Master the Cloud, Montréal - Notes from the Road Part 2

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Rafal Los

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Greetings again from gorgeous, but frigidly cold, Montréal, this post is la deuxième partie to the series from today's events on HP's Master the Cloud series across Canada.  The first part can be found here

In a short summary, to wrap up what I've seen on my first day on this tour... amazing. 

I've never seen so many technology leaders, recognizable brands and small businesses from the region, show up to hear straight talk on the move to cloud computing.  In a word: refreshing.  I hope the rest of the cities are like this, because I'm completely excited.

I have to say this first - I did a brief end-of-day wrap up interview with two companies you'd probably know so the gentlemen weren't allowed to use their company name, but the take-aways from my conversation with them are striking. 

One said that his big take-back to the office is that "cloud computing isn't really that hard" and the other said that they "gained the ability to provide a business case for cloud to their senior leadership" through this event. 

Look... given that this was a one-day HP + partners event... color me impressed.  Both these guys recommended that anyone who's even thinking of looking at cloud computing seriously attend this event in one of their local cities... these are endorsements from real people that struggle with technology and resources, and making business cases just like you!

On another topic, I had a fantastic chat with one of our partners - VMWare.  I know enough about VMWare to make me dangerous, and when I got a chance to talk with the representative that was there at the booth it was a ton of new information. 

For example, we talked about mobile workloads and security policy... these are issues that deal with compliance and strike at the heart of security.  This isn't some theoretical vapor-ware, but rather real integrations we're doing between VMWare and TippingPoint's Secure Virtualization Framework (SVF).

This is incredibly cool technology that makes security visible and understandable with an abstracted view for administrators and security professionals at customers that have already deployed TippingPoint or VMWare and can now get immediate value together. 

Powerful, powerful stuff.  By the way, if you've never met David de Valk out at a trade show he's an absolute genius on virtualization and security and he's one of the masterminds behind the SVF... check out the video link above to learn more.

Something that stuck out at me from another keynote from today was Denis Gaudreault from Intel Canada.  He laid out Intel's strategy for security and virtualization as it pertained to the cloud and the Intel partnership with HP.  Cloud computing is serious business, and Intel is hitting it head on with strong security innovations that will isolate, encrypt, enforce, and connect at the hardware level. 

At the hardware level is really where the biggest bang for the buck comes from, since you don't have to mess with any of the software tricks so we applaud Intel for pushing this effort forward.  I was excited to hear Denis deliver the Intel vision for 2015 with respect to cloud computing and security as well.

By 2015, Intel sees Cloud Computing as Federated, Client-Aware, and Automated.  That's interesting in part because it means a more advanced level of computing power and intelligence than we have today... let me explain what I heard (I hope I took good notes, I'll try and get the slides if I can find them):

  • Federated: As clouds pop up, expand and workloads become mobile across providers and virtualization platforms federation will allow for a much easier move from one provider to another, and from one platform to another without having to worry about separate authentication, authorization, and validation efforts.  This means ultimate transparency for customers which is what we've been hearing a slowly rising drumbeat for anyway... very cool.  Can it be done in 3 years?... I hope so.
  • Client-aware: As clouds expand in duty and capacity we expect more intelligence and context-awareness.  I'm not talking SKYnet awareness here but rather something that has a much deeper interaction and interrogation between the client and the service (server) but with well respected security boundaries.  This is notably a difficult thing for both privacy and legitimate security reasons - but it's necessary for well-built technology that's aware of an endpoint that needs to conserve battery power, or has a small display, or has a crypto hardware capability and so on.  I think this is one of the major technology waves that will happen to enable better mobility, but by 2015?  Wow...I think that's aggressive but I'm hopeful.
  • Automated - This speaks for itself.  We've talked about networks that self-heal when damaged, so what about the cloud that self-heals?  This is more than just application-level programming that has to change but we can make the cloud infrastructure resilient, self-repairing, and automated so that when something needs to change (such as a patch or revision upgrade) it just happens automatically with the proper amount of testing and validation, backup, etc.  Pretty cool stuff, and something I can't wait for honestly... less chance for human error, maybe?

This has been a phenomenal event, with a lot of information packed into a single day and my brain is absolutely full... and I'm hopeful that the customers and people I've met today are going to have a better insight into cloud when they show up for work tomorrow than they did when they got here this morning.  I'm telling you - if you have a chance to get to one of these events do not miss it.

So as the curtain drops on this beautiful city, and the event is wrapped back up into boxes and shipped west to Toronto in a few days, I sign off and head out into the night in search of some Canadian hospitality.  I'll be seeing you soon in Toronto...

Cross-posted from Following the White Rabbit

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