Posts Tagged ‘SoftLayer’

CloudBeat 2013 Review: A showcase for cloud success, software defined storage and encryption key management

Posted: September 17, 2013 by David Lamont in Opinion, Reviews, Security, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now in its third year, VentureBeat’s CloudBeat September conference in San Francisco consists of discussions, case studies, breakout sessions, and announcements reflecting the growing maturity of the cloud. From what I could tell (from the profiles displayed by the innovative Bizzabo iPhone app. that facilitates networking at the event), the 100+ audience at CloudBeat consisted of entrepreneurs, investors, CEOs and CTOs, as well as business development, sales and marketing VPs/directors.

This conference has an unusual and interesting format that consists of on-stage interviews. Unlike most conferences, the speakers do not present the corporate slide deck. They are interviewed on stage by a knowledgeable host, they answer questions and tell related stories. For example, Ilya Fushman, Dropbox’s head of products for business and mobile, talked with analyst, Paul Miller, about going beyond storage for 10 million users and 2 million businesses to become a platform for application developers.

Audience

The lineup of speakers was impressive. CloudBeat attracted 85+ knowledgeable C-level speakers from established players, start-ups, cloud users and investors:

3Scale, Accel Partners, Adobe, Alchemist Accelerator, AppDynamics, Artisan Infrastructure, AT&T, Axxess Unlimited, Bessemer Venture Partners, Box, Braintree, Canvas, Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, CITEworld, Citrix Systems, Cloud Foundry, Cloudability, Cloudant, CloudImmunity, CloudPassage, CloudPulse Strategies, Cloudscaling, Dark Matter Labs, Data Collective Venture Capital, Define the Cloud, Dell, Disney, Diversity Limited, Dropbox, Edmunds.com, Egnyte, Elance, Emergence Capital Partners, Engine Yard, Epignosis, Eucalyptus Systems, Firebase, Foley & Lardner LLP, GGV Capital, GlobalLogic, Harshman Phillips & Company, Hillenby, HP, IBM, Industry commentator, consultant & investor, Internet2, Issac RothShasta Ventures, Jive, Joyent, LED Source, LinkedIn, Metamarkets, Microsoft, MuleSoft, Nebula, Netflix, Norwest Venture Partners, Numecent, Okta, Optimizely, Parallels, Parsons, PayPal, Pivotal, ProgrammableWeb, Red Hat, Relevance, Room Key, Salesforce, Sanmina, SAP Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, Scribe Software, SendGrid, Inc., Silicon Valley Bank, Simple Signal, SimTable, SoftLayer, Spoke Software, SwiftStack, Symantec, Totango, Twilio, Vidyo, Wanelo, Xero, and Xerox PARC.

The event sponsors had tabletop displays outside the main room. I’m not sure the cloud-related vendors expected to generate many sales leads from this event. In at least one case, the vendor was there because it was a local event and one of their marquee customers was a speaker. Having a name-brand customer talk about how they use your cloud product is a good enough reason for a local upstart-up to sign up, especially when the interviews are recorded.

IMG_2556

CloudBeat 2013 Sponsors

Interesting storage and security vendors included KeyNexus, Scality, and SwiftStack.

Scality and SwiftStack provide highly-scalable, software defined, storage solutions to larger organizations. These are object storage systems based on the OpenStack framework. The software takes advantage of commodity servers and hard drives. Rather than use a SAN or NAS for storage these systems pool the storage in each server and make it available in the cloud. Unlike NAS and SAN, the number of processors and network controllers scales alongside the storage allowing the system to support a very high volume of concurrent users. The software then centrally manages data protection (replication) and performance (caching using server-based RAM or Flash). Cool stuff!

KeyNexus launched their cloud-based encryption-key storage and management solution for Amazon Web Services (AWS EC2) at CloudBeat. KeyNexus enables organizations to store, manage, and audit their encryption keys separately from the cloud, addressing the principal inhibitor to broader, faster, adoption of the cloud by enterprises — security!  Here’s how they describe it.

