Nov 4 NIST Cloud Computing Forum, Day 1: "Cloud Computing is not a fad"

Attended the second NIST Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop II today.  Almost 400 registrants (but lots of no-shows, probably due to the awful weather today and the ugly DC Beltway traffic.

Anyway, if you thought that cloud computing was just the latest media-driven marketing frenzy that would rapidly sink from the Peak of Inflated Expectations into the Trough of Disillusionment, never to return, think again.  The Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, and all the scientists and industry guests at this conference, are rapidly driving Cloud Computing toward the Slope of Enlightenment through their efforts to define and promote technical and usage standards for this "next era of computing".

Several distinguished panels of industry and government experts kicked off this 2-day conference, today outlining some big-picture successes and concerns, with tomorrow's sessions being more detailed...more about that tomorrow.  Kundra reminded attendees about the $80B that the federal government spends on IT each year on its 2000+ data centers.  He is specifying a "Cloud First" procurement policy in his recommendations for the 2012 FY federal budget.

The first cloud panel, which included Oracle's Mark Carlson, tried to refute the common complaint that "there are no cloud computing interoperability standards", given that foundational cloud technologies such as virtualization already have relevant standards like OVF (see cloud-standards.org for more).  I asked the panel what cloud standards still need to be developed, and the general consensus focused on cloud computing APIs.  Interesting, in that Oracle just announced its submission of cloud APIs to the DMTF.  The Reference Architecture panel then debated the relevance and utility of reference architectures and reference implementations, but agreed that API standards are needed.

NIST has published or will soon release several key cloud computing documents, including a virtualization security guide, and updates to the FedRAMP and SAJACC programs.

Other topics were discussed today that will get more detailed treatment tomorrow.  But some interesting points were raised.  For example, Jim Reavis of the Cloud Security Alliance emphasized that Identity Management - for users, apps, and data - is the key technology that will determine the success or failure of cloud computing.  Another, non-technical, point was highlighted by the panel: federal CIOs won't be motivated to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon if the expected cost savings ultimately reduces their budgets!  Hmmmm....  But then Reavis stated that there will probably be no immediate savings during the transition to cloud computing anyway.

Until tomorrow...

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The purpose of this blog is to highlight and to explore general issues around "Cloud Computing" -- its benefits, risks, and component technologies -- and how they are evolving. I'll also periodically comment (of course!) on Oracle's Cloud Computing capabilities, resources, and cloud-related events. -- Harry J Foxwell, PhD, Principal Consultant for Cloud Computing, Oracle Public Sector HW

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