Impact 2011: CloudCamp's Dave Nielsen on the big shift in cloud computing

Bringing on-demand, self-service, scalable, and measurable together in the clouds

CloudCamp founder Dave Nielsen joins to talk about the latest with cloud computing and what to expect 14 Apr at the WebSphere® Unconference (sponsored by CloudCamp) at Impact 2011 in Las Vegas, 10-14 Apr. And developerWorks newsletter editor John Swanson chimes in on our planned coverage of the Impact 2011 conference.


Scott Laningham (, Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.

06 April 2011

developerWorks: This is the developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. Dave Nielsen, founder of CloudCamp, will be joining us to preview the WebSphere Unconference he will be leading at Impact on April 14 in Las Vegas.

I'm joined now by Dave Nielsen, who is founder of CloudCamp. Dave will be at the Impact Conference on April 14th in Las Vegas, and will be leading the WebSphere Unconference session on that day, April 14th. Dave, good to have you back on the podcast.

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Nielsen: Hey, thanks for having me.

developerWorks: Great to talk to you again. So, what's happening with you lately? I know that, well, before we started this you definitely have some big family news, and it would be fun to hear about that real quick.

Nielsen: Yes, that's right. My wife and I just had our first little baby, a little baby girl named Kessa.

developerWorks: That's a life-changer, isn't it?

Nielsen: It is, it is. It's been a lot of fun. A lot of sleepless nights, but it's just been a real joy.

developerWorks: And is she already on the cloud?

Nielsen: Oh, yeah. We got some photos of her up on Flickr and Facebook, so yes, proud parents, and we have to share the photos.

developerWorks: Well, a hearty congratulations from everybody at developerWorks.

Nielsen: Thank you very much.

developerWorks: So you'll be at Impact. You have done a number of these; I've seen you at other IBM conferences putting on different types of unconferences, as you call them. Talk about what you'll be doing at Impact this year.

Nielsen: Yes, well, the format really works well in a large conference like the IBM conferences we've been to. You know, we've been to Information on Demand, we've been to Innovate, and now we're doing this at Impact. And we learn a little bit from each one, but the most important thing is we're giving the attendees the opportunity to decide what they want to talk about.

And we are doing something a little different this year, where we have a user voice tool we're using to let attendees submit topics ahead of time. And then they can vote ahead of time. And then a portion of the unconference will actually have topics predetermined before the event based on these votes. So we'll have some topics determined ahead of time, and then as always we will let attendees also propose topics at the event itself.

developerWorks: Very cool, because I know you always crowd source at the event, so now you're going to be presource crowd sourcing a little bit.

Nielsen: Yes. They're both crowd sourcing, we're just giving some people more time and advance notice.

developerWorks: Very nice.

What's been going on with you and all your discussions and writings and everything around cloud? Is there something happening now that's really driving new conversations over than where the last time I saw you at Impact ... excuse me, it was at Innovate last summer.

Nielsen: That's right. Well, the main thing I'm focused on right now with CloudCamp is we're sort of focused on helping people understand that cloud computing is actually different from computing in the past. And I personally spent a lot of time on this subject trying to figure out how best to describe it in a way that really does convey that it's different.

And I think everyone understands that it's different, but it's hard to understand why. And so I came up with an acronym, which is OSSM.

developerWorks: And which means what?

Nielsen: [LAUGHTER] Well, the letters stand for, first of all

  • "On-demand" which means that for cloud computing to be cloud computing, the provider should have set it up ahead of time before the customer ever comes to their website.
  • And the "S" stands for "Self-service" which means that once the customer signs up for it they can choose when they add new features, and how many instances they want, and they can turn them on and off.
  • Then the second "S" stands for "Scalable" which means that they can choose how much they're using and they're not going to be told by the provider, oh, I'm sorry, you signed up for an account, but we can't give you any more.
  • And then the final letter is "M" which stands for "Measurable" so that you can see a report or some sort of metering to let you know that you did actually get what you had signed up for, and also you can pay for basically what you use, and obviously you can also project out and identify what your future needs will be.

And the "O" the "S" the "S" and the "M" ... you could, if you get really creative, you could say that that is pronounced as "AWESOME."

developerWorks: That's cool. Have you trademarked or copyrighted that yet?

