As I mentioned, last week had a very robust spate of cloud computing and infrastructure related conferences. All three of the conferences were new and I thought I would quickly recap and review them for folks who wanted to consider attending them next year. The three events can be summarized as follows:

  • Velocity Conference:

    • Audience: web operations technologists

    • Duration: 2 days of relatively deep dive technology sessions

    • Value: high for operations and scalable infrastructure folks

    • Interactivity: lots of good hallway conversations and opportunities to compare notes

  • CloudCamp:

    • Audience: cloud computing services vendors, consumers, and investors

    • Duration: an evening

    • Value: very high for cloud vendors and consumers, high for investors

    • Interactivity: exceptionally high as it’s an unconference format; lots of small group sessions

  • Structure ‘08:

    • Audience: business leaders in infrastructure and cloud computing

    • Duration: one day

    • Value: medium to high for business leaders, low for vendors and consumers

    • Interactivity: very poor; mostly a ‘push’ format; little to no hallway conversations; traditional media or blogger dominated; no twitter or grassroots blogger backchannels

Some impressions follow.

Velocity Conference Velocity was really a technology and operations focused event, which had a very strong presence of folks actually running large scale web infrastructure. There was also a specific focus on not only running this infrastructure, but measuring it’s performance and scalability. Several presentations were either on cloud computing (EUCALYPTUS), using EC2, or on automation in general.

All of the presentations can be found here.

CloudCamp CloudCamp is an unconference style event that appears to be gaining a lot of momentum. It was largely attended by folks with a specific interest in cloud computing and was extremely ‘frothy’, to steal an adjective from Luke Kanies. In other words, there was a high level of interaction between participants. This was due to a combination of the unconference format and the particular topic. Cloud computing is clearly ‘hot’ and a lot of different stakeholders were trying to get a better handle on what it is, how it works, and the direction it will evolve.

Structure ‘08 GigaOm’s team put together this infrastructure and cloud computing conference. Although it wasn’t specific to cloud computing, there was a lot of discussion of cloud computing and it was featured front and center. There were a number of interesting panels and discussions, but it was definitely business executive focused and more ‘push’ than interactive. Low froth level you might say. It was still worthwhile though and, in particular, I thought Greg Papadopolous’ presentation had some fairly interesting information.

One huge negative is that none of the presentations or panels are online at all yet, which I find disappointing. Given the level of savvy of the GigaOM team it’s a little surprising how this event came off. It seemed deliberately targeted at business folks without thought of other audiences. I don’t see any reason some other stakeholders couldn’t have been considered.

Summary Personally, I found all three events of value, but that’s because I wear all three hats: technologist, cloud vendor, and business exec. If you get a chance, hit the next CloudCamp and next year I recommend Velocity if you lean towards the tech side, Structure for the business folks, and both if you straddle the two worlds.

UPDATE: Please see comments for a pointer from Sam Charrington to video from structure ‘08. As he mentions it would still be nice if we could get the presentation material standalone. I particularly want to reference some of Greg P’s presentation.