Cloud Computing was the driving theme behind Microsoft Malta’s Innovation Day event, a one-day forum held on earlier this month at the Hilton Malta.Cloud Computing was the driving theme behind Microsoft Malta’s Innovation Day event, a one-day forum held on earlier this month at the Hilton Malta.
The event, themed “Be What’s Next… With Cloud Power” was attended by IT leaders, executives and academics. Its main aim was to create more familiarity around the concept of cloud computing and some of its major aspects such as academic, business and technological feature. The event not only showcased how local companies are innovating in the cloud but also provided an opportunity to learn about the latest cloud technologies from Microsoft and how these can be put into use by businesses, customers, inside the classroom and at home.
In her opening address, Adrianna Zammit, Country Manager for Microsoft Malta said, “Though the concept of cloud computing has been around for years, it is still an emerging technology. Cloud computing is a way of saying that in the future many of IT needs such as computing power and storage will be provided as a service on an ‘on demand’ basis. This form of technology is shaping a lot of how businesses, economies, institutions and governments operate and will be operating in the near future, therefore there is no better opportunity than this conference to address our position on this topic that is very much the main subject also in our local IT community.”
“Cloud computing presents exceptional opportunities to our country,” added Ms Zammit. “In 2009, economies worldwide were hit with a recession. The silver lining in all this is that we were forced to take a fresh look at things and ask ourselves – how do we save IT costs? How can we deploy and rapidly take advantage of new innovation? How do we enable our companies to be more mobile and enhance collaboration (for example having access to important information from any device, anywhere, anytime). On our precious island where space is limited, how do we reduce our geometric and infrastructure footprint? Cloud computing addresses all of these concerns.”
Ms Zammit also referred to the second topic of discussion, which is Microsoft’s position on openness and interoperability. “It may be true that we aren’t well known for openness and that our business model leads many to believe that we only support proprietary software. However, many do not know that Microsoft is investing a lot in openness, a value that we are prioritising as a company. Many do not know that more than 350,000 open source applications run on Microsoft platforms; that is, 82 per cent of open source applications. Microsoft is also releasing protocol documentation for our high volume products like Windows and Office – far more than anyone required – in order to help developers innovate and succeed. We are also formal members of more than 150 standards groups, and participating actively in more than 350 working groups. You may have seen how in Office 2010 we have enabled documents in Word to be saved in OpenXML or ODF formats. Maybe you have heard that we contributed code to the Linux kernel, and that we are helping our customers to virtualise diverse data centres.”
“The relationship between software companies, like Microsoft, and open source communities has evolved significantly over the years with a clear purpose in mind – to solve our customers’ technology challenges. Many companies today, if not all, have diverse and complex needs that no single IT company can address. These companies need the IT industry’s support to succeed in managing and deriving value from today’s heterogeneous IT environments. It is up to us as technology providers to build the bridges that enable our customers to meet their goals in a seamless way,” added Ms Zammit.
In his keynote address, Jan Muhlfeit, chairman of Microsoft Europe, tackled the subject of Cloud Innovation. He said: “Exponential growth is changing everything. This is the first time in history when the young generation is using technology much better than the present generation. Cloud computing will attract this young generation and, once this happens, the economy will change. In five years from now, we envisage that 80 per cent of jobs will require a form of e-skill. Those countries that will invest the most in innovation and design will be the most successful. Global connectivity for the first time in history means that we will start competing for jobs globally.”
Mr Muhlfeit added, “Jobs, investment and productivity are the main drivers of any economy and cloud computing fits in this solution because it provides ICT resources as a service in a dynamic and scalable manner over a network. The ‘cloud’ can create jobs through the technology enablement of SMEs promoting a global IT market. By now, it is a known fact that technology spreads economical development, which increases productivity. This is why cloud computing has today become a top priority, a priority which Microsoft has been looking into for the past 15 years.”
The third leading address was delivered by Karl Davies-Barrett, Developer & Platform Technical Lead, Microsoft CEE with his address The Cloud is everywhere, Where’s Mine? In his address, Mr Davies-Barrett spoke about how companies are gradually seeing their operations moving to the cloud and how cloud technology can be utilised to maximise efficiency and effectiveness by freeing resources that can be used better and more efficiently. “IT is merely a service and the cloud gives this dimension to IT where everyone will be using the resources according to his personal requirements. This explains cloud computing which sees its basis in infrastructure as a service, product as a service, software as a service and platform as a service. Virtualisation is a key factor that allows a move to the cloud which requires integration, privacy, security and legislation procedures to be respected. Microsoft is one global organisation that has invested a lot in cloud computing. Suffice to say that 77 per cent of its people are already using the cloud,” added Mr Davies-Barrett.
Gege Gatt, Director Strategy & Business Development at ICON addressed the topic The rise of Web 2.0 and the Cloud, while Matthew Gatt, CEO at Malta Information Technology Agency addressed the topic Cloud in the Public Sector.
Other speakers included Svenia Haake Solution Specialist for Higher Education, Microsoft CEE about the topic What Cloud Computing can do for Education, Wim Dierickx, Information Worker Lead, Microsoft CEE on the topic Increase Productivity and Improve Communications through Cloud Power, Luka Debeljak, Windows Azure Lead, Microsoft CEE about Data in the Cloud and Valentinos Georgiades, Developer & Platform Evangelist, Microsoft Malta & Cyprus, who spoke about Building, Deploying, and Managing Windows Azure Applications.