Written by Dan Pigat, VP Cloud and Collaboration Solutions.
We spent the past couple of days up in the clouds (high in the Banff mountains) at the Cloud Factory conference. Attendees ranged from experts to tire kickers, with the general theme being "open" (open source, OpenStack). The big vendors (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM) were almost invisible but discussed often, with the undercurrent that you don't want to "lock-in" to their offerings.
Which Cloud to Choose - On Premise, Private, Public
This was the main discussion and debate, with only one side really represented (the flip side to attending vendor-specific events). The approach you choose depends on your comfort with the cloud, and belief in your control and security of it. Depending on which industry and - more importantly - which organization you're in, there is a different tone towards "cloud" (insert your definition here). There was discussion and even sessions on how to educate others on what it is. At other conferences, embrace of the cloud is a given, where those attending are already convinced and converted. In short, no matter how tightly you embrace and move into the clouds, keeping your options open is important.
Let's Talk About Privacy
This is probably the hottest topic post-Snowden, but one that few will actually affect. No matter your stance on Edward himself, it's likely just another opinion (News Flash: governments spy - both outside the country and in). The real question is: What can actually be done about it? Or, more precisely: what should you do about it?
As highlighted by one speaker (Michelle Dennedy: Chief Privacy Officer at McAfee and author of The Privacy Engineer's Manifesto), it's about people. You should manage and secure your data properly (moving data to devices is a huge flaw and vulnerability), and then determine who can use it and how. Give them access, after you give them education.
As you'd expect, speakers presented benefits and use cases of migrating to the cloud, and everyone seems to agree this is a good thing. Not surprising as the global cloud computing market is expected to grow at an 30% reaching $270 billion in 2020. Discussion evolved from "why" the cloud towards what issues and possibilities are created once you're on the cloud.
This conference was a bit heavier on the "should" and lighter on the "how", but the conversation will get more concrete, quickly. As stated in one of the sessions, with over a billion computing nodes in the internet today and estimated to be over one Trillion by 2020, cloud computing will continue to evolve and have a significant impact on the way we develop and deploy applications to users. If you’re not thinking about how cloud computing affects your business, now is a good time to start.
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