Adobe’s Cloud Computing Initiative, Greening their Data Centers

GigaOm has an interview with Adobe’s Kevin Lynch, CTO discussing their cloud computing initiative.

The GigaOM Interview: Kevin Lynch, CTO, Adobe Systems
Om Malik, Monday, August 4, 2008 at 12:01 AM PT Comments (1)

Sitting across from me in the lounge of a posh Half Moon Bay, Calif., resort recently, Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer of Adobe Systems, a software company based in nearby San Jose, outlined his vision of the technology world at large. In particular, Lynch, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Harry Porter (picture the impish wizard as a grown-up) talked about how the confluence of cloud computing, web-centric applications and the emergence of the mobile Internet was going to impact our collective future.

Below are edited excerpts from our conversation:

Om Malik: How is the emergence of cloud computing impacting desktop-centric Adobe Systems as a company?

Kevin Lynch: Adobe is a 25-year-old company and that’s a great achievement because we have had the ability to change. We have changed with technological shifts. And now we are in that situation again. How software is made and sold is changing, so we are changing.

We are taking a balanced approach, and are building a hosted infrastructure. It’s not just about the cloud, but also about the desktop. There are some who are all about the cloud while others think about the desktop first. We have a hybrid approach, and we are doing that with our products like AIR.

Om: Can you talk about your online software-on-demand strategy?

Lynch: We have products like Buzzword, Photoshop Express and that we are doing online. We are not deploying at the level of raw storage and raw hosting. Instead we are looking at application hosting from our customers’ perspective.

After reading about Photoshop Express’s cloud computing experience. It reminded me of some old colleagues who work at Adobe and have been building their energy efficient server infrastructure for a green data center. Last I checked with them a year ago they were custom building their own servers to get the performance they needed. Adobe is going to be one of those companies who say nothing about their data centers to protect their assets especially in a competitive area like photo sharing, but they have some unique advantages like the Photoshop code base and customers.

Om: So that means you guys need to learn a whole new language of building scalable infrastructure?

Lynch: We have 600,000 users of Photoshop Express and 500,000 unique visitors to the site every month. About 8 million Flash players are installed every day, and that needs a lot of bandwidth and infrastructure. So we know that, but it is a question facing all software companies going forward.