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Blown away by Clouds…

Is it just me? Or do you also hear clouds everywhere you go but still you do not really know what to do with them. So even though I try to focus on the technical aspects of operating a dynamic environment  – which basically means putting an autopilot into the driver´s seat, since neither me nor you can “administrate a moving target” – I feel that the topic of cloud computing needs some real business focus. With everybody getting involved on the technical side and all the lawyers talking about all kinds of legal issues and risks a question I hear over and over again is “when can I use the cloud?”.

cloudstormWell, here´s the good news: you can use “the cloud” (no such thing by the way) today. You just have to be satisfied with a limited business angle so far.

While the concept of cloud computing looks to change the way we buy, operate and use IT, many players present their services as an early part of the cloud movement. There are infrastructure services (no I am not going to mention the same names over again) or standards for outsourcing peak infrastructure needs as included e.g. in vSphere. You can also see a lot of the “Software as a Service’ guys positioning themselves to offer “cloud services”. Well to my judgement a lot of that is about marketing (SaaS works without clouds just as well (just as badly) as other IT does), but service providers like SaaS-providers are the first wave of businesses to benefit from the cloud idea because it is easy for them to embrace it.

Still, if you are involved in building, planning, operating or controlling a normal business in an IT sense, you probably want to know “When is the right time to go to the cloud?”, ”How can I start?” and “What professional services are out there?”. Well, you can attend many good events created by individual companies to promote their ideas (IBM Pulse, EMC World, …). You can join the evolutionary discussion on clouds at a CloudCamp and in a LinkedIn group. You can even go into the design of a completely open sourced concept and framework for cloud building and join Thomas Uhl and LiSoG in their efforts. Or you could join one of the fathers of cloud discussions – John WIllis in his efforts to get the world to focus on cloud computing. All these actions will definitely get you involved into the process of getting cloud computing into the real world.

But your involvement into any of these much needed and very interesting activities will not really answer your questions as stated above because all these activities are very much focused on either a single approach, a very wide range or an evolutionary discussion. This is why A. Fossen from A-Server has come up with the idea of “a CloudStorm”.

CloudStorm 2010 is a series of events in Europe and the US where you do not only hear from one provider or vendor, but from many and where the focus is very much on today and interaction between the vendors rather than convincing you to follow one vendor into deep dependency (avoiding dependencies is exactly what  cloud computing is all about in the end). So if you want to get a good overview, see many examples of cloud usage that is taking place today and get into a discussion with vendors or have them run against each other (you will find out there is more cooperation than competition, clouds could actually become the first real driver for business eco systems) you should attend one or more CloudStorms. When Arvid presented the idea of a CloudStorm to us, we chose to get involved into the whole series because I strongly believe that using cloud computing is not a question of the future, it is just a question of where to begin – and this is exactly where CloudStorm is headed.

So join us all in the next event in London on Feb. 22nd . Free for attendees and just before the DataCenter Expo (so you may already be there anyway). That is, if you are not at IBM PULSE 2010 at the time (which I will be). If you cannot attend, the next event in London will be on March 15th connected to Cloud Computing Congress. After that, we are especially happy to meet you in Germany on May, 4th. So you see, there is not really an excuse not to get involved and take home lots of information where you can start to actually use cloud computing and in what legal and technical context you can use it for your business.

Become part of the CloudStorm, register today at www.cloudstorm.org.

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