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For many organizations, cloud computing has become an integral part of IT, but they continue to face critical technology decisions as competing platforms push for market leadership.  OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus are the clear frontrunners in the open source infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space. But questions are still lingering: Is one really better than the other? What are the technical differences? Which best supports the integration of legacy systems with cloud-based apps? Which is better for startups versus SMBs and Enterprises?

This year’s program for Cloud Connect Chicago pits these industry players against each other with five conference tracks, each to represent divergent cloud software strategies: Amazon Web Services & Eucalyptus, CloudStack, OpenStack, Platform-as-a-Service and Virtualization & Private Cloud.  As the unique architectures have both benefits and limitations, speakers affiliated with the different tracks will address key technology considerations and business impact across the leading use cases.

The Cloud Stack Wars will also play out on the Cloud Connect Keynote Stage. From accessibility to cost to security, AWS, CloudStack and OpenStack all have their benefits and limitations laid out on stage. Experts will join a Keynote Panel and debate the limitations, nuances, and advocate for their Cloud Stack War winner.

In addition to conference sessions, Cloud Connect will open with a full day of intensive cloud computing education through a series of Summits and Boot Camps. Be sure to attend Cloud Connect Chicago, October 21-23, and see how prevails in the Cloud Stack Wars. Register before September 16 with discount SMBLOG to save an additional $200 off Early Bird prices.

 
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Steve Wylie

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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Cloud Connect has been closely tracking the recent heated debate around which infrastructure is best suited for the enterprise cloud. There’s still no clear verdict, so Cloud Connect will continue the conversation from the keynote stage in Chicago. From accessibility to cost to security, AWS, CloudStack and OpenStack all have their benefits and limitations, which experts will thoroughly explore during the keynote panel, “Stack Wars: The Battle for the Enterprise Cloud.”

We’re pleased to announce that Margaret Dawson, VP of Product Marketing & Cloud Evangelist of HP Cloud Services will moderate the panel, which will include advocates for these competitive platforms. Margaret is perfectly positioned to host this session, with more than 20 years of global leadership experience and ample time spent working in the cloud industry. Prior to her current position at HP, she ran point for two cloud startups in the B2B integration and data storage markets, and served at Microsoft and Amazon.com. She has a keen understanding of cloud trends, and is a valued member of both the Cloud Connect Advisory Council and the Cloud Network of Women (CloudNOW).

This is a session you won’t want to miss. We’ll be revealing panelists closer to the event, so be sure to check back on the Cloud Connect Chicago keynote page for more information. In the meantime, if you’re on Twitter, follow Margaret ‏@seattledawson to keep tabs on her perspective on the cloud.

What’s your stack of choice? Weigh in at Cloud Connect Chicago, October 21-23 at McCormick Place. If you haven’t already, register now to lock in Early Bird pricing and save up to $500 on Conference Passes.

 
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Excitement is building as we put the finishing touches on our 2013 Cloud Connect Chicago program. We’ve incorporated a number of new program elements that we’re excited to share with you and can’t wait to get to Chicagoland this October to delve into discussions around both the state and future of cloud computing.

The new Cloud Connect Conference program provides practitioners and decision makers the ability to evaluate completing choices, evaluate all the issues surrounding competing cloud stacks as well as stimulate necessary debates.  To help enhance your Cloud Connect experience we’ve outlined a list of new tools, Summits, Boot Camps, and must attend sessions!

1. Pre-Conference Networking

 

 

 

With registration launched and sessions added you can get a head start on planning your itinerary by adding sessions via the Session Scheduler and our Cloud Connect Mobile App. Once you add a session on Session Schedule your session will automatically be added to your schedule in the Cloud Connect Mobile App. Use the Mobile App to also network with other attendees, ask questions to exhibitors, see what’s trending, and plan your Conference agenda.

2. CompTIA Cloud Essential Training

The Cloud Essentials Course, facilitated by CompTIA, is a one-day training course that prepares you for the CompTIA Cloud Essentials Certification. Each attendee who completes the course in full will be provided a complimentary voucher to take the Certification test at a testing location of your choice. This one-day course will help you be on your way to cloud certification!

3. New Education Formats

 

 

We’ve added new Summit and Boot Camp training sessions to the Cloud Connect Chicago catalog. These new three-hour intensive formats include more hands-on-training and use-cases that will examine both the technical potential and business opportunity made possible by the cloud revolution.

