Cloud Connect Wrap Up
by Diane Mueller

Diane Mueller, February 22, 2012

Private clouds get respect at Cloud Connect

Cloud Connect/Santa Clara  brought together over 3,500 attendees to the Santa Clara Convention Center to share stories from enterprises on the front lines about their cloud computing adventures, and to hear cloud pundits pontificate on which direction the wind was blowing the clouds. This time out, the buzz was all about private clouds.

Zynga kicked off conversations announcing that their Hybrid Cloud strategy is now 80% private 20% public - a complete reversal from where they were at last year. In a keynote speech, Allan Leinwand, Zynga's infrastructure CTO, said "In mid-2010 we realized we were renting what we could own" and that Zynga  "needed to own the base and rent the spike.” It’s a great soundbite, and it’s actually becoming more of the reality for enterprise cloud deployments. Enterprises don't have to have 24 million Farmville users to figure out that “renting” computing cycles and storage isn't always the most efficient or cost-effective choice.  For more details, check out Leinwand’s blog post.

The accidental private cloud

Perhaps the most convincing case for private clouds was presented by Bill Gillis, Director of eHealth Technologies for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He described the healthcare provider’s fortuitous route to building a private cloud for EMR for 300 distributed physician practices (including roughly 1500 doctors) and growing to 500 practices by later in 2012. Tasked with creating an electronic health records (EHR) system  in 2007 – when  cloud computing was still a nascent science project for most of us – Beth Israel embraced the emerging technology and built a private cloud of its own without even realizing it. As Gillis said "It wasn’t really until after we built it that people said ‘hey, you built a private cloud.’ For us, the idea to deploy this scalable product to our physician practices was really what we needed.” Read more at

PaaS – "neglected middle child" in the canonical cloud reference model – goes private

Most every enterprise first approaches “the cloud” from one of two perspectives: “renting” IaaS resources on a public cloud, or using a SaaS offering like Saleforce. PaaS has traditionally been the neglected middle child in the canonical cloud reference model. But this conference signaled that PaaS is now top of mind for IT teams, particularly in the context of Private Clouds.

This year, Cloud Connect dedicated an entire track to private clouds in which Private PaaS played a major role. ServiceMesh's Vice-President, Strategy and Marketing, Dave Roberts hosted the track and moderated the session, Moving On Up: Enterprise Private PaaS in which I was honored to participate with Sinclair Schuller, CEO, Apprenda and Guy Noor, CTO, EnterPaaS. We discussed the challenges enterprises face when considering deploying a private PaaS. We all noted that with private PaaS, enterprises get more control over their diverse range of web applications than when they opt for public-PaaS alternatives.  We also talked about ROI, flexibility, and the move to a more DevOps centric IT approach. Audience questions focused on the logistics of moving to private PaaS,  language diversity, supported frameworks and services, and the robustness of security options.

Open PaaS options were well represented at the conference – with Cloud Foundry-based PaaS like ActiveState’s Stackato and Tier3’s Iron Foundry demoing alongside RedHat’s OpenShift. That bodes well for a continued adoption by and support for  enterprises choosing open source based eco-systems.

To learn more about how you can deploy a Private PaaS at your enterprise, check out ActiveState Stackato and get to the cloud smarter, safer, and faster today.

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Diane Mueller is a Cloud Evangelist at ActiveState. She has been designing & implementing financial applications at Fortune 500 corporations for over 20 years. Diane has been actively involved in development efforts of XBRL Open Standard ( since 1999.