmaps, and to help build the right business case for their cloud delivery and framework. I also have enterprise's identify their KPIs, internal investment indicators, and solve their developing cloud computing services.

SOA Magazine: As an IT professional specializing in cloud computing, could you tell us how cloud computing is effecting organizations?

Anthony Assi: Sure. Cloud computing is really interesting. It first appeared around 2005. The business model that cloud computing is all about has actually existed before 2005, but it didn't have the same name [it does now]. The advantage of a cloud computing business model, especially now with this current crisis we are having, is that enterprises want to control their cost, [and now they can]. Enterprises are saying "Hey, we have a big crisis. We want to reduce our investment. We want to have a low total cost of ownership. We want to reduce our investment but we still want to be competitive on the market. We need to continue to innovate". One way of doing this is with cloud computing.

Why? Because with cloud computing, the total cost of ownership is almost zero - meaning you can have access to high end resources at a low cost. You don't need to have a huge investment to start delivering your services and to continue innovating within your enterprise. Nowadays, you have cloud computing service providers from whom you can buy the resources you need, whether it's software resource, platform resource or infrastructure resource. You can continue to innovate and continue to invest at a low price. We are seeing a lot of enterprises going to cloud computing just to reduce their investment and continue to innovate. This is one thing that is really interesting for enterprises.

SOA Magazine: You are the co-author for the upcoming book "SOA and Cloud Computing". Could you tell us about that book and your involvement?

Anthony Assi: It all started by Thomas Erl. What we started to realize was that people on the market were saying "okay, cloud computing is a great thing, but I want to know more about it. I want to know what are the best practices, what are the best patterns to put in place and what are the technologies behind cloud computing?" The [idea of the] book started [with these questions]… We all met up, and decided why not address this market need with a book? This is how the idea of how the book was created. Thomas Erl said "people need to know how SOA and Cloud Computing converge together". This is how it happened. In this book, we talk about the practices, patterns and technologies on how to combine SOA and Cloud Computing. Hopefully, this book is going to have enterprises and IT people understand more about this convergence between these two technologies and hopefully be a reference later on.

SOA Magazine: Very exciting. Could you tell me when this book is scheduled for release?

Anthony Assi: We are aiming for release in around summer 2011. If everything goes well, we will be able to release and have the book on shelf in summer 2011.

SOA Magazine: I've known that you have been working in the research industry for over five years. What can you tell us about the cloud computing vision and what you have learned about it and what do you foresee?

Anthony Assi: The advantage of working in the research industry is that you work on subjects that not everybody is working in the industry. Because you work on future subjects, for example in 2005 work on pulling in place, web portal that deliver services [was done]. It's only now in 2009 and 2010 that you begin to see those delivering services in the market place. When you are in the research industry, you work on subjects that are going to be on the market five to ten years later.

I've worked in the bio, formatics and biotechnologies research industry, then into the military research industry. What I have learned is that people in the research industry are able to drive technologies that people with normal lives will start to use in the market. I remember almost in 2006, I was working on a project for human breast cancer. We used a lot of cloud computing infrastructure as a service. At that time, it wasn't common. We created some solutions that nowadays are common, when [in the past] we would talk about these technologies; people would not see what we were talking about. They told us, "hey are you sure this is going to be a big hit because this is totally different than what we're used to." Almost four to five years later, we see those technologies that we worked on in the research industry are almost today's standard ways of using and communicating in the IT world. This is really interesting.

Somehow, a future vision of where the world is going to go, happens. For instance, I have colleagues working more on seamless, stateless, communications information systems. Now, we are starting to see that they are starting to implement this system, for instance, in the gaming industry. This is really interesting. I think the future is going to be more about using remote environments and communicating without having the infrastructure at one place. I will always say that history repeats itself, look back in history, it's similar to a wheel. Many years ago we had a framework IBM invented, the mainframe. It's all about having information centralized. Later, we invented something called the "PC", so we decentralized the environment and everybody had their own computing power. We now have this cloud virtualization environment and go centralize everything again. I think that this model is going to continue on and on. In the future, we are going to have a new invention, telling everybody to decentralize and after many years, we are going to re-centralize. This is something interesting and I think people need to keep this in mind. The IT industry is like a wheel. The things you do today resemble in a way for what we did many years ago and etc. It's really interesting.

SOA Magazine: As a member for this year's symposium program committee, what do you think of the speaker sessions so far on cloud computing?

Anthony Assi: This year cloud symposium speakers are all experts and are really interesting. We are seeing more and more people developing new subjects around cloud computing. It's not only about what is this business model all about. It is more on what can we do with it, and how can we innovate.

