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Monday, March 16, 2009

A Conversation with Emil Sayegh, Mosso General Manager

Last week, Mosso announced their new "Cloud Server" and "Cloud Sites" offerings. They also exited "Cloud Files" from beta, positioning themselves as a challenger to Amazon. With this as a background, I welcomed their invitation to speak with General Manager Emil Sayegh.

Early in the conversation, I asked Emil to explain Mosso's advantage over Amazon's offerings. "The major advantage of Cloud Server over EC2 is that our server instances are persistent, not ephemeral."

Mosso is generally well known as the cloud hosting division of Rackspace. Recently however, the division has embraced the Rackspace name in thier branding. According to Emil, this was done in order to signal that Mosso will be more aggressively leveraging dedicated hosting offerings with their cloud services. This dual approach was apparently key to the company's ability to offer a PCI compliant cloud service. PCI compliance is required in order to prcess redit cards. Since the cloud and traditional hosting infrastructures are "under the same roof", Mosso is able to meet stringent security requirements by shifting from the cloud to the hosting infrastructure as PCI compliance needs dictated.

After these initial exchanges, I focused the discussion on Mosso's plans in the Federal marketplace. Mosso states that although they currently have federal customers using their cloud services, the company is restricted from identifying specific agencies. Since my focus has generally been on the use of cloud computing for operational functions, I was anxious to find out what functions were being deployed to the cloud. "Today our Federal customers are using our services for brochure and campaign sites because of security concerns. A handful of agencies are also testing Cloud Files", according to Emil.

Although Mosso's current customer's have strictly limited their use of the cloud, this conversation shows that many agencies are quietly testing the cloud computing waters. If the new administration gets serious about leveraging the cloud, I'm sure that operational uses are not far in the future.