Are we finally seeing mainstream adoption of cloud computing? Judging by the remarkable attendance at the Cloud Computing Expo in Santa Clara, CA last week, if we aren’t, we’re certainly getting close. Over 4000 people attended the cloud technology conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Event sponsors told me that is a tripling of attendees compared to 2009. Why did attendance jumped so precipitously? Simple. IT is trying to get out in front of the runaway freight train that is cloud computing.
Business units now have an unprecedented ability to forgo IT and directly purchase public cloud services. With a credit card and a couple mouse clicks, a product manager, accountant or salesperson can provision new compute resources or applications. It’s cheap and the complexity is completely hidden to the purchaser. CEOs and CIOs want to exploit this but they also know they need some kind of governor on the throttle.
There is certainly no shortage of hype in the cloud computing universe but what struck me about Cloud Expo was its “get beyond the hype and focus on what actually works” vibe. I found the vendor sponsors and attendees to be…well… pragmatic. They were very much in agreement with the presentation themes of VMware and Oracle that cloud computing is an evolution, not revolution.
So lots of IT guys were at the expo. And the sponsors and speakers both mentioned there were more “suits” at the show (present company included). The show seemed more…well…serious. The IT managers were looking beyond visionary cloud soliloquys and the latest specs for private cloud infrastructure and searching for real products to help them migrate to and manage both private and public cloud services. And I think the vendors overall did a good job of delivering.
CA Technologies, OpenStack, Rackspace and tech/cloud bellwhethers were front and center but some fresh faces stole the show and really impressed me. Companies like Abiquo, AppZero, MorphLabs, Racemi, and Stoneware showcased some cool technology. And what I liked was that they address real problems like application portability, application migration and cloud management and automation. They also touted on openness and avoidance of cloud vendor lock-in.
I liked the button I took home courtesy of Abiquo.
You can read more about my experience at Cloud Expo West and more detail about the showcased solutions in a report to be published next week. I’ve been optimistic about cloud computing adoption. but I’m a little more optimistic after seeing enterprise IT managers getting on board with it and vendors offering less hype and more pragmatic approaches to cloud implementation.