It can sometimes be difficult to sort the opportunity from the hype when it comes to cloud computing. Which is why, pardon the pun, CloudCamp is a breath of fresh air.
Australia's first ever CloudCamp, an 'unconference' aimed at exploring the possibilities of cloud technologies and exchanging ideas, was recently held in Sydney. The format - a series of open discussions by end-users, IT professionals and vendors - was developed by Dave Nielsen and is based loosely on the Open Spaces Technology concept and Tim O'Reilly's friends of O'Reilly (FOO) Camp events. FOO Camp, an invitation-only event, spawned a series of more open events such as BarCamp.
"We decided to take that concept and apply it specifically to cloud computing. We do it slightly differently, but it’s basically derived from Open Spaces Technology, the Foo Camp, the Bar Camp, the Cloud Camp," Nielsen said.
"We started the first Cloud Camp on June 24 last year, thinking that we would run it in San Francisco every six months or something. And some folks from London who helped us put the first one together organised one in London."
The success of the London CloudCamp and subsequent events in Chicago and other cities, has started the ball rolling. Thirteen months later, more than 40 Cloud Camps have been held around the world, on five continents.
“So either the format works or the topic is interesting or both.”
CloudCamp Sydney also ran a series of five-minute 'lightning talks' from several speakers, including the event's Australian organisers, Rejila's Samual Yeats and Longscale's Milinda Kotelawele, who also organised CloudCamp in Singapore. Also speaking were:
- Alan Noble, head of engineering for Google in Australia
- George Reese, enStratus
- Dr Anna Liu, University of NSW
- Dr James Broburg, from the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Melbourne
- Mike Dooner, Unisys
- Stu Andrews, performing a CloudCamp worldfirst - a song about the cloud.
Local interest was somewhat of an unknown when Yeats and Kotelawele conceived the idea for an Australian event. But it proved extremely popular.
"We didn't know how much interest there would be in the local market," Kotelawele said. "Now we know."
Kotelawele, whose business, Longscale, helps traditional software vendors migrate applications onto cloud computing platforms, said there were two main decisions around the decision to move into cloud computing.
"We find there is technical decision around how it can be done, and a commercial decision: does it make sense," he told the audience. "Not every application is necessarily cheaper to run in the cloud. And eventually, it may be cheaper to run the application inhouse, depending on the ulisation of your resources."
If your internal data centre utilisation is very high, he cautioned, you might be better off running the application on the datacentre.
"Techs think the ideal scenario is to move the application unchanged. I challenge that. Some scenarios are better uses of cloud computing than others. If you have a small web application that isn't going to scale, it mightn't be the best option."
Kotelawele also said one of the biggest considerations when moving into cloud computing had to be around capacity planning.