Last week saw the inauguration of CloudConnect Chicago and it was great to see both established and newer speakers taking the stage. The event felt a lot like the inaugural event in Santa Clara; more intimate, more buy-side than sell-side, and of course a focus on cloud.
Some general observations from the event:
SDN is BUBBLING into CLOUD
It’s not necessarily an overt message, but it’s there. SDN – or at least it’s core "decouple and abstract" premise – is definitely rising through the layers of cloud. Speaking to ProfitBricks, for example, showed the way in which the assumptions we draw upon to design L2 architectures may be the most disrupted by SDN while the L3 (IP) network architecture might remain largely untouched. While many vendors are approaching SDN with new L3 architectures and protocols, ProfitBricks has run with the idea that the same "decouple and abstract" premise of SDN that provides value up the stack can also provide significant advantages down the stack.
Given that many of the challenges SDN is designed to address are more pronounced in cloud computing environments than traditional data centers, this is no surprise. SDN is currently quickly moving up the stack in terms of hype, so expect to see at least marketing in the cloud computing demesne start to take advantage of its somewhat nebulous definition as well.
CLOUD CONFUSION CONTINUES
There is still a lot of confusion attached to the word "cloud" on the buy-side, especially when prefixed by modifiers like "private" "public" and "hybrid". Customers are being inundated with self-serving definitions that, while based loosely on NIST definitions, are outside what most experts would consider at least typical. Even associated terms like "elasticity", long considered a staple benefit of cloud, are being stretched thin to include processes that clearly fall outside the implied definition of "just in time" flexible capacity.
Faster provisioning and reducing operational complexity resonated well, however, no matter how far afield the definition of cloud might have gotten. The notion of scheduled elasticity fits with these interests, as enterprises desire the flexibility of cloud as a way to address periodic (and anticipated) increases in capacity needs without maintaining and incurring the costs of an over-provisioned infrastructure.
IDENTITY and ACCESS CONTROL
There continues to be awareness of the issues surrounding identity and access control, particularly as it applies to SaaS, and the need to integrate such services with existing data center processes. While adoption of IaaS remains less broad, SaaS usage is continuing to expand with a significant majority of customers taking advantage of SaaS in some aspect of business and operations. This is leading to an increased awareness of the potential risks and challenges for managing access to these systems, incurring a desire in customers to reassert their governance.
Anticipate the arrival of turn-key solutions in the form of cloud brokers that streamline managing identity and access control for SaaS in the near future as demand continues to escalate in the face of continued SaaS adoption.
If you missed the event, you can enjoy the keynote presentations online.