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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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I’m not sure what the answer to that question is, but that’s why I’ll be at Cloud Connect to find out.  I plan to attend the panel discussion from the keynote stage covering the hot topic of open source, which will be moderated by the highly acclaimed venture capitalist, Ann Winblad, Co-founder and Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.  Ann most recently was quoted in Wall Street Journal’s All Things D around IBM’s announcement that all of its cloud services and software will be based on an open cloud architecture. Good news for IBM customers, bad news for VMware’s vCloud or Citrix’s CloudStack, and representative that OpenStack is a key component to the software-defined data center.  As such, it only makes sense to bring an expert to the stage, from a firm that has had a long-term investment interest in open source software and open standards, to further discuss.  Ann will be joined by panelists from Citrix, CloudOps and Red Hat on Thursday, April 4 during the event.  Join me and we can find out together if clouds are indeed, the gateway drug.

But we can’t stop there because besides the excitement of welcoming Ann Winblad to the main stage, Cloud Connect also just announced their expanded keynote line-up, which includes the likes of Margaret Dawson of HP Cloud Services, Jim Davies of Mitel, Kit Colbert of VMWare and more. An impressive line-up of industry visionaries helping shape the cloud computing industry today.  And with a finger on the pulse of all key cloud computing trends – like big data, open source and PaaS – Cloud Connect has a new addition to the program: DEPLOYCON 2013, produced by Rishidot Research LLC, will be a one-day workshop on Tuesday covering all things PaaS.  DEPLOYCON is intended to bring together CIOs, enterprise managers, IT and developers to discuss how organizations can better leverage Platform Services to enable IT transformation to agile IT.

It’s a chocked-full line-up and will most likely make for a jam-packed schedule.  Cloud Connect is just over two weeks out, happening the first week of April, and with so much happening in the industry, you don’t want to miss it.  Time to start building your schedule now!

Joylyn Tanner
Senior Communications Manager
UBM Tech

 

 
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Kristi Ibello

What do names like VMware, Oracle, Cisco, and IBM all have in common? They are participating in Cloud Connect Silicon Valley 2013. The Conference and Expo program is filling up with leading industry players making Cloud Connect Silicon Valley the must attend cloud event for 2013!

Industry heavy hitters SoftLayer, Red Hat, VMware, Oracle, Rackspace and Citrix will be taking center stage at this year’s Conference and Expo. With all the news recently surrounding these key players the Expo will be nothing short of exciting. Issues including hybrid cloud management, security, and open cloud will be pushed front and center.

The Cloud Connect Conference also boasts some notable sessions including speakers from Netflix, Amazon Web Services, and Citrix to name a few. Here’s our list of the top 5 must attend sessions:

1. Netflix and Amazon Web Services Case Study: Strategy and Economics of the Cloud

  • Jinesh Varia, Technology Evangelist, Amazon Web Services
  • Adrian Cockcroft, Director, Architecture, Netflix

2. Delivering Enterprise Applications and User Access in the Cloud

  • Lori MacVittie, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, F5 Networks

3. Managing Data in the Mobile Cloud

  • Jesse Lipson, VP of Data Sharing, Citix

4. Juicing the Cloud: Getting the Most Out of Your Application

  • Wayne Walls, Developer Advocate, Rackspace

5. Softening the Network: Virtualization, the Final Frontier

  • Steve Riley, Technical Leader, Riverbed Technology

That is just a snapshot of the topics and speakers that will be covered. Preview the full Conference lineup here. Early Bird registration ends in two weeks, register now and save yourself $500 on Conference Passes.

We look forward to seeing you in April!

 

 
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