Is the future of IT managing scripts?

This is the question Alistair Croll first asked Werner Vogels in the fireside chat session at ECS. Werner admitted he’d been caught off guard by the question but admitted that the future is automation for sure and scripts are powerful tools to achieve this.

An example of an enterprise use case for cloud computing

Werner related the case of the NASDAQ which had a lack of capital, which was restricting innovation and making it difficult for them to solve the technical problems around handling complex historical stock queries.

They solved this by having every ticker symbol for 10 minutes written to a text file in Amazon S3. An Adobe Air application was created which allowed you to specify a symbol and a date range. The app would download the text files for that time period – meaning you can do joins, queries etc. The computation is done by the customer’s desktop which means there is no resource investment. They were able to use cloud technology to keep things “nice and simple”

Cost savings can include people

Werner talked about the idea that when assessing the cost of cloud computing versus in-house infrastructure, you have to think about the total cost of ownership not just hardware. Werner talked about the example of the Indy 500. He said they have a very nice website which offers a flash environment with multiple video streams including views from the cockpits of drivers’ cars with audio feeds and telemetry. This is a high load application but it only runs three times a year. They found that they had to move a lot of engineers into data centers to keep their servers up. When they moved to cloud infrastructure they made 75% cost savings, the majority of which was on the people side; now they can manage everything from their armchair at home.

On Amazon direction and strategy

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A Demonstration of Cloud Computing – ECS 09

Since the dawn of Cloud Computing, there’s been a lot of talk about interoperability. Much of this has included discussions around working groups on interoperability and plans for open cloud standards. While this is well-intentioned, and portability across clouds is a noble goal, but practical demonstrations of cloud interoperability have been few and far between.

Many vendors have demonstrated their individual cloud’s capabilities, but for the 2009 Enterprise Cloud Summit we wanted to do something different.

The ECS Video Messaging Application

For the last few months, Syntenic and Bitcurrent have been working on a sample cloud application designed to showcase the power (and limitations) of cloud computing. The resulting application, based on the Panda open source project, lets users upload and label video content that is then transcoded into a variety of formats. Put simply, it’s like Twitter with video.

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Defining cloud computing: It's all about the layers

Cloud concepts can be pretty confusing. But when you tell a small business owner or early-stage startup it means not having to spend a lot of money, it gets simple fast.

Denise Deveau wrote about this recently in the Globe and Mail (and I got quoted a bunch, which was nice.) But defining what “cloud” really means is a contentious subject. At the upcoming Cloudcamp in San Francisco (running before Structure, and organized by the energetic Reuven Cohen) this is sure to be a subject of debate.

My overly simple soundbite for the Globe article was that cloud computing was “having computing resources available to you when you don’t own the machines.” But that might get me into trouble: There’s a taxonomy of on-demand services, from platform-as-a-service to hardware-as-a-service. And then there’s grid computing. And of course SaaS gets lumped in with this.

So I’m going to try a more detailed description:

Cloud computing means having a set of abstracted resources available to you, and not worrying about what’s below that abstraction.

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