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Observations from Cloud Connect

I've just returned from the Cloud Performance Summit at the 2012 Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara. It was a jammed packed day with a room full of obsessive web performance junkies. In other words, exactly my type of crowd and I was fortunate to be invited to share my own perspectives. The inevitable migration of applications and data to the cloud introduces new web performance bottlenecks that are driving a maniacal focus to overcome latency issues and help businesses turn milliseconds into money. What was exciting this year was the overwhelming realization that IT networking is increasingly becoming software driven, fueled by cloud, with a de-emphasis of the underlying hardware.  Everybody understands that the virtual machines within public and private clouds are controlled and accessed through software.

What people are now increasingly understanding is optimizing cloud performance is simply an evolution of the software with a constantly-evolving set of techniques and the ability to execute the code wherever the cloud infrastructure might reside. The software techniques underlying DNS Services, Application Delivery Networks, WAN Optimization, WAN Virtualization, Application Delivery Controllers and Front End Optimization - to name a few - were discussed at-length by my counterparts and their suitability and ease of use for cloud built applications. The hardware is increasingly becoming a portable environment for the software, even within the IT networking space where the server hugger is destined to be an extinct species.

The migration to cloud and pervasive connectivity with mobile devices are clearly driving new requirements and rapid innovation toward performance optimization. It has never been a more exciting time to for those obsessed with web performance. The work we are doing to integrate Riverbed Steelhead software for SaaS acceleration over hybrid networks and the recent acquisition of Blaze to help optimize browser think time for mobile connected devices is further evidence of how software is redefining what the network can and should be.

Neil Cohen is the VP of Product Marketing for Akamai