The NetEvents Press Spotlight on The Cloud, held in Nice on 25-26 September 2013, covered a host of issues around cloud access, technologies, deployment and management. It included two keynote speeches from leading industry figures, with participation in panel debates from IT companies including Cisco, HP, Rackspace and Alcatel-Lucent.
The Spotlight opened with a keynote speech from James Walker, President of the CloudEthernet Forum (CEF), a new body set up to address the specific issues of scaling and applying Ethernet technologies to meet the stringent demands of delivering cloud services. He was joined by Alcatel-Lucent VP Phil Tilley. Introducing the topic, James Walker talked about the Cloud Ethernet Forum and its mission to help scale Ethernet. Phil Tilley said it was about helping to advance cloud readiness.
The first debate, entitled ‘Between the clouds – the challenges facing datacentre interconnection’, continued the theme of discussing how datacentre managers can connect their facilities and the role of the CEF.
The debate was introduced by analyst Emir Halilovic, program manager, networking & infrastructure, IDC. Panel members represented the CEF, the MEF, Telco Systems, and Telecom Italia. Halilovic said that datacentre inter-connectivity needs to be as flexible as cloud workloads. James Walker, CEF, said that it depends on customer’s state of cloud maturity as all have multi-vendor environments. François Tournesac, Telco Systems, said that application data flows need to go with the service using software-defined networking (SDN). In a discussion a bout the roles of the CEF and MEF, Kevin Vachon, MEF, said the roles of MEF and CEF are different because the drivers for the two are different. What’s good is that both can work together. Mario Bianchetti, Telecom Italia, said the aim of IT was to provide best service and improve network connectivity.
Second up was a debate on datacentre orchestration, introduced by Clive Longbottom, service director, business process analysis, Quocirca. Panel members represented Alcatel-Lucent, Flexiant, Gartner, HP, and Spirent Communications. Who will be in charge – the CIO, CEO – or the chief marketing officer (CMO)? Mike Banic of HP said that CMOs will be in charge of datacentres because they will be able to mine big data for opportunities. Ian Keene, Gartner, said that users will have a say in how datacentres will develop as well as C-level execs. Jeff Schmitz, Spirent, says the CMO is the owner of the problem of delivering services that can replace end user-bought services. Phil Tilley, Alcatel-Lucent, said that users create problems for the CIO who has to make orchestration work. Tony Lucas, Flexiant, said that user empowerment is Apple’s fault – and that multi-skilling is difficult for many technical people but that this is what is now needed.
Cloud security was discussed next in a debate opened by Mike Spanbauer, managing director, research, NSS Labs. Questions to be addressed included how an IT department can protect mobile devices and ensure compliance beyond the network perimeter. Panel members represented BT France, Extreme Networks and Wedge Networks. Dominique Assing, BT France, said that the main cloud security problem is assigning the correct value to information. Derek Granath, Extreme Networks, said that security needs a holistic strategy. Hongwen Zhang, Wedge Networks, said the spirit of cloud is all about elastic computing. Assing, BT France, said that a business case for the cloud has to include re-organising how you see and think about security.
Following an overnight break for round-table discussions between vendors and press/analysts, the event resumed the next day with a keynote from Khurram Ijaz, head of cloud products, international, Rackspace. He asked how customers could get the best value from hybrid cloud installations using OpenStack, the open cloud interoperability technology which is sponsored by Rackspace. OpenStack gives cloud provider portability, and means you can move workloads, he said.
The first debate of the day discussed the use cases for public, private and hybrid clouds, and was introduced by Peter Hall, principal analyst, Ovum, and panel members represented the CEF, the MEF, and Rackspace. Google searches on “cloud computing” are declining, “hybrid cloud” is increasing, said Hall. James Walker, CEF, said that customers will use cloud services whether it’s officially sanctioned or not, and IT then has to control that. Mario Bianchetti, Telecom Italia/MEF, said that it is hard to tell which cloud model will be dominant. Khurram Ijaz, Rackspace, said that cloud providers need to collaborate to help customers move workloads, and that the customer’s data is theirs, so Rackspace will not respond to US govt requests to examine data held in the UK.
Emerging cloud business models was the second debate’s topic, opened by Pim Bilderbeek, analyst with The Metis Files. Panel members represented Cisco Systems, HP and Rackspace. Bilderbeek segmented the cloud into a quadrant of local vs global, and generic vs workload-specific. He asked the panel if local, generic cloud providers were in danger. Simon Abrahams, Rackspace, argued not. Marc Latouche, Cisco, said that scalability is the important issue, and that you can be global but with a local presence. Nick Watson, HP, said that most customers will pick services from multiple providers so providers need to work together using open standards.
Gartner VP Ian Keene opened the final debate of the event on the benefits of SDN by saying that we are now finally moving out of SDN’s hype zone into the reality zone. Panel members represented Cisco, Extreme Networks, HP, and the Open Network Foundation (ONF), SDN is about giving global control and vision over data movement, according to Brian Levy, ONF. Mike Banic for HP said that SDN will change networks in telcos and the enterprise. Derek Granath, Extreme Networks, said that SDN will be everywhere and will deliver agility and speed of provisioning but will not decrease capex. Marc Latouche, Cisco, said that his company offers SDN switches, tools and OpenFlow controllers.
With that, the plenary event concluded, and moved to round-table vendor/press meetings.