Impressions from CloudOps Summit

Last week I attended the CloudOps Summit in Frankfurt. The motto of this conference was “Run the Cloud” and the central idea to show how cloud computing is already used today, how hands-on solutions and architectures look like, how cloud systems are operated, and what tools are already available.

While web-startups almost immediately understand the advantages of public cloud infrastructures such as Amazon EC2, Rackspace or GoGrid and already use those intensively to avoid up-front investments into hardware, scale their infrastructure dynamically to their needs, and benefit from a pay-per-usage model, established enterprises are much more hesitant in adoption – mostly due to security concerns, fear of vendor lock-in, the costs for migrating their legacy data, or the constraints of remaining compatible with existing software. This leads to the funny situation that the big ones listen carefully to learn from the new and small ones.

The conference started with a couple of short 6-minute “lightning talks” and was followed by parallel tracks about architecture, management, operations, and presentations of startups.

Some highlights from the Lightening talks

Jean-Paul Schmetz explained in his keynote that cloud computing means that everything becomes software in the cloud – storage, memory, CPU – they all have become resources that can be created and destroyed programatically on demand. Hardware are fixed assets that requires planning, budgeting, and thus accurate predictions of the future, something very hard to achieve in a world of constantly-changing requirements and needs.

Chris Boos sees in cloud computing the big opportunity for system administrators to ged rid of the boring part of operations and maintenance and to concentrate on the interesting and challenging tasks of creating new things. Cloud computing and its inherent need for automation actually liberate the rare IT experts and revalue their skills.

Nicolas Plögert from Sharewise showed how his company outsourced almost all non-critical business processes to more than a dozen of web-services – communication, billing, customer relations management to name a few.

Florian von Kurnatkowski told us that even the automative industrie wants to make their internal network (ENX) more flexible by transforming it into a cloud infrastructure.

Startups

In the startup tracks (in which I presented Elastic Detector, our cloud security monitoring service) there were a couple of interesting products around cloud infrastructures:

ScaleUp builds software that helps providers to build their own public clouds. There focus is on account management, provisioning, and managing the “point of purchase”, i.e. the spot where providers and consumers meet.

Scalarium provides a SaaS product that allows to deploy and scale web-application for Amazon EC2.

CloudSafe allows to store and share critical documents in the cloud. All data is encrypted and different access models are supported.

CentralStationCRM is a CRM SaaS product targeting small companies that are over-whelmed by the complexity of products like Salesforce.

SemYou aims to combine the simplicity of an app-store with the flexibility of SaaS applications. There goal is that users can activate any kind of web-application with a single click on their computer that will run transparently in the cloud.

Impossible Software allows to create “dynamic videos” where logos and brands can be integrated in video templates.

Thanks to the organizers for their great work and looking forward to another CloudOps Summit in Frankfurt next year! All presentations are available behind this link.

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