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What I Learned at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley

Cloud, Big Data, the IoT and DevOps

The 15th International Cloud Expo and 2nd ThingsExpo finished up last week at the Santa Clara Convention Center. There were many exhibitors, many attendees, and many great sessions. Discussions were lively throughout, continuing after hours after each of the three days of the show.

Here's what I learned:

  • Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are a reality. This may seem obvious to anyone in the industry, and it was confirmed throughout each day last week. Cloud is not going to be a ubiquitous utility anytime soon, as might have been thought a few years ago. The market for private cloud - derided as cloudwashing a few years ago - will continue to grow rapidly, as it turns out that many enterprises have funny ideas about controlling their data and securing it on-site.

  • Public cloud is just getting started. This statement may seem to contradict my first statement, but it reflects the reality that cloud computing is not a zero-sum game. With only 5 to 10 percent of enterprise IT in the US employing cloud computing in any form so far, there is a limitless horizon for growth, and the instant testability and near-instant scalability provided by the public-cloud companies will benefit from hundreds of billions of dollars of this growth. Now, if only Amazon would tell us how much of its business is from public-cloud services, we can have a real benchmark from which to grow.

  • Homebrew is back. It was cute how presenters from behemoths such as Google and Cisco showed up with handcrafted things for the Internet of Things. Decades from now, when the world is paved with sensors, these days will be remembered fondly as the time when old-fashioned homemade engineering, the Makers movement, and entrepreneurial ingenuity delivered a number of very clever beacons, monitors, and wearable thingys in forms that reminded one of the days of playing "Daisy, Daisy" on an Altair 8800 in the early days of the PC revolution. Stanley Kubrick and Ed Roberts live!

  • The IoT is moving at warp speed. Another statement that may seem contradictory to the one preceding it, this observation is based on many conversations I had with attendees. Whereas most new computing waves are greeted first with skepticism then with cautious inquiry, the vibe about the IoT is that of a nascent Gold Rush. The first few years of Cloud Expo were characterized by people asking about the "what" of cloud, then the "why," and then the "how." Now, IT managers, representing significant budgets at big companies, have jumped straight to the "how." They're ready to deploy; no time to question what or why. At least that's what I got from talking to people.

  • Big Data is creating jobs. We've struggled a bit with this term, as I guess it's hard to define. But there was a lot of talk about the need for data scientists-as soon as we can define what a data scientist is. Think of data collection, monitoring, analysis, and actions based on the analysis, and you have the modern data-driven corporation. This has been the case for a long time. In the era of Big Data, everything is just a magnitude or two larger and more intense. Jobs are ensuing.

  • Oh yes, and DevOps. Because DevOps. That is all.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

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

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