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CloudStack Collaboration conference: Europe’s most significant cloud conference for 2013?

Giles Sirett, CEO of ShapeBlue discusses why the upcoming Cloudstack Collaboration conference in Amsterdam may be a lot more significant than many people think.

The title of this article  is bold, I know. A lot of people are going to question whether a conference around a specific open-source project can really be billed as the most significant  cloud conference of the year. But I think it is and this is why.

IaaS, as a concept ,is at a juncture. The whole of the industry is waking up to the concept that the value of cloudy automation is above the IaaS layer (lets call it “AIaaS” ).   It’s this devops use-case that is driving a good percentage of the private and hybrid cloud development globally.

If we’re all going to get focussed on AIaaS  , we need to be able to see our IaaS layer as  something that just works, something that is stable yet something that will evolve as the underlying compute,network and storage layers evolve. It needs to be a vibrant open source project and it needs to be backed by the vendors that matter: those that provide the underlying infrastructure. We need it to abstract that mundane infrastructure stuff away from what we want to focus on.

To date, Apache CloudStack has been (in my opinion) the best technology available to perform this task. It came donated to Apache as an established, proven piece of software. It works. However, for the last couple of years it has been  unfairly overshadowed by OpenStack’s relentless quest to paint the earth red and grey.

OpenStack  has always offered the nirvana  of being a framework that could be adopted by vendors to deliver their own products and solutions. That’s worked well for certain large vendors, who have the resources and cash to do that building, but what about the other 99.9999% of organisations ?. The banks, the publishers, the insurance companies, the government departments: all of the average enterprise Joe’s who just need their IaaS layer to work, so they can focus on the real value AIaaS.   These are the guys who are now building private and hybrid cloud, they’re going to want something that works; and they wont want a framework or a propriety fork to eat from.

Many people have, to date, claimed that “OpenStack has won”. But I believe that is beginning to change. As many of the Openstack myths unravel, organisations are looking for an alternative. I think people are now seriously starting to say: “hmm, Openstack isn’t quite what we thought we were signing up for here”. We are not Dell, we are not Rackspace but we do want  to implement  an IaaS layer.

 So, what’s all this got to do with a conference ?   Well, this conference, purely by it’s timing and the nature it’s  technology  (as a serious alternative  to OpenStack) at its core, is going to be The event where  this really becomes obvious  that some serious organisations are getting behind Apache CloudStack.

Where my evidence to back this up ?

First, lets look at some of  the sponsors for the upcoming CloudStack collab conference. Many people will find some of these surprising.

NetApp,VMware,  Nexenta, Solidfire, CA, Akamai,  TrenMicro, OpsCode aren’t small names (full sponsor list here http://cloudstackcollab.org/sponsors) and many of them aren’t names, up until this point, associated with Apache CloudStack.

 Its safe to assume that, organisations paying serious money to sponsor a single technology conference, have a vested interest in doing so.  Just  ask yourself: why are organisations like this starting to open up their involvement on this technology ?

I declare that I am helping to organise this conference. That does, however, give me visibility to the organisations who have already registered. This more than anything has driven my conclusions on the significance of this event and led to me writing this article.  So far, over 130 different organisations are represented, many of them more significant names than my partial sponsor list above. Most significantly, many of them are organisations that have previously declared their undivided loyalty to OpenStack. Its not right to publish registrant lists on blogs, but come and look at some of the name badges that are going to be at this conference. I think many in the industry may be surprised to see who’s coming.

Now, lets look at the speakers. If dev-ops is driving private & hybrid cloud adoption, then you’d expect to see that movement well represented. Speaking at CloudStack Collabration will be John Willis, Mark Burgess and Patrick Debois. If you don’t know who those guys are : Google them (and do so with the knowledge that not a single speaker has been paid or had expenses covered to come to this conference). Again, their attendance at this event is no coincidence.

 So, is this going the be the most significant Cloud Event in Europe this year ? Well, there will be  some very significant  stories will be heard at this event, the recent OpenStack summit was held in Hong Kong  ( a bit like FIFA taking the World cup to Qatar – they love to build a new market those OpenStack guys) , so potentially yes.

The 3rd CloudStack Collaboration Conference is happening in Amsterdam 20-22 November.

www.cloudstackcollab.org