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June 12, 2012

NYC Gets Its Cloud On

Tiffany Trader

Greetings from NYC Javits Center, Site of Cloud Expo, ODCA Forecast and Related Events

One of the largest cloud events in the world, Cloud Expo is taking place this week in New York City. The four-day affair marks the 10th iteration of the bi-coastal conference, which just expanded its agenda to include the wildly-popular big data topic. With this dual- and often overlapping focus, there really is something for everyone. Partner events include the ODCA Forecast 2012, Deploycon 2012, and the RightScale conference, among others.

Cloud Expo logoKicking off the official start of Day 1 was the opening keynote from Henry Fastert, SHI’s Chief Technologist, Professional Services Organization. SHI was a good pick for this honor as this prominent software company offers three different cloud services, and is playing a role in the evolution of HPC clouds as well.

Fastert, with 25 years of IT experience, including long stints at Unisys and HP, set the tone for the sessions to follow by providing a high-level overview of the cloud space with a focus on the use case for running mission-critical applications in the cloud. He highlighted the benefits of hybrid cloud, which lets users select the solution that best meets their needs, and provided a detailed breakdown of the various deployment scenarios.

First, there’s a shared or multi-tenant infrastructure, noted Fastert. While this is usually referred to as public cloud, the SHI exec is concerned this moniker gives the incorrect impression that the solution is so open as to be unsafe. He stressed that multi-tenant is not open to the general public, rather only customers of that cloud provider. Then there’s the private dedicated solution, which gives users access to a specific piece of infrastructure. Another type of private cloud is where the infrastructure is situated inside the customer’s datacenter, but is owned and managed by the cloud provider. This managed private cloud approach is a good fit for users with regulatory and compliance issues that prohibit their data from being outside of their datacenter, remarked Fastert.

Cloud Expo 2012 Oracle booth signageThe opening keynote was followed by a general session from Oracle’s Sandeep Banerjie. The focus here was on using enterprise cloud for business-critical applications. While Oracle has made some announcements around private cloud, Banerjie shared that the company is also offering public cloud services on a subscription basis. A common refrain of this session was how Oracle’s solutions have the breadth, depth and attention to the needs of the enterprise space.

Both SHI and Oracle have a major presence at the event, both on the show floor, in keynote talks and breakout sessions. Oracle just announced its expanded cloud strategy this week and seemed eager to continue the momentum. As for SHI, upon entering the exhibition floor, the prominent booth is the first thing attendees will see, with their well-lit SHI signage floating above.

After a half-day of keynotes and sessions, the show floor opened Monday evening to much fanfare. There was ample food and refreshments to be had as delegates explored the over 100 booths, demo theatres and exhibits. There was a high-level of engagement from the crowd, which was still going strong on the second day.

Quite a few special events shared the conference area with Cloud Expo East this year. The four-day Cloud Bootcamp is a tracked event that guides attendees through select Cloud Expo sessions and includes many additional classes that are not part of the main event. This intensive course provides an introduction to cloud computing to help professionals keep up with evolving trends like big data, PaaS, APIs, mobile, social and data analytics. Monday participants were briefed on the cloud ecosystem as well as the importance of open source in the cloud. A Tuesday session was aimed at helping attendees develop a strategy to measure the relevance of cloud computing to their business needs. While the final days’ syllabus includes the basics of building private clouds; a primer for building open hybrid clouds, a workshop on performing big data analytics using AWS Cloud; a hands-on PaaS workshop; and using the cloud to extend current infrastructure.

At the end of Day 2, Cloud Expo hosted a CloudCamp forum. This informal gathering provides “a common ground for the introduction and advancement of cloud computing,” according to the group’s website. Organized by Dave Nielsen of CloudCamp and Larry Carvalho of RobustCloud, this unconference event was comprised mostly of lightning talks and breakout sessions, fostering communication on topics such as decentralizing cloud storage, big data apps on OpenStack, open cloud, and PaaS Software.

The Open Data Center Alliance’s Forecast 2012 evODCA logoent shared space with Cloud Expo all day Tuesday. The content of this conference fit right in with the cloud and big data focus of the parent event, however ODCA also highlighted several key cloud enablers, such as openness, standards and security. The lively Forecast 2012 welcome keynote was delivered by the well-spoken Curt Aubley. As the VP & CTO of Cyber Security & NexGen Innovation at Lockheed Martin, as well as the Open Data Center Alliance President, Aubrey discussed the delivery of a secure cloud. (Be sure to read our interview with Aubley to learn all about Lockheed Martin’s cloud strategy.)

The second keynote was given by Andy Brown, UBS Group CTO & Client Facing Technologies CIO, who outlined the cloud requirements for financial services. The final keynote speaker was John Engates, CTO of Rackspace, who discussed the role of OpenStack as a cloud solution and also contributed to several lively panel discussions.

The ODCA Forecast 2012 was packed with informative and useful insight, opinion and analysis. At the various sessions, we discussed a wide range of topics relating to the datacenter and cloud. Common themes revolved around openness, interoperability, standards, security and best practices. The day’s conference eventually segued into evening frivolity as participants made their way to a hosted event at exclusive Times Square hotspot, Sky Room. The real clouds, of the rain variety, were in high gear, but failed to dampen the group’s spirits.

On June 13, the RightScale Conference will join Cloud Expo, bringing together RightScale users, partners, and other interested parties. The inclusive program aims to be accessible to a wide range of professionals, from C-level execs, to admins and developers, to those just beginning their cloud education. The agenda includes engaging speakers, expert advice, smart partners, time for idea sharing and networking, and a special edition t-shirt.

The RightScale Conference is a one-of-a-kind community event you won’t want to miss. We’re bringing together the entire RightScale ecosystem including users, partners, and those just beginning to explore the cloud. So whether you are C-level, hardcore sys admin or devops, or new to the industry, you will be able to talk to experts who have deep experience with cloud computing and RightScale.

The final Cloud Expo conference partner is Deploycon 2012, the Enterprise PaaS Summit. The all-day event, also taking place June 13, is inviting attendees to explore their PaaS options. The Summit is organized by Rishidot Research and its principle analyst Krishnan Subramanian, a noted cloud expert and the editor of CloudAve. The agenda includes three keynote addresses, panels on topics related to Paas and demo/ lab sessions.

The Cloud Expo organizers are reporting an attendance of about 20,000, making this the “largest cloud event in the world,” but if you weren’t able to make it, be sure to visit the Cloud Expo and ODCA Forecast websites in the coming weeks to view slides and videos from the event. And be sure to stay tuned to HPC in the Cloud for more live coverage.

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