I just got back from a conference in San Francisco called Cloudslam12. It was my first time to the bay area and the first time I got to speak about how we chose cloud providers so pretty exciting.
Since it was my first time to San Francisco I wasn't sure what to expect. I was surprised by a few things. The first was that it was colder in California than Maine. Apparently if I had gone inland 10 miles it was a lot warmer, but in the Bay Area it was low 60s versus the low 70s I left in Maine. Somehow that seemed wrong.
I got to spend a few hours at Fisherman's Wharf which I'm told is a requirement for tourists to that area. It was nice and I have to admit they make excellent clam chowder. I feel bad admitting that....
The conference had quite a few vendors that I probably should have, but hadn't heard about. There were companies like orangescape and durgacloud that act sort of like a middleman between your code and cloud providers, so you can write once and run in Amazon EC2, Google Apps or Microsoft Azure. Unfortunately no one seems to take native force.com apps and makes it easy to transport them. Interesting enough Orangescape will let you take Lotus Domino apps to Google apps.
There were actually a few companies that do cloud based log file management. One called Sumologic that gave out squishy sumo wrestlers. Another called loggly. The log files I deal with aren't that big that I need to send them to the cloud for analysis but interesting nonetheless.
Most of the conference was around PAAS or IAAS but one SAAS vendor integrates google mail with salesforce.com. I was pretty excited thinking I found a neat salesforce.com tool before my peers, only to find out not only did they know about Cirrus Insight, but we were actively testing it.
I even got to talk to a few grad students working on an appliance that lets you bring google apps environment into the enterprise. So if you are paranoid about cloud, but want to leverage some of the 500k applications written in the google marketplace, you can. Or more accurately will be able to. They are still in school but talking to VC firms to kick off this summer.
There were actually a lot of discussions like that, in fact over lunch I think we collectively had 3 new start-up ideas. I got to meet Jeff Nessen who is the CEO of Progentus They make tools that allow a sales department to create service statements of work documents in minutes, instead of hours or days. They also make other SAAS tools that make it easier to sell. He had a great talk on helping your sales team sell cloud.
We had Google talk about Google apps for the enterprise. Intel talked about what they see for trends in cloud service providers.
I was truly amazed at the vibe there though. Getting to hear about companies that were going to start, sharing ideas on new companies we want to see, (I'd love to see an app that takes a video and cloudtags it based on the audio to help it easier to find videos) and just the brainstorming that goes on when you get a bunch of smart people around the table (and they don't mind me sitting there listening. :) )
All in all a great trip and amazing experience.