My Thoughts After CloudCamp Boston 2009

This past Thursday I had a chance to attend CloudCamp Boston that took place in Microsoft research center in Cambridge, as a representative of CohesiveFT. The event was very well attended, and I was able to meet a lot of smart interesting people working in cloud computing space.

The lightning talks section started with Microsoft representative giving an overview of Azure. Then, John Willis gave a talk titled What color is your cloud in which he talked about various types of IaaS clouds. George Reese gave a talk where he compared a successful cloud deployment to reaching the Emerald City and pointed out that the yellow brick road to this goal is not always an easy one (great analogy!). Iron Mountain representative gave a talk about how one needs to be aware where their data are in the cloud, and emphasized security measures at their datacenter. Intuit representative talked about their PaaS, which allows developers to easily reach millions of small businesses already running Intuit products. PaaS is not my thing, but the idea makes sense and if I understand correctly, is very similar to idea behind Salesforce platform - develop against something which many organizations already use. And finally, Cory Von Wallenstein of Dyn, operators of a well-known, gave a talk about their enterprise features like anycast DNS, CDN etc. Interestingly, now that I think about it, DynDNS offered a way to update DNS programmatically way back when, which definitely qualifies them as one of the earliest cloud APIs out there.

After a break, I attended a cloud security talk titled Cloudifornication by Chris Hoff. I’ve seen the slides and video of this talk before (for example, see here), but seeing it live was more than worth it. This is a very good and important talk for all cloud practitioners and especially architects and developers, and I highly recommend it. I personally had 3 main takeaways. Firstly, information security is based on C-I-A (confidentiality, integrity, availability). Therefore, any outage or service disruption is classified by a customer as a security issue, not only as an SLA issue. I didn’t know about this until a couple of weeks ago when Chris explained it to me on Twitter, and the talk also emphasized this fact. Secondly, I loved a series of slides about increasing complexity of interconnects as more and more vendors, intermediaries and brokers are added to one’s cloud mix. We at CohesiveFT are very aware of this as an emerging issue, and our VPN-Cubed product is targeted at such cases, among other things.

And thirdly, Chris very skillfully highlighted the brittleness of the foundation on top of which we collectively as an industry are currently building out our cloud offerings. When Internet was designed as it was for world wide web and static pages, it was all good. When we started doing e-commerce and social media on top of the same infrastructure, the risk increased many-fold but was still somewhat manageable (after all, it’s only buying stuff online). But now with cloud computing we are putting absolutely everything (!) on top of the same brittle foundation, and the risks are truly enormous.

Then, I attended a session on private cloud led by John Willis, where we discussed various private cloud technologies and ideas. My main takeaway was that there is or there will be a huge demand for private externally-operated clouds for mid-sized organizations, and that’s where I think future of colo and hosting is going to be.

All in all, this was a great event and thanks to all organizers and sponsors for putting it together, and to all participants for interesting discussion.

Categories: cloud-computing |