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Each year at Cloud Connect, we try to look ahead to what the next twelve months hold. To many of us, the future was really the removal of the word “cloud.” Just as “web applications” are now just “applications”, so technologies like “cloud storage” are just “storage.” Similarly, cloud computing will soon just be “computing.”

Does that mean the future of something like Cloud Connect is simply “connect”? Sort of. New technologies are seldom interesting in their own right. Rather, they’re interesting for what they make possible.

Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham describes a startup as an organization designed for rapid growth—and he means rapid. He wants to see a 5-10% increase in users or revenues every week for companies within his accelerator. While he says that startups aren’t necessarily technology, it’s very likely that they are. That’s because technology does two things:

  • It disrupts a market. There’s not much new about Uber driving people around. We’ve had taxis for centuries. But the ubiquity of mobile applications with location awareness is new, and that’s disrupting a big market quickly. So technology can trigger a rapid change in an existing market. Growth.
  • It makes a new market. The online search industry didn’t exist twenty years ago. Today, it’s worth billions. Technology creates entirely new businesses even as it leaves old ones crumbling. 3D printing might usher in an era of manufacturing at the edge, even as it destroys traditional just-in-time logistics.

And this is why clouds are interesting. Not in their own right—they’re rapidly becoming another tool in the IT toolbox, albeit an extremely flexible one. Clouds are interesting because they make computing frictionless. They allow organizations of any size to achieve the kinds of scale and growth Graham demands of the companies he helps launch.

A couple of years ago, we joked that “big data gives clouds something to do.” There’s a lot of truth to this. Big Data itself isn’t new—and it isn’t mounting the peak of a hype curve, despite what Gartner says. Big Data has been around for ages, as anyone from a company like Teradata, IBM, Oracle, or Microsoft will tell you. What’s new about big data is the democratization of analysis. Anyone who runs a Facebook Graph Search today has more power, and more access, than any three-letter-agency in Washington dared dream of a decade ago.

And powerful, democratized analysis is a game-changer for society. It’ll alter how we work and play; how we learn and love; and how we make decisions. All because of cloud computing, which provides the elastic, on-demand undercarriage for vast analysis.

In the Futures and Disruptions track at Cloud Connect this spring, Cascade Insights’ Sean Campbell will lay out four possible futures for cloud computing in the next few years, encouraging IT professionals to hedge their bets. Allan Leinwand, whose career spans executive technology roles at Cisco, Digital Island, Zynga, and Servicenow, predicts where cloud platforms are headed. And serial entrepreneur Margaret Dawson joins Savvis’ Ed Saipetch to speculate on the future of data—and whether it’s headed for anarchy or trust.

It promises to be a fascinating look at where technology is headed, even as clouds themselves quietly blend into the fabric of everyday computing.

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A post by Eric Hanselman, WAN and Cloud Networking Track Track Chair.

With all of the enthusiasm for the compute and storage aspects of cloud capabilities, it’s easy to take the networks that bind them together for granted.  Networks haven’t been a very visible part of early cloud computing deployments, but they’re critical to effectively leveraging cloud’s advantages and ensuring success in implementations. Networks take on new forms and characteristics in cloudy deployments, too. There’s increased flexibility, but also a dependence on the cloud provider’s network designs. That dependence can make a transition from typical enterprise network architectures a challenge.  Understanding the differences can help smooth the way to being able to take advantage of the many benefits of cloudy worlds. Continue Reading »

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Steve Wylie

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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Steve Wylie

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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Steve Wylie

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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David Linthicum

Most failed cloud computing projects can be traced back to bad or missing architecture and design practices.  This was the trend in 2012, and it is continuing into 2013.  The reason: Lack of architecture and design methods and approaches, as well as the lack of a general understanding of the processes required to deploy solid cloud computing technology and solutions.

The complexities around multitenancy, resource sharing and management, security, and even version control lead cloud computing startups — and enterprises that build private and public clouds — down some rough roads before they start to learn from their mistakes. Or, perhaps they just have to kill the project altogether as they discover all that investment is unsalvageable. Continue Reading »

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Steve Wylie

We teamed up with Everest Group to conduct a first of its kind research project around the enterprise adoption of cloud computing.  The survey looked at how businesses currently use cloud computing as well as their plans for future adoption.  How is adoption trending across the major service platforms; Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service? What are the adoption patterns across public, private and hybrid cloud hosting options?

The results are in and well-timed with the kickoff of Cloud Connect Chicago in just a few days.  There is a real need for independent market data on cloud adoption as we shift from an era of defining and envisioning the cloud to where we are today – putting cloud into practice to drive real business value.  But our research went one step further in comparing and contrasting the viewpoints of cloud buyers with those of cloud sellers.  The results suggest a changing buyer mindset that will challenge our current assumptions and serve as a reality check for cloud suppliers.

The full results of the survey will be disclosed and discussed during a keynote address from Everest Group Partner, Scott Bils, but the following infographic highlights some of the key takeaways from the research:

It’s an exciting time in enterprise technology as we usher in a new era of innovation built on Cloud Computing.  Please join Scott and I at Cloud Connect Chicago to get the real story on Enterprise Cloud Adoption, network with your peers and get up to speed on the latest technology solutions.  See you there!

