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I have been planning conferences for many years and have come to believe that end user companies often make the best speakers. This is especially true for Cloud Connect because Cloud customers (our attendees) not only need to understand how the Cloud works but also how it aligns with their business objectives.

We are entering a new era in cloud computing where a customer’s success will no longer be measured by cloud adoption alone, but also by how they take advantage of  the Cloud to drive business forward. Simply put, Cloud has become the platform of innovation and that innovation will impact every aspect of the modern enterprise. Continue Reading »

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With Cloud Connect Chicago less than 8 weeks away we have started to take the wraps off our exciting keynote line up.  Our program reflects not only the state of enterprise cloud computing, but more importantly, where we’re going as we begin to understand how cloud computing is reshaping the modern enterprise.

The theme for this year’s conference is Navigating the Cloud for Enterprise Transformation which speaks to two of the most important trends in enterprise cloud adoption:

Enterprise Transformation: We’ve moved beyond defining cloud computing and evangelizing its value proposition.  The Cloud is here to stay and its value to business pretty well understood.  But we need continued focus on exactly how cloud is reshaping business in terms of technology choices, policies and organizational best practices.

Navigating the Cloud:  As companies set a cloud strategy they face a number of decisions around platforms, ecosystems and vendor partners.   Cloud Connect’s Conference Program is uniquely structured to compare and contrast the leading cloud stacks in the market.

With these themes in mind, I’m thrilled to welcome Alistair Croll, VP of CloudOps Research as a featured speaker.  Alistair will most definitely challenge your thinking with his vision for the cloud enabled enterprise. He is a true thought leader, consistently ranks among top speakers at Cloud Connect and i’m thrilled to welcome him back this year.  Here’s a little background on Alistair from the CloudOps Research website:

Alistair Croll is an entrepreneur, analyst, and author. He has founded several companies in the area of network infrastructure, performance management, and web technology, and chairs a number of the tech industry’s largest events on cloud computing, Big Data, and entrepreneurship including Cloud Connect, Strata, Interop, and the International Startup Festival. He is also the creator of the bitnorth conference series. Alistair is the author of three books on performance, operations, and analytics, and is currently working on Lean Analytics, part of the Lean series from O’Reilly Media, which shows startups how to use data to build better startups faster. In 2010, he co-founded Year One Labs, an early stage startup accelerator, and he is an angel investor and hands-on advisor to numerous startups and investor organizations. Most of what Alistair says, passed through notoriously poor filters, can be found on Twitter or his blog, Solve For Interesting.



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Our second annual Cloud Connect Chicago is fast approaching and the agenda is really taking shape.  We have a lot of new programs planned this year including our first Cloud IT Executive Summit, co-chaired by two of  our industry’s leading cloud authorities, Scott Bils and Joe Weinman. The Summit is focused on some of the biggest challenges facing IT including those that are not necessarily about technology.

Cloud continues to disrupt the way we develop, deploy and consume applications.  But what many companies have not come to terms with is how Cloud will impact the role of IT and how businesses need to organize for survival.

Scott Bils’ recent column on brings the challenges into focus:

“Corporate IT organizations are facing real competition. Business users are deploying sophisticated SaaS applications on their own. Developers are looking first to public cloud IaaS and PaaS platforms to build new applications, reducing the need for internal infrastructure. With every new third-party cloud service, more IT budget dollars go outside the door. So what’s a CIO to do?”

For starters, CIOs and senior IT people should attend the Cloud IT Executive Summit to hear from Scott and others on what IT needs to do to navigate these changing times.  Some of the speakers and topics planned for the Summit include:

  • Cloud Strategy and Economics Overview – led by none other than Cloudonomics author, Joe Weinman
  • The CIO Perspective on Enterprise transformation and organizational readiness – Scott Bils
  • Transformation via the Cloud – Michael Skok, North Bridge Venture Partners

And be sure to read Scott’s column which offers some of the steps CIOs will need to take towards IT-as-a-Service.

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Momentum is building for the 2013 ICE Awards, a program we launched with Everest Group to recognize industry leading cloud adopters. What makes the program unique is its focus on the customer – real enterprises making serious bets on cloud computing.  We’re looking for the companies making bold moves with their cloud strategy, driving innovation and value for their business.  The  winners of the ICE Awards will have the opportunity to present their customer story as a featured speaker at Cloud Connect Chicago 2013.

The deadline to submit for the 2013 ICE Awards is Friday, August 9th at 9pm EST.

