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Cloud Camp Toronto - Nothing but Upside

Toronto is growing a buzzing Cloud start-up sector

Sponsored by Enomaly, Windows Azure and Make Web Not War, Cloud Camp Toronto took place last night in the Metro Centre downtown.

Given Cloud Ventures is about enabling new Cloud Computing start-ups, what I loved about it was the overall emphasis of entrepreneurism. If you're a dot com veteran like me you'll be familiar with the First Tuesday events, and the atmosphere was more like a blend of one of these with a technical workshop, rather than a dry tech session only.

Certainly there was some great Cloud computing content. Barnaby Jeans is the local Microsoft Cloud expert, and gave a 'quick-fire' presentation of Microsoft Azure, within an overall context of explaining the Cloud field in general. It was really slick and could have easily been given a much longer slot, clearly delineating who does what in the various modes of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, and where/how Microsoft fits in each.

As an 'unconference' other members of the audience were given an equal opportunity to present themselves, which included an overview of how Telus is deploying their Cloud platform from their representative from the Toronto Product Management Association, the technology evangelist from IBM explained how they're working with Amazon and Rightscale to provide their software via new innovative models, and home-grown Cloud provider Canadian Cloud introduced the USP of their local presence.

Illustrating the opportunity for entrepreneurs, as well as covering their products Justin Groen of Enomaly quantified the size of the market being addressed, citing the analyst projections such as Merrill Lynch reporting a total landscape of $160 billion (for absolutely everything that could be loosely gathered under the Cloud umbrella), and then how this breaks down into more specific product segments, like IDC saying IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) will grow from $22 to $55 billion by 2014.

Open Data shines through

In the panel discussion key points captured what's really important about Cloud computing, with the entrepreneurial perspective gathering the most interest.

This was especially conveyed when summarizing how when high profile VC Fred Wilson recently visited Canada he summed it up by saying that basically Cloud Computing lowers the barrier to entry for entrepeneurism in general.

Two guys in their bedroom can now create an application and by running it on Cloud can launch it for next to nothing, gathering real customers and real results before beginning to incur any kind of substantial costs.

This part was concluded by saying that Cloud therefore offers 'nothing but upside'.

A key topic within this entrepreneurial buzz was 'Open Data'. As highlighted in a previous blog this field is indeed equally cutting edge, the two go hand in hand as essentially Cloud represents a fundamental shift in the infrastructure layer of IT service delivery, and Open Data will change how the software that it runs will change equally dramatically.

Building on this the panel and audience dove into how these will surface in key areas like smart phones and electronic patient records, each massive growth markets in consumer and enterprise markets.

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