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A Recap of @CloudExpo New York | @IoT2040 #IoT #ML #BigData #DevOps
Mobile Computing, Big Data & Analytics, IoT, Microservices & Containers, DevOps, & WebRTC are all part & parcel of cloud today

Cloud Expo 2016 New York at the Javits Center New York was characterized by increased attendance and a new focus on operations. These were both encouraging signs for all involved in Cloud Computing and all that it touches.

As Conference Chair, I work with the Cloud Expo team to structure three keynotes, numerous general sessions, and more than 150 breakout sessions along 10 tracks. Our job is to balance the state of enterprise IT today with the trends that will be commonplace tomorrow.

Mobile Computing, Big Data and Analytics, the Internet of Things, Platforms and Microservices and Containers, DevOps, and WebRTC are all part and parcel of Cloud Computing today.

But First...
We started this year's conference on a solemn note, with a video tribute to former Conference Chair and SYS-CON Media Editorial Director Jeremy Geelan, who recently lost a truly heroic, seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer. We trust that his spirit lived on over three days of insight, vision, and good humor.

Keynotes
Our keynotes offered a nice illustration of how we work to be right on the leading edge.

Day 1 featured Andrew Keys from Consensys, one of the big players in the emerging blockchain space. He took a full house through a brief history of bitcoin and blockchain, and how efforts by his company and others are working to transform the technology into something that can be used in all industries worldwide.

It's going to take some time to solve some significant performance issues, but Andrew is convinced that the blockchain's ability to act as a trusted, peer-to-peer, unalterable ledger will in the end.

Day 2 brought us Henrik Dahlberg from Ericsson, who gave an enlightened view of how all companies - especially large technology providers - must cooperate through a series of ecosystems to be effective in delivering IoT services to businesses and consumers. Ericsson is working on connected cars, smart cities and grids, and other enlightened initiatives that have the promise to impact the environment in a positive way while reducing poverty when applied in the developing world. He'd be the first to tell you his company can't do this alone.

Day 3 featured an old Cloud Expo hand, Dion Hinchcliffe of 7Summits, who delivered an eye-opening talk about the future of technology that depends on the cloud. In fact, he and I talked afterwards and decided that maybe he is now a "presentist," as technology is moving so quickly today that the future seems to blend into the present almost immediately. Dion's description of "smart dust" - the use of nanotechnology to swarm and sense with a precision that's magnitudes more acute than anything we might have previously imagined, was one of the highlights of the show.

Breakout Sessions
But whereas in the past we saw and heard much about the development side, this time out operations was brought up in almost every conversation I had.

The ops side is pushing back hard against the dev side now, challenging developers to think at scale, rather than fall into the bad habit of designing apps and services on a single public instance via laptop then being surprised when it doesn't hold up at scale.

Among sessions that addressed this issue included:

  • Accelerating Transformation from Mark Lewis of Formation Data Systems
  • Achieving Speed and Agility from Michael Martin of nfrastructure
  • Architecting for the Cloud with Cloud Foundry from noted IBM speaker "Rags" Srinivas
  • Connected Teams and Connected Code from Anders Walgren of Electric Cloud
  • Don't Forget the Ops, from Steve Anderson and Rick Lefort of BMC Software
  • Guaranteeing Performance for Virtualized Apps from Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri
  • Regaining Control of Storage Performance from Don Martin of Security First

The topic was strengthened by several sessions focused specifically on DevOps, led by our DevOps Track Chair, Andi Mann of Splunk. These sessions included:

  • DevOps Guide to Container Networking from Dirk Wallerstorfer of Dynatrace
  • DevOps in an Open and Heterogeneous World from Flint Brenton of CollabNet
  • DevOps the Cloud Enabler from Robert Reeves of Datical
  • DevOps, Digital, and Cloud from Jason Bloomberg of Intellyx
  • Andi himself delivered a resounding session on Data-Driven DevOps and led a Power Panel through the topic of DevOps Patterns and Anti-Patterns. Well done, mate.

Our General Sessions and Power Panels covered the diverse array of topics one expects when discussing the gamut of cloud:

  • Esmeralda Swartz from Ericsson returned to discuss the creation of horizontal (rather than vertical) IoT marketplaces and how to make money in them. She came over to Ericsson when it bought her former company, MetraTech, and has been applying her expertise to the big European communications company for almost two years now.
  • Randy De Meno from Commvault focused on cloud-centric data management. He can be counted to base his talks on real-world data and experiences, and came through as expected.
  • Scott Cleland of HGST talked about herding cats and object storage in a wry presentation.
  • Phil Jackson from IBM spoke of hybrid cloud, discussing the myriad ways that today's vast toolbox can work with enterprises. This is the new IBM folks - a lot more agile than old-timers may know.
  • Atwell Williams from BMC tried to (and succeeded in) scaring the crap out of us with his presentation on an enterprise's attack surface and the "SecOps Gap" most enterprises face. Listen closely, kids, or you might be very sorry.
  • Sean Armstrong from AppNeta focused on how being slow can be just as bad as being down when serving today's customers. Tolerance for latency and lagging no longer exists, and Sean painted a picture of how to avoid these problems and deliver great customer experiences.
  • Roger Woods from Adobe took attendees through a tour of modern mobility, how to engage customers with mobile, and how mobile is driving transformative change through many types of enterprises.
  • The dearth of real private cloud and what to do about was the topic of Nara Rajagopalan's talk. The Accelerite CEO promised "0 to Cloud in 60 Minutes," and compared the company's approach with working on public cloud platforms, providing hope for those who have been waiting patiently for something more than virtualized resources on-premises and in co-located datacenters.
  • Lee Atchison from New Relic hit it out of the park and down the street with his presentation on highly scaled applications. This was an inspiring speech on how you, too, can achieve whatever you want with cloud computing if you plan and execute well.

WebRTC remained on the agenda, with three sessions. I'll be seeking input as to whether we should strengthen this further.

Notable sessions found throughout the rest of the schedule included:

  • Dave Nielsen from Redis taking us through a tour of Redis functions and data structures
  • An SRO crowd for Chris Kocher and his encyclopedic outline of AWS and the IoT (be afraid, be very afraid)
  • Old hand Ajit Sagar from Infosys discussing Person Engagement Management (PEM)
  • Old hand Gordon Haff from Red Hat talking about platforms in his usual perspicacious and entertaining way (note: learn the tools but always remember it's the workload that's driving things)

The complete list of sessions, by the way, can be found at the Cloud Expo site. Sorry if you missed all this, but we'll do it again November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the heart of Silicon Valley.

About 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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