When you have an opportunity to get awesome people together and share their expertise, you take it. Ahead of Monki Gras, we had an opportunity to get a lot of cloud experts in a room and let them share their experience with folks interested in using or deploying IaaS and/or PaaS platforms. The theme of the day was "the state of cloud" in 2014, and where it's going. True to that, we had some very interesting structured and unstructured conversations about best practices, what's coming in the near future, and what we've learned so far.

One of the other mandates for the event was to have a vendor-neutral forum, and I think that went quite well. All of the speakers focused on lessons learned rather than promoting any specific project or product, and that helped facilitate great conversations.

Getting Feisty Right off the Bat

Few speakers enjoy being the first on the schedule, even when the program has a much more humane start time of 10 a.m. But someone has to go first, and I picked OpenShift Developer Advocate Steven Citron-Pousty in part because I know he's a good sport, but mostly because I knew he'd get a discussion going and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Indeed, his presentation on raising the tide to get developers in the cloud generated a huge discussion and certainly helped wake the audience up (along with the coffee we provided because… coffee) and ensured lively discussion for the entire program.

Citron-Pousty identified several things that are hampering developers in their ability to move to PaaS platforms. For example, he noted documentation is often insufficent, developers aren't taught to think of composable server pieces instead of minutiae, and there's often a difference between the local and "cloud" development experience.

Following Citron-Pousty, we had Chris Jackson of Rackspace, who took the first crack at a recurring theme at the Cloud Summit: seeding the DevOps culture in traditional IT. Jackson talked about the gap between expectations and reality in moving workloads to the cloud, using the infamous Underpants Gnomes from South Park as an example of "if we move to the cloud… profit!" mindset.

After Jackson, Sebastien Goasguen of Citrix discussed the overlap between cloud and big data, and how big data adoption appears to lag behind cloud. Goasguen, a PMC member for Apache CloudStack, argued that organizations should be adopting both simultaneously as cloud can provide "big data on demand."

Another notable presentation came from Pivotal's Andy Piper, "Why Data, Code, and Mobile Converge in the Open Cloud," followed by Michael Ducy's The Road to Hybrid Cloud is Paved with Automation. (Note: If you missed Ducy's talk yesterday, you can try again to catch it next week in Ghent at Infrastructure.Next.)

The Gulf Between Cloud and DevOps

While I don't like to pick favorites, I did take special interest in Donnie Berkholz's "The Parallel Universes of DevOps and Cloud Developers," presentation. It was a talk based on a post from early January, and I really wanted to have that conversation as part of the event. Berkholz discussed the overlap – or lack thereof – between the DevOps and cloud communities. Though Berkholz was only slotted for 30 minutes, we had a little slack in the program and let it roll for just a bit more than an hour due to the amount of discussion that the topic generated.

Closing the day, we had a panel hosted by Red Hat's Richard Morrell, with Piper, Goasguen, Jackson, and Giles Sirett of ShapeBlue. Panels have a nasty tendency to be poorly moderated and boring, but Morrell did a great job of keeping the discussion rolling, seeding the discussion with prepared questions and questions from the audience. Unfortunately, I was too busy listening to the conversations most of the day to take great notes.

The attendees were just as engaged as the presenters, and we had a pretty rowdy back and forth going all day – even during the breaks. Lucky for us, the space at The Bakery lent itself to healthy discussions among our group. If you missed the event, you might want to check out some of the Tweets from the event (also search #lcs14). We're thinking about doing this on a semi-regular basis – any interest in another Cloud Summit in London? Would be a lot of fun to start a regular, vendor-neutral, discussion forum for folks working on cloud deployments or the open cloud.

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