The ICE Awards winners will be selected by our esteemed panel of judges representing technology media, enterprise customers and the cloud industry.  The 2013 ICE Awards judges are:

  • Charles Babcock, Editor-at-large, InformationWeek
  • Alistair Croll, Principal Analyst, Bitcurrent
  • Dave McCrory, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Warner Music Group
  • Eric Simonson, Managing Partner – Research, Everest Group
  • Neal Sample, CIO – Enterprise Growth, American Express
  • Peter Bendor-Samuel, Founder and CEO, Everest Group
  • Reuven Cohen, Contributing Author, Forbes Magazine
  • Steve Wylie, General Manager, Cloud Connect

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That’s the question we’re asking with the launch of the 2013 ICE Awards. Cloud Connect and Everest Group are teaming up for a first of its kind look how companies are innovating through cloud computing.  Submissions are due on July 26, 2013!

Why are we launching the ICE Awards?

Our industry has moved beyond the era of defining the cloud and evangelizing its merits. The cloud and it’s benefits are now well understood. But what’s less understood is how cloud has impacted the enterprise in a long-term, meaningful and measurable way. That’s the focus of the ICE Awards.

The Industry Categories
  • Consumer goods & retail
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Media & entertainment
  • Other

What We’re Looking For?

  • Significant positive effects on one or more segments of your stakeholders (customers, employees, partners/channels, and/or society in general), e.g., improved customer satisfaction, improved collaboration between employees and partners, reduced resource consumption footprint etc.
  • Striking business impact in terms of revenue, costs, pricing, investments, retention, and/or reduced time to market
  • Notable technology transformation that led to process simplification, creation of new feature/functionality, flexibility, uniqueness/cleverness, business agility, etc.
  • Achievement of organizational transformation, e.g., the cloud solution improved your organizational model, bettered your change management practices, empowered a previously impassive organization, etc.

Who Decides the Winners?

We’re working with a team of judges from industry, media & the enterprise. Our growing list of ICE Awards judges includes:

  • Reuven Cohen, Writer of the Digital Provocateur column for Forbes Magazine
  • Neal Sample, CIO – Enterprise Growth, for American Express
  • Dave McCrory, SVP of DSP (Platform) Engineering at Warner Music Group
Winners will be announced at Cloud Connect Chicago 2013 and will have the option to take the stage and tell their story.

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Each year Cloud Connect Silicon Valley hosts the Cloud Executive Summit (CES), an exclusive program which takes place in advance of the main Cloud Connect Conference and Expo. The speakers and audience for CES include an interesting blend of industry executives, investors and entrepreneurs, and ample opportunity for discussion and networking. The program is fast-paced, thought provoking and focuses on a variety of interesting topics.  But the underlying theme at CES is very much focused on one thing… finding the next business opportunity in the cloud.

Here’s an overview of what we have planned this year and the excellent speakers we have lined up.  I hope to see you there!

Opportunities in the Mobile Cloud

  • Presented by Avery Lyford, VP of Business Development, LEAP Commerce

What’s the Big Data Deal: Market Insights and Opportunities

  • Presented by Seth Robinson, Director, Technology Analysis, CompTIA

How Software Defined Networks Change Everything

  • Presented by Andre Kindness, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

How to Get Your Cloud Startup Funded

  • Presented by Glenn Solomon, partner, GGV Capital

Understanding Enterprise Requirements for the Cloud – A CIO Interview

  • Presented by John O’Farrell, General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Presented by Mark Settle, CIO, BMC Software

Are you Being a Good Cloud Broker for your Business?

  • Presented by Ray Richardson, Master Cloud Strategist, Hewlett-Packard
  • Presented by Christian Teeft, Vice President Engineering, Latisys

Finding the Next Cloud Opportunity – VC Panel

  • Moderator: Ben Kepes, Blogger, Diversity Limited
  • Ryan Floyd, Founding General Partner, Storm Ventures
  • John O’Farrell, General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Salil Deshpande, Managing Director, Bain Capital Ventures
  • Reuven Cohen, Techstars Mentor, Contributing Author at Forbes Magazine and SVP at Virtustream

Have Business Buyers Driven us to the Tipping Point for Cloud Adoption?

  • Presented by Scott Bils, Partner, Everest Group

We look forward to seeing you at Cloud Connect next week.

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Our editors at Network Computing recently published an interesting Comparison of Infrastructure-as-a-Service Providers. This extremely helpful buyer’s guide includes information on 17 of the top IaaS vendors in the market and includes a features matrix of more than 60 decision points to help you make the right decision for your business.

Our own Cloud Connect and Everest Group Research shows that companies are increasingly looking at public IaaS options with 31% of our survey respondents indicating they already use public IaaS and an additional 49% indicating near and long-term plans for adoption.  So what’s driving the move to public IaaS?

