Cloud Leaders Share Best Practices at CloudHealth Connect San Francisco

by Melodye Mueller

Last week leaders from companies running the largest and most complex public cloud infrastructure in the world gathered at the second CloudHealth Connect forum in San Francisco. Ariel Tseitlin, Partner, Scale Venture Partners and Dan Phillips, CEO and Co-founder, CloudHealth Technologies lead the conversation, which was extremely technical and lively, covering topics ranging from:

  • Cloud Management across multi-cloud and hybrid infrastructure, with an eye towards key criteria in the decision-making process,
  • IaaS vs. PaaS, from a product and utilization perspective, and whether organizations were leveraging PaaS,
  • And finally, what the landscape looks like for security.

Here’s a quick recap from the evening.

To Cloud or Multi-Cloud? That Is The Question.

The evening kicked-off with a discussion about cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid infrastructure, applications and services. The majority of the organizations participating were leveraging one public cloud, AWS, with only a few stating that they had intentions of implementing a multi-public-cloud strategy.

Performance, reliability, and cost were among the main drivers for those considering multi-cloud strategies. In the wake of the recent AWS S3 outage, some stated they had concerns with “putting all their eggs in one basket,” and that it had more to do with a “business model” adopted at a corporate level.

Ariel commented:

“There are several things to consider. What is the actual downtime? What is that downtime costing you? At Netflix, we aimed for 99.5% availability and AWS was able to provide that. Most of our outages were self-inflicted. To me, multi-cloud is more about pricing negotiation.”

Interestingly, the majority of participants felt as though a multi-cloud strategy introduced unnecessary complexity. Comments ranged from, “It sounds like a nightmare,” to “It dramatically increases the possibility of bringing down your own cloud,” to, “It makes your ops more complex because you need a team of multi-cloud experts.” Many agreed that they would rather build redundancy in one cloud versus two.

IaaS vs PaaS - Is it still relevant?

The conversation continued with a discussion on IaaS vs PaaS. The most notable exchange was when most participants agreed that the lines have been blurred between IaaS and PaaS. However, PaaS requires you shift more responsibility, and trust, to your cloud provider. A discussion followed as to whether running containers can be like running your own PaaS, that you customize for your own specific use cases. Opinions on the long-term viability of containers were somewhat mixed: one participant commented that they were solving “yesterday’s problem with tomorrow's technology.” Lastly, the conversation on IaaS vs PaaS concluded with functions-as-a-service, or serverless technologies. Most believe that AWS had leapfrogged PaaS with the introduction of server-less functions.

Security in the cloud- Has anything really changed?

The group finished the evening with a discussion focused on security. The primary concern for most was ensuring user access controls and intrusion defenses were put in place. One attendee noted that a critical report he views daily is a log of CloudTrail denies, so he knows immediately whether someone is trying to hack his environment, or if someone has misconfigured the application.

The tools in place varied widely. Trend Micro, Alert Logic, Sumo Logic, and AlienVault were all discussed in context of specific use cases. However, most people agreed that it requires a combination of tools to adequately cover security concerns.

When asked if there was a difference between security on-premises versus in the cloud, CloudHealth Connect participants agreed that the major difference is that one cannot secure the network in the cloud. Beyond that, regardless of location, security needs to be architected from the ground up to be successful.

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CloudHealth Connect events take place in multiple cities throughout the year. To find out when we’ll be in your area or suggest a topic for discussion, join our CloudHealth Connect LinkedIn group

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