I was in Washington DC last week to meet with several cloud companies, walk one of them through my Silver Spring Maryland Data Center and network at the GovCloud event being held in DC. If you have read my blog at all over the past several years you will quickly figure out that I was not a fan of cloud. I didn't get it because it wasn't mature enough to offer anything better than what I could get at a managed services provider like Savvis/CenturyLink, or latisys (as examples).
What I saw last week has turned me on to what cloud delivers. Cloud computing, and the companies who embrace it, have gone from promising the world and delivering little, to actually looking at the architecture, looking at 'what if's' based on actual IT requirements, applying financial filters to the noise and coming up with a consumable offering.
One of the companies I met with - Piston Cloud - had a solid offering built on Open Stack. I knew their CEO Josh when he was at NASA and I was at CoreSite and we started a big ole sandbox for cloud companies (Eucalyptus, RightScale, etc) to tie into what NASA was doing as well as get their software optimized on hardware platforms. HP was the dominant hardware vendor at the time. Fast forward and I left CoreSite to found a data center company and Josh left NASA to take what he had done at NASA and mature it into a commercially viable cloud OS and start Piston Cloud.
Our meeting was the first time we had connected face to face in a couple of years and we picked up where we left off. There was some reminiscing and laughing at mistakes we had made along the way in getting to where we were and there was something else - an electricity that was palpable when we shifted the discussion to actually using cloud to deliver a real solution - not just 'we do cloud'.
I live in the pipes and boxes/buildings that cloud resources use to provide the elasticity and scalability native to a cloud environment. One of my pet peeves was always the lack of discussion around security, having played in the IDM/Access control space with some large companies a few years ago. The data center I bought bucked the trend in a number of ways and I always believed the cloud vendors would mature and come back to earth and look at not only their public/private/hybrid offering but where they put their environments in the first place. So the data center I bought was NOT in Northern Virginia with 50 other providers, but in Maryland - the other State with hardened bunkers for Government and Military personnel in the event there was a major 'Oh Shit' again. The facility also had a global bank as a tenant so I know the security and the validation of the security would be embedded in the design of the facility - and I was right.
So when Josh and I sat down to talk cloud - and security - Piston Cloud was at a different layer in the stack, but also focused on a hardened solution for the cloud - in their case a hardened OS. Long story short, our core beliefs were embedded in what we were doing - delivering the possibility and the option of a secure Cloud OS from a secure facility with the audit trails to prove it.
There is much more to be discussed but it was great to see another company founder develop a solution that was centered around their core beliefs - security in the cloud is a problem, so let's fix the problem and go to market. I will blog more as time and NDA's allow, but for organizations enamored with the cloud - welcome. And for those organizations really looking for a secure option, I think we may have something worth talking (and blogging) about.