Network Computing writes:

The IaaS product category has taken off because moving computing capacity to the cloud allows companies to focus on their core competencies rather than worry about buying, deploying and maintaining hardware. IaaS is why Instagram sold at a $1 billion valuation with only 13 employees, and why Pinterest served nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors with only 16 employees. For many companies, IaaS — and public cloud services overall — can yield significant benefits, but with an ever-growing number of providers, it can be difficult to know which will be the best choice. This comparison will help IT professionals make a more informed decision about which IaaS vendor to select. –Joe Masters Emison

This is also a topic we’ll explore in-depth at the upcoming Cloud Connect Conference in Silicon Valley including this newly added workshop on Amazon Web Services:

Amazon Web Services Training: Jumpstart Your Cloud Computing Knowledge Base

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the pioneer of cloud computing and its unstoppable growth dominates the industry. If you want – or are under pressure — to begin using AWS, this workshop is for you. Both fundamental and advanced AWS services are discussed during the workshop, ensuring that you gain a complete overview of the AWS service. The instructor will provide a live demonstration of the AWS system and management console during the workshop to allow you to see the power of AWS. The workshop is presented in a highly interactive fashion to address any questions you have about AWS.

Be sure to download the guide and we’ll see you at Cloud Connect Silicon Valley!

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Cloud Connect Silicon Valley is coming up fast and includes two new Private Cloud Workshops for attendees to choose from:

The Foundation for Private Cloud – Virtualization Management

Advanced Private Cloud – Automation, Self-Service and Cloud Management

Both of these courses will be taught by Barb Goldworm, President and Chief Analyst at FOCUS.  Barb is a phenomenal instructor and has published and spoken extensively on Private Clouds and Virtualization.  If you are planning or already implementing a private cloud, these are two must attend courses.

Here are Barb’s top 10 reasons to attend:

By Barb Goldworm, Cloud Connect Track Chair, Private and Hybrid Clouds

10. Get the BIG PICTURE view of the road from virtualization to cloud including recent trends

9. Assess where you are on this continuum and what steps you still have to take to successfully build your private cloud

8. Talk with others at the same stage, and those ahead of you, about how to solve the challenges you face now and in your next steps

7. Learn how to leverage all the work you’ve done in virtualization so far, to help you get to cloud

6. Learn where hypervisors should fit, and whether/how to live in a multi-hypervisor world

5. Learn where the potholes are on the road to cloud, and how to navigate around them

4. Hear a rapid fire perspective comparing the major cloud stacks to help figure out what’s right for you

3.  Cut through the hype of hundreds of virtualization and cloud management tools to see what’s real and what’s not

2. Learn about the relationship between cloud stacks, self-service portals, and cloud management tools

1. Learn what you need to take home a plan to get from the virtual infrastructure you have TODAY to the private cloud you want to have THIS YEAR!

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Cloud Connect Silicon Valley is just a few weeks away and I’m happy to write that most of our agenda now in place!  We have a lot of new programs lined up this year which I’ll highlight in the coming weeks.

In depth workshops form the backbone of any quality conference program, so here’s an update on some of the new workshops we have lined up for this year’s conference.  Our workshop programs are designed to provide practical guidance and training to prepare businesses to take full advantage of cloud computing.  Our agenda reflects the key trends, best practices and offers deep-dive instructional sessions.

In the area of Private Clouds we’ve gone deep.  Our own Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey showed that for enterprise cloud buyers, 89% of respondents had either current or future plans for Private Cloud deployments in their business.  With this in mind we’ve introduced two new Private Cloud workshops in addition to our Private & Hybrid Clouds Track.

The Foundation for Private Cloud – Virtualization Management

Geared towards IT managers and staff who are looking to fulfill the full promise of virtualization and cloud and transform their environments into a private cloud, this workshop covers the challenges that come with the move to private cloud computing, and how to prioritize, evaluate and implement the necessary solutions for virtualization.  And building on the Foundations for Private Cloud course, advanced practitioners can continue with a course on Automation, Self Service and Management for Private Clouds.

Advanced Private Cloud – Automation, Self-Service and Cloud Management

This workshop is ideal for IT managers and staff who are looking to transform their environments into a private cloud, especially around improving operational efficiencies, optimization, automation, and IT agility – delivering IT as a service through private cloud, while reducing costs. This workshop covers the challenges that come with the move to private cloud computing, and how to prioritize, evaluate and implement the necessary solutions for virtualization and cloud management, optimization, automation and delivery as a private cloud.

