Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Putting Our Heads in the Cloud

By: A self-professed Cloud Geek, Joe Kinsella, Founder and CTO, CloudHealth Technologies

Last Wednesday night, MassTLC brought together 80+ professionals from the Boston Area to talk about the cloud at ConstantContact’s InnoLoft in Waltham. The event, When, Where and How to Go to the Cloud: Sharing Best Practices amongst Peers, was attended by professionals from a diverse set of companies, such as EMC, Raytheon, MathWorks, ConstantContact, Veracode, Akamai, Care.com, IBM, and Microsoft.

We started the night with my presentation on the state of the cloud. In my role as CTO of the Boston-based cloud service management company, CloudHealth Technologies, I’ve had a unique opportunity to talk to numerous enterprises and fast-growing technology companies at different stages of cloud adoption. I’m also a self-professed cloud geek who tries to never miss a local cloud gathering. I focused my presentation on some of the trends I’ve been tracking across our industry, including:

       Enterprise adoption accelerating - The enterprise has left development and test in the rear view mirror, and now is focused on heavy production use of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.
       Complexity - While the cloud provides us great benefits for agility, innovation, cost, and operational efficiency, it does so at a cost: complexity.
       Governance - The rapid pace of change in the cloud makes governing cost, availability, performance, security and usage challenging. Failure to govern is one of the greatest impediments to cloud success.
       Cost - Many companies move to the cloud to achieve better Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - but fail to maintain continuous vigilance required successfully manage costs.
       Vendor lock-in - As the offerings from SaaS, IaaS and PaaS vendors begin to diverge, we are increasingly finding ourselves struggling with vendor lock-in.

If you missed the event, the MassTLC has my presentation published online.

Following the presentation, I moderated a great panel discussion that included Dave Krupinski, CTO of Care.com, Stefan Piesche, CTO of Constant Contact, Cathy Bilotta, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives of Raytheon, and Jeff Lamoreaux, CIO of Global Partners. Here is a sampling of some of the discussions:

       Developing a Cloud Strategy - Jeff Lamoreaux talked about his “checklist” for cloud adoption that allowed his internal business partners to adopt new services while still managing risks.
       Public & Private Cloud - Stefan Piesche reviewed his company’s recent experiences in adopting AWS after deciding to move beyond their OpenStack private cloud.
       Shadow IT - Jeff Lamoreaux told us about his experience with Shadow IT upon joining his company, and how he balanced the need for agility with the need for good corporate governance.
       Vendor Selection - Cathy Bilotta discussed the importance of ensuring strategic alignment with your chosen cloud provider.
       Migration - Dave Krupinski talked about his company’s journey from dedicated hardware to the public cloud.

We then broke into four breakout sessions to dive deeper into subtopics of IaaS, internal business models for cloud adoption, cloud governance, and vendor selection.

There was excellent feedback from panelists and attendees on the breakout sessions. Dave Krupinski’s group covered a lot of ground, discussing the reasons for adopting IaaS, adoption challenges, and the importance of taking incremental steps to ensure the success of your cloud strategy. Stefan Piesche’s group dove deep into how to evaluate a vendor, and the value of choosing an all-you-can-eat vendor instead of trying to manage platform neutrality. Cathy Bilotta’s group discussed the importance of partnering with your cloud provider at a strategic level to help stay ahead of enhancements and features, and adapting your internal skill set (supplier management, legal, contract management) to better embrace a cloud provider.

Overall the event was a great success, and left me wanting to see more events like this on the cloud in Boston. Thanks to the MassTLC for making this event happen. I look forward to seeing all of you at the next one.

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