I spent the second half of my day at Cloud Camp Boston which is a great unconference for those folks looking to learn more about cloud computing. I really like the unconference format which has grown in popularity from many podcamps and barcamps. This conference was moderated by David Nielsen @davenielsen who did a great job keeping the conversations flowing and everything else moving forward.

There were three main sections to this cloud came

  • 5 Minute Lightning Rounds – Mostly by Vendors
  • 10 Questions identified by the attendees and answered by attendees with experience in the cloud
  • 2 45 minute breakout sessions informally voted on by the attendees

The Lightning Rounds were good, the 10 questions were better, however, the best part of the evening was the two breakout sessions that I attended.

I attended Chris Hoff’s @beaker Cloudanatomy talk on Cloud security and was very impressed with Chris’s talk. Chris stated that he does not want to scare people away from the cloud, but instead he wants us all to be able to ask better questions of the Cloud vendors and make sure that we really understand what we are responsible and liable for and know what the cloud vendors are responsible and liable for.  However, Chris really lays out cloud as a house of cards built on older legacy protocols like DNS, BGP and SSL that can come thumbing down at any time. Chris’s point is that you should understand where your possible points of failure are and know your terms of service and plan accordingly.

I also attended John M Willis’s @botchagalupe Private Cloud discussion and identified the private side of this equation as “You own the hardware” and “You have control over the customers”. We compared the Amazon Public cloud to Eucalyptus which can be built as either a public or a private cloud. There was a lot of discussion about when and why should we use each model (Public & Private) which was reminiscent of the discussions we had 4 years ago when we started looking at virtualization. Questions like is this a solution for dev and test, and when do we go to production were common. John’s point was that every organization and data center should have 3 types of platforms for their applications to consider:

Bare Metal Servers  –  Virtualized Resources  –  Cloud Resources

With three platforms you can determine the best environment for you applications and if you are unfamiliar with building and maintaining applications in the cloud then a private cloud is a great starting point to cut your teeth on before moving to the Public cloud, and when you have both virtual and cloud resources internally, you can identify the best fit for you applications.

Overall I really enjoyed myself and see a lot of value in the CloudCamp model, and would encourage anyone investigating cloud technologies to attend a cloud camp.