Now, a year after the first cloud symposium, we are seeing more talks on cloud computing in a different way. It used to be about architecture and understanding the business model. Now, people are more aware of the business model and people are have more matured understanding of cloud computing. They are starting to integrate cloud computing into their day-to-day business, and trying to innovate. We are starting to see innovative companies on the market and even some leaders gaining more shares of the market. In this cloud symposium, we are going to see a lot of different ideas around cloud computing and how people in the enterprise are using the cloud computing business model to innovate and rethink the whole process and it's delivery model. It's interesting because we have a wide range of speakers talking from different perspectives of how cloud computing can be beneficial to them.

SOA Magazine: That actually brings me to my last question to what you will be presenting. I noticed that the title of your abstract is "Large Web Architectures". Could you tell us about your presentation?

Anthony Assi: So as you have said, I am a part of the Program Committee, but I also wanted to talk about my experience in cloud computing and to share what I have seen recently around cloud computing. What I have done, in recent years, I've been studying and identifying all the big cloud architectures of the big players. You can name them: Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, eBay etc. I have been evaluating and analyzing what technologies they are using to build their cloud computing and what are the pitfalls they have had while building their cloud computing, what are the lessons learned and how do they deal with all this massive cloud infrastructure and architecture they are setting up? Basically, I have been studying all their cloud architectures. I will be sharing all my findings during the talk and I will be showing people how those big players have built their cloud computing environment and how did they do it, which technologies are they using? What are the common trends and know-how to put these information systems in place that need to meet such high requirements (in terms of performance, scalability, availability, resilience, and security of cloud environments)? It's really exciting because most people are using these platforms. It's interesting to find out what is behind all this environment we are using? This is what I am going to share in this year's cloud symposium.

SOA Magazine: Thank you again Anthony in taking your time. We will be looking forward to your presentation and participation in this year's SOA and Cloud Symposium in Berlin.

Anthony Assi: Thank you!

Download the MP3 (Length: 04:36)

Exclusive Interview with Naveen Gabrani

This podcast explores pressing topics in the cloud computing industry
today. Naveen discusses issues such as the lack of industry standards, different definitions of cloud computing, and the educational value of
vendor neutrality. Tune in to find out more from the creator of, Naveen Gabrani.

SOA Magazine: Hi Naveen, how are you?

Naveen Gabrani: I'm doing very well, Amy. How are you?

SOA Magazine: Great! Thank you for joining us today. My first question is can you tell us about

Naveen Gabrani: is a free website. It provides tutorials from the basic topics of cloud computing such as what is cloud computing, what are the types of cloud computing to more advance topics .We also have articles on virtualization. Some of the articles are written by me and some articles are written by industry experts. We try to provide a vendor-neutral view on the aspects of cloud computing.

SOA Magazine: Sounds very informative. Can you tell us what you think about vendor neutrality brings to

Naveen Gabrani: Today, there are many sources of information on cloud computing. But most of them are by large vendors and many times their opinions are biased. They have their own products and services that influence their view on cloud computing. So this website provides an opportunity for different vendors to provide their views and talk about their products and etc. It provides a fair and balanced information on cloud computing.

SOA Magazine: With all the different ideas and opinions out there about cloud computing, it can be difficult to define. Could you tell us what you think cloud computing is and what it is not?

Naveen Gabrani: Cloud computing has different interpretations for different people. The site follows the [National Institute of Standards and Technology] NIST definition which is emerging as the standard. So I follow that definition.

SOA Magazine: Could you elaborate on what that definition is?

Naveen Gabrani: Sure. So basically my interpretation is that it is about making information available as per on the web and making it available as an pay-as-you-go model. So there is no upfront cost and you have a model where based on the usage, you incur cost. You don't host anything on your own machine and everything is hosted on a standard vendor location. Those are some of the highlights of cloud computing in my opinion.

SOA Magazine: I've heard that the lack of industry standards is still a large problem in the cloud computing world. What is your opinion on this?

Naveen Gabrani: It's a new arena. And as you mention, the standards are not yet there and most of the areas of cloud computing. It will take time and I think in the coming year, we will see more and more standards getting defined.

SOA Magazine: Thank you very much for joining us today Naveen and your support for the SOA & Cloud Symposium. We hope to see you at this year's symposium in Berlin.

Naveen Gabrani: Thanks Amy.

