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Hear from Richard Magalad, Committee member of the ACS Victoria Cloud Computing SIG

Thursday, 16 Jun 2016

Richard Magalad
“Let’s agree to disagree”, John Wesley 1770

It’s ironic that my role in the ecosystem of Cloud Computing was challenged during an ACS Cloud Computing SIG event in 2014.  Some of the attendees inferred that ‘cloud brokers’ had questionable integrity, which led to robust discussions between myself from private industry, and some of the IT veterans from universities and public service.  Amazingly, both sides corrected each other’s misconceptions that day.

Six-months later, it was even more surprising to be asked to apply and join the committee for the SIG.  Jumping head-first to take the plunge forced me to update my resume which hasn’t been touched since I started my IT networking business in the mid-90s.

“History never repeats” Split Enz song released 1981
Cloud as I knew it years ago was simply called ‘mainframe’ computers.  Compute and storage resources were provided from nondescript buildings that were bomb-proof, guarded by gun-toting sentries and a back-up diesel generator to boot.  We could access all this computing power via dumb-terminals within our private network running at a lighting-speed of 16Kbps.  My iPhone uses around 12,760 Kbps nowadays.

Fast forward to 2016 and these infrastructures logical design remains similar. However, the Cloud is at our finger tips either for free or for a small credit fee on your mobile phone.  It has significantly permeated our lives and that influence is reflected by the interest in our Victorian branch SIG.  Early 2015 averaged 30 people per event and now our yoyo number of attendees is 90 to 100+.

Cloud Computing SIG (circa 2016)
Pre-2015 SIG events had great keynote speakers from state and federal government, universities and think-tanks.  So it was our turn to bring-in the cloud enterprise experts starting with Japanese giant NTT Communications and Hewlett Packard.

Switching gears to cloud providers enabled us to host the first combined event with Information Security SIG.  This meant keynotes by two speakers from Amazon Web Services (AWS) proved so popular that half the attendees in the room stayed back a lot longer, and we were left wondering when the building security would give us the gentle nudge to leave!

I’ve worked on many projects using AWS servers and it never crossed my mind to wonder how their Cloud was delivered to the market.  So it was fascinating to learn from the keynote that their massive infrastructure is within North & South America, EU, Japan, SE Asia and recently Sydney and Melbourne, or how they comply so many security standards that even the CIA was happy to use their technology.

Even for IT veterans like me, there’s always something new to learn from our Cloud Computing SIG!

Written by Richard Magalad
Committee member, ACS Victoria Cloud Computing SIG