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Cloud Expo Takeaways: Private Cloud, Security, & Big Data

Also, It's Still Year Zero for Enterprise IT Buyers

Activity at last week's Cloud Expo in Santa Clara will ripple and reverberate for several months, no doubt until the next show convenes on June 11-14 in New York. The cloud-computing industry can now fairly be said to encompass all aspects of enterprise and personal IT, even as its definition remains hazy and its specifc use a bit nebulous.

With four days of an eight-track conference, and a well-stocked exhibition floor, it was not possible to cover everything that went on. Here are a few general takeaways that I got from the event: 

1. Private Cloud is where it's at. On-site elastic architecture is the big story. Rackspace and Citrix, Eucalyptus, and Morphlabs all presented strong stories at the show. Forget the objections and concerns about Public Cloud for a minute. The idea of making internal IT resources more efficient and flexible is one that everyone can embrace.

2. Security is a cultural issue, not a technical one. The entire security track and many other sessions brought forth this point repeatedly. Without an institutional commitment to internal security, then quibbles about schemes and the technical merits of cloud-centric security are meaningless.

3. Cloud will create IT jobs, not destroy them. Every time I looked at a management tool I was struck by the sophistication it required, even with intuitive interfaces. Even when deploying something "easy" like a major vendor's IaaS, "you have to know what you're doing," as one major vendor said. Perhaps IT staffing levels won't grow dramatically with Cloud, but IT staffs will be upgraded.

4. It's still Year Zero for Cloud. Exhibitors reported to me that they're still receiving introductory-level questions from IT buyers. Not tire-kicking, but a search on how to get started realistically in their organizations. Geeks, reporters, and analysts have been on Cloud like a frog on a junebug for a couple of years; buyers are only now becoming highly interested in it.

5. Big Data is coming. I saw one prominent commentator threaten to choke anyone talking about Big Data, and this is another term that is being distorted from its original meaning. Doesn't matter - the fact is that cloud service providers and major enterprise IT shops need to start thinking in petabytes, as the insane proliferation of mobile devices and fat data types (read: "video") creates Big Data. Maybe the term should be RBFD (Really Big Data).

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, (@IoT2040), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing/BigData/IoT Journal. He has a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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[email protected] 11/14/11 04:58:00 PM EST

Great post! I'm particularly happy about observation #3. I agree 100% with the comment. I'd also like to add that job creation will be even higher than anticipated because of the innovative and exciting ways organizations will discover for using cloud in their businesses. Cloud features will allow companies to develop new products and services opening new markets for job creators and consumers.