Web2Expo New York

web2expoO’Reilly is the go-to reference for technology (we’re a bit biased, of course) and the Web2 conferences are no exception. Web2Summit is the blue-sky event that talks about what’s possible on the Internet, leaving the attendees and sessions of Web2Expo to figure out how.
We’ll be running a day-long session on web monitoring, with a particular focus on how to tie social media tracking systems back to outcomes in analytics.

We did an overview of Complete Web Monitoring at the spring Web2Expo, and this one will borrow from that, but also add a lot from the discussions we’ve had with various startups and vendors since that time.

Web 2.0 Expo '09

Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2008If you’re involved in any aspect of the web or technology, you’re probably aware of Web2Expo. Spun off the Web2Summit, it’s now become the go-to conference for people who have to deliver on the things that VCs and board members dream up in their reality distortion fields.

We’re involved in a couple of things with Web2Expo. First of all, Sean Power and I are teaching a three-hour course on web monitoring, which is a synopsis of our Complete Web Monitoring book (AKA the Raven Book) coming out from O’Reilly later this year. It’s called Watching Websites: A Report from the Frontlines of Web Monitoring. We’re hoping to provide a holistic view of all the tools and techniques companies need to use to understand their presence online (no small task for just three hours!)

Second, I’m moderating a panel on cloud computing with Benjamin Black of Opscode, Lew Moorman of Rackspace.com, Kevin Gibbs of Google, and possibly a fourth participant we’re still confirming. This will be a great discussion — everyone’s been so busy talking about how cloud computing is utopian idealism that we often forget about the job of managing all those virtual components.

1H2009: Events, events everywhere

The first half of 2009 is shaping up to be a very busy time for the Bitcurrent team. We have  events that we’re going to be attending, participating in, coordinating, or otherwise making noise at. We’ll post more details on each event–along with discount codes–shortly. Here’s a quick overview.

Cloud Connect: [January 20-22, Mountain View, CA] I’m speaking on a panel called “Is Lock-In Inevitable? Or Can the Cloud Learn From the Lessons of the Past?” with Redmonk’s Stephen O’Grady, Appistry’s Sam Charrington, and IBM’s Bob Sutor. Cloud Connect is the brainchild of David Berlind, and it’s a dose of reality to conferences.

Green:Net09: [March 24, San Francisco, CA] GigaOm’s tech conference, tied to Earth2Tech, promises to do for green what Structure did for IT infrastructure. One day, good speakers, in San Francisco.

SIIA Netgain and CODiEs: [May 3-5, San Francisco, CA] This conference is focusing on the business of software, including issues like the impact of mobility, funding in a lousy economy, and dealing with the impact of free software. It’s our first time working with the SIIA guys but the content and speakers are already amazing.

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Conference week in New York

It’s time to head to New York for the start of the fall conference season. This year, Interop and Web2Expo are side-by-side at the Javitz Center, and we’re holding the Interop Unconference event on Thursday night. Then there’s High Performance on Wall Street happening on Monday the 22nd.

At Interop this year, we’re helping to run the Software-as-a-Service track (in conjunction with Jeff Kaplan of Thinkstrategies) and the Cloud Computing track (helped by Peter Laird, who I first met when I saw his excellent Taxonomy of the Cloud, which he’s been hard at work revising for Interop.) I’m also doing a free session on cloud foundations at the show. The lineup of speakers and panelists is remarkable, and will hopefully lead to some great conversations. We also have folks from Google, Amazon, Joyent, 10Gen and Bungee on a Web2Expo panel.

Here’s a recap of the sessions and participants:
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Cloud panel at Web2Expo New York

Web 2.0 Expo New York 2008The (apparently) slower pace of summer is giving way to a very hectic September, with Bitnorth, Unconference, Interop, and Web2Expo all happening in a two week period.

I’m moderating a panel on Scaling Web 2.0 applications by building in the clouds as part of the Performance and Scaling track. It’s a great lineup, with folks from Amazon, Bungee, Joyent and 10Gen.

Haven’t figured out all the questions yet, but it’s bound to be a good discussion with that many seasoned Web2 operators in one place. Bitcurrent has a $100 discount code for the conference: webny08mc23.

Web2Expo panel on cloud computing

Web2Expo New York is happening in September. We’ll be moderating a panel on Big Cloud platforms.

