Structure 08 sheds light on Cloud Computing

Rajan Sodhi is a Techvibes Guest Contributor.

Just got back from the Structure 08 conference hosted by GigaOM and headline sponsored by my company, Vancouver-based PEER 1. The sold out event was a tremendous success with over 600 people in attendance representing companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and VMWare. A third of the conference room was allocated to media alone.

Making the decision to sponsor Structure 08 was an easy one. It is so rare to have a room full of the brightest minds discussing and debating the latest technology impacting IT infrastructure. “Cloud Computing” was by far the topic of the day, a buzz term that seems to encompass anything related to virtualization or on-demand scalable web hosting, which is sometimes, well, cloudy.

The line up of speakers included Jonathan Yarmis of AMR Research, Mendel Rosenblum of VMWare, and a heated discussion that included panelists from Google, AT&T, GigaSpaces, Mosso, Joyent, and XCalibre.

For me, the highlight of the day was a dynamic keynote delivered by Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon. He introduced himself to a highly engaged audience as the “system administrator for a small book shop in Seattle.” He then went on to discuss the genesis of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which includes Amazon S3 storage, EC2, and SQS. Using their client Animoto as a case study, a company that has intensive hosting needs but has no server infrastructure. They had 25,000 customers prior to launching a Facebook app that soon had them signing up 25,000 customers an hour. The instantaneous scalability of their hosting needs being satisfied by a cloud computing solution without requiring the purchase of servers is something he is very proud of. “What this cloud computing does, one of the biggest lessons to take home today, is moving infrastructure from a capital expense to a variable cost model,” said Werner. If you ever get a chance to listen in on a keynote or session by Werner, I highly recommend it.

The event illustrates just how great of a connecter Om Malik is. I first met Om in a brief encounter at last year’s Office 2.0 and knew quickly that he was someone we needed to get involved with. After coming on as a junior sponsor at his NewTeeVee event last November and seeing first-hand the caliber of audience he drew, I was convinced. Structure 08 was a tremendous success and I’m already looking forward to Structure 09. I hope to see you there.