There are three typical cloud security scenarios. First, the key to unlock encrypted data is stored in the same cloud as the data. That’s like locking your house but leaving the key in the lock. In the second scenario, companies employ vendor solutions that host the key in an undisclosed location. That’s like having to call a security guard to access your home and unlock the door (and trusting the security guard never goes in when you are away). Option three involves securing the key on-site within the enterprise, which can be costly. The KeyNexus approach separates the “lock” from the “key” in the cloud, while also promoting encryption interoperability across the public cloud. Using a hardware appliance to create the keys, KeyNexus simplifies the management of remote key rotation as well as the migration of encrypted data between various cloud, SaaS and mobile platforms.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

 

Advertisements

The good people ay Sys-Con Events invited me to the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo.  The event was held November 7 through 10, 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Northern California—one of my favorite venues. I was there on days 2 and 4 of this 4 day event.

Reportedly there were over 7,000 attendees that included CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, and communications and networking specialists.

As usual, I viewed the  event through the eyes of a marketer responsible for data storage and data management products. My firm, Marketingsage, helps clients generate sales leads, build brands, launch new products, and establish new sales channels so trade shows are important, especially for lead generation.

There were 4 days worth of speaking sessions, mostly presented by vendors. The general sessions that I attended all seemed to have large audiences, although the huge room was not full. There were also 7 special interest tracks with one  dedicated to those interested in Cloud Storage Virtualization APIs. Another was dedicated to Cloud Architecture, Security and Performance.

Session: How to Build a SaaS With Twitter-like Throughput

Session: How to Build a SaaS With Twitter-like Throughput

The Cloud Expo

The expo was small enough to ensure that every attendee could see every booth over the course of 4 days. There were about 100 exhibitors including VMware, McAfee, Oracle, and IBM.  The vast majority of booths were small 8′ or 10′ popups and they were packed pretty tightly. So on day 2 the aisles were crowded.

Day 2: Gale holds the crowd (in the aisle) with their presentation

However, by day 4 the aisles were really empty and the exhibitors were not busy at all. The crowds at the general presentations also thinned substantially, suggesting that the event may be enhanced by cutting it from 4 days to 3 days.

Day 4 (morning): SolidFire’s booth

Is Cloud Expo a Good Show for Marketing Storage products?

Is Cloud Expo a good show for marketing storage products? The answer depends on what type of storage product you are marketing. This show has 3 types of storage vendor: (1) hosted storage, (2) storage related software and (3) storage hardware.

The audience  favored those selling hosted storage/servers and storage management/monitoring software. Hosting firms included Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Hosting, SoftLayer, GoGrid, Virtustream, FireHost, and Zadara Storage, and PhoenixNAP to name but a few. Storage/data management/monitoring vendors included Abiquo, StorageCraft, Amplidata, MicroStrategy and Nimsoft, again to name but a few.

Storage infrastructure/hardware vendors did not flock to this event even though many tout their products for virtualized and cloud environments. I saw prominent solid state disk (SSD) vendor Fusion-io on an early exhibitor list, but they were not there.  Storage infrastructure exhibitors included solid state disk vendors SolidFire and LSI. Oracle also had a hard disk array on display. There were a few other hardware exhibitors that had storage components, but I wouldn’t classify them as storage infrastructure vendors.

LSI would win my prize for best storage infrastructure demo

Oracle displays bare metal

Morphlabs mCloud uses Dell servers, Arista Network switches and Nexenta’s storage manager. Each blade has its own 3.5 inch HDDs.

I asked several exhibitors whether they were happy with the Cloud Expo event. All said there were happy and would likely attend again next year. That’s a ringing endorsement, but I’m going to discount it a bit for the hardware infrastructure vendors by noting some factors important to me as a sales-centric marketer whose budget would be on the line.

The endorsers were not salespeople or MarCom people. They were product manager types so their expectations may be different to mine. Most were local to the area so they did not have to leave home to participate. Several commented about a high ratio of vendors to customers visiting their booth. And one commented that most visitors were not really storage infrastructure decision makers. However they were valued as potential influencers of such decisions.

So is Cloud Expo a good show for marketing storage products? Yes, if your target decision makers are focused on the cloud or virtualization application layer. I’m not ready to make a case for storage hardware vendors.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).