Download the MP3 (Length: 07:46)

Exclusive Interview with Herbjörn Wilhelmsen

This podcast features an interview with Herbjorn Wilhelmsen from the Forefront Consulting Group. Herbjorn discusses his experience with
co-authoring different books, including the latest book from the Prentice
Hall Service Oriented Computing Series, "SOA with .NET & Windows Azure: Realizing Service-Orientation with the Microsoft Platform". He also talks about how cloud computing has actually, in a form, existed since 20 years ago. From this, he describes how it's evolved since it's first conception and where it is heading. Herbjorn further explores this topic, going into how the cloud has affected Forefront Consulting and his role, how SOA and cloud are related, and finally, some of the key benefits and issues that cloud computing companies are facing today. Tune in to this cloudy talk with the Cloud Symposium's very own program commiteee member, Herbjorn Wilhelmsen. You can find his blog at

SOA Magazine: Hi Herbjörn, how are you?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Great!

SOA Magazine: Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your involvement with the symposium series?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: I met Thomas Erl a few years back and actually just before the 1st International Symposium that was arranged in Amsterdam. I was a part of the Program Committee that year and the year after. This year I am a part of the Cloud Program Committee. I also worked on a couple of books with Thomas and the co-author of the SOA Manifesto.

SOA Magazine: I also read your profile on the SOA and Cloud Symposium website, and I noticed that you are a co-author for the newly released "SOA with .NET & Windows Azure" book. Could you tell us a bit about the book?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: In SOA, people tend to think about high level things and rightly so. However, if you really want to build an SOA you need to get down to the technology; you need to implement things in a good way in order to get a good SOA. So, many SOA books keep themselves on the high level and don't really go down into details on how to really implement service to support all these characteristics that we talk about each day. This book takes on some high level concepts and goes down into details, to show everybody how to implement services.

SOA Magazine: And what was it like working with members of Microsoft team on putting this book together? Because I noticed a lot of the co-authors are actually a part of the Microsoft organization.

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Yes and they are also leaders in Microsoft. They are the people that Microsoft employees ask questions and the people that Microsoft employees want to listen to. So it has been a very nice experience, I get to talk to those that really know a lot about the existing products but also the upcoming products like Windows Azure.

SOA Magazine: I know that this year you are a member of the Cloud Symposium Program Committee. Could you tell us about how cloud computing is affecting the IT industry?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Well in some ways there isn't much new about cloud computing because some 20 years ago, people rented time in these large mainframe computers. In some respects, that is similar to cloud computing. Also, people have been hosting solutions for years and there are some similarities to cloud computing there too. The difference is that you can do it on a much greater scale than before, and you can have other kinds of economic advantages.

One of the most important advantages of cloud computing is what's referred to as elasticity – meaning you can quickly scale out your solutions so that you can serve a lot more requests, and when you do so, you pay some more. However, you can then just as quickly scale down so that you consume less resources, and you pay less. This means you do not have to spend a lot of capital up front in order to spend more resources and when you do spend less resources, you actually reduce your cost. If you compare that to owning your own hardware and software, that's very different because you need to invest in order to scale out and if you try to scale down, you still own your hardware and software and you may not save any money. It also sets some new requirements for the services and applications that we develop. We cannot develop our software the way some companies do because they have been cutting corners in several ways.

SOA Magazine: And how do you think is affecting your role at Forefront Consulting?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: We are establishing new offers, we think that cloud computing can be a very nice opportunity for some of our customers. So we look into offerings, mostly Microsoft offerings, and also some other offers. We are building some workshops, some sample applications and so on. However, I still think that many customers are afraid to take the first step.

SOA Magazine: Right, because it's so new.

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Because it's new and because there is actually one difficulty that we didn't see with the hosting. With the traditional hosting, you can claim that even though you put your services or applications on someone else's servers, you can still expect them to be in the same country or at least you can choose someone in the same country, so you know which laws apply.

But in cloud computing, that is different. So for instance, in Sweden, there are no big cloud centers. If you want to use big cloud vendor, you must have your application services and data outside of the country.

SOA Magazine: So these are boundary issues?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Yes and what's more troubling, is that we don't really know today which laws apply. We can guess, but to know, we need some real cases where people don't agree on things and we need lawyers and jury to really decide which laws apply and what's going to happen, then we will know more about it. Until that happens, it's a little bit blurry.

SOA Magazine: Could you tell us how you see the relationship between SOA and Cloud Computing?

Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Yes, that's a good question. I think there's a lot of design principles and design patterns in SOA that need to be applied in order to build successful cloud solutions. One example of that is handling state. We talked earlier about elasticity and scaling services; if you do not really consider how you handle state in your applications and services, you will not be able to take advantage of elasticity and that's really the number one selling point of cloud computing.

SOA Magazine: Thank you Herbjörn for taking the time to talk to me today. We will be looking forward to your sessions and participation at this year's SOA & Cloud Symposium in Berlin.