The global CloudCamp phenomenon went to London for the third time last night, piggy-backing on the QCon enterprise computing conference to secure space in Westminster’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for the evening.
Partly buoyed with QCon attendees lured by the promise of free beer, CloudCamp registrations were rumoured to be in excess of 800. Hard as it is to judge these things from the audience, I reckon the actual numbers were lower — but still impressive — at about 5-600, and comprising a good mix of suits and jeans.
Whilst mainstream Enterprise interest in the Cloud is clearly essential to its long-term survival and adoption, this event struggled a little to satisfy the conflicting needs of interested CxOs, Cloud Computing junkies and bleeding edge adopters. A quick glance at the event’s Twitter stream, for example, makes it readily apparent that expectations differed wildly. As with many grassroots activities appropriated by the mainstream, some of the natives aren’t adapting well, and some of the immigrants bring a little too much baggage along on their trip.
Introducing proceedings, Simon offered a number of alternative definitions for the Cloud. One, attributed (in jest?) to a London taxi driver, comes pretty close to being a ‘Ronseal definition‘ for the Cloud;
it’s like computers on the Internet, innit
The subsequent lightning talks were an extremely mixed bag, encompassing pretty overt (and clearly unwelcome) product pitches and some more interesting thought pieces.
Mark Masterson, who went on to co-moderate the breakout group in which I later found myself, got them off to a good start with his discussion of security in the cloud, suggesting that the metaphors we use to describe enterprise security show that we’re thinking about it in the wrong way from the outset;
we need things like immune systems and antibodies rather than walls and moats… the US Department of Energy is doing this… the Jericho Forum is doing this.
William Fellows of The 451 Group referred to research his company has been involved in to map trends in Cloud Computing perception and adoption, commenting;
it’s amazing to me that a bookseller is still in the lead position
Following the lightning talks, the audience divided into four groups, gathering to discuss ‘The Open Cloud,’ ‘The Enterprise Cloud,’ ‘Laws and Regulation Impacting Cloud Computing,’ and an ‘Open Space’ discussion. I headed for ‘The Enterprise Cloud,’ facilitated by the previously mentioned Mark Masterson and Flexiscale CEO Tony Lucas.
Discussion — inevitably — returned to that endlessly trotted out excuse for inaction; security, which received short shrift from Masterson;
security isn’t an issue at all. It’s a red herring. Your stuff will be as secure in the cloud as it is in your data centre.
Tony followed quickly with,
if not more so.
It quickly became apparent that perceived cost savings in Cloud Computing are difficult to contextualise, as
Most enterprises don’t really know what their data centre costs.
If true, does that undermine the Cloud proposition? Or does it point to more concerning issues within Enterprise IT?
The evening ended with the promised beer, and the promised pizza mysteriously transmogrified to become bacon butties that might have been more fitting for a breakfast meeting than for 10pm on a Thursday evening. That said, they were still gratefully consumed by the assembled throng… and the level of noise in the room suggested that there was still much to discuss.
So… an interesting event, and well worth attending, but possibly in danger of becoming a victim of its own success if expectations are not better managed for next time.
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Article Tagged: Cloud computing, CloudCamp, Elastichosts, Flexiscale, James Governor, Jericho Forum, London, Mark Masterson, Martin Buhr, Richard Davies, Simon Wardley, The 451 Group, Tony Lucas, William Fellows