4. New Tracks

 

 

 

We leveraged attendee, customer and advisory board insights to bring you a new track structure aligned with key cloud players and topics: OpenStack, CloudStack, AWS & Eucalyptus, Virtualization & Private Clouds and more. Keep checking back on the Session Scheduler for additional information and new sessions.

5. Post-Show News and Updates

 

 

The Cloud Connect community and conversation does not end once the Conference is over. All Keynotes will be audio recorded, and will have audio and presentations synced and online within a week after the session is completed. They will be available on the Cloud Connect Chicago website.

 
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Jason Quesada

Visionary, cutting-edge and inspirational Cloud Connect keynote speakers will provide insight into crafting your own cloud computing plans. That’s why we’re excited to announce Duke Skarda, CTO of Softlayer, will be part of the transformational keynote program at Cloud Connect Chicago.

As the CTO, he holds responsibilities for implementing, designing and enhancing the proprietary SoftLayer Infrastructure Management System (IMS). Prior to joining SoftLayer, Mr. Skarda served as the Vice President of Information Technology and Software Development at The Planet. He served in this role from June, 2009 to October, 2010.

Previously, Duke spent 10 years with Level 3 Communications in a series of increasingly responsible positions. As Senior Vice President for its Content Markets Group, he led Engineering and IT development for its Content Distribution Network platform and IT support systems. As Senior Vice President for IT Architecture and Application Development, he led a broad range of programs, including business process management, order-entry and service assurance development. He also served as Vice President of IT Architecture, where he led the development of a long-range systems roadmaps, systems merger and acquisition planning, and the development of the company’s Enterprise Architecture team.

Duke Skarda earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Be sure to attend Cloud Connect Chicago October 21-23, 2013 at McCormick Place to hear about a new approach of how infrastructure can support APIs and operational procedures in the cloud.  Register early to lock in Early Bird rates and save up to $500 on Conference Passes.

 
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Steve Wylie

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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emilyjohnson

The weather is an integral part of our lives. Most of us check it every morning before we get dressed and note the forecast for the coming days. We prepare our wardrobes, plan “sick days” around serendipitous sunshine, and buy umbrellas all based on our very basic analysis of the information we receive.  And when it comes to the weather, nobody likes getting caught off guard especially the enterprise.

This year at Cloud Connect Chicago we’re excited to welcome Paul Walsh, VP of Weather Analytics and Meteorologist of The Weather Company and former U.S. Air Force meteorologist to the keynote stage. Paul will provide attendees with an overview of how to use big data analysis to predict weather patterns in order to help drive important businesses decisions.  A few notable organizations that Paul has worked with in the past include Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, Citibank and numerous hedge funds.

A couple of interesting facts about Paul:

  • As U.S. Air Force meteorologist, Walsh provided intelligence support for missions and served as chief of weather operations for the Army’s elite 101st Airborne during Desert Storm.
  • Walsh has over 15 years of experience analyzing weather patterns
  • You can follow Paul on tumblr at Rethinking Weather or on Twitter @PaulEWalsh

Be sure to attend Cloud Connect Chicago October 21-23, 2013 at McCormick Place to hear Paul provide the forecast for your business strategy. Register early to lock in Early Bird rates and save up to $500 on Conference Passes!

 
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Kristi Ibello

Cloud Connect is excited to announce Robin Chase, Co-Founder and former CEO of ZipCar and GoLoco will be headlining the Cloud Connect Chicago 2013 Keynote Stage.

All you city dwellers or environmental enthusiast should know Zipcar as the largest car-sharing company in the world. ZipCar uses the Internet and wireless technology to enable rental cars to emulate personal cars. Much like how cloud technology has provided agility and on-demand access to businesses, Zipcar’s technology gives its members on-demand access to cars by-the-hour. This disruptive technology has revolutionized people’s relationship to their cars and improving the quality of urban life for all.

Some fun facts about Robin you may not know:

  • She is on the Board of the World Resources Institute, the National Advisory Council for Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the US Department of Commerce
  • She is a graduate of from Wellesley College and the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • She was listed as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2009
  • Age when she got started at ZipCar 42
  • $75,000 was the early capital Robin and ZipCar got from angel investors. Now compare that to the $491 million amount that  Avis agreed to pay for ZipCar*

Be sure to attend Cloud Connect Chicago October 21-23, 2013 at McCormick Place to hear about Robin’s journey with ZipCar and GoLoco and how being an innovator and disruptor was pivotal to the company’s success. Register early to lock in Early Bird rates and save up to $500 on Conference Passes!

