Archive for January, 2010

Exploring the in-between

January 28, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Yesterday provided an interesting cross-section of the spectrum of technology. On one side, you had Apple’s launch of the iPad. On the other side, you had Oracle’s press conference detailing the setting of Sun. It occurred to me this morning, as I poured over endlessly similar pieces about both events, that the two ends really highlight a huge ecosystem around “the cloud.”

On the Apple side, we’re clearly moving into the era of internet devices (smart phones, netbooks, iPads). Where the primary defining characteristic are apps that are accessing information stored in the cloud. It almost seems trivial at this point, but in the larger sweep of history, I don’t think it’s trivial at all. For all of my “forward looking” conference stuff, I still (out of force of habit) open up a desktop based spreadsheet and save it locally, versus using Google docs. The shift to the cloud has already occurred for every consumer under the age of 30. The rest of us are the “tweeners” that are just running to catch up.

On the Oracle side, you have a company that perfectly encapsulates a saying my friend and business partner Phil Becker has (I’m paraphrasing) – “all of the real money in enterprise software gets made selling databases.” Oracle announced yesterday that they have “no intention” of operating public clouds for enterprises. They are, however, deeply interested in selling the databases and middleware that will be needed to run those clouds. Of course.

So we have the consumer-facing move to cloud devices on the one hand, and the enterprise software company that will sell “picks and shovels” to cloud companies all day long.

As is usually the case, the “in-between” is where things get interesting.

At the end of the day, EVERYTHING in software is about applications. You can have the greatest infrastructure in the world, but without 7 gajillion people using the email application, it’s all for nothing. And so it will be with “the cloud.” The interesting debate, the interesting hack, the place will developers will migrate to isn’t the “public/private/hybrid cloud” question, nor is it the “economic benefits of the cloud and CAPEX” question.

Value in this chain migrates to the in-between between the apps themselves. Security, identity, scalability, high availability, interoperability, open data (data portability), non-relational database models, APIs, RESTful protocols and standards — THESE are the places that value (interest) migrates to; between the apps running on the iPad and the behemoth software company selling databases is an ecosystem. And everything in that ecosystem is connected — or will be; or should be. That “connection” is the tough piece. The piece that will take us years to get right. The piece that Gluecon is really focused on.

It’s early in this game. And we’re early into planning for Glue. But just because we’re early doesn’t mean there’s not already meat on these bones.

Early confirmed speakers include:

Michael Barrett, CISO, PayPal — talking security in the cloud

Chris Hoff, Director of Cloud Solutions, Cisco — on “Cloudifornication”

Doug Crockford, creator JSON — on Gluing apps together in the cloud

Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter — on the state/nature of things.

A bunch of NoSQL folks talking Riak, Cassandra, MongoDB, CouchDB, Neo4j

Identity folks talking SAML, OpenID, User Managed Access, Federated Provisioning and OAuth/WRAP

Sessions on integration, open data, Facebook’s openness, building APIs, activity protocols, HTML5 websockets, mobility in the cloud, and on and on.

And while I’m at it, I should round-up our early sponsors: Boomi, Gnip, Rackspace, Ping Identity, Alcatel-Lucent, enStratus, 10gen, Gist, Cloudbook, the Cloud Security Alliance, Programmable Web, and the Kantara Initiative.

And I’m just getting started.

I hope you’ll join us as we explore the in-between at Gluecon.

An early, early, early draft

January 22, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Here we go. An early, early, early first draft of an agenda. It comes with all of the normal caveats: topics can change, I’ve got people in the wrong format (in some cases), things are all screwy and subject to change — but, at the very least, it’ll start to give you a general idea of where this is headed. More importantly, it’ll give everyone an opportunity to tell me where I’m going wrong, and what needs to be added, deleted, accentuated, etc. Please do so (either via comments or enorlin AT

A couple of notes:

1. You’ll see “ingredient for a peer discussion” on morning 1. This is an attempt to do some seeding of the open space that immediately follows. Not that it will preclude other topics being talked about – just suggestions.

2. In the breakouts, you’ll see three tracks – strategic/business, technical 1 and technical 2. I’m probably gonna drop the “business” tag from the strategic track, because the early feedback I’m getting is that the “strategic” track really is that – “strategic” (in a technical, architectural and business sense).

3. You’ll also see some breakouts that have the 10 minute “point of view” blasts. That format might change — but essentially, that’s an attempt to not overload on panel formats, and really give speakers a dedicated amount of time to discuss their point of view. You’ll also see some more traditional panel/breakout slots.

