Interop Preview: Cloud Computing Takes Center Stage - InformationWeek

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Interop Preview: Cloud Computing Takes Center Stage

Expert demos at Las Vegas conference will showcase why the cloud is relevant to the enterprise, May 17-21.

Cloud computing will play a strong supporting role at Interop Las Vegas this year, where the concurrent Enterprise Cloud Summit will showcase to CIOs and senior IT management the tools needed to tackle enterprise cloud computing.

"We want to show the enterprise why clouds are relevant to them," BitCurrent analyst Alistair Croll, who's heading up Interop's cloud computing content, said in an interview. "I think a lot of enterprises believe cloud computing is for startups, or limited only to applications that are very 'bursty,' like testing."

Despite the buzz about cloud computing, only 22% of Interop attendees rate the incorporation of cloud-based services as a top priority for their organization over the next year.

For those who don't need the deep dive that the Enterprise Cloud Summit will bring, Interop will present a number of keynote addresses from several of the top industry executives working with cloud computing, such as VMware CTO Stephen Herrod, Hewlett-Packard CTO and VP of cloud services Russ Daniels, and IBM VP of cloud services Ric Telford.

As a way to show business IT pros how cloud computing could be relevant to them, Croll has put together a series of demonstrations highlighting how to run and manage an application in the cloud and how to migrate data and applications from on-premises to the cloud. One demo, for instance, will show how a company can use Elastra to move an Oracle data warehouse into a cloud environment while still respecting Oracle licenses.

The range of cloud computing companies exhibiting at the Interop expo this year extends from Amazon Web Services to cloud networking vendor Arista Networks to infrastructure-as-a-service vendor Joyent to cloud management vendor RightScale, SaaS security company Webroot, and Microsoft.

It's not just the usual suspects who will be in attendance, however. Others who have placed the cloud computing label on themselves as exhibitors include Force10 Networks, Juniper Networks, Marvell Semiconductor, and Qwest.

"You'll recognize that everyone wants to tell a cloud story," Lenny Heyman, Interop's general manager, said in an interview. "There's no question that everyone has heard about it, but the reality check at Interop is going to be really asking: Where are the buyers at this point?"

As part of a reality check, a quarter of the Enterprise Cloud Summit will be dedicated to "the dark side of clouds," as Croll puts it. "There are some very significant risks to cloud computing that enterprises need to know about, and I see a lot of what I call 'cloud washing' at events," he said.

This year, one of the categories for the annual Best of Interop Awards will be Cloud Computing and Virtualization. Finalists in that category this year include Ixia's IxVM virtualization test suite; Amazon Web Services' Elastic MapReduce, to help companies process "vast amounts of data" in the cloud; and VMware's V-Sphere virtualization management software.

As cloud computing has sparked IT pros to rethink their own data centers, Interop will also include some discussion of private clouds. VMware will lead one such session, while a whole conference track will focus on the present and future of the data center.

Learn more about cloud computing at TechWeb's Enterprise Cloud Summit in Las Vegas, May 18-19. Join us (registration required).

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