John Hudson help4IT

IT Life: Open Source Clouds For Customers

Open source and cloud are John Hudson’s favourite tech, a bicycle is is favourite transport

On by Peter Judge 0

After thirty years in the industry, John Hudson is technology director at IT support firm help4IT. He is an open source advocate and a cyclist.

His comapny’s slogan: – “We hire geeks so you don’t have to” – might raise some hackles amongst IT professionals, but the firm – and Hudson – offer useful expertise that most firms might not have at their fingertips. Hudson’s career has included networking, virtualisation, cloud replication, Linux and open source applications.

John Hudson help4ITHigh tech plumbers

What has been your favourite project in your work so far?
We use a wide range of open source and proprietary technologies to get the job done but we are really just high tech plumbers, linking systems together to get data flowing in a reliable and consistent manner. Leveraging open source technologies to build a cloud based IT infrastructure for business start-ups has been very rewarding.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Ten years ago we were helping organisations upgrade from traditional circuit switching connectivity like ISDN and leased lines to much more flexible and cost-effective packet switching using technologies such as ATM and MPLS.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
Wireless connectivity is becoming cheaper and faster. Currently the focus is on facilitating mobile devices and as that market becomes saturated, technology providers will turn to enabling organisations in suburban and semi-rural areas who find access to fibre based connectivity too expensive.

larry wall perl

Open source changed everything

Who’s your tech hero?
The open source pioneers:  people like Larry Wall (pictured), the creator of the Perl scripting language. A small group of talented individuals working without expecting financial reward have inspired a huge global community of software developers. The open source movement caused even the largest technology producers to rethink how they approach the market and we all better off for it.

Who’s your tech villain?
Patent Attorneys probably make a lot of money from the Intellectual Property wars that rage between technology companies. Acquisitions are frequently made in order to gain the upper hand over another by using the legal system instead of competing in a legitimate manner through innovation. The legal actions trigger tit for tat reaction and no one seems to gain, least of all the consumer.

bicycle bike cyclist pedal © Shutterstock Ljupco SmokovskiWhat’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?
The bicycle has little changed in over 100 years. The design is simple and elegant and is just as useful today as it was for our great grandparents.

How is your budget outlook going forward? 
We have made a considerable investment researching and implementing cloud connectivity, replication and resilience. We can now simply budget for additional computing power and storage as demand for our cloud services increases exponentially.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
The John Lewis Partnership, it’s a great example of a large, profitable company that is completely owned by the employees with a clear focus on customer service.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
As IT technologies converge and become more mature our focus is on improving customer service in order to stay ahead of our competition.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?
As technologies mature and become commodities, the market is dominated by a small number of large producers who invest large amounts to become cost leaders. Just as we do not normally produce our own electricity as it is readily available at low cost, so will we consider computing power and storage in the same manner. The path to the cloud is therefore inevitable, in the meantime however there is much to consider including availability, reliability and security.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
I went through architect, fighter pilot, doctor and biotechnologist. When Clive Sinclair introduced the ZX80 home computer, I became hooked on programming and there was no going back.

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Peter Judge

Author: Peter Judge

Editor, TechWeekEurope
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