Things I have no choice but to write

Month: November 2009

Perfect siliconn valley day

Only in the valley…today was typical silicon valley. Early morning meeting at work, interviewing someone at Peets in Willow Glen, then a taqueria lunch at adelita's. Then a leisurely stroll through the components aisle at frys for 90 minutes. Perfect.
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CIA CIO: We Were Headed To Cloud No Matter What

The most anticipated talk of the day, at the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo, was by the deputy CIO of the CIA, Jill Sanger. Her talk was entitled, Enterprise Cloud Computing, the Infrastructure’s Final Revenge.

She acknowledged the problem with defining Cloud Computing, and then went on to give her paragraph-length definition of “the cloud”. Her talk focused on the part of the Cloud behind the firewall.

“Today’s CIO must increase the flexibility of the infrastructure,” said Sanger. “Today’s CIO must manage cost to free dollars for [other purposes] …and work to improve the competitiveness of the larger organization.”

“Faster, Better, Cheaper, and Safer” was the overall theme of her talk, and she pointed out that the good CIO should be able to get all four out of a cloud computing environment.

She then made parallels between an adaptable businesses and the various arms of business, comparing the business that responds to new realities quickly to FEMA, and businesses which reach out to customers in need like the US Department of State responding is with aid to countries that experience earthquakes and tsunamis.

She then followed with a definitions of clouds within clouds: “You need a storage cloud and a compute cloud on top of your network cloud,” said Sanger. All of this needs to be build on top of world-class processes and governance.

The CIA had been heading to an enterprise cloud whether it knew it or not. The agency, said Sanger,  has also been working on evolving an SOA architecture for 7 years. Gartner first published the notion of SOA back in 2003, which implies that the CIA was a very early adopter of the set of architectural principles.

Sanger focused on IT, but occasionally her CIA background came through. “The internet is the most perilous of attack vectors,” she said. She also used government-speak by using words like “Exfiltration,” which is the leaking of data outside an organization.

In a talk filled with cloud boosterism, Sanger was asked about what happens after the “cloud” craze.  She mentioned that they have been talking about “cloud” for about 18 months and the Cloud craze has not run its course, and will likely be around for at least another 18 months. She offered no indication as to what the CIA might use as an infrastructural organizing principle after cloud mania has run it’s course.

Long lines, No Parking: A Good Sign?

Day One of the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo is in full swing. First off, it took me nearly 30 minutes to find parking. For some reason the top level of the parking structure of the Santa Clara Convention Center was closed off. Not sure why. Then I walked through the San Jose Hyatt. At that point, I ran into the lines. The lines for registration we’re 50-100 people deep. And there was no special “press” registration. I waited 42 minutes to get my badge, and so did everybody else.

Was this an example of poor planning, or was there something deeper going on? Many people are touting “Cloud” as the next big thing. Larry Ellison not withstanding. The day 1 keynotes were over-full and there were overflow rooms for keynotes from Oracle, Amazon and Intel. There seems to be a lot on interest in this from both technical and non technical types, judging by the number of suits in the crowd. The always stand out. This is Northern California after all.

Could this be a sign that the Great Recession is over? Could be. All over Silicon Valley there are signs of hope. While SunOacle is laying off 3000-4000 this week, there are other companies are hiring. Companies are still having trouble hiring engineers, and VCs are doling out money to worthwhile companies.

That said, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the afternoon, Oracle’s keynote was a standard Fusion pitch which mentioned cloud several times, all apparently irony-free. Intel’s cloud evangelist Jason Waxman give Intel’s vision of Cloud Computing, which seems to be very close to their virtualization story in years past.

It seems that while Cloud may be hot, it is not revolutionary, or even revolutionary. Or it could be I am jaundiced from having trouble marketing and having to wait 42 minutes to register.

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