Cloud Expo Europe 2015 – trends and themes


On the 11th-12th March 2015, cloud providers and consumers gathered for the ‘Cloud Expo Europe 2015’ at ExCel London with over 300 exhibits and 300 speakers across eleven conference rooms over the two days.

The issues of infrastructure and storage, cloud management, security, data, cloud innovations and the role of the Internet of Things were all on the agenda over two days, with expert speakers from the public and private sector both as suppliers and consumers of cloud technology.

Dawn Leaf, chief information officer at the US Department of Labor, started proceedings in the ‘keynote theatre’ explaining the differences between expectations and experiences for the department in its implementation of the cloud.

Prior to its transition to the cloud, the department and its subsidiary offices spend $82 billion per year on IT; 80% of which was on infrastructure and 80% of that on maintenance.

According to Dawn Leaf the opportunity to reduce the IT expenditure was the main motivation to move to the cloud, she warned that the greatest challenge the department encountered was “getting ready to connect – to have the network and security in place”.

Flag blendBased on the DoL experience the cost to transfer email services to the cloud was the same as running their legacy services but that the increased archive space meant that the department’s 19,000 workers no longer spent two hours per month cleaning their email inboxes to make enough space for new mail.

In the ‘data, analytics and IoT theatre’, a new discussion topic for 2015, William Rabie, Cloud Business Director at CenturyLink Technology Solutions talked about the role of big data in the cloud.

He stressed the importance of using and analysing data in real time as “data from 24 hours ago is almost obsolete”, but warned that some projects may be too expensive or large to properly employ data analytics.

Next, Andrew Bartlam from CipherCloud spoke in the ‘security and compliance theatre’ asking whether cloud providers can guarantee data privacy and sovereignty.

He highlighted how the benefits of the cloud are persuading more and more organisations, both private and public, to use cloud solutions and therefore more and more “sensitive data” is transferred through the cloud.

PadlockWith data now leaving a network’s firewall, the issue of a “disappearing network perimeter” must be addressed and the growing policy of ‘bring your own device’ to work is creating further security issues.

Bartlam said because of the increased movement of sensitive data, there is a “strong reticence to public cloud for sensitive data” and that CIOs cannot say to their executives that they can guarantee the security of their cloud’s data “because they don’t control it”.

Back in the ‘data, analytics and IoT theatre’, Kalman Tiboldi, chief business innovation officer at TVH, detailed how the spare-parts company is using the Internet of Things to improve its business model by monitoring parts remotely to replace them before failure occur and even automatically print new parts for suppliers.

Whilst in the ‘keynote theatre’, John O’Donovan, chief technology officer at the Financial Times, gave an overview of his five cloud experiences working at the BBC, on Olympic coverage for London 2012 and implementing the cloud model for the FT’s digital platforms.

He detailed how each solution progressed with greater efficiency and data storage capacity with the BBC Olympic platform clocked an estimated 50 billion hits and its data stream was running so fast that it had to be slowed as to not be available before the ‘live’ sporting results on the television.

Overall the event showcased the possibilities and great benefits of the cloud but also the possible barriers in terms of tailoring solutions, data storage, security and compliance for cloud providers and consumers.

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