The Red Hat Summit 2012 kicked off with an evening keynote by Jim Whitehurst explaining the changes in business value over time from the raw materials to the industry that profited from standardization.
He made some excellent points and summaries about what cloud is and isn’t. The root of his keynote was around what cloud can do for companies and not so much about what cloud really is. His key point was that the value didn’t reside in the nuts and bolts that hold a cloud together. The innovation that can be driven by the cloud itself is where the real value is. Don’t think about the guts of what makes it work — think about what you can build on top of it. Think about cost savings, ease of provisioning, and flexibility. There were lots of comparisons to the standardization of machinery components (thanks to the lathe) and how we wouldn’t have as much of the innovation we have today without open standards in technology.
Jim was followed by a SVP from IBM who had an interesting (albeit quite dry and PowerPoint-heavy) presentation about the mobile workforce and how contributions to open source efforts are driving a lot of the innovation today (think Hadoop and OpenStack). He talked about the data generated and consumed by mobile devices and how that data is changing our business values. Technology is no longer a burden but instead a critical tool for putting a company ahead of its competitors.
We stopped in at a bar after the keynotes and chatted with some locals about Boston and what makes it unique. I think we can safely say we’re addicted to the local beers here in town and it’s not going to be easy to leave at the week’s end.
If you’re interested in photos from the keynotes, I took a few and uploaded them to my Flickr photostream.