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Live at Cloud Connect 2011 - DZone Shares the Experience

03.11.2011
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This week DZone was on location in Silicon Valley attending the 2nd annual Cloud Connect conference.  After a strong showing in the first year, Cloud Connect really took off the second time around (a 66% increase in attendance).  Over 3,000 people showed up for this year's Cloud Connect, which focused on vendor-agnosticism and an honest dialogue between Cloud evangelists.  The panels were especially exciting as conference organizers seated Cloud solution competitors right next to each other in hopes of a more lively discussion.

Intel, IBM, Rackspace, Microsoft, and many other well-known cloud vendors were on the Expo floor with lavish booths, but where Cloud Connect really distinguishes itself is with its broad spectrum of smaller cloud-startups.  One cloud startup, Nimbula, was so fresh and new that had they just announced the GA version of their Cloud OS software on the first day of the conference.  



Needless to say, it was a big week for some cloudy newcomers.  It was also another stage for vendors to rally around open standards for clouds and data centers.  OpenStack and the Open Data Center Alliance were both discussed at the conference with a call to action asking other vendors to help the industry achieve the efficiency that is truly possible through interoperability—allowing for competition solely on the service level.



Interoperability has only been one of several concerns about the cloud, and many of the session tracks were aimed directly at addressing these concerns around things like performance and security.  Cloud economics, design patterns, culture, risks, governance, performance, private vs. public, and security were some of the major tracks of interest.  Some session topics included "Private vs. Hybrid vs. Public Cloud Security: Dismissing the Myths," "NoSQL and Big Data in the Cloud," "Cloud Performance from the Perspective of Vendors and Users," and "Scalable Application Design Patterns: 30 Proven Patterns in 30 X 2 Minutes."  The short keynote talks were interesting as well.  Day 2 was particularly diverse in the range of topics covered in such a short amount of time.



Here we see Martin Kagan from Cedexis presenting on global cloud performance data.  



As you can see, his data found that Amazon EC2 was the fastest in HTTP response times.  Of course, that performance was dependent on choosing the right region for your app.  The closer a user is to the EC2 servers, the better the performance.



Next, Martin Wheeler, the CSO from Terremark talked about the Open Data Center Alliance.  It's an independent IT consortium that wants to create an open, vendor-agnostic usage model roadmap.



Getting down and dirty with some tangible cost-benefit analysis—Neal Sample, VP of Architecture at eBay, gave some real numbers about how a major company like eBay cuts costs and makes its cloud more efficient.  Some of the methodologies they're currently employing for this cost reduction include 'cloud bursting' and migrating infrastructure from private to public clouds.  The screenshot above actually shows the drop in traffic due to the Libyan revolution.



They even brought out Oriol Vinyals from UC Berkeley who is working on cloud-based concurrent AI for the world-famous real-time-strategy game, StarCraft.  With hundreds of unique units reacting concurrently at 30 frames per seconds, StarCraft offered a number of interesting challenges for which a cloud-based solution was a good fit.  



When everything was said and done, DZone was at the last meeting on the schedule: the town hall.  Alistair Croll, the content chair of Cloud Connect, was very responsive to the critiques attendees had for this year's conference.  It's a tough balance, he says, to keep the sessions vendor-agnostic and at the same time avoid the high level, cloud-theory subjects that don't really teach developers and IT folks how to solve their problems with specific technologies.  Maybe we'll see more sessions next year like the series of EC2 tutorials that were held this year.

Cloud Connect is now providing a ton of videos and resources from the conference on their website.  Go check it out!