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Cloud Computing World Forum 2011 – Insights Part 2

More insights from Cloud Computing World Forum following on from my earlier post

So two sessions down and two more to go. Next up I attended a panel session “Advantages and trends in cloud technology”

This was chaired by Rupert Goodwins @rupertg the Editor ZDNet UK. In Rupert’s opening pitch he made the statement that “negatives make better news stories….” how true is that? Brought a smile to my face as I’m normally on the receiving end of such stories so I’m liking him already.

So this session was a decent discussion involving reps from SymetriQ, Barclays Bank and Onyx Group covering topics such as cloud concerns around security, interoperability and vendor confidence.

There was some good discussion around compliance and penetration testing, e.g. how often and how do you govern when someone else owns some of the moving parts? I’m not sure I heard a good answer in the end. However, there was also a classic one liner (from the Barclays chap) in :

“I for one wouldn’t put my crown jewels out there” ~ the mind boggles!

Towards the end the session got bogged down a little in the age old ‘what is and what isn’t a cloud’ debate (more on that later)… Many people including myself are now well versed in what the cloud is and continuing to debate this is of little importance anymore.

It also turns out Rupert and myself have something in common from way back in the 90’s… Networking products called Mainlan and Mainlan/386. Turns out that Rupert wrote a multitasking kernel in 386 back then… happy days indeed as he indicated in a later twitter conversation.

My last session of the day saw me head off in the direction of “Cloud computing – more than just virtualisation” by Wes Nolte of Tquila

Wes started by introducing himself as an international award winner, author, and prolific blogger, tweeter and talk giver … my expectations were high indeed!

Wes talked about Crowdsourcing, The internet of Things, and the pending extinction of the IT department. He shared some very interesting statistics. For example, the IT industry uses as much power as the Airline Industry, and did you know that Google  surreptitiously digitises 1billion words per year by crowdsourcing? Makes you wonder how many words there are in the world!

Then I’m not sure how it happened exactly but we got into defining the cloud again… and just when I thought I’d heard them all Wes came out with an absolute cracker…

“Cloud is the virtualisation of computer hardware with the added benefit of geographical decentralisation.”

I have to tell you that this got my attention for all the wrong reasons… sorry Wes but if this was supposed to impress the audience or make things clearer, then it missed the mark by a considerable distance.

We then heard how the IT department was dying and it was all due to excess utilisation. I have to say I was expecting a much stronger argument, and I think this one is borrowed from a presentation I heard from Marc Benioff a while back. I’m sure Wes understands that IT departments are about much more than storage and utilisation, nevertheless I was left disappointed by this session and my expectations weren’t met…. sorry Wes!

If I could offer Wes two pieces of advice they would be… please visit some CIO’s and understand what business problems they really need to solve, and maybe let others decide on the prolific talk giver bit!

So, my detour to Cloud Computing World Forum is almost done but before I leave I manage to grab a few minutes with David Terrar @DT . David is a really nice chap who I follow on Twitter and met up with at the same event last year. We had a short but very good chat around cloud accounting providers, market dynamics, scaling small cloud businesses into big ones and company cultures. Hopefully we’ll get more time to carry on our discussion next time we meet.

And finally my conclusion from the day was summed up by this tweet from Gary Burt @gburt  

“The best sessions were from end users and those actually doing it!”

Very wise words indeed… Isn’t that always the case?

7 replies on “Cloud Computing World Forum 2011 – Insights Part 2”

Criticism is always welcome, would’ve loved to have gotten your feedback face-to-face. Thanks for your opinions, I’ve only gotten good feedback so far but it’s much easier to learn from the things I’ve done wrong 😉

I think my delivery must’ve missed the mark – certainly my fault. My definition of the cloud was intentionally high-level and vapid, I’m sure there were many others defining the cloud and I’m quite bored of that type of discussion.

On your second point I must’ve been unclear too, the IT department isn’t going anywhere due to over utilisation, that’s simply one of the issues that cloud computing helps alleviate. In my talk I mentioned how my company – and other powerhouses, companies that are the biggest of their kind in the world – are reducing the size of their IT departments by moving parts of their landscape into the cloud. A change in this core of IT has some powerful ripple-effects! I also said I know this because I’ve helped and led many of their teams, much of the time working closely with their CIOs. This of course is a contentious point, I don’t expect everyone (anyone?) to agree with me.

As an aside, I would never use any of Benioff’s material, I draw inspiration from those much closer to the ground 🙂

One of the things we’ve been talking about in our office is that it seems anyone can put the word “Cloud” in front of a product and get the benefits from the hype, even if it isn’t true cloud computer. It seems this buzz word is following the trend of putting “i” before products like apple has done.

Hi Nicole, I couldn’t agree more… The number and types of company that are jumping on the bandwagon to leverage some sort of advantage never cease to amaze, which is why it’s no longer sensible to have the ‘what is a cloud’ debate.

And to your point Apple just topped everyone by prefixing Cloud with ‘i’ and introduced the iCloud … Happy days!!!

I’ve heard it said that every time some one says “cloud computing” a kitten somewhere dies.

But seriously it’s just going through the same phases as “Web 2.0”. Once edgy and cool it’s now cringe-worthy and passe.

I think the biggest question is, will this “cloud catch phrase” stick around? Will it come and go like myspace or grow like facebook? My prediction: we will have another buzz word to use in about 2-3 years (cloud has been around for a while, but didn’t catch on until the past year or so). We’ll see!

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