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Cloud Foundry Conference 2013: Why Cloud Foundry? Why now?

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Last Sunday, I attended the Cloud Foundry conference in Santa Clara, California.

First of all, I was really surprised to see such a large crowd. I was expecting more like 100 to 150 people, but even for a Sunday start time, more than 500 attendees showed up! This clearly shows impetus in Cloud Foundry (CF) as a development platform. I like short concise conferences (like this one) rather than a week long drag.

The general theme of the conference was: Why Cloud Foundry? Why now? Several speakers with real world implementations (Warner Music Group, Swisscom, NTT Group, Zhejiang University and many others) presented a good case of success with platform as a service (PaaS).

The case for CF (and PaaS in general) is that infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is not agile enough for developers. Developers become responsible for managing their virtual machines (VMs), needing to understand more about the infrastructure, platform and OS than when they were using traditional IT.  For service providers, as the number of VMs grows (500 and more), it becomes very difficult to manage and keep track of what VMs have applications running on them and which VM connects to what on which port, and so on. It becomes a logistical nightmare as the ecosystem of users as well as applications grow within the cloud infrastructure.

CF is all about being agile and continuous delivery (check out the consistent language agnostic deployment interface $cf push).

Jonathan Murray (EVP and Chief Technology Office, Warner Music Group) did an excellent job underlying how Warner Music group transformed it’s IT from traditional to more agile. He mentioned that CIOs will be measured on time to market rather than IT spends. Increase in IT spending is definitely okay, so long there is a proportionate amount of return on investment (ROI).

Some of the following are keys to make PaaS a success:

  • Data as a service
  • Migrate data on demand (instead of spending millions of dollars on data migration projects, if avoidable)
  • Decompose applications
  • Move from break-fix to continuous improvement

Customers simply don’t care about the underlying infrastructure or the platform, but worry about applications that can be rapidly developed and deployed to add business value.

Look for updates and future plans on www.cloudfoundry.com for CF v2.0.

IBM’s implementation of CF, called BlueMix, was also demonstrated. Check out www.ibm.com/bluemix.

You can follow #platformcf for updates and recordings from the conference. Follow me on Twitter @sunjoshiIBM. I’ll be posting more detailed blog posts on many of the topics covered on CF in the conference, stay tuned!

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