That Conference – From The Clouds #1

That Conference - Summer Camp for GeeksWelcome to the first installment of “That Conference – From the Clouds”. I am honored to be the Track Chair for That Conference’s Cloud Track. I will be working with you, the attendees, to bring interesting and informative Cloud sessions to our Summer Camp for Geeks.

Cloud is a huge and growing space with a lot of surface area across technologies and platforms. As a result, Cloud has become a huge market opportunity for vendors and this leads to lots of marketing hype. Today, there are many Cloud products and services to choose from, and while most of them fit, there are some that stretch the Cloud quite a bit.

Cloud Litmus Test

So how do you know what is and isn’t Cloud? What is the Cloud Litmus test? When I consider whether something should be classified as Cloud, I look for the five essential characteristics embedded in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) definition of Cloud.

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

The Five Essential Characteristics of Cloud

  1. On-Demand, Self-Service: Consumers can provision computing resources as needed without requiring human interaction with a service provider.
  2. Broad Network Access: Resources and services are available anywhere using common communication standards.
  3. Resource Pooling: Resources and services are available for multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model. They are assigned and unassigned to consumers based on demand to achieve resource leveling and economic benefit.
  4. Rapid Elasticity: Resources and services can be provisioned and released rapidly and in some cases automatically to accommodate demand. This often gives the illusion of infinite scale.
  5. Measured Service: Usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported for consumers. Often services are billed on a pay-per-use or consumption model.

When considering vendors, products and services that claim to be Cloud, this is the Litmus test that hold them against.

Cloud Confusion

Last month, I spoke in Silicon Valley at Cloud Connect Santa Clara. I saw many thought provoking sessions and speakers. And the expo floor was full of vendors showing off their offerings and making big announcements. When I see vendors marketing Cloud, they fit into lots of categories. Here are some examples:

  • Networks and Connectivity
  • Infrastructure, both hardware and software
  • Storage, Backup and DR
  • Data Centers and Hosting Providers
  • Development and Testing Tools
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Providers
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) Providers
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) Providers
  • Orchestration, Monitoring and Management Tools
  • Consultancies, Professional services firms and Integrators
  • And then, Other

It’s pretty easy to see how Cloud can get cluttered and confusing quickly. Developers are often concerned with a small subset of these categories, but it’s difficult to wade through the marketing to determine what vendors have something interesting to explore further.

Cloud @ That Conference

At That Conference, Cloud will be interesting and informative for attendees. To do that, we have to collaborate. So I’ll leave you with three questions.

  1. What would you like to see and hear more about?
  2. What technologies, platforms and vendors are interesting?
  3. What questions do you have?

Please provide your thoughts and continue the conversation in the comments below or on twitter.