DC Event Recap: Fedscoop's Cloud Computing Shootout

December 9, 2009

2:13 am

This morning I was fortunate enough to have the time and a ticket to head downtown to the Newseum and watch a great event put on by Goldy Kamail and Fedscoop called Cloud Computing Shootout.  So before we get on too far, just wanted to take a moment and tell you briefly  about Fedscoop and what they are doing.

FedScoop is a full-service government media and marketing company, specializing in government IT news, new media advertising and custom turn-key strategic networking events.

FedScoop.com is the Government IT community’s most comprehensive, one-stop news source reaching notable influencers and voices in the community. FedScoop.com is the only independent aggregator of the most trusted and popular web sites that Government IT executives visit daily, to stay abreast of trends, best practices, business opportunities and news.

That being said, I was quite happy to connect with Goldy and be able to attend the event and pass on the coverage to you all.  To be honest, what caught my eye when I first saw the event was the moderator, the US CIO Vivek Kundra.  I had the pleasure of meeting with Vivek last year when he was still the CTO for the DC government and was looking forward to seeing him speak.  However, dues to his announcement today of the Open Government Initiative, he was forced to miss.  That being said, I was a little worried/disappointed, as was many of the crowd around me, but the event was a huge success.  The panel consisted of an array of industry leaders

  • Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon.com
  • Yousef A. Khalidi, Distinguished Engineer, Cloud Computing, Microsoft Corporation
  • Michael G. Hill, Vice President, Enterprise Initiatives IBM
  • Dan Burton, , SalesForce.com
  • Prasad L. Rampalli, Vice President, Intel Architecture Group, Intel Corporation
  • Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security, Google Enterprise

The funny part that kicked off the discussion was during the introductions, when Werner Vogels, a Phd extraordinaire introduced himself as the sys admin of a small bookstore in Seattle !  He was great, witty and had a lot of great information.  The first main topic was that of understanding the cloud and the governments realization that dues to the efficiencies it provides make it a must to investigate and utilize moving forward.

The panel discussed the differences between Infrastructure as a Service vs Platform as a Service issues, as well as good ways to incrementally work applications and data into the cloud.  Intel’s Prasad Rampalli talked about some of the dark side of the cloud.  He said “we used to have server sprawl, instead, now we have VM (virtual machine) sprawl”

There were further discussions on interoperability between the various vendors and their cloud stacks, if you will.  However, Dan Burtin of Salesforce.com stated it is already heading down that road.  They have offerings that allow interaction between Google and Amazon Web Services.  The key that Werner Vogels pointed out was to make the outward facing interfaces “dead simple”.  This allowed ease of interoperability between the various vendors and made offerings more feature rich.  He aid those interfaces and the PaaS offerings have created a marketplace for these services and given many companies the ability to resell these services.

Cloud Computing Shoot Out – FedScoop from FedScoop on Vimeo.

One big point that most of the panel seemed to agree on was the fact that the cloud allowed companies to remove the huge overhead of their underutilized data centers.  Vogels and Rampalli both stated that most data centers are under 20% utilized, most way under even that number, and that the cloud helped alleviate this very burdensome overhead cost.

The final two points discussed by the panel were one, the need to define an open data center framework, and two, security.  Eran Feigenbaum, Google Enterprise’s Director of Security stated that the primary issue with security in the cloud is perception.  People perceive the cloud to be insecure due to it not being “owned and on site”.  However, he said, it is actually more secure becuase it has been designed and built with security as the top priority.  Vogels seconded that assertion stating that “There is no finish line in security” and that the number one priorityof Amazon Web Services was security, period.

The session was wrapped up with a few audience questions and a few final words form the panel.  Overall, a great event !   Lots of great info from some industry heavyweights and a little insight into where the government may go as it dives into the cloud.  Kudos to Goldy and her Fedscoop team for putting on a first rate event.  We hope to be invited back for more in the future.

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Jimmy Gardner is a Senior Unix/Windows Engineer, a lover of technology and photography. Follow him online at @jjgardner3 and enjoy his portfolio at jjg3photo.com/.

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