From the Founder & VP Products at CloudSwitch

Ellen Rubin

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Why an 'Apps' Guy Moved to Cloud Computing

The cloud requires a business model shift in enterprise software sales since cloud services by their nature are low-cost

CloudSwitch Session at Cloud Expo

I have spent most of my career involved in the development of software applications. For the past seven years, I had the honor of leading SolidWorks, the # 1 mainstream 3D CAD company in the world. When I left in 2007 we had over 750,000 users and tens of thousands of companies using our software. They were designing products that you and I use in our everyday lives.

Through a lot of hard work of hundreds of employees and some luck we helped create a lot of value for these customers as well as our investors and business partners. In addition to good luck (which we admittedly had a lot of), we capitalized on a fundamental platform shift: Unix to Windows. This platform shift, combined with a business model shift (direct sales to indirect sales) created a significant amount of value.  I sense the same opportunity with the cloud.

After taking some time off, I spent time with some local venture capital firms looking at a lot of new technologies, new products and business ideas. All of the start-ups (not just some, but all) were using the cloud for their infrastructure. Like canaries in a coal mine, this to me validated what I was observing: the cloud really is a new platform. Also, the cloud requires a business model shift in enterprise software sales since cloud services by their nature are low-cost and on-demand – unlike the traditional sales model of large, costly enterprise purchases.

I spent several months more looking at companies in and around the cloud space and became intrigued by the perspective shared by Ellen Rubin and John Considine, founders of CloudSwitch. They had a clear view of how they felt companies would want to take advantage of the cloud. This was evident in their approach: rather than try to take the clouds to the data center (which everyone appears to be doing), they wanted to start from the data center and help them extend out to the cloud.

Combine this simple, yet profound insight with a platform shift and a business model shift and you understand why an apps guy would be so excited to join the CloudSwitch team.

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More Stories By Ellen Rubin

Ellen Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, an enterprise storage company that recently raised $27 million in a Series B investment round. She is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning and go-to- market efforts for fast-growing companies. Most recently, she was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud enablement software company, acquired by Verizon in 2011. Prior to founding CloudSwitch, Ellen was the vice president of marketing at Netezza, where as a member of the early management team, she helped grow the company to more than $130 million in revenues and a successful IPO in 2007. Ellen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard University.