Thoughts on Cloud Computing and Conference and Expo Europe

Having just got back from the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo Europe held in Prague this week, I thought I’d share my impressions of the event.

The higlhights of the conference for me were:

GoodData have built a Business Intelligence solution on top of the cloud. It’s a Software-as-a-Service product that they can deploy with their customers in a matter of a week. They’ve thought out of the box and designed their architecture from the ground up so that it’s scalable in the cloud. It runs on EC2 and uses a different way of looking at BI that doesn’t use traditional OLAP cubes.

RightScale showed how they add value on top of Amazon and the other cloud providers, providing comprehensive auto-scaling and monitoring features. The thing that excited me most was the fact customers can launch marketing campaigns in the press with the knowledge that they can add as many servers as the like to meet the demand.

VMWare presented their VSphere product, which will be the foundation of their cloud offering. The highlight of their presentation was the intro though, this hillarious video made a few years ago of a virtualized hardware hotel.

Sun presented their cloud offering which will be made into a restricted beta at JavaOne. The demo was very impressive, dragging and dropping servers and firewalls and connecting them together in a similar way.

There was some negativity in the conference, especially because some issues still need to be tackled e.g. security etc., however the majority of people I spoke to thought that Cloud is here to stay.

There were a lot of talks focused on Security, which is going to be key in moving to the cloud. The building blocks are all out there in the cloud though, encryption, certificates, keys, firewalls etc., what is missing as the security expert from Sun pointed out, is some sort of federation so that you can don’t hand all your keys over to your cloud provider.

The talks about cloud-bursting between private clouds and public clouds using so-called Hybrid clouds were quite interesting, but I think it’s going to be a long time before we see private clouds interoperable with the current public clouds.

What’s clear to me though, is there are many untapped areas out there for cloud computing, and I think we’re at the beginning of a paradigm shift in IT that’s going to be as dramatic as the introduction of the PC in the early 80′s. I for one, am very excited to be involved.

Our presentation was very well received as it provided a real world example of how to do complex processing in Amazon, showed problems and showed how we solved them.

You can see photos from the event here

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