A JOURNEY THROUGH THE CLOUD

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For two days, in 5 and 6 October, Bucharest was the European technology capital of the Cloud. We witnessed an impressive concentration of forces in which a large number of specialists around the world with a rich business card in development, evangelism and implementation of Cloud tech came to EuroCloud Forum to discuss business transformations induced by Cloud and related innovations.

Any participant in technical sessions from the EuroCloud Forum lived that unique sense of partaking in something fundamental. A simple enumeration of those who were the guides in the journey through the Cloud says it all. Technical specialists with decades of experience, evangelists, developers, contractors, have initiated us in the Cloud phenomenon. Large companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, SAP, Veeam, and Schneider Electric Teradata, writing daily Cloud history, they have revealed their visions and strategies. Service providers, independent developers and integrators of solutions based on established platforms such as Avanade, Console, DevSecCon Ltd., FABASOFT, Intelli-Factory, Ness Technologies, Revevol or Scale-Up Tech came to Bucharest to confirm the importance of developing and diversifying the Cloud services for any company, of any size, in any industry. Leading Romanian Cloud providers as Star Storage and Ymens shared their vision about the Cloud services role in the business transformation process and presented some interesting key studies.

Amazon started the journey through the Cloud in 2006. Today it is Cloud market leader and companies of every size are using AWS to innovate across different countries and industries. Danilo Poccia, AWS EMEA Evangelist show us how AWS could simplify deployment and management letting the client to really focus on creating value for his business.

Through the likes of Compute & Container Engine, App Engine, Cloud Storage and BigQuery, Google Cloud Platform is offering to his client’s access to the same state of the art high performance compute and network infrastructure that runs Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. In this talk at EuroCloud Forum, Robert Kubis – developer advocate for the Google Cloud Platform at Google UK explained how easy it is to use these services to harness the power of Google’s Infrastructure for large-scale and highly available applications.

Microsoft is one of the most suggestive examples about how a market leader company turned his engines to the Cloud, in his own digital transformation efforts. Radu Stefan, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft Romania presented which are the company strategies for Cloud development and how Azure platform could sustain the efforts to build a public Cloud for Europe.

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Dr Jens Amail, Senior Vice President Cloud Solutions and Strategic Customers MEE at SAP

SAP is another example of powerful Enterprise software provider which focused on Cloud solutions.  Dr Jens Amail, Senior Vice President Cloud Solutions and Strategic Customers MEE at SAP explained the company’s new development strategies based on Cloud services, and which are SAP proposal for digital transformation processes based on SAP Cloud platform.

In today’s digital world, we know that nothing less than 24.7.365 access to data and applications is acceptable, and enterprises embrace new technologies to deliver what their users demand. Laurent Garcia, EMEA Director Cloud & Service Providers at Veeam Software explained how Veeam has pioneered a new market of availability for the Always-On Enterprise, introducing the Veeam Availability Platform for the Hybrid Cloud. Demands for Cloud DR is on the rise and represent the number one opportunity for a Cloud & Service Provider to sell Cloud services. In a dedicated session, Veeam’s specialists demonstrated how to leverage the general data protection regulation (GDRP) for implementing business continuity, together with customer feedback on how they evaluate DRaaS providers.

But as more data streams into Cloud-based systems, the combination of data and computing resources gives the unprecedented opportunity to perform very sophisticated data analysis and to explore advanced machine learning methods such as deep learning. Clouds pack very large amount of computing and storage resources, which can be dynamically allocated to create powerful analytical environments. Natalino Busa, Head of Data Science at Teradata in Amsterdam, presented the most important advantages offered by analytics and how analytics in the cloud provides whole new ways for data analysts, data scientists and business developers.

In the today transforming world, more and more enterprises are preferring to focus on their core business, outsourcing their data centre in colocation to 3rd parties. Eduard Bodor, Solution Architect at NCEE Regional Application Center from Schneider Electric explained how  IT professionals could act now in different roles, more appropriate to their company current business model.

