Feedback on the Cloud Computing track

intunconf.jpgI’ve been incredibly lucky this week: Awesome panelists and great discussions (several of which have run over) at Interop. The conclusion: Cloud computing is still cloudy, and if you want reliable on-demand computing, get it from a SaaS provider who can worry about the cloud on your behalf.

The Register and Infoworld, both of whom covered the events, seem to agree: There’s a lot of hype around on-demand computing, but it’s not fully grown up yet. Nice to know we’re trying to keep things honest. 😉

While lots of folks are dabbling with cloud computing and on-demand infrastructure, it’s not really ready for business yet. Some of the cloud users we had — folks from Napera, Syntenic, and Kaazing — are using the cloud for “bursty” capacity or as a way to prototyping nascent applications. But what do the operators think?

Treb Ryan of Opsource signaled that the company is trying to figure out how to get out of owning hardware — eventually. Jinesh Varia from Amazon (who joined a second panel Wednesday afternoon at the last minute: Thanks, Jinesh!) explained that many other companies are looking to provide a layer atop EC2 and S3 that makes it easier to deploy a specific framework, such as Ruby, atop EC2.

It’s conceivable that other add-ons could provide transaction processing, authorization, analytics, and so on. In fact, many of the panelists cited the need for good management tools built into the systems they use.

But it’s a slippery slope from there to platform-as-a-service offerings like Salesforce’s APEX, from there to metadata-configured sites that let companies build simple processes (Quickbase, Coghead), and from there to outright SaaS applications (Huddle, Basecamp, Freshbooks.) Yikes!

The next Cloud and SaaS event will be at Interop New York in September, but I’m sure we’ll have lots of discussions on it at Mesh, GigaOm Structure, and elsewhere.