David Chappell


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Notes from CloudBeat 2013  
# Monday, September 16, 2013
I participate in quite a few cloud conferences, and CloudBeat is always one of the most interesting. CloudBeat 2013 was no exception. It's sponsored by VentureBeat, and so there's a Silicon Valley startup vibe mixed with a few big, established vendors.

This year's theme was "The Cloud Grows Up", which was perfect for where things are today. A few thoughts from the event:
  • In the past, when people at cloud conferences wanted to refer to public cloud platforms in general, they'd say "Amazon". At this event, many speakers said "Amazon or Azure". With its Valley roots, CloudBeat is anything but Microsoft-friendly (the audience sported almost exclusively Macs and iPads), but Windows Azure is clearly getting more mindshare, even here. In public cloud platforms for enterprises, I think we're headed for a two-horse race. 
  • Multiple vendors talked about being open, letting their customers avoid lock in. This left me wondering: Do these vendors think that enterprise IT leaders (the target audience for these claims) still fall for this? Surely their customers have all figured out that whatever a vendor says, it always wants to lock you in to its products. This isn't evil--it's a rational (even essential) business strategy. And while many IT leaders wish things were otherwise, everybody understands that they're not. So why do the vendor marketing people keep singing this old song? How gullible do they think their customers really are?
  • There was lots of OpenStack love at the event. But OpenStack is the cloud generation's attempt to create a multi-vendor standard supported by multiple competing vendors. We've seen this movie many times, and we know how it usually ends: One or two vendors end up with a viable business using a customized version of the technology, often riding the "open" hype to make sales. If you're HP or IBM, both of whom came in dead last in Gartner's most recent IaaS Magic Quadrant (and both quite visible at this event), this strategy is probably your best shot at success. But customers are wise to claims of openness (see above), and so it's a challenging road to walk.

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