I attended the Structure 2008 conference in San Francisco this week, thanks to Anand for arranging passes for the same. The talks at structure08 were not very technical, focused primarily on some business, ethical considerations and adoption of cloud computing.
- drew a symbolic link between Bill Gates retiring and Structure08 (first cloud computing conference) being in the same week. Marked the shift of computing from desktop to the cloud.
- while building infrastructure, think of the ethical dimension. With electricty there was no requirement, with cloud computing, there is information involved.
- claimed that a single converged device would never exist and cloud computing enables independence of location/device
- The enterprise itself hasn’t figured out how to embrace cloud computing; users are figuring it out very quickly.
Werner Vogels, Amazon:
- claimed that a typical company spends 70% effort on scaling/undifferentiated heavy lifting. AWS enables companies to focus on core value.
- Cloud computing makes CAPEX an OPEX (Operating expense, variable cost model
- Amazon calls 100s of services to construct a single page on amazon.com
Mendel Rosenblum, VMWare:
- Run VM in my house or run it outside on the cloud, and have an easy way to move it around.
- Desktop on cloud
Greg Papadopoulos, Sun:
- Drew an analogy between storing your money and storing data. People are more comfortable storing money in the bank, similarly they would be more comfortable storing data securely in the cloud.
- Meebo – They use cloud computing (AWS) for things like file upload that are non-core to business, prefer to keep control for core applications.
- Facebook – Leverage our community to translate our site in various languages
- Q: How to handle PR around outages? A: Be transparent, communicate and set realistic timelines for when service will be restored.
- Concerns raised about vendor lockin with cloud computing platform providers. Need for open APIs for cloud computing.
Other notables/observations –
- VMWare and Sun seem to be positioned for cloud computing in the enterprise space. They are being bypassed though by the AWS and GAE (Google App Engine) who are using commodity servers/software.
- Talk around everything as a service (software, storage, content, applications, data, platform etc.)
- AWS is leading the cloud computing space. Google (GAE) and Microsoft were at a distant 2nd.
- Yahoo did not have much presence at Structure08. That was a bit of a surprise considering their contribution to Hadoop.
- Hallway conversations – ‘cloud computing = grid computing + billing’
- Early stage startups seemed to use cloud computing more than established players. Established players were more concerned more about control, were willing to experiment with cloud computing when they need extra capacity, but would like to maintain their own infrastructure for bread and butter type stuff.
- Hallway conversations about how Oracle viewed BigTable/Hypertable – they seem to be following the trend but don’t have any products in the space. Talk about how the Oracle’s enterprise customers did not care about the BigTable model (need a relational database etc.).