I've taken a couple of days off to watch the outcome of the Cloud Expo, CloudCamp, and especially, the CCIF meetings. After three days, this posting is my response to everything I learned, and what I think next steps are. I'd like to have an open dialogue about it: but let's get moving.
A big concern I have is that most of the high level folks want to sit around and talk about how to leverage the cloud. But it's mostly talk (and that's ok!). It's useful to talk and compare, but how do we define what those talks will achieve. How do we get to an end result? The architects want to build APIs, and somebody needs to take it on, because the majority of efforts will fail, but through that we'll get to what we need to get to for an Open API standard.
People want permission to use Cloud Computing, irrespective of the factors that are holding them back: interoperability, compliance, security, cost, realized benefit, etc. I had a long talk with a good friend, Dan Kaminski, about this past week and the takeaway from Cloud Expo, CloudCamp, and the CCIF meeting, and this is the key takeaway. So, in my mind, this is the highest value of the CCIF, and gets down to the core of what the CCIF could do.
If I could write the charter for what I want to see CCIF, it's be this: Be the avenue for the resolution of specific customer pains, a forum for material discussion and comparison of cloud initiatives and their results (share the secrets, find the patterns of what's working and what's not), and a marketing platform for practical cloud solutions.
It brings up lots of questions about evangelism VS advocacy, and where standards creation fits into the mix.
We'll hammer those out - that's what a Meritocracy is for. For those not used to working like this, here's the key: remember that in a Meritocracy, individual contribution is the basis of social capital - your standing in the community is directly connected to what you give to the community. Let's stay true to this principle - it works.
Talking about organizational structure for the CCIF is useful, but in my experience difficult. We need to both protect the intellectual property of the companies who are willing to come to the table to compare notes, and preserve the meritocratic core of Openness that makes efforts like the CCIF viable. The keep principle, in my mind, is that open communities lead to open minds, and open minds lead to positive outcomes - it's the basic of all negotiation and effective decision making. But it's not about the mechanism - that's a crutch. It's about the result. It's not how you get there, but where you're going - I'm not yet clear on that.
I also know that organizational discussion often distracts from the core questions of End Result. In startups, it's always a question of, "Do we focus on how we cut up the company, structure the vote, etc, VS., do we focus on what we want to do here." In startups, focusing on the latter will lead to a company; the former usually leads to a delay and often kills the company. So I plan to abstain from organizational discussion by-and-large, and focus on what we want to become.
Permission. Permission is key. Customers want permission to implement cloud. This means they want to see what Cloud means to them, and how specifically others are using it. This, to me, is the highest value I can bring to the table for Cloud Computing right now, so this is what I want to focus my time on.
Here are the notes from Session #2 in the CCIF:
What's been proposed is a broad concept of advocacy. It means a lot of things: in cloud and in interoperability.
What are the key problems that need to be addressed that need to be baked into an organization?
CCIF is fundamentally a community based organization.
(there was concern as to why the public cloud vendors did not attend).
The only reason vendors move to any Open Standard, any open anything is because customers force them to. If we look at this as the nucleaus of the folks that are going to be building the Ent. cloud first, I've got to make it real easy to extend the private clouds into my clouds.
Bert Armijo - 3Tera: The early movers often feel under attack, look for Open participation and objectives for the group. There are a number of things we can do before we get to interoperability. How much does it cost (people want open numbers that can be shared) to run in the cloud? Large customers care about the cost of SAP and Oracle on the cloud. Often times, in person gathering produces the dialogue required.
We can take on smaller things before we take on the "Interoperability standard." It's not going to be one standard, it's going to be a hundred standards.
I think one of the first things: We should be looking to package Enterprise relevant use cases and pricing examples.
Case study or specific pricing?
"I think a case study."
It's a set of case studies, one for Oracle, one for DB2, one for the financial guys, one for the oil companies.
Eventually it evolves into patterns.
There is still a lot of confusion about what cloud computing is
What are models of clouds
What about pricing - you're going to get yourself in big anti-trust issues?
Global 500 company: met with the CEO and directors. They are very, very confused about the positioning of cloud. First, they were aware. Second, they don't get the position, which apps run on it, how to deploy it, and how their traditional software licensing will apply to the cloud. They don't know how to roll it on the cloud, and how it will impact their operational cost. They feel there is significant risk because of the lack of definition
Strategic value is to be a forum for end users to voice their concerns. And possibly get participation from consultants to offer solutions to them. "A marketing workgroup or something?"
We don't know cloud, we know ROI. That's the language business customers are speaking.
Risk and Rate-of-Change, coming up on exponential.
We don't need standards to interoperate. Look at retail, EDI is a standard. There are definitely companies that won't buy things unless they have certain standards.
Cloud Computing right now is a baby, and as an organization we're going to need to provide different things as that baby grows up. A lot of discussion about standards, de-facto standards, agreed upon standard, etc.
What would the resolution of customer pain for Cloud look like?
Just the process of coming together, and sharing, it's not always how wonderful it is, it's how we screwed up, which will eventually become some best practices.
Clarify: it's an education, not classic marketing (subtle difference). Use cases, white papers, with a conscious, legitimate attempt to educate a broader community.
My note: What is the CCIF? Standards organization VS trade group VS online community?
Security is the most relevant use case. How much of this stuff is ready?
One things that we shouldn't do. After spending 20 million dollars bringing their systems up to Web 2.0, they really don't have anything better than when they started. The last thing the CTO wants to hear is Web 3.0. [Same goes for Cloud]
Be careful about what gets released.
Stay customer centric.
Focus case studies on current reality, real world solutions
What are the top 5 application patterns for each vertical?
Different ways you can implement it, different vendors you can use.
Open Source solution patterns.
Solutions then become CCIF certified.
There is a big difference between reference architecture and reference design. Needs to work across vendors.
Become a pattern library for cloud computing (reference architectures). Then show how these architectures apply.
There's two groups: marketing and technical.
Do forgive me for their brevity, I ended up not being able to keep up with this discussion, so I recorded it with my laptop (I'm sorry about the typing, I KNEW I should have brought my Snowball, but I didn't this one time! It does stop mid-way through.). A couple of us are also super loud because we were sitting right next to the laptop. Here is the link: http://scaleapp.com/uploads/session-2-at-ccif.m4a
Here's what's next for me.
I'd like to create an infrastructure list, to facilitate and grow on the early efforts we've been having.. I'd like to also get the infrastructure that Sam Johnson was kind enough to create into the hands of the owners of this list, so it's more a community effort. I had a chat with him on the phone Sunday, and he agreed.
I have created an initial comp:
I basically envision two pieces of software here: Drupal, which is used for the main page, and to power peer-to-peer organic groups, and mediawiki, which will be used to power this page.
I'm going to need a lot of help, and I plan on kicking off the effort and then letting the team lead (I cannot be "the owner" as I have too much on my plate personally).
I'd really appreciate a response from anyone who wants to be on this list. We'll start it in the main group with [INFRA] as a tag, and then eventually move it to the cloudforum-inf Google list. It's already set up. Join if you'd like. I really need help to make it happen.
Out of the session we had a group of people, whom I will be emailing today, that were interested in working on CloudPatterns (my term), a Case Study (best description) group for organizations looking at how to implement cloud, and sharing their experiences. I'm working on another post for this, which I should have up in the next 1-2 days. I have a stack of business cards from our session in NYC, and will be coordinating openly with that starter crew and the larger group to move forward with this.