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The Cloud Opportunity Window is Now Officially Open

Cloud Computing Expo Kicks Off in Santa Clara

Having gone through a couple of decades worth of technology conferences, a familiar cycle occurs. For the first couple years, technology-related conferences are attended by engineers and operations people. Only after the technology has passed a couple of feasibility gates and begun to hit the business cycle do sales and marketing people take over. Cloud is now officially past the engineering phase, well into the sales phase – and the business community is scrambling to understand the implications of a virtualized world.

At the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, California, the opening keynote session venue was completely filled, with the organizer (SYS-CON Events) obliged to quickly expand the audience into two overflow rooms, in addition to mounting displays in hallways adjacent to the main ballroom. According to the conference organizer more than twice as many have signed up and are attending the conference than planned. And cloud "buzz" is electric within the halls.

Keynote Speech - Richard Marcello - UnisysCloud computing is here, the industry innovation machine is spooling, and the "nay-sayers" are starting to quiet down as the reality of cloud computing is articulated, codified, and presented in a format that has finally gone past the high level "concepts" of recent cloud expos and conferences.

This must be true, because the hallways are now filling with people wearing suits, ties, and polo shirts with snappy logos. Engineers still roam the halls, identifiable by their blue jeans, T-shirts, and backpacks filled with gadgets and computers. The ratio is about 50:50, indicating cloud service providers are now attending conferences for the purpose of business development, rather than to simply share ideas and further develop cloud technology as an R&D community.

The Opening Keynote – Cloud Myth-Busting
Richard Marcello, President, Technology, Consulting, and Integrations Services at Unisys kicked off the conference with a keynote speech entitled "The Time is Right for Enterprise Cloud Computing." The presentation followed a familiar model in the public (non engineering and technician audience) conditioning of a new technology – "the Nine Myths of Cloud Computing." A very good presentation (really), which drilled into common misconceptions of cloud computing. This type approach is useful when giving an instructional presentation, with statements such as:

  • Myth #9 – Cloud computing is brand new – a revolution
  • Myth #8 – All clouds are the same
  • Myth #7 – Cloud computing is about technology
  • Myth #5 – Cloud computing is not reliable
  • And so on…

Do a search and replace of "cloud computing" with "Internet" and you could pose the same myths, with the discriminating factor being one of how you present the response in breaking each myth. Yes, it is marketing and borderline cliché, but it does go far in visualizing cloud computing to the new attendees from the business side of our industry.

Marcello did present one eloquent response to the myth "The Internal data center is more secure than the cloud." He showed a slide which had three separate applications creating data. The data is stored in a storage cloud, as well as being manipulated in a service cloud. Data going into the cloud service (processing), and into the storage cloud is brought into a single stream, which cannot be intercepted by a "sniffer" or other device, and the actual data instances are only recognizable by the application using the data. To all others attempting to intercept the data, it appears as "water running through a pipe."

Actually, not a bad analogy.

Marcello went on the describe his taxonomy of the "real time access engine" which controls the data streams into each application or storage device, security within an enterprise, industry, or organizational community of interest. However the most important message delivered during his speech was the idea that cloud computing will "generate new business models and ideas that none of us have yet envisioned."

But, That's Not What I designed…
This message is strong. All engineers have gone through the experience of creating a product, and then observing the product being used by people for activities never envisioned by the creator. Imagine the continuing astonishment of the originators of the Internet. A simple tool for distributed applications and network survivability, and it is now the basis for nearly all communications, entertainment, business, and social interaction between humans throughout the world.

What will cloud computing bring us in the future? What will smart kids who are going through an education system with complete immersion in the global Internet cloud as a normal part of life be able to see in a potential global model of data and applications virtualization? Much as the early days of the internet represented a mere tip of the future network "iceberg," what we see in cloud computing today is just the tip of what virtualization of compute and storage resources will ultimate become.

What will happen when SSDs (solid state disks) become part of the layer 2 switching backplane (Slapping an SSD card into a switching slot, making Fiber channel over Ethernet obsolete overnight)? An entire content delivery network and system currently using 100 cabinets of servers and disk reduced to a single card in a switch…

Integration with IPv6. Standardization in cloud services allowing formation of cloud spot markets and interoperability.

We have a lot of questions to throw both at the engineers, as well as the business visionaries attending the conference. Welcome sales and marketing folks, welcome to the new age of cloud computing.

John Savageau, Long Beach (From the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo, Santa Clara, California)

More Stories By John Savageau

John Savageau is a life long telecom and Internet geek, with a deep interest in the environment and all things green. Whether drilling into the technology of human communications, cloud computing, or describing a blue whale off Catalina Island, Savageau will try to present complex ideas in terms that are easily appreciated and understood.

Savageau is currently focusing efforts on data center consolidation strategies, enterprise architectures, and cloud computing migration planning in developing countries, including Azerbaijan, The Philippines, Palestine, Indonesia, Moldova, Egypt, and Vietnam.

John Savageau is President of Pacific-Tier Communications dividing time between Honolulu and Burbank, California.

A former career US Air Force officer, Savageau graduated with a Master of Science degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas and also received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Asian Studies and Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland.

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