But business efficiency in the Cloud is depending not only on data centres’ infrastructure. The way clients are accessing the Cloud services is also critical. Connecting to Cloud services over the Internet open a lot of challenges, including but not limited to security, reliability, and throughput. John Hill, advocate and evangelist for next generation Cloud connectivity presented Console, a global next generation software defined network. The console is offering a secure and predictable connectivity between a data centre or customer premises and Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other SaaS ecosystem who offer Direct Connect access.

Despite the focus on innovative digital technologies, most companies still have a long way to go in their digital transformation journeys. Successful digital transformation comes not only from implementing new technologies but from transforming the existing organisation to take advantage of the possibilities that new technologies provide. Catalin Paunescu, CEO at Star Storage presented how the Cloud services provided by the Romanian company help top business around the world on their digital transformation journey to accelerate cost-efficiency and time to market by rethinking operations and processes.

From the beginning, Ymens was one of the first Romanian companies with a 100% Cloud-oriented activity. Razvan Savu, Cloud Strategy Officer at Ymens offered to EuroCloud Forum participants a practical approach to the Cloud, presenting very interesting real cases for Cloud project implementations, from private to hybrid, and to public Cloud, and from custom-developed SaaS to PaaS.

The demand for saving costs and increasing the productivity of companies causes a higher need for a mobile workforce and therefore for a secure and synchronised access to data and documents. Andreas Dangl, Managing Director at Fabasoft Cloud GmbH, a leading European cloud provider for B2B collaboration “Made in Europe” and the first EuroCloud Member with a  StarAudit 5 stars certification, explained how mobile force is increasing the shadow IT risks, demanding secure and controlled Cloud services.

The Cloud market demonstrated a demanding growth to hybrid Cloud solutions. Gavin Williams, VP Hybrid Cloud at Avanade from London proposed a journey to Hybrid Cloud, discussing what capabilities an enterprise would need to be able to use Hybrid cloud, how to align the business behind a journey to the cloud, and how to understand the implications and workload.

Despite the clear technology arguments, security is still one of the Cloud adoption issues. Francois Raynaud, the founder of DevSecCon has made a very critical assessment of the current security industry from a security professional. He presented some different DevSecOps ideas to support this approach with the aim to work effectively with the DevOps community.

Today Cloud is way more than just a buzzword and is making its way into European enterprises. Christoph Streit, co-founder of company ScaleUp discussed the benefits offered by Open Cloud Technologies like OpenStack. Using open source and open APIs are important factors for interoperability, collaboration and federation, especially in a European context.

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Peter Linhardt, the Health solution architect at Ness Technologies Slovakia

Google Analytics is one of the best tools to learn what keeps the users engaged and what should be improved to make the app more successful. Romain Vialard, Google Developer Expert at Revevol Paris made a very practical presentation, giving as example Yet Another Mail Merge, an add-on for Google Sheets.

Developing server and client-side code in the same language gives a tremendous boost to programmer productivity. Adam Granicz, CEO at IntelliFactory, a 6x F# MVP and the author of five F# books, key F# community member and evangelist, presented the fundamentals of writing full-stack web applications using WebSharper, a functional, reactive web framework, and introduced CloudSharper and other our upcoming new tools that enable online development, interactive data exploration, and deployment automation in a single cloud-based offering.

One of the most interesting presentation from EuroCloud Technical stage was related to Private national health Cloud system of Slovak Republic, being one of the first centralised eHealth solutions among European countries. Peter Linhardt, the Health solution architect at Ness Technologies Slovakia, explained how the National health information system (NHIS) Cloud of Slovakia stores the eHealth related registers and data, demographic and clinical EHR of Slovakia patients. Using Cloud solution more than 20 000 physicians and health professionals has access to the health informatics resources and how all 5.5M Slovakian citizens can access their personal health history and personal clinical health records. The NHIS cloud is operated by National centre of health informatics, which represents a structure of Slovak Republic Ministry of health.

The industry already talks about Cloud and Cloud 2.0. From all the Tech stage presentations in EuroCloud Forum 2016 we really understood the 3rd wave of Cloud computing is here to help us concentrate on what matters: “Building” instead of “Running”.

All images:   cloud☁mania

 

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About Radu Crahmaliuc
Independent IT&C analyst, digital transformation & Cloud computing evangelist, start-ups developer, freelancer, storyteller, events moderator & keynote speaker

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