CloudCamp is a conference (they call it an “unconference”) where end users, IT professionals and vendors meet to swap ideas about Cloud Computing. I'd never been to one before and both the format and the topic intrigued me.
As a virtualisation consultant I am of course aware of cloud computing but the reality of my day job means that clouds are things representing the internet on infrastructure diagrams or the things that I see out of the office window just before it's time to go home. However there is no denying that there is a movement out there and it is in the general direction of the clouds. Time for me to think and learn more about it.
So that's one motivation for me attending. Another one was that several of my favourite bloggers and twitterers were due to be in attendance and I wanted to meet them.
The format of the evening was quite refreshing. Six lightning talks by various speakers to be followed by a question panel and focused break-out sessions. (See the full agenda here). The lightning talks in particular were slightly new to me but very effective. Having just five minutes to talk about a subject without being too vendor specific can't be easy. In a minimalist way it forces the speaker to focus on the important things. Of the six speakers / subjects I found that Kate Craig-Wood's five minutes on the “UK G-Cloud” got me thinking the most as I have done a lot of work with central and local government bodies.
The question panel (“unpanel”) featured six volunteers giving their thought / answers about various questions posed by the other audience members. Again the idea is not to be too vendor specific and a red card system was in place to send off any of the panel who strayed too far in one direction or another. There were some interesting questions asked and some very good answers given. Plenty for me to think about on my train home.
The topics for the sessions were nominated by anyone with an idea for one. “The role of the government in the Cloud” was booed as a suggestion and “The role of Microsoft in the Cloud” was met with stony silence. That the session on “Interoperability and Standards” was chaired by a man from Microsoft was met with several undisguised chuckles.
I had meant to attend to join in with one of the discussions but after a drinks / beer break I was chatting about all sorts with bloggers Simon x 3 (Gallagher, Long and Seagrave of vinf.net, simonlong.co.uk and techhead.co.uk respectively) and Stuart (vinternals.com).
Thoughts on Clouds
I've had numerous thoughts about Cloud Computing in recent months and more after last night. At some point I might write some of it down and share it.
As for CloudCamp, I enjoyed it and I definitely got something from it. I might not attend every one in the future but I'd certainly recommend it for anyone with an interest or potential interest in Cloud Computing and the future of virtualisation.