Are Open APIs Enough to Prevent Lock-in?

George Reese (enStratus Networks LLC), James Duncan (Joyent), Subra Kumaraswamy (eBay Inc), Mark Masterson (CSC), Patrick Kerpan (Cohesive Flexible Technologies), Stephen O'Grady (Redmonk)
Location: Portland_Ballroom
Tags: cloud, api, debate
Average rating: **...
(2.80, 5 ratings)

One of the major concerns around cloud computing is lock-in but can open APIs solve this problem. Are they enough to create portability and interoperability between providers? Can Open APIs mean that a proprietary platform can be a friend to the open source world?

For the argument: George Reese

Against the argument: James Duncan 

Jury: Subra Kumaraswamy, Mark Masterson, Russell Miles, Stephen O’Grady

Photo of George Reese

George Reese

enStratus Networks LLC

George Reese is the founder of two Minneapolis-based companies, enStratus Networks LLC (maker of high-end cloud infrastructure management tools) and Valtira LLC (maker of the Valtira Online Marketing Platform). Over the past 15 years, George has authored a number of technology books, including MySQL Pocket Reference, Database Programming with JDBC and Java, Java Database Best Practices, and Web Architecture and Programming in the Cloud.

James Duncan


James is a veteran of many startups – some successful, some not. Having seen the successful acquired, and IPO’d James brings perspective of how companies change, from small to large, and what a company needs to do at each stage of its growth. Most recently, James was one of two founders at Reasonably Smart, a Platform-as-a-Service company based in Montreal. Subsequently James became Joyent’s Director of Platform Strategy when Reasonably Smart was acquired in January of 2009.

Prior to Reasonably Smart & Joyent James spent 7 years at Fotango, finishing his time there as the CIO. Fotango, acquired by Canon in 2001, developed one of the world’s first Platform-as-a-Service offerings. This expertise allows James to bring a deep knowledge of platforms, frameworks, and operations to Joyent and their customers.

Subra Kumaraswamy

eBay Inc

Subra is cloud security and identity strategist and architect at eBay. Prior to that he was a security architect for Oracle’s On Demand platform service. Previously, he led various security initiatives including identity and access management and consulted for Sun’s public infrastructure service cloud. He is co-author of the O’Reilly publication “Cloud Security and Privacy – An Enterprise perspective on risks and compliance”, which addresses issues related to preparing for cloud computing. Subra is a founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance and co-chair of the Identity & Access Management and Encryption & Key Management workgroups. Subra’s has held leadership roles at Accenture, Netscape, Lycos and Sun. Subra has a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from Clemson University. Subra is CISSP and CISM certfied.

Photo of Mark  Masterson

Mark Masterson


So-called ‘enterprise architect’ and self-appointed resident troublemaker, Mark is CSC’s Innovation Lead for the Financial Services vertical in EMEA.

He splits his time between working with clients, working for the CTO’s office on product and services strategy and contributing to the Leading Edge Forum’s Executive Programme. He has worked as a parasite of the financial services industry in Frankfurt and London for the last 20 years and has spent the last several years researching, and working with clients of all sizes on cloud computing, SaaS and Enterprise 2.0.

He is co-author of the recently released LEF report, Doing Business In The Cloud, a founding member of the 2.0 Adoption Council, on the advisory board of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit, instigator of CloudCamp Frankfurt, and is a frequent public speaker and published author on the topics of cloud computing and Enterprise 2.0. He also writes a blog, popular in certain circles, where he tries to broker peace between geek and enterprisey worlds. Other research interests and development experience are focused on BPM and distributed systems in enterprisey organisations, as well as systems management and performance engineering. In a previous life, Mark was a UNIX sys admin, and has the scars to prove it. He also jumped out of helicopters, and drove trucks full of missiles around in the dark whilst going entirely too fast in the first Gulf War. Known for a lack of respect for the status quo, Mark is one of those people who spent their formative years being told that they have a ‘problem with authority figures’, and he loathes bios.

Photo of Patrick Kerpan

Patrick Kerpan

Cohesive Flexible Technologies

Patrick Kerpan is the President and chief technology officer (CTO) for CohesiveFT, the provider of Secure Cloud Container Solutions including Elastic Server for virtual image management and VPN-Cubed for cloud networking. In these roles, Kerpan is responsible for directing product, technology and sales strategy.

Kerpan brings more than 20 years of software experience to the role of CTO and was one of CohesiveFT’s founders in 2006. Previously he was the CTO of Borland Software Corp which he joined in 2000 through the acquisition of Bedouin, Inc., a company that he founded. Kerpan was also the vice president and general manager of the Developer Services Platform group at Borland, where he was instrumental in leading the Borland acquisition of StarBase in 2003.

Before founding Bedouin, Inc., Kerpan was a managing director responsible for derivatives technology at multiple global investment banks.

Stephen O'Grady


Stephen is a Principal Analyst and co-founder of RedMonk, and addresses the full spectrum of infrastructure software from development to deployment, including operating systems, application languages and platforms, and database technologies, with a special focus on open source.

Before setting up RedMonk, Stephen assisted in building out the Enterprise Content Management and Enterprise Portal knowledge set at Illuminata by drawing on his real world expertise in implementing such products for leading systems integrators. Prior to joining Illuminata, Stephen served in various senior capacities with large systems integration firms like Keane and boutique consultancies like Blue Hammock.

Regularly cited in publications such as the New York Times, BusinessWeek, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal, and a popular speaker and moderator on the conference circuit, Stephen’s advice and opinion is well respected throughout the industry.

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