Ask the IT Consultant

Aug 4 2010   8:00PM GMT

Report from the Clouds

Beth Cohen Beth Cohen Profile: Beth Cohen

Question:  The hype about Cloud computing is reaching fever pitch.  Is cloud computing just recycled technology, or is there something really innovative and new?

Last week I attended a great little Unconference called CloudCamp Boston.  For those who are interested separating the hype from the reality of cloud computing this was the happening place to be.  Unlike the previous Boston CloudCamp, where the attendees were  mostly tire-kicking enterprise architects or vendors who were seeing their core markets drying up as so many of their customers, if they were not buying cloud services yet, are hesitating on investing on what is increasingly seen as the legacy technologies of client/server based applications.

This time the majority of attendees were serious engineers and architects, who have the skills and vision to turn the enterprise cloud buzz into working IT infrastructures that will save companies substantial money, while delivering on the elasticity without compromising security or performance.  With the CloudCamp’s 120 some odd visionary IT architects, the nine top hot topics were in no particular order:

  • Interoperability – Now that cloud is here, how are we going to get all the applications to work together in our IT portfolios?
  • Security – The perennial favorite.  Now that we cannot pin down the exact location of the data, how can we protect it from the legal, physical and business perspectives?
  • Cloud Abstraction – A new topic.  The visionaries are starting to ask the hard questions about how much you can actual abstract your IT infrastructure without losing sight of the practicalities of running an organization on it.  I am starting to see so much abstraction with the multiple vendors and layers, it easy to lose sight of the fundamental issues.
  • Enterprise Reference Model for Cloud – We need to develop a set of best practices for what belongs on the cloud and how to work in the cloud at the enterprise level.
  • Cloud to Cloud Data Integration – Related to interoperability, but this asks how we can automate pushing data through different cloud apps on the fly, a very sophisticated question indeed.
  • Bandwidth – Now that we have moved to the cloud to save money of infrastructure, have we just shifted our headaches and costs to your friendly local telecommunications provider?  Is there a case for WAN optimization on the cloud?
  • Reconciling Public Cloud Infrastructures with Enterprise Requirements – Is the Enterprise forced to move to the private cloud model, that IBM, HP and EMC’s Acadia are prompting, or are there ways to capitalize on the public cloud without compromising data security and integrity?
  • Cloud Migration Best Practices – Developing business processes that allow mapping a cloud strategy to the business strategy.  What metrics make the most sense, ROI, value, culture, comfort level with outsourcing solutions in general.  What is the actual migration process look like?
  • Missing Technologies and Gaps – Very interesting topic that gets to the heart of the fact that we cannot rely on older technologies to cloud scale.

In the coming weeks, I will be writing more on some of these topics.  I for one was very impressed with the passion and knowledge that the attendees brought to the proceedings.

About the Author

Beth Cohen, Cloud Technology Partners, Inc.

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