*Sourced from Inc.com

 
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Private Clouds continue to receive attention in enterprise organizations that are looking to amplify the benefits of virtualization and increase agility. While press reports about cloud computing are filled with lots of action and adventure, many enterprises are approaching cloud computing in a more methodical, step-by-step approach. Rather than build a complex hybrid cloud right from the start, many enterprises are looking to evolve from their current server virtualization environments to a full-fledged private cloud. When making this transition it is important for enterprises to consider:

  • What is the best approach for evolving from a server virtualization environment?
  • Who should access a private cloud, and under what controls?
  • How does a private cloud fit in with current IT management processes and systems?
  • What are the first use cases to target with your private cloud to ensure a “quick win?”
  • What landmines should you avoid?

Transitioning from virtualization environments to private clouds is something Dave Roberts, Sr. Director Solutions Marketing at BMC Software has spent over a decade tackling. Dave is chairing the Virtualization and Private Cloud Track at Cloud Connect Chicago 2013, where he will address these questions out help attendees build their private cloud roadmap. Sessions include:

Hear from companies including Boeing, Eucalyptus and BMC Software on how they moved from virtualization to private cloud environments. Register to attend Cloud Connect Chicago, use discount code SMBLOG and lock in Early Bird Pricing.

 
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An entry by Dave Roberts, Virtualization and Private Clouds Track Chair at Cloud Connect.

It’s a “coming of age” story, really. The cloud computing movement is reaching a new stage in its evolution. Many early clouds were built on top of existing server virtualization systems, with the primary objective of demonstrating the underlying technologies. Having proven that cloud computing works, enterprises are now looking to graduate to clouds that will support the long-term, production needs of the business; they are looking to build professional-grade clouds that will carry them the full distance. But that then begs the question, what makes a cloud “professional-grade?”

I see three primary differentiators that characterize professional-grade clouds:

  1. The ability to deliver a range of services to the broad group of end-users served by IT. Overwhelmingly, the first use-case targeted by most cloud pilots is software development and testing. Software development is a natural fit for cloud computing since developers and testers usually have a spikey demand for infrastructure, which makes the economic model a no-brainer. Further, these early users are quite technical, and so any rough spots in the cloud user-interface can be overlooked to keep the pilot project on track. But the simple user-interfaces delivered during the pilot phase typically don’t work well as the cloud moves to production and the user base expands to include non-technical business users. Instead, you’ll want a self-service interface that even a marketing intern could love, an interface that can deliver more than raw developer building blocks like Windows or Linux virtual machines. You’ll need a service catalog with user authentication, role-based access control, and the ability to provision complete, fully-configured end-user applications like Sharepoint, wikis, and collaboration tools.
  2. The ability to support the diverse set of cloud platforms required by the enterprise, both current and future. Many early clouds were built as mere extensions of the existing server virtualization platform already deployed at the time. Take virtualization, add a self-service interface, and you’re done! That’s a reasonable decision for a pilot program or technology demonstration, but it won’t go the distance. A professional-grade cloud will use a real cloud management platform to insulate cloud users from all the underlying implementation choices, making it easy to build hybrid clouds based on a variety of underlying implementation technologies: VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, OpenStack, a variety of public cloud providers, and even bare metal. Further, we all know that needs and technologies will evolve over time; a professional-grade cloud anticipates that future change and takes it in stride.
  3. Integration with IT processes and systems needed by the business. Most early clouds are built with clean-sheet design principles, implemented as independent islands outside normal IT processes and not integrated with existing systems. This allows the pilot project to get up and running quickly and to remain uncluttered by traditional IT thinking. Over time, however, the enterprise needs to be able to manage the performance, capacity, security, and change capabilities of the cloud, just as it does today with physical and virtualized infrastructure. Does this mean weighing down your nice, sleek, agile new cloud with two-tons of ITIL? No, not necessarily. Well-built, enterprise-class clouds cooperate with other IT systems, delivering the appropriate I-dotting and T-crossing with integration and automation so that enterprise compliance requirements and business policies remain enforced.

Now that cloud computing is growing up and going mainstream, it’s time that we got past the pilots and demos and started building professional-grade clouds that can meet real needs across the business, built for the long haul. We can leverage all the work we have done with those early projects and move them forward, building the advanced set of capabilities that will serve as the foundation moving forward.

Register for Cloud Connect Chicago with priority code SMBlog and save up to $500* on your All Access or Conference Pass.

*Discount calculated based on the on-site price and not combinable with other offers. Offer good on new registrations only. Prices after discount applied: All Access: $1,699.00 Conference: $1,299.00, Keynote & Expo Only: Free

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