The 2nd Annual Cloud Computing World Forum was recently held for 3 days, from June 29th through July 1st, 2010, at the Olympia Conference Centre, in London England. Core goals for the conference were to allow participants holding high level technology roles from various organizations to discover and evaluate products and services, discuss emerging industry trends, look into the future, and consider real solutions to real problems from industry leading vendors.
Before being concerned with a rundown of conference happenings, let’s take a brief moment to understand what cloud computing means. First, it is important to realize that the “cloud” is simply a metaphor for the Internet. Therefore, as a majority is online using the Internet, we are all practicing cloud computing, in a sense. For the most part, however, cloud computing from a business point of view is concerned more with business applications such as products offered from Salesforce, Microsoft, and Amazon. At its most basic in plain definition, cloud computing occurs when services and data that is stored on the Internet is accessed, usually from a web browser. The significance of the evolution of cloud computing as is known today, is very similar to the move from mainframes to client-server models that took place in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
The conference that was held just before the US, July 4th holiday, took the concepts and aspects of cloud computing and made them available for open discussion. Current customers, future customers, suppliers, and vendors were able to mingle and evaluate needs and solutions. Vendors were present to layout roadmaps of product offerings and to sign up potential new clients for their services. Likely to be considered by all as the most important topic and feature of any service, even regardless of its business purpose, was data security.
Security leader McAfee reported that studies show that the first question from 9 out of 10 customers about the cloud is related to security, and ultimately what those customers need to understand and feel comfortable with from a provider is trust through transparency. This means that, rest assured, the correct controls are in place, and the customer need not (and should not) be involved with or worry about the compromise of data while conducting routine business.
Managed power and services also made the top of the expectations list, with buzz surrounding Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Toby Wright, CTO of Telegraph Media Group states that his organization migrated to cloud computing due to the availability of the power, scalability, and manageability it would not have to provide in house on its own. Many companies are seeing a functioning IT department this way, and providers such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and more were more than glad to offer customers external solutions to their required business services.
Bernard Golden, CEO of consulting firm HyperStratus, spoke at the conference and in one of his recaps of the event summed Cloud computing in one reasonable and strong statement: “Cloud computing has changed the role of IT and given it a seat at the business table rather than being relegated to the little kids’ cost center table.”
Cloud computing on Wikipedia.
Ian Scales: Skies are clear ahead at the Cloud Computing World Forum.
Bernard Golden, SFGate: How the Cloud Changed World’s Oldest Newspaper