So, last week, as some of you might know, Solar VPS attended Cloud Expo 2013 in Silicon Valley. While we didn’t exhibit at the Cloud conference, our COO and President, Ross Brouse, gave a few speeches and we got pretty interactive on the social media networks all those crazy kids love. (Insert shout out here to @RobustCloud, @GESoftware, @SHI_INTL, @ThousandEyes & @AriaSystemsInc). Outside of giving speeches and getting really active on Twitter and Google +, we took the time to hear from other Cloud companies both within their keynote presentations and outside within spur of the moment meetings.
This said, we want to use this space to elucidate (yes, we are trying to expand our lexicon), on five insights we learned at the show and why those insights are either excellent or terrible. So, here we go.
1. Smaller Cloud Providers Need to Rise Up
Hands down, the most clear cut point not made at Cloud Expo 2013 in Silicon Valley was and is the need of smaller Cloud hosting companies to rise up and take the reigns away from the larger players in the business. Multiple informal conversations on the Cloud Expo floor all highlighted one major happening in the Cloud industry: like major media companies, where there used to be 15 – 25 major players, now there are only 4 – 5. The same thing is happening in the Cloud industry. With services becoming more in need, larger Cloud players are starting to buy up smaller players in the industry to a) purchase their offerings and b) eliminate competition for SMB business.
While the bigger boys in the industry, we are looking at your RackSpace, can provide solutions for companies, truth be told, they are looking to provide those solutions to clients who have a yearly spend of a few hundred thousand dollars to millions per year. Sure, you could purchase a VPS from RackSpace but RackSpace doesn’t like it much. This is where smaller and mid level providers need to step up. There is a vast need for Cloud services among SMB’s and the smaller Cloud providers are the ones who should fill that need.
2. Eliminate the Tech from the Cloud
We say, “the tech” for a reason. When it comes to Cloud solutions, as it tends to be with every IT solution, SMB’s and consumers simply want it to work. They don’t care about hypervisors, SAN storage and the amount of RAM or Disk you offer. SMB’s and consumers look at the Cloud as they look at all IT – they simply want it to work. While at the show, a lot of keynote sessions spoke and highlighted the technical capabilities of providers and while that might be cool to Cloud hosting geeks like us, outside of IT – to an attorney or a head hunter – hypervisor resource pooling means absolutely nothing. “The tech” aspect of the Cloud is awesome for Cloud geeks like us but for the majority of the market, how your SAN works doesn’t matter. Make the solution work. Market the solution as turn key. Don’t complicate the Cloud. K.I.S.S.
3. Big Data & Real World Application
The most interesting keynote presentation was given by our new friends over at GE Software (their twitter feed is linked above). During Cloud Computing Boot Camp, Yonatan Hagos of GE Software spoke on the need for Machine to Machine communications working into Machine to Human communication. The speech centered on the ability of Big Data to create real world applications designed to make GE airplane engines safer, smarter and more powerful. Beyond any presentation given at Cloud Expo, Mr. Hagos keynote shed light on the need of the market to use real time Big Data to make the world around us safer and infinitely more capable. Instead of just being able to offer free coffee to consumers after charting their year long spending patterns, the need for Big Data to improve high level real world applications, like GE airplane engines, is here and it’s important.
4. Innovation for the Sake of Innovation
As tech junkies, we love innovation. As any consumer knows, the next big thing in tech is always the next big thing. Time waits for no man and it certainly does not stop for innovation. With this in mind, we noticed something odd at Cloud Expo. Innovation for the sake of innovation is everywhere. Innovation for the sake of answering a market question is lacking.
Cloud hosting companies, Cloud storage providers, Cloud application, infrastructure and platform providers need to innovate but they need to innovate to answer a market question. They need to create products/solutions which help businesses address their concerns and fill their needs. Everyone loves the iPod yet not everyone has the ability to innovate causing the market to bend to their will. More often than not, successful innovation isn’t innovative, it’s reactionary to needs. Cloud providers need to learn that lesson.
5.Explaining Cloud Security
Again, consumers do not care about how the Cloud works, they just want to know it works. This is certainly true when it comes to Cloud security. In almost every session we attended at Cloud Expo 2013 in Silicon Valley, the idea of Cloud security was mentioned. Yet again, it was explained in the technical sense – the how and not the why. Working within the Cloud industry means understanding the how and more importantly, understanding yet overlooking the why. It’s an afterthought – you need Cloud security features, it’s a given. So why market it? The thing is though, outside of the Cloud, the idea of Cloud security – letting go of critical business data and transferring it to the Cloud – is scary. To quell public fear of Cloud security, as an industry we all need to do a better job highlighting the why of Cloud security features over the how. We need to create a story of impact to answer a need. We don’t need to explain how the sausage is made.
So there you have it. Five lessons from the Cloud. Smaller Cloud providers need to rise up. Eliminate “the tech” from the Cloud. Big Data & real wold application. Innovation to answer market needs. Explaining the why of Cloud security.
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Until next time, safe travels.