Tolga Talks Tech is a weekly video series in which Onica’s CTO Tolga Tarhan tackles technical topics related to AWS and cloud computing. This week, Tolga discusses Moving up the Stack on AWS with Goran “Kima” Kimovski, SVP of Global Customer Solutions at Onica.  For more videos in this series, click here.

We hear a lot about moving up the stack in the cloud. What do we mean by that?

When we first started with cloud consulting for customers, we found that the cloud provider allowed for certain services like quick provisioning of virtual machines, storage, and autoscaling. However, we saw the opportunity to innovate further and integrate the operating system, the applications, and other parts of the stack, and moving up the stack to provide managed services. What this does is enable customers to focus on the value-add, on solving business problems and providing business outcomes, instead of worrying about low-level IT challenges like uptime and backup and restore.

Over the years, AWS has been able to innovate and we’ve seen a lot of new concepts and services such as serverless, managed databases, managed load balancers, and managed API gateways. This enabled a lot of customers using the platform to innovate on top of that by focusing on those higher level business functions.

Does this change the build vs. buy calculation that companies often make?

This is a conversation we have with a lot of customers. A lot of IT-centric organizations feel its better to buy a turnkey solution, but they find very quickly they spend as much money, if not more, integrating that solution with the other systems they have.

With the cloud, you have building blocks that are being managed fully by the cloud provider. So while you do spend the time to integrate those services, but because they’re fully managed, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculation changes a lot. So when you’re looking at build vs. buy, the opportunity there is to invest the same amount of time and money to build something that’s valuable —not work around the limitations of the turnkey solution, but taking advantage of the right service for the right job and integrating with the rest of the stack.

Customers are sometimes concerned about data and data being locked into third-party tools. How does that work in this model?

When you buy a turnkey solution, you’re very dependent on how the vendor stores the data and what interface it provides to you to be able to extract the data, and a lot of companies find themselves fighting to get their data from one system to another.

With the cloud, you have so many different services that provide a native integration, so moving data from one place to another is very easy. So instead of thinking about centralizing your data in one place, you can create replicas and copies of that data and send it to the right service in a format that service can understand, because the cloud provides a lot of the integration between those services, democratizing the ability to leverage and build solutions around the data without locking in to one particular format or solution.

So it sounds like freedom to manage the data the way you sit, as well as freedom to build your own differentiating value on top of these systems.

Correct. There’s a lot of novel, innovative services being built like Amazon Athena, Amazon RedShift Spectrum, and many others that allow you to process the data in many different ways. In order for a company to buy that type of software that can do that type of data processing, they would have to spend millions of dollars to buy a solution that does it all, and they’d still be limited by the functionality. Whereas with the cloud model and managed services, you can use the right service for the right type of processing you need, and you’re not locked into it if a new service launches that provides better value.

If you are just getting started on your cloud journey and need assistance, please contact us.

Tolga Tarhan

About Tolga Tarhan

As Onica’s Chief Technology Officer, Tolga Tarhan leads the technological vision of the company by pushing innovation and driving strategy for our product development and service offerings. With nearly two decades of experience leading and hands-on software development, his cross-functional expertise across different technology areas gives him unique insight into the best approaches for building complex systems and applications. In addition to facilitating technology on the executive level, Tolga has also successfully led numerous deployments involving web-based, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), and real-time telecommunications applications. His passion for IoT in particular has driven Onica’s achievement of the AWS IoT competency, and he continues to show thought leadership in the field through his extensive speaking engagements at AWS events and educational groups across North America. Tolga also holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and helps customers strategize beyond technology solutions to improve their businesses and grow their bottom line.