January 20-22, 2012, Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel

Cloud Computing for Small Business

Thomas Stocking


We will start off talking about the past, or legacy forms of shared computing: Bulletin Boards, shared hosting, and the hosting you get from domain registrars. We will look at the current hype of Cloud computing (still in full swing) and what it means for enterprises. We will briefly cover the education problem, and how everyone explains cloud computing a little differently. Exactly what is the cloud? It depends on who you talk to (and what they are selling). From there we will go on to discuss what open source software like Linux does to the economics of cloud computing, and why this is good, and what the wise adoption of cloud computing does to the data sharing model, and why this is bad (if not really new). The bottom line? If you accept some risk, open source can be an enabler to low-cost, easy to use, cloud-based compute resources. On to small business use cases like e-commerce. Is shared hosting enough? Do you need an app to deliver your product? What about a database? Cloud computing is better than shared, and cheaper than dedicated hosting. Do you run a software company? What about an open source project? Combining private Cloud computing like VMware's ESXi with cheap public cloud, pay-as-you-go hosting can address your needs for dev and test servers, and, if you decide to offer product training, you can give your attendees a cloud instance to run with. Another cloud altogether is the SaaS offering, and some of the bigger SaaS offerings like Salesforce are cost-effective at small numbers of users (or even free). This can help you get off the ground as a little guy, but beware the lock-in that comes with these solutions. It's really expensive to have a dozen or more accounts, so if your small business is headed for medium size, consider another path. Finally we will talk about what the future holds: the coming blood bath of contenders for the enterprise market, and how low-priced, targeted hosting companies can service the underserved, using Linux and open source. In Q&A, we want to hear your stories: did/do you use the cloud in your small business? How is it working out? Do you have a horror story or a shining example to show us? What do you think about the current crop of cloud offerings? Any cloud APIs you really like or hate? What do you think about the price charged by Amazon? Anyone have a favorite (or least favorite) vendor to tell the group about?

Presentation Slides: