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Christmas For The Cloud Comes In June

Christmas For the Cloud Comes in June

Break out your naughty-or-nice list! Bake those cookies, and pour a complementary glass of milk. Structure 2012, one of the most important gatherings of the year, nigh on holiday, for true cloud cognoscenti. And once you arrive at the event in San Francisco, being held this year from June 20-21, don’t be surprised if your eyes catch passing glances of DropBox elves or iCloud Kris Kringles.

For the fifth year, the Structure cloud conference has been produced by GigaOM, the online news network heralded for its coverage of emergent technologies and the shifting sands of contemporary media. The world’s leading cloud organizations regularly send fleets’ worth of representatives each year, including Netflix, Intel, Microsoft, and Box. Sponsoring the event are some of the most significant companies of any industry, such as Dell, Cisco, and IBM.

Two more words you might have for me: who cares? No one of any great importance, obviously. Only Satya Nadella, the president of Servers and Tools Business at Microsoft, responsible for Windows Azure and “Microsoft’s enterprise transformation into the cloud.” Derek Collison might indicate some interest as well; he was just the CTO and Chief Architect of the Cloud Division at VMWare. Oh yes, I don’t want to leave out Debra Chrapathy, who may just make an appearance at the conference. She’s only the Chief Information Officer for Zynga. But Structure’s no big whoop. Clearly.

So perhaps I’ve succeeded in persuading you that some fairly important people care about Structure. A rundown of the some of the schedule sessions to be held this year might further pique your interest. “New Foundations: Building a SaaS On Top of Paas” will consider the worthy question: “Has anyone built a big company on PaaS? Can it be done?”

Learn about what Microsoft is “thinking about big data relative to its cloud offerings” in a session led by Mr. Nadella. This year’s Structure will also host LaunchPad, which uplifts some of the leading cloud computing startups. Finalists of the event will enjoy a Startup Bootcamp to groom them for long-term cloud excellence. Not bad for just a couple of days in San Francisco.

True, with a registration cost of $1500, the majority of people interested will be priced out from the conference. But although attendance at Structure may not be possible this year, keeping the conference on your radar is a shrewd move. Monitoring the experts involved is a surefire way to gauge who’s who in cloud, and to foreshadow the movers and shakers in cloud computing that are sure to make news throughout the year. Even the seminar breakdowns provide fodder to challenge your understanding of cloud and can be an impetus to your own research on topics relevant to Structure 2012, like Node.js, Zynga’s infrastructure, and IBM Watson.

Bottom line: If I’ve riled you up about Structure, either in excitement of its existence or annoyance with its four-figure entry fee, it’s time to pat yourself on the back. Congratulations: you’re already an unwitting yet in-the-know cloud insider. You’ll attend structure this year, alright — in philosophy and in spirit.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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