A Day of Straight Talk on Cloud Computing, Coming December 10

11/16/09Follow @wroush

Where is “the cloud”? It’s everywhere and nowhere; it’s the power of algorithms distributed across entire networks but concentrated down to the screen of your wireless laptop; it’s the sum of all the world’s on-demand computing jobs, churning away in big data centers in secure, undisclosed locations, flinging their inputs and outputs across the electronic ether. But for one day, at least, the nucleus of the cloud will be in a definite place: Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge, the venue for Xconomy’s December 10 Cloud3 Forum and its companion event, CloudCamp Boston.

That 3 in the title of our event is an exponent, as in “Cloud Cubed.” The first time Xconomy organized a cloud computing seminar, back in June 2008, the urgent questions in cloud computing still centered around the basics—was the cloud secure? private? reliable? Today, vendors are on their way to solving most these fundamental technological challenges. But in their place, there’s a new welter of implementation-related questions.

Which cloud service model would your company be best off using—Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service? Should you build a private cloud, tap a public one, or think about hybrid models? How much money can you really save by turning to the cloud—and how much will you have to spend? Which cloud services are startups and big enterprises really using today, and which are still hype? Which cloud players do entrepreneurs need to know about beyond the Big Seven (Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sun, and VMware)? And where is the cloud heading—what new services and opportunities are being opened up for entrepreneurs?

When we sat down to design the agenda for this year’s cloud forum, we realized that there are so many of these important questions on the table that we couldn’t just call the event Cloud2—so we jumped straight to Cloud3.

We’re assembling a crack crew of industry experts for Cloud3, including representatives of big cloud infrastructure providers such as Akamai, Microsoft, and Iron Mountain; startups making the cloud more useful to other companies, such as Cloudswitch; and companies leveraging the cloud to provide services to their own customers, such as Allurent, Litl, Pixily, and Sonian. The half-day session (from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) is designed especially for entrepreneurs, investors, and technologists, and our goal is to make sure that every attendee has a chance to learn from (and network with) the practitioners who are building and exploiting real cloud services.

We’ll release the detailed agenda for the event soon, but here’s the general picture:

• Keynote talks by Tom Leighteon, chief scientist at Akamai, and Yousef Khalidi, of the Windows Azure team at Microsoft.

• “Cloudbursts”—a series of presentations by six local startups offering innovative cloud services and/or making creative use of the cloud.

• An interactive “unpanel” exploring the nuts and bolts of how companies can best tap cloud services led by Sim Simeonov, a former partner at Polaris Venture Partners who now heads executive advisory service FastIgnite.

• A progress report from Eric Nakajima from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the Holyoke High Performance Computing Center in western Massachusetts.

You can see the full speaker list for Cloud3 here, and you can register for the event here. Early bird registration is available for $95—but we urge you to reserve your place now, because after November 23, the price goes up to $150. (We’ve also got a limited number of student tickets available for $30, and students can apply for event scholarships through the Stay in MA Program.)

We’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with the CloudCamp organization to turn December 10 into a full day of cloud computing discussion and learning. CloudCamp Boston, an unconference for early adopters of cloud computing, will take place in the same space at Microsoft from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. People who sign up for CloudCamp (registration is free) not only get discounted admission to Cloud3, but are welcome at a joint networking lunch from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., which is hosted by Xconomy and Microsoft.

If you have questions about the event, please feel free to contact me at wroush@xconomy.com.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • Ian Heinz

    Looks like a great “big boy” conference. I wonder if any of the up and coming companies in the space will be there. For example, I don’t see any mention of the newer Open Platform as a Servivice http://www.openplatformasaservice.com which seems to be replacing the older “regular/closed” Platform as a Service. Hmmm…

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  • Miramon

    Looks like it’ll be a nice little conference.

    But I hate to tell you, re the forum’s catchphrase — “Cloud Computing Goes Exponential”: Cloud^3 is just a polynomial. Now Cloud^n, that’s exponential….