This year’s Cloud World conference was a mashup of three industry conferences-¬† Open Source World, Next Generation Data Center (NGDC), and Cloud World.¬† Even with the combining of three (formerly) major industry events, the attendance volume still only merited the West wing of the Moscone Center.
It’s easy to blame the low attendance on the economy, but the low attendance could also have been the rather trite content of the conference sessions.¬† While I of course did not attend all the sessions, those that I did attend left me reminiscing about earlier conferences where there was thought provoking and informative presentations.¬† It’s not that the presenters were not informative.¬† It’s just that there was very little that seemed new or thought provoking.¬† Many of the NGDC sessions, while sporting different titles, were actually covering very similar and overlapping subject matter.
My real mission at the conference was to target those in attendance who are genuinely interested in acquiring Cloud resources, are in the process of building Cloud-based services, or who have been spending time analyzing the Cloud marketplace.¬† Of those that I spoke to, the following is a summary of their opinions and points of view:
- Cloud Computing is “about” business model flexibility.¬† It enables options in business delivery models and provides an option of agility in managing business applications.
- Large scale Cloud utilization can decrease an enterprise’ data center labor costs by as much as 40%.
- Vendors need to emphasize non-financial benefits as they sell into this space.
- By 2012, Cloud Computing will capture at least 25% of NEW IT spending.¬† Note the italics on “new.”¬† It accounts for approximately 15% of growth IT spending today.
- End-user confidence is very optimistic (according to Saugatuk survey).¬† 70% of end users feel Cloud will be mainstream by 2011.
- There are three areas of partnership potential identified:¬† ISV/SaaS Enablement, Cloud development, and Cloud infrastructure.
- Three types of Clouds:
- SaaS- Enterprise applications of various degress and scale of importance
- IaaS- Ready access to computing resources
- PaaS- for application development resources
- Colo providers can participate in public clouds as 3rd party providers of private cloud facilities
- Sweet spots for Cloud business:
- Finance and Accounting
- Customer Service
- Savvis, Rackspace frequently named as Cloud data center providers
- HP/EDS as potential cloud data center provider, but challenged by coherence and market expectation
- Critical to Quality for Cloud facilities:
- High bandwidth capability
- High power density capability
- Clouds will be seen as a commodity service.¬† Commodity service = commodity pricing
Toward those last points, these were the most frequently mentioned topics when I asked people what they thought was important at the facility layer for Cloud Computing.¬† Those that had specific infrastructure in mind repeatedly mentioned cabinet power density in the 16kw- 24kw/cabinet range.¬† Some (who were focused on the iDataplex equipment) asked about water cooling.¬† The other interesting point in these discussions was how frequently container data centers came up.¬† Many at this conference, at least, were thinking about containers applied to Cloud facilities.¬† Also regarding high power density installations, I heard a frequent complaint about colo providers who insist on spreading equipment out across large spaces in order to accomodate the high power on the raised floor.
It will be interesting to see how this information compares to the data we collect at the upcoming “Cloud User ’09” conference.