The event was set in the Eight Club at Bank, Change Alley. This 21Club brought together thought leaders from different industries to consider the question: "Is now the time to bet on cloud?" Through panel discussions and lightening talks, leading technology minds looked at Cloud and Grid services, analysing market opportunities for both, whilst also considering the commodity nature of cloud, cloud monitoring and cloud orchestration.

Adam Vile introduced the conversation, he suggested that the question “should we use cloud?”, was now moot, and that earlier challenges are being steadily overcome so that the question is more: “when and how will we use cloud?”. Tom O’Rourke (DynamicOps) talked about how the complexity of today’s IT environment was widening the gap between timely business needs and the ability for IT to deliver.  Cloud, and in Automation, a key feature of cloud environments must be developed and deployed to overcome this issue. Dr Michael Newberry (Microsoft) focused on a few examples of companies leveraging public cloud to start up activities in a very short period of time, this value being progressively leveraged by larger “brick and mortar” companies. Simon Waterer (Plaform Computing, an IBM company) focused on the increasing complexity in managing grid computing environments where various types of resources (dedicated, private cloud, public cloud, workstations…) and potentially various grid middlewares had to coexist while still making sure that increasingly tighter SLAs were still met. 

The conversations that followed focused on the impact of Cloud on the role of IT. One key topic was around the question: Will traditional internal IT progressively disappear to lead a model where the business would buy capacity directly from a set of approved cloud providers? The panel and the participants agreed that, even if this extreme model was unlikely, the role of IT would definitely change in the coming years.  Low-level tasks “close to the tin” would probably be taken over by cloud providers, while IT would progressively focus on higher value tasks, becoming a true partner for the business and making sure its SLAs are met through the combined use of public, private and on-premise resources, potentially from many providers.Because cost models will progressively shift to true pay-per-use, it will progressively become easier to map the IT cost of a business activity and hence compare it to the actual business value – accountability will become stronger and this is where IT will have to start acting as a true partner recommending different solutions and approaches based on the actual requirements and the value to the organisation.In conclusion, good relationships and contacts were forged, key ideas were exchanged around the impact of Cloud on IT and once again it was the opportunity to get the views of actors from the e-gaming, finance and insurance sectors.For more information on Excelian's 21Club please contact  here.