We’ve given some impressions of IEEE Cloud over the last couple of days. The final day definitely had less energy with some no-shows for presentations and the audiences being generally small – getting to/from Alaska is not so easy so I guess some folks are already on their way home.

That said, there were a few interesting talks today. One talk from guys who are just down the road from us was given by Luca Gherandi from ETH on a PaaS platform dedicated to robotics applications called Rapyuta. This came out of an FP7 project and includes capabilities such as computer vision, mapping, motor control etc and addresses the split between capabilities on device and in-cloud. He focused on a particular approach to make it easier to configure.

Another talk by Byung Chul Tak arising from an IBM/facebook collaboration described some work they have done to facilitate easier migration of applications to the cloud. The problem they focus on relates to basic IP address issues – noting that it’s often problematic to simply change the IP addresses of the hosts that are running a complex application. In their AppCloak system, they make changes to system libraries to intercept any network calls and substitute the new (cloud) IP address with the old IP address. A nice trick, but it does look like an ugly patch which of course will lead to an even greater fragmentation in address space and overall complexity if it does see any widespread use.

Another interesting talk involving a Purdue/VMWare collaboration focused on understanding VM requirements in detail through log analysis. Specifically, they wanted to understand memory consumption of an application running in a VM through the rich set of log data generated within VMWare in order to predict how much memory a new instance would require. The managed to identify the most critical parameters which influence this and developed good predictors of memory consumption.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the conference. While the conference was generally too long and surprisingly there seemed to be no social media dialogue around it, there were some interesting folks saying interesting things. From our reporting, it’s obvious that we found some of the industry talks a bit more interesting, but perhaps that’s our bias; also, it probably does not make it clear that the level of industrial engagement was generally not so high with a notable absence of the big players in this space.

Big Data was certainly a prevalent theme throughout the conference, with a lot of the talks and sessions focused on Map Reduce and large data management problems. For a cloud conference, there seemed to be very little talk of SDN and even technologies such as Openstack hardly featured. Generally, there was a strong bias towards the classical world of academic publishing and the science perspective rather than engineering; it was interesting to see that there was a big data hackathon and that they are quite open to the introduction of new types of sessions next year.

Would we go again next year? Alaska is a very long way from home – I’m not sure that it makes so much sense to go so far for a few days of conference attendance, but certainly east coast US could make sense and depending on how it’s organized, it could be an attractive proposition.