Our research suggests that while Enterprises are planning for Private Clouds, Public Clouds are also being widely adopted.  This mix of new Private and Public Cloud uses, combined with existing systems and applications infrastructure creates new management challenges for IT to deal with.  We have introduced a new workshop to go deep on the challenge of managing these increasingly heterogeneous environments:

New Tools and Techniques for Managing Hybrid Cloud Environments

Attendees of this workshop will leave with a solid understanding of the new tools and techniques that are available to manage a hybrid Cloud environment, and how these technologies and ideas can be applied to enable you to gain control over your operations. The workshop will address these key topics:

•How Cloud management differs from traditional data center management
•What are the real costs of unplanned Cloud service adoption?
•Where to find new tools and techniques to address your hybrid Cloud requirements
•How to measure your success in a hybrid Cloud environment

The industry has now broadly accepted that utility-based, on demand computing makes sense. But for as far as we have come, it is not surprising that security continues to rank highest in barriers to cloud adoption.  With this in mind, we are introducing a new workshop to help cloud practitioners make informed decisions on how to move applications to the cloud without sacrificing security:

Identifying, Navigating, and Managing the Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Risks Associated with Cloud Computing

This workshop will introduce the concept of threat and vulnerability management and how it can be applied to cloud solutions.  Topics will include a discussion of threat and vulnerability analysis, applying threat and vulnerability analysis to cloud environments and solutions, vulnerability management for the cloud, and approaches to working with cloud providers to ensure risk and security requirements and expectations are properly met.

Many businesses are preparing for cloud-based development environments or Platform as a Service (PaaS).  Our own research suggests that 38% of enterprises already have PaaS plans underway while another 52% have near or long term plans.  These numbers are very strong and represent a profound shift in our thinking around how applications will be built and deployed in the future.  But as companies set their PaaS strategy, they need deep analysis and guidance to set their business on the right path for success.

Cloud Application Development Strategies

As cloud computing continues to pervade all aspects of information technology, from the data center through application offerings, the function and capabilities of various cloud offerings begin to blur. Eventually, all clouds will house applications or data, which means that IaaS is merely a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of simplifying the operations and management of the application platform or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Like the transition from virtualization to IaaS, the transition from IaaS to PaaS can be equally challenging. One of the more difficult aspects of choosing PaaS is the approach and architecture.

These are just a few of the new programs we have in store for Cloud Connect Silicon Valley.  Be sure to check out the full program and sign up to attend!

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Hello friends of Cloud Connect!  As 2012 comes to a close I’ve been reflecting on what a great year it has been for Cloud Connect, and that’s thanks to all the great support from this community! In addition to hosting our 4th Cloud Connect Silicon Valley, we launched two important new events this year with Cloud Connect Chicago and Cloud Connect India and conducted our first Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey in partnership with the excellent team at Everest Group.  Here’s the survey write-up in Forbes or you can contact me if you’d like a copy of the research.

Our Chicago event was a great success and included some of the best use cases of cloud technology from Chicago-based companies like Tribune Company and Orbitz Worldwide. Chicago is home to many important industries and a growing start-up community.  We were welcomed to Chicago by local chapters of  some key technology associations including the Cloud Security Alliance and the IEEE and by the vibrant cloud Meetup Groups that have quickly taken root in the area. Our first year in Chicago was a great experience and I’m happy to say that next year’s Cloud Connect Chicago will take place October 21-14, in our new downtown location at the Hyatt McCormick Place!

Cloud Connect India was also an excellent event thanks to our colleagues at UBM India and InformationWeek who organized the event and assembled a first-class conference program. Bangalore is an amazing place and considered “the Silicon Valley of India.”  It was great to host our first Cloud Connect right in the heart of India’s technology region. It was also a great experience for me personally as it was my first time in India.  The food was amazing and I had the honor of participating in Cloud Connect’s opening ceremony!  Look for Cloud Connect to return to Bangalore, India May 23rd & 24th, 2013!

Okay, enough of 2012, it’s time to look forward to 2013!  We’re already gearing up for our flagship Cloud Connect Silicon Valley event which takes place April 2-5, 2013. We have been busy sifting through the Call for Speaker submissions and the strong response has ensured we have many great sessions to pick from.  We’re also getting tremendous support from the vendor community and are proud to welcome Oracle as a first-time Cloud Connect exhibitor!  We’ll have many more exciting developments in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

As we gear up for 2013 I’d also like to introduce you to the Cloud Connect team.  Over the coming weeks you’ll hear from all of us through a series of blog introductions.  I encourage you to connect with us for feedback on the event, program ideas or information and I look forward to seeing you at Cloud Connect Silicon Valley 2013.

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