Cloud Expo West 2011 Reflection on the Cloud Trend

The 9th Cloud Computing Conference (Cloud Expo West) was hosted in Santa Clara Convention Center from November 7th through 10th. 8,000+ delegates, 200+ sponsors and 120+ exhibitors participated at the event. I arrived at the conference with an intention to compare the differences between this event and the Cloud Expo in NY last June.

Two trends caught my attention; they are Cloud integration effort and Cloud management evolution.

Cloud integration effort

Red Hat’s OpenShift Platform as a Service (PaaS) demonstrates the trend in the Cloud integration effort.  OpenShift interfaces with Github, a social coding site, to deploy applications in Java,  PHP, Perl, Python and Ruby to the various Clouds.  At the same time its main competitor, Heroku, loved by many developers, locks into the Amazon Cloud.

Application Developers seem to lead the way in this trend. They want an end to end solution; from coding deployment, online database, network integration to application deployment and market discovery. Any vendor that could provide an easy and robust solution could grow faster.

Cloud management evolution

SoftLayer, a Cloud hosting vendor, announced the partnership with RightScale to provide flexibility and control over their Cloud. It implies that the offer of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is not enough for the customer. Customers appreciate help that is needed to deal with the complexity of Cloud management.

What does RightScale do for Softlayer? It provides tools to manage scaled-out applications and predict the performance and load. The RightScale Cloud Management Platform is delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) to support Cloud integration and management needs. Customers could skip the complexity and still have the control of the infrastructure.

The white paper “Quantifying the Benefits of the RightScale Management Platform” demonstrates the effort to measure the productivity gains and cost savings. Measurable results help customers to learn the benefit of products. This is in line with what Jim Womack says in his work, Lean Thinking. “Where there is a product (or service) for a customer, there is a value stream. The challenge lies in seeing it.”

Service providers seem to lead the way in this trend. They want to make sure the solution they provide is manageable.

Cloud Computing is evolving quickly and executives are under pressure to come up with a Cloud strategy and services. Considering what your customers need and your service life cycle, you need to make sure the products you choose to build services are flexible enough for the changing Cloud space.

What products have you found that helped you in the Cloud space?  What do you see as new opportunities you’d want for the future with the Cloud?  We look forward to your comments.
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