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Recap: Day 2 at GigaOM Structure #gigaomlive

The 2014 edition of GigaOM Connect wrapped up in San Francisco on Tuesday with another stellar roster of speakers who’ve spent a lot of time living and breathing cloud computing.  The most compelling talks of the day came from Rackspace, Pivotal, and former Netflix architect Adrian Cockcroft who is now with Battery Ventures.  Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes announced an intriguing new product offering, Pivotal President Scott Yara spent time discussing their approach to a multi-cloud world, and Adrian, as perhaps the worlds foremost expert on taking advantage of cloud technologies, laid out his most recent observations on cloud trends as well as his future outlook.

Rackspace Announces OnMetal

The big announcement of the day came from Rackspace, who launched their new OnMetal product today.  With custom hardware for specific use cases like databases and web servers, OnMetal is bare metal provisioning on the order of minutes.  When combined with container technology like that found with Docker to amp up server utilization while still granting separation of applications, this presents an interesting solution to compete with virtualization.  Rackspace customer Pantheon, for example, uses this technology mix to deploy 6 times a day across each of its 250,000 WordPress and Drupal sites it manages.  That’s an impressive scale and one that isn’t possible with virtualization as an abstraction but one has to wonder how many use cases require that hyper scale.  For those that do, this new Rackspace product should be followed closely.

Pivotal Stays The Course: PaaS for Multi-cloud

In stark contrast to the Rackspace announcement, Pivotal President Scott Yara talked about PaaS as an abstraction layer on top of multi-cloud.  

The idea there being, one single company won’t own cloud computing and that in order to take advantage of cloud existing in different locations, the trick is to write applications in such a way that they can unlock the power of that diversity beyond what AWS has started with public cloud.

Cloud Trends

Adrian Cockcroft started his talk with a view of how cloud technology has gone from early adopters through to Enterprise IT, claiming that this was the year that Enterprise IT finally embraced cloud:

He observed that the Enterprise wants vendors with staying power, support, scale, and locations to better place workloads geographically and that the top cloud vendors still have a ways to go, especially in western Europe:

He had nice things to say about up-and-coming cloud vendor Digital Ocean and thought that startup adoption touted by Google was perhaps overstated with the exception of Shapchat.

Adrian then looked to the future and had concerns about the direction of OpenStack.  Although buzzword popular today, he worried about vendors fragmenting distributions too far and had some fun with logos to make his point:

Until Next Year

As always, GigaOM Structure had an amazing lineup of speakers this year. From cloud vendors to born on the cloud companies, to respected VCs, and enterprise cloud adopters, a huge variety of perspectives were represented throughout. This has been the hallmark of events hosted by GigaOM really and attracts an audience that provides just as provoking hallway conversations as what takes place on the keynote stage, benefitting everybody who attends.

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