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Jason Quesada

A blog entry from Scott Bils, the Organizational Readiness & Business Cases Track Chair.

GE’s Jack Welch once stated, “Change before you have to.” While it’s certainly sage advice, with virtually everything in the cloud computing world evolving so rapidly – the offerings, the providers, the implementation strategies, and the buyers, who these days are most typically business users rather than IT – it’s dauntingly difficult to decide what, how, when and with whom to change.

Yet, following in the footsteps of the highly successful, inaugural Organizational Readiness track at the Cloud Connect conference in February 2012, the sessions at the September 11-12 event in Chicago are all designed to cut through the clutter, and provide deep insights on the organizational issues that are threatening to thwart cloud-oriented next generation IT success.

In “New World Order: Your Dev Team Just Became the CIO” session, industry analyst Vanessa Alvarez and Cisco’s Laura Cooney will discuss the emergence of developers as decision makers, what organizations are doing to adjust to this revolution, the technologies to look at, and pitfalls to avoid.

With budgets increasingly migrating to “shadow” IT driven by business users, it is more critical than ever for CIOs to understand how to serve and enable this new buyer group in a next generation IT environment. During the “Tough Questions You Need to Ask” session, business users who have driven major cloud initiatives will provide answers to questions CIOs may be afraid to ask.

The panel session “Hard Choices in Enterprise Cloud Adoption” will feature three 15-minute drill-down presentations that provide insight into the major choices and decisions organizations face around:

  • Open versus Closed Cloud Infrastructures, and the pros and cons of each
  • Forklift versus Greenfield, and how to determine if you should first focus on moving existing applications to a virtualized environment, or deploy a new infrastructure for greenfield applications
  • Now versus Later, to help CIOs evaluate whether they should accelerate or put a hold on their
    enterprises’ move to the cloud

“Current Thinking in Addressing Persistent Cloud Challenges” will examine Security and Compliance, Performance, Vendor Management and Lock-In issues, and provide practical, real-world examples of how panelists’ and other organizations are creatively addressing them.

If you haven’t yet registered for Cloud Connect, I hope you’ll visit the conference registration page and sign up today. Use code TFPQCH02 to receive 25% off conference passes or claim a free expo pass. You’ll unquestionably gain strategic, tactical and actionable insights on how to shine much needed light into all things cloud. As Chair of the Organizational Readiness track, I look forward to seeing you in Chicago in September!

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Jason Quesada

Here are five ways that you can accelerate your cloud computing strategy at Cloud Connect Chicago:

  1. Attend 30+ sessions across 8 conference tracks including big data, cloud infrastructure, application design and architecture.
  2. Hear from keynotes and top industry leaders as they discuss hot topics including private and hybrid clouds, mobile clouds, and cloud performance.
  3. See all the latest cloud solutions from 50+leading companies.
  4. Enjoy vendor-hosted beverages while you check out the latest products and network during the Cocktail Reception on the Expo floor.
  5. Hear about new cloud solutions hosted in the new Cloud Solutions Theater.

Cloud Connect Chicago will provide four days of inspiring cloud dialogue and get you up to speed on how to leverage new cloud technology solutions to increase efficiency and improve your business agility. Register by August 10 with priority code RFPQCH04 to save $400 on Platinum or Conference passes. Don’t forget to tell your friends as well!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter for inside Cloud Connect updates.



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Steve Wylie

This week Cloud Connect and Everest Group are launching an important survey on the adoption of cloud computing technologies across key vertical industries. There’s a real need for first-hand data on how businesses currently use cloud computing and their plans for future adoption, especially as it pertains to specific industry use cases.  How is adoption trending across the major service platforms; Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service? What are the adoption patterns across public, private and hybrid cloud hosting options? To what extent do industry specific solutions come into play and what are the industry specific obstacles that need to be addressed?

We are at a pivotal time in cloud computing as we finally move past the era of defining the cloud and focus instead on how it impacts business, offers new efficiencies and agility and an unprecedented opportunity for innovation. That’s exciting news for anyone involved with cloud computing, but also requires a deeper understanding of the nuances of how cloud maps to specific opportunities and challenges in one’s own industry. Cloud computing provides a unique competitive advantage to technology leaders who understand and seize the opportunity. Are you a cloud leader in your industry, just keeping pace or perhaps falling behind your competitors? That’s the focus of our research and I can’t wait to see and share the results.

We will repeat this research on a yearly basis to identify important trending across key industries and technology platforms. Results from this first survey will be announced at Cloud Connect Chicago taking place September 10-13, 2012. The survey is short and to the point and should only take a few minutes to complete. In addition to gaining access to the survey results, participants will be entered for a chance to win complimentary access to Cloud Connect Chicago.

We’re pleased conduct this research with Everest Group, the highly respected research and consulting firm. Everest Group Partner Scott Bils also chairs the Organizational Readiness Track at Cloud Connect, which provides us with an excellent opportunity to put the findings from this research into practice in the development of our program content.

If you are interested in taking the survey, click here. Thank you for your participation and we hope to see you in Chicago!

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