Cloud Expo abuzz with growth, innovation prospects

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This year’s Cloud Expo Europe was the biggest in the event’s history, with more visitors and exhibitors than in previous years. 

Enterprise Management 360º was present in large numbers at the two-day event, as in previous years, and found a lively atmosphere with an undercurrent of excitement.

The excitement comes from so many in the cloud services industry knowing that the sector is seeing strong growth which shows no sign of slowing down.

More and more businesses are transferring their enterprise to the cloud and, moreover, they are using more than one cloud service.

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The adoption of multiple clouds was the subject of one of the keynote speakers and main sponsors of the event. Richard Munro, CTO, VMware Cloud Services, EMEA, says the capabilities of cloud technology has progressed in leaps and bounds, and it’s important to enable the innovators to do their work.

“To get the best out of multiple clouds, I believe in a concept called ‘Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners’,” says Munro.

“In this respect, you need to allow the pioneers to innovate, wherever they see fit, in a safe way – to see which cloud solution works. The settlers then make that innovation sustainable, secure and compliant, while the town planners then manage the services in an ongoing manner.”

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Munro addresses one of the most important questions for enterprises moving to the cloud: Can the cloud be as secure as our on-site servers?

For Munro, not only can the cloud offer the same level of security, it can even go beyond that. “The correct implementation of the latest cross-cloud capabilities not only deliver superior security over what we have today, but also actually result in greater freedom for IT consumers,” he says.

The important thing to do for enterprises considering multiple clouds is to “break down what you are trying to do and approach this in simple, practical terms”.

This approach makes the huge apparently complexity of the multi-cloud disappear “into a series of practical initiatives If you focus on what you as a specific organisation need to do to enable them”.

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But still, the security question will always – understandably – be uppermost in enterprise managers’ minds, and it’s a subject that was specifically addressed by another keynote speaker, Ramón Serres, Information Security, Quality and Risk, Almirall.

Serres says the “data leakage prevention is a key security risk” for many projects, adding that it’s imperative to “clearly align the security strategy with the Risk Map and the business priorities”.

He says: “The top management has to clarify the scope of security: is it just IT security, or are we referring to information security? This is key to determine the scope of actions.”

“Secondly, prior to managing security, the business has to define the governance of security. Once governance is defined, management will be more effective.”

“Finally, the goal, at the end of the day, will be to bring the information security risks down to an acceptable level. In that sense, eliminating risks is unaffordable in any organisation, and based on that, it becomes critical to have proper and mature processes for incident response.”

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One of the most popular uses of the cloud is to provide entertainment products, such as music and films, and in this sector, AT&T is one the world’s largest cloud providers.

AT&T’s principal network engineer Christina Hogan, another keynote speaker at the Cloud Expo Europe event, says: “Customers want to enjoy their favourite movies, TV shows, music and sports on any screen.

“We’re the largest provider of pay TV in the United States and the world. So, we’re setting the standard for delivering video when, where and how customers want it.”

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For Hogan, the importance of development operations cannot be overestimated, and her talk would address the subject, and explain how the main principles of DevOps can be applied in environments without developers.

“The DevOps model evolved in cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) environments, where the developers and operations staff work for the same company,” says Hogan.

“However, enterprises that run primarily commercial off the shelf software can also benefit from many of the key DevOps approaches used in SaaS environments.

“My talk introduces the principles of DevOps and looks at how to benefit from applying these principles in environments without developers. It uses some real-world examples to demonstrate how these principles can be applied effectively to other environments and challenges, and to illustrate the benefits of doing so.”

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