Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We're going to have some exciting discussions at ODCA Forecast 2012!

Manhattan is going to be cloud computing central from June 11 to 14. 

Cloud Expo is something of the center of gravity, but there's plenty else going on. CloudCamp NYC is on the evening of June 12. It's free and they're always great events with lots of interaction. On Wednesday, Rishidot Research is organizing DeployCon, an Enterprise PaaS Summit. This new event cuts right to one of the hottest topics in cloud computing--bringing together the developer-friendliness of PaaS with the operational needs of enterprise IT. 

I'm going to try to spend some time at all three of those events, but what I'm most focused on is the Open Data Center Alliance's Forecast 2012 conference on Tuesday. The ODCA is a consortium of major IT organizations including, notably, large end-users; it's no vendor smoozefest. The idea is to identify customer requirements and to influence industry innovation to address those requirements. One such example is virtual machine interoperability, as is demonstrated in this Red Hat video using our CloudForms open hybrid cloud management software.

The event has a great lineup. For my part, I'll be a panelist at a pair of Forecast panels: one on software innovation and one on regulation. I'm excited about these panels for two reasons.

The first is that the organizers are doing a bang-up job of doing their best to ensure that these panels don't embody all those things that make us dread panels. You know what I mean. By the time everyone is done clearing their throats and telling you how smart they are, there's only time left for all the panelists to give more or less the same long-winded answer to a couple of desultory questions. No panelist slides on these ones. And I can assure you that the panelists are now quite familiar with terms like "rapid fire" and "interactive" as we've gone through our prep calls. The sad thing is that panels often have great potential. That potential is just so rarely achieved. I'm hopeful for these ones.

The other is that the topics for the two panels on which I'll be sitting are really interesting to me. I'm not going to steal my thunder in advance here, but I wanted to share a few thoughts in advance.

Rapid Fire Panel: Cloud Regulation (2:35-3:20)

Moderator: Deborah Salons

Panelists:

Brett Smith, Deutsche Bank

José E. González, Chief Business Development Officer, Trapezoid Digital Security Services, LLC

Gordon Haff, Cloud Evangelist, Red Hat

Marvin Wheeler, Chairman and Secretary, Open Data Center Alliance

My thoughts:

There are a lot of aspects to regulation but, given that I am neither a lawyer nor a governmental affairs expert, my real interest here is where regulation and technology interest. From the perspective of cloud computing--and cloud computing within large organizations in particular--my concern lies with questions such as how appropriate policies can be embedded in applications and control mechanisms so that automated processes don't run afoul of regulatory regimes. This is an important question because automation means "Hands Off!" Start interjecting manual processes to deal with regulatory requirements and you can't realize the benefits of automation.

Cloud Software Innovation Panel (1:50-2:35)

Moderator: Richard Villars, Vice President, Information & Cloud IDC

Panelists:

Elad Yoran, Chairman and CEO, Vaultive, Inc.

Gordon Haff, Cloud Evangelist, Red Hat

Greg Brown, McAfee

John Engates, CTO, Rackspace

Reuven Cohen, Senior Vice President, Virtustream

My thoughts:

This should be an interesting discussion. On the one hand, some question whether open source matters in the cloud even while almost all of the top public clouds have open source as their foundation. Their argument revolves around the fact that availability of source code doesn't have the same meaning in a world where software services are often delivered over the network and are intimately tied to the data and compute infrastructures on which they run. However, I'd argue that open is both a bigger and a broader issue in cloud computing as I wrote in Why the Future of the Cloud is Open.

How does this relate to software innovation? It relates because, even if open source historically was often about cheaper substitutes for expensive proprietary software, it's now more and more about fostering innovation through communities, including user communities. Is open source the only mechanism through which innovation can happen? Of course not. But it's a powerful mechanism as are other aspects of openness such as open APIs.

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