I just returned from Gluecon 2009. Since Ben has covered this conference thoroughly, I thought I will just offer my brief take on the conference along with a few takeaways. I was a bit skeptical about the conference when I went in but I came out with the satisfaction of listening to some great talks and many fruitful discussions on issues related to interoperability and integration in the field of Cloud Computing. Already, I am eagerly looking forward to next year’s Gluecon.
The talk by Aaron Fulkerson, CEO of Mindtouch, took the SOA folks head-on in his talk on Web Oriented Architecture (WOA). His arguments were so compelling and I will try to cover it when I write about Mindtouch pretty soon. Andre Durand of Ping Identity talked about the importance of identity in the federated world of SaaS and other aspects of Cloud Computing. In fact, the discussions about identity spilled over to many sessions including the panel I moderated. This not only highlights the role identity is going to play in enabling a seamless experience in the Cloud based world but also looms over any security strategy we will have in place.
The only disappointment for me was the session on OpenID, OAuth and Building Web Oriented architectures. I was expecting an active discussion on the implementation of OpenID and OAuth in this Cloud based world and a discussion building upon Aaron’s talk in the morning. In spite of Naveen Agrawal’s efforts to dig a bit into the topic, the discussion turned into whether OpenID will work in an enterprise environment. This was followed by a talk by George Reese, CTO of Enstratus, on Cloud Security and he was highlighting about the importance of asking the Cloud providers about their security practices inside their datacenters. This is something I have highlighted in the past here at Cloud Ave. If you are really concerned about the security of your assets in the Cloud, push your Cloud vendor to be transparent about their security.
The highlight of the day was a very engaging session moderated by our own Ben Kepes. It was about the platforms and the clouds and the discussion centered around the experience of the users. When the discussion came about what users expect from the Clouds, I pointed out to the need for transparency by the Cloud providers and this lead to a response by Peter Coffee of Salesforce.com highlighting how Salesforce pioneered the idea of Dashboard showing information about various services in their platform. Someone from Bestbuy’s Cloud efforts disputed this notion and told that enterprises are not keen on a dashboard showing the green or red dots. Instead, he said they want a throat to choke if something goes wrong. Bestbuy representative argued that unless there is a single point of contact for the downtime issues, it means nothing to the enterprises. In fact, the same fact was highlighted by Derek Pilling of Meritage Funds during a conversation with me. In fact, I have asked him to do a guest post on Cloud Ave on the same topic. I would characterize this call to choke the throat as one of the important takeaways from the event.
The day ended with a Keynote by Mike West, an analyst from Saugatuck technology. He gave an overview on where the market is going and the issues that matter. He noted that India Inc. is readying itself to offer IT as a Service in the future. This got me going on my feet and I disputed this notion. My argument was based on the fact that the enterprises are not trusting Cloud providers inside of USA like Amazon.com and there is no way they will trust companies in foreign countries with their IT. Plus, the regulatory issues will definitely prevent such a move. He tried to dismiss my concerns by arguing that his projection was about something down the road and they can use the infrastructure provider in US to take care of these issues. I am still not convinced about it and I would love to have a discussion with him on the topic if an opportunity presents itself.
In my next post, I will touch upon the takeaways from day 2 and, also, discuss some of the exciting companies I saw there.