Nielsen: Well, not officially, but you know, you put a little TM next to it and apparently that works, so. [LAUGHTER]

That's what we've done so far. But the most important thing, the reason why I worked so hard at coming up with something simple, I think cloud computing is going way beyond just your average IT and developer folks. I think this is going to reach a really broad market, non-techie folks. I think it already is, in some ways.

And I want people to have a simple way to share it with others where they don't have to go and look it up on the website in order to explain it. And that's what our goal was, to come up with that.

But we had a second goal, which I think is equally important, which is, those four characteristics are actually, don't sound like they're new, but in combination they're new. And what I mean by that is, prior to 2006, there was no company on the planet offering a cloud platform that met all four of those criteria.

And so that is sort of important when we're trying to explain to people that this is new and that you should pay attention to it. I think we're about 5 years into about a 10-year shift that's going to ... that's happening.

developerWorks: That's very interesting. So, a shift in terms of bringing all of those elements together. And I'm sure there are also other types of shifts that go on when one really thinks about computing in the cloud, aren't there?

Nielsen: Well, yes, because it's such a huge, huge change. I mean, it doesn't feel like we're five years into this, it seems like it's still fairly new. But we are. You know, the first services were kind of like in beta about five years ago, but we're now kind of understanding how big of a shift this is. And I think there was actually a book called The Big Shift.

But the shift is happening. It's just, when you have a shift this big, it takes a long time for people to understand it and to prepare for it and to take advantage of it.

developerWorks: As this story — this cloud computing story — continues to evolve, Dave, I'm sure even with IBM we're hearing the discussion now of smarter computing. Not just [A] Smarter Planet, smarter energy and those things, but smarter computing. And the cloud is a key element in being able to achieve that vision too, isn't it?

Nielsen: Yes, definitely. I think there is so much that is going to be, how do I put it? Affected, or, there's so many opportunities that are coming out of this, because one of the advantages of using cloud computing, especially if you're using a public cloud, is that your data is out in a place where it can be easily shared. You know, that's new for a lot of companies. And so it's sort of a byproduct that I think might actually be more important than the cloud computing itself.

And once you put it out in the public space and you design your application and your data in such a way that it can be shared and collaborated on, you know, just like they say that, you know, when people talk about the network being the computer, or the more devices that are connected to a computer the more valuable it is ... I think the more people and systems that are connected to data, the more valuable the data is. So that's one direction I think we're going with with cloud computing, is we're making all this data more valuable.

developerWorks: Yes. Interoperability, interconnectedness, all of that stuff, which is the result of that data being on the cloud, which are benefits above and beyond just the efficiencies and those issues around the cloud and cost savings and everything.

Nielsen: That's right. So right now we're kind of at the cost saving stage, and I think that within a couple of years we'll see some pretty major new shared resources become more well known. And those are the kind of things that we're starting to talk about at CloudCamps and at the WebSphere Unconferences, is we're starting to talk about more than just saving money.

developerWorks: Right. And everybody that does attend will be a part of that discussion at Impact 2011, where Dave will be leading a WebSphere Unconference on April 14th. Again, that's in Las Vegas. It's at the Venetian, I think, is where it's happening this year, right?

Nielsen: That's right. And I've got to do a quick shout out. There's a couple of folks who are helping to put it on. We've got Larry Carvalho of Robust Cloud who's my partner in putting on this particular unconference. We've got the folks from RedMonk who are going to be giving some talks and participating en force; I think three of them will be there. We also have sort of my favorite attendee, is going to be IBM's very own Watson, is going to be making an appearance.

developerWorks: Cool.

Nielsen: So we've got a pretty cool crowd already showing up. And then plus if you go to the WebSphere Unconference website, just do a Google on that and throw in Impact, and you'll find it. Then click on the link to the user voice website, and you can see that we've got, gosh, how many are there now? I don't know, there's probably like 25 or 30 different session topics that have been proposed. So you can either propose a session or vote on one, and we'll have those popular sessions will be discussed at the event.

developerWorks: Fantastic. So, go search Impact 2011, and find the information there for the WebSphere Unconference. And you can do all of what Dave just said. Dave Nielsen, founder of CloudCamp. Dave, thanks for your time.

Nielsen: You bet. Thanks for having me.

developerWorks: Remember, you can follow Impact 2011 LiveStream coverage right here on This has been the developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. Talk to you soon.

Search terms for these topics:
Impact 2011 | WebSphere Unconference | Dave Nielsen | CloudCamp | IBM Watson

What's new in the developerWorks community?

