STRUCTURE 08: Working the Cloud Panel

Oooh, our first panel of the morning, Working the Clouds: NextGen Infrastructure for New Entrepreneurs. We’ve got a six-person lineup to give us their perspectives, and our own Alistair Croll to throw them questions. The lineup includes:

  • Christophe Bisciglia, Senior Software Engineer with Google
  • Jason Hoffman, Founder, CTO of Joyent
  • Tony Lucas, CEO of XCalibre Communications
  • Lew Moorman, SVP of Strategy and Corp Dev, Rackspace
  • Geva Perry, CMO of GigaSpaces
  • Joe Weinman, VP of Strategic Solutions at AT&T

Structure 08 NextGen panel: AT&T, GigaSpaces, Rackspace, XCalibre, Joyent, Google, GigaOM

Here are some notes:

Alistair: When we are moving to clouds, are we selling our souls? Should we be happy with our cloud overlords?

AT&T Joe: I have a prediction that is not surprising. There will be a proprietary stack and there will be an open business model based on the cloud that will leverage standards, commodization, price-compression, and differential vs dynamic pricing.

GigaSpace’s Geva: There’s room for both models. People are talking about specialized clouds.

Joyent’s Jason: The question is is it about selling your soul. You can’t leave. Until Google open sources Big Table . . .

Alistair: Fluffy clouds was coined here at Structure 08 (chuckles).

XCalibre’s Tony: Google’s Big Table is basically a lock in.

Google’s Christophe: I claim that Google is possibly a little bit ahead as far as Big Table. But people can build a better mouse trap and come in and compete. It’s a developer preview, but the theory is that the API is open and not locked down.

Joyent’s Jason: There’s been a lot published on what an open, loving cloud should do. We should give people real assurances that the cloud is a good place to be.

Google’s Christophe: When we publish something on Big Table it is not to say that it’s a lock-in, but it’s our attempt to say that this is something that worked for us.

XCalibre’s Tony: Why not open Big Table completely if you know better than everyone else?

Google’s Christophe: Big Table is a compromise that is scalable. There’s nothing about the API that says you have to do this with Big Table.

XCalibre’s Tony: One of the big problems that companies need to figure out is licensing.

AT&T Joe: The dirty secret of the cloud is that companies need to figure out the licensing models, or it will be forced to fold. The whole idea will drop dead of its own weight.

Alistair: There are two theories: put everything in the cloud and put more out at the edge. What’s the setup for Google?

Christophe’s Google: We have geographically distributed clusters. A lot of services are replicated. We want to make sure that if you trust us with your email, the most current copy might be in a datacenter closer to you.

AT&T Joe: “Architecture 3.0.” We don’t have all the nuts and bolts that will work it out. But an optimal mix of edge and keeping core information in the data center.

Alistair: Can we have our old toys? Can we put all our toys in the cloud environment?

Joyent’s Jason: Absolutely. If we want people to be on the cloud, we have to make sure that this occurs.

Geva’s GigaSpaces: Or make it look like our old toys. Use all of the APIs.

Christophe’s Google: It’s important to find a compromise. When we deal with enterprise we can’t tell them to move into the cloud and do it differently. But five years from now its important for people to build apps that can serve millions of users — then people have to think about building apps differently. We need to provide tools for people to build apps for the cloud.

Geva’s GigaSpaces: Vogel said earlier all you need is a credit card, but that’s not what big corporations want. They want help with services.

Lew’s Rackspace: There’s also a big problem with marketing — cloud means something new everyday.