On August 9, the lights came up on a new era of cloud computing. The location was theCUBE’s Palo Alto studios, and the occasion was the Supercloud 22 event, where theCUBE industry analysts John Furrier and Dave Vellante moderated an energetic debate as cloud computing experts and thought leaders discussed a trend that has grabbed the attention of the industry.
“It’s very clear that the ecosystem and the community believe that there’s something new brewing beyond IaaS, beyond PaaS and beyond traditional SaaS. And we chose to call it supercloud,” Vellante said.
Why is supercloud creating such interest? Because the idea of being able to connect across clouds and operate in a hybrid, multicloud environment makes life easier for both end users and developers. But how is supercloud defined? What is its technological composition? And should it be called supercloud, or something less “buzzy”?
While Supercloud 22 brought the answers to these questions, the event also uncovered more nuances for future discussions as the groundswell of interest in supercloud continues to grow.
In case you missed theCUBE’s live broadcast of Supercloud 22, here are our top three takeaways from the event:
1) There’s more than one way to build a supercloud.
“We confirmed today that supercloud is a thing,” Vellante stated in the closing session of the event. What ignited debate amongst the conference speakers was not if, but how supercloud will be built.
“Someone needs to build that architecture to say: ‘We’re going to treat all of this as compute so you can run your workloads in the best place possible,’ and then provide that as a layer. I think that’s really where supercloud is going,” said cloud computing thought leader Lori MacVittie of F5, during the “Super Clouderati Influencer Panel.”
Providing divergent answers to how that architecture should look were Ali Ghodsi, co-founder and chief executive officer of Databricks Inc., and Benoit Dageville, co-founder and president of products at Snowflake Inc. In separate sessions, the leaders laid out their visions for the future of cloud computing.
Snowflake is building out its proprietary Data Cloud as an overlay across various hyperscaler clouds, a move that makes it a candidate for supercloud status.
“We are building our regions, but where it’s very different is that each region of Snowflake is not one instantiation of our service. Our service is global by nature. We can move data from one region to the other,” Dageville stated during his session.
Databricks is attempting to accomplish the same goal through open-source standardization. The company sponsors the Data Lakehouse project, which is harnessing the innovative power of the open-source community to create Delta Sharing. The solution enables organizations to securely share data across cloud platforms, making it a contender for supercloud status.
“We’re big believers in this data lakehouse concept, which is an open standard to simplifying the data stack and help people to just get value out of their data in any environment,” Ghodsi said.
Alongside the open vs. proprietary debate, there are many other variables at play in the supercloud creation equation.
“Rarely do I see two customers that want exactly the same types of consistency,” VMware Inc. Chief Technology Officer Kit Colbert (pictured, right) said in his keynote during the event.
VMware (which refers to supercloud as “multicloud services”) recently published a white paper in which it laid out a framework on which these differing consistency requirements can be met. The company foresaw supercloud coming, according to Vittorio Viarengo, vice president of Cross-Cloud services for VMware.
“Over the last five years, we built [a] very comprehensive portfolio that unified how you build, you run, manage, secure and access any application across any cloud. No hypervisors are required,” he said during his Supercloud 22 keynote speech, “The Future of Cloud has Arrived.”
A purpose-built super platform-as-a-service is one of the five key elements of supercloud, according to Vellante. He presented his takeaways from the event in his Breaking Analysis column, describing the super-PaaS as “built to support applications and services spanning more than one cloud service provider such that they appear as a single system — created using programming languages, libraries, services and tools supported by the provider.”
Here’s Kit Colbert’s complete Supercloud 22 keynote, “Multicloud Roadmap, the Gateway to Supercloud”:
2) Security is the hardest job in supercloud.
Delineating the technical foundations of supercloud is hard, but building a security framework that can keep data safe across multiple cloud platforms and on-premises data centers is another level of challenge altogether. Security was probably touched on in every session during the Supercloud 22 event, but one session was dedicated to “Securing the Supercloud.”
As the state of cloud security stands, each cloud provider has developed security models customized to their environment, and organizations have internal security frameworks for on-premises data centers and edge. Consequently, there is no easy way to integrate standards across clouds, according to Gee Rittenhouse, CEO of Skyhigh Security (Musarubra US LLC), who was part of the security panel.
Trying to combat the constant barrage of cybercrime is made harder by the fact that shift-left policies have put developers in charge, with security expected to monitor and respond to threats rather than being able to proactively evade them.
“Security has the most difficult job in the cloud, especially supercloud … [they] are managing something or securing something that they can’t govern,” said Piyush Sharrma, founder and chief executive officer of Accurics, acquired by Tenable Inc., during the session.
Another problem is that attacking superclouds will appeal to super hackers who have followed the industry’s example and shifted their operations to the left, according to Sharrma.
“They have started attacking your source code, impersonating the codes, replacing the binary, finding what limit is there,” he said.
The only solution is a collaborative one, according to the panelists.
“What we need is a mindset where these big [cloud] guys … collaborate with the ecosystem around a set of standards so that they can bring their differentiation and then embrace everybody together,” said Tony Kueh during the session.
Watch the “Securing the Supercloud” session in full below:
3) Developers are directing the future of cloud.
“The key is developers,” said In Sik Rhee, general partner at Vertex Ventures, in a session on “Architecting SaaS Superclouds. “Developers decide all decisions, not database on administrators, not security engineers, not admins. So, where are developers going next?”
As an investor, Rhee sees an opportunity to solve the frustrations of overworked developers struggling with Kubernetes complexity as an investment opportunity. And what developers want is “SaaS delivered on demand and pay-as-you-go,” he explained.
Listening to developer demands, Intuit CTO Marianna Tessel invested in building a “best-in-the-world development environment.” The resources spent on this modern, easy-to-use environment where critical and complex tasks such as data security are built-in has paid off, according to Tessel, who told the panel that Intuit has seen a six-fold increase in developer productivity. That the “Dev” in DevOps is the controlling half of the relationship came up in several sessions during the event.
“What I learned was it’s not ops teams leveling up; it’s devs redefining what ops is,” Furrier said in the closing session of the event.
But while developers may drive the adoption of supercloud, their time as decision-makers is limited, according to MacVittie.
“I think the next 10 years are going to be focused on operations, because once you start scaling out, it’s not about developers,” she said during the “Super Clouderati Influencer Panel.”
Here’s the complete video interview with Rhee and Tessel:
And watch MacVittie, Adrian Cockcroft, and Christofer Hoff in the “Clouderati Influencer Panel” here:
Stay tuned to watch a complete playlist of theCUBE’s coverage of Supercloud 22 … coming soon.
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