Here's developerWorks newsletters editor, John Swanson. Hi, John.

Swanson: Hey, Scott.

developerWorks: What's going on with you this week?

Swanson: Well, this week, the newsletter, we're going to talk about, well, you kind of. You're getting ready for a trip to Las Vegas for the Impact 2011 conference, and I won't be there, but you're going to help all those of us who won't be there: You're going to bring it to life for us.

developerWorks: We need to work on this "John not being there" thing. I think it would be much cooler if you were there. We could do the show live from these conferences. Let's start putting our heads together on that.

Swanson: Let's get someone on that. developerWorks: Yes. [LAUGHTER]

Swanson: Well, in the meantime, you've got some streaming video broadcast interviews that you're going to be doing from the show floor there and bringing it home. And I'd be curious to know what you've got planned right now. I know you're buying your travel-sized shampoo, but other than that, I don't know what you're doing to get ready.

developerWorks: You know, and I have to remember to put it in the right place, because if I try to carry it on the plane it's history and it was all wasted, you know, so.

Swanson: That's right.

developerWorks: Those little shampoos and little ... well, I guess you can take dental floss but you can't take toothpaste and all that.

Swanson: That's right.

developerWorks: Let me tell you about some of what will be going on, what they call the Solutions Expo or the Solutions Center — they have a different name for these at every conference, but it's basically the big expo where all of the peds are and lots of partners and other companies are displaying their technologies and talking with people. It's always a great place to be at these conferences. Great networking going on, lot of things being demonstrated.

And we'll have a live stage from Impact where we'll be doing interviews like we have done recently at Pulse, and Lotusphere and IOD last fall. And we'll be talking to a number of IBM execs, thought leaders and Business Partners as well and others that are displaying in the expo. And a few of the highlights, Steve Mills we'll be talking to, you know, Steve Mills is executive vice president of Software Group. And Jamie Thomas from Tivoli, Jon Iwata, marketing and communications leader at IBM. So, a lot of really good interviews that I'm looking forward to, and I'm also going to try to track down people like Grady Booch and others at the conference, and Jerry Cuomo, and have conversations with these folks wherever they happen to be.

Swanson: You will no doubt be the show to catch in Vegas that week, I see. Cirque du Soleil will have nothing on you, I'm sure.

developerWorks: Maybe we can get them up there, too. [LAUGHTER]

Swanson: I'd like to see you involved with them, definitely.

developerWorks: Not doing it, just watching it maybe. And Todd Watson will be there; Todd has become a regular, and he'll be there to give his expert blogger's perspective on what's going on at the conference. And big announcements and things that are going on at press conferences, so he'll be our eyes and ears on the ground beyond the stage where we'll be located most of the time.

Swanson: Yes, he always has some pretty fresh insights on the whole thing.

developerWorks: Absolutely.

Swanson: I have no doubt that you're going to keep us all up to speed, and I'm looking forward to catching it.

developerWorks: So anyway, all that starts on Sunday evening, and goes through Thursday because Dave Nielsen, who I'll talk to in a second, is leading the WebSphere Unconference, which is a really cool informal setting where the audience really drives the agenda and what's being talked about. And there's going to be an unconference that goes on on the 14th, on Thursday, at Impact, all day long. So we'll be there to cover that and shoot some video, and there might be a little delay getting that stuff up, but we're going to give a full-bodied coverage of Impact, for sure.

Swanson: I can't wait.

developerWorks: I hope you're there next time, John.

Swanson: [LAUGHTER] Thanks for covering for me on the newsletter.

developerWorks: You bet, and thanks for giving us coverage in the newsletter. Thank you, John.

Swanson: All right, sir. Have fun.

developerWorks: John Swanson, editor of the developerWorks newsletters. If you're not subscribed, you ought to be. And you can find that at

Also new on the developerWorks site this week:

  • A new issue of the WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.
  • From the Rational® zone: Develop web apps for telecom services without telecom protocol skill
  • From Java™ technology: Java platform as a service shootout.
  • From Information Management: Moving a PHP application to DB2® from MySQL; migrate your data.
  • From web development: Finding and resolving browser memory leaks caused by JavaScript and POJO.
  • And, finally, from Rational: How to integrate Rational Team Concert with other software.

Again, all that and more at



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ArticleTitle=Impact 2011: CloudCamp's Dave Nielsen on the big shift in cloud computing