From the session description:

Cloud computing is self-serve outsourcing for web companies. Clouds give even the smallest startup access to world-class infrastructure that can grow as needed. And developers build apps faster, because they start with the building blocks of online applications: Authentication, storage, messaging, and the social graph.

Can’t get into specifics on panelists yet, but they’re good; April’s session on databases of the future brought together senior folks from Microsoft, MySQL, and Amazon SimpleDB.

Power panels at Structure '08

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to moderate a panel on next-generation databases at Web2Expo. Having database greats Brian Aker, Dave Campbell, and Matt Domo in one place made for great dialogue. In addition to finding out whether RDBMS is dead, we looked at the big challenges of data storage (synchronization, working offline, and a shift towards specialized data models.)

We even found out how these three datascenti track their contacts (MySQL’s Aker uses scripts he wrote; Microsoft’s Campbell uses Outlook.)

Then last week at Interop, I had folks from platform companies like Google, Amazon, and Opsource together with a number of startups and virtualization tool makers. Again, great dialogue, even on the five-person panel that ran over. This time, the consensus seemed to be that on-demand computing was great for bursty capacity and highly parallel tasks, but lacked the controls, management tools, and SLAs to be a production platform for enterprises at the moment.

But Structure promises to be the most compressed discussion yet. Om Malik, the guy behind the event, says it’s about two things: Learning how the new web is built from the architects that built it; and networking with investors who “are looking to place their bets on cloud computing” and see it as a huge opportunity. “Structure 08 is about Getting Web Done,” says Malik.
I have two panels on the same day to moderate:

  • Cloud Computing: Infrastructure for Entrepreneurs, featuring Geva Perry, CMO of GigaSpaces; Jason Hoffman, CTO of Joyent, Tony Lucas, CEO of XCalibre; Lew Moorman, SVP Strategy of Rackspace; Christophe Bisciglia, senior software engineer at Google; and Joseph Weinman, corporate development and strategy at AT&T.
  • Scaling to Satiate Demand: Tactics from the pioneers, with Sandy Jen, co-founder and VP Engineering of Meebo; Akash Garg, CTO of Hi5, Jeremiah Robinson, CTO of Slide; and Jonathan Heiliger, VP Technical Operations of Facebook.

Each of these will be a fast-and-furious fifty-minute discussion around on-demand computing and the ability to scale. Time to come up with some pithy questions and awkward follow-ups.

Any sugggestions?

Overarching themes at Web2Expo

At O’Reilly’s conference on emerging web technologies in San Francisco last week, several of the hit topics from last year’s conference have become full-blown tracks this time around, reflecting how quickly a niche topic like the Facebook Query Language or the mobile web become mainstream.


Another key trend is the move away from traditional web-based interfaces to alternate ways of interacting with applications, from SMS or instant messenger to e-mail. Brady Forrest, co-chair of the event for O’Reilly Media, also listed personal analytics as a growing theme at the conference, citing applications like Socialistics that provide “lots of info porn on your network.”

While much of the event’s content revolves around the practice of running sites, there are a growing number of sessions on how to manage user communities, design interfaces, develop SEO-friendly applications, and include gameplay in sites. “We’ve done a really good job of making this a place where people can learn from those who are defining the future of the web,” said Forrest.

It’s a reflection that the job of web operations, which used to involve hardware, is now as much about managing analytics, communities, content, and legality.

Web2Expo – an inadvertent foray into security issues

I’m not a huge fan of security and everything that is associated with it. That’s not because I don’t think it’s important; I actually think it’s critical in both networking and application development. But, rather, it’s just not my thing and I’ve usually been in technology areas where security is important, but somewhat peripheral.

That being said, I attended a couple of sessions at Web2Expo today where security issues were a takeaway in both.

First, Jacob West (who’s written a book on security) gave an interesting talk on the “Dark Side of Ajax.” It’s not news that Ajax has some significant security holes that have been exposed already and are somewhat well known. Some examples:

  • Cross-site scripting lets malicious users insert bad javascript code into the content of a website and harm future visitors (the famous Myspace worm exploited this).
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF or XSRF) is nasty and exploits websites that need user authentication (among other things)
  • And a new one called javascript hijacking that Jacob has actually written a paper on.

I’ve seen similar presentations at other Ajax/web2.0 events and it’s interesting to me how it’s a lot of talk about how there are problems and very little about what’s being done about them. Mr. West did talk about how some popular Ajax frameworks are addressing the javascript hijacking issue, which is great. But, what happens with the next vulnerability, and the one after that?

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