4. The stuff that’s really important to me at this point (for feedback) isn’t format, or who should be in what slot, but the topics themselves. So -

Strategic: Moving to the Cloud; Building a Cloud Framework; Cloud Architecture and Security; Integrating in a SaaS environment; Managing Complexity in a Cloud World; Selling in a Cloud (billing, metering, sales, analytics, etc).

Tech 1: Major Platform Providers (Azure, Google App Engine, AWS,; Digging into other Platforms (rackspace, heroku, eucalyptus, etc); NoSQL specific examples (Riak, MongoDB, Neo4j, Cassandra), Protocols, Gluing together Data, Open/Linked Data, Hacking Identity.

Tech 2: NoSQL why’s and why not’s; NoSQL Data Stores (types, use cases); APIs (scalability), Identity (SAML, OpenID, FB Connect), OAuth/WRAP, Standards (A6, OCCI, etc); Activity Protocols (activity streams, PUSH, etc); Mobility in the Cloud (gluing together mobile apps).

…and you’ll see a lot of blank spots (yep, work to do).

Lastly, you’ll see our currently locked down keynoters: Doug Crockford (of JSON fame, Senior Architect, Yahoo!), Michael Barrett (CISO, PayPal), Chris Hoff (Dir. of Cloud, Cisco – with perhaps the best keynote title ever), and Ryan Sarver (Dir. of Platform, Twitter). I’m still hard at work on a *bunch* of stuff for keynotes – again, it only gets better from here.

There’s a lot of blank stuff, and a lot of framework, but I hope this at least begins to give folks a sense of where we’re headed. Lemme know what you guys think (either here, on twitter or in a private thread).

Putting meat on the bones

January 22, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

While we’re working on getting a readable first draft of the agenda up (hang tough, it’ll be up shortly), I wanted to list our early sponsors as a way to illustrate how things are beginning to flesh out. So -

Boomi describes themselves as the “integration cloud” company; think integration as a service for applications. It’s a very interesting space, and one that Boomi is very unique in, in that they’re so concentrated on the problem that they really don’t have head-on “competitors.”

Gnip is relaunching in February, so I can’t point you to exactly what they do, but if you’re in the whole “real-time data” arena, Gnip is important to you.

Alcatel-Lucent is making a push into the “cloud” space, and I’m glad they’ve chosen Glue as an appropriate venue for doing so.

Ping Identity works in the “internet identity” space. I’ve personally been involved with Ping since it’s earliest days (I was employee #1), and I’ve watched with pride as Andre and crew have become the absolute leaders in this space.

enStratus is a great startup out of the Twin Cities (love the Twin Cities) that is focused on creating “confidence” (i.e., security and reliability) in the cloud.

10gen is the company behind the open source MongoDB (NoSQL) project.

Gist are those crazy guys (T.A., Robert) that have been hanging out around our conferences for years. Along the way, they started this awesome company that focuses on aggregating your personal data sources in ways that make your contacts much more valuable (I use gist all of the time).

So, the cool part about looking at these sponsors is that it starts to form a nice outline of what we’re going to talk about — namely:

Application integration

Real-time data

Cloud infrastructure

Identity in the Cloud

Cloud security and reliability

Projects for internet-scale data (NoSQL)

Linked Data

Great start — and there’s more on the way. Stay tuned for the first draft of the agenda — and make sure to get your butt registered.

2 late Friday agenda additions

January 15, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

…and the hits just keep on comin…

I’ve confirmed two great speakers this afternoon:

Joe Stump – CTO of SimpleGeo, and ex-Lead Architect at Digg. Joe’s gonna help us figure out the “geo” side of glue.

Chrisofer Hoff – Hoff is the Director of Cloud and Virtualization Solutions, Data Center Solutions at Cisco, and the driving force behind the newly formed A6 Working Group. Hoff and I have been going back and forth around his busy schedule for about a week now, and I’m pumped to get confirmation that he’s on board.

Two great additions on a Friday afternoon, and (hopefully) a testament to the weight of technical content that Gluecon is bringing to the table this May. I’ve said that my goal with Gluecon is to completely blow people out of the water with the breadth and depth of content in this cloudy world- and yep, I’m serious. You should maybe think about joining us. ;-)

Speakers and topics forming up

January 15, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Believe it or not, publishing a first draft of an agenda ain’t easy. I’m getting there, but it’ll probably be a few more weeks before I can even throw a strawman up that I’ll be temporarily satisfied with. That said, I *am* confirming speakers and getting topics on the board — and if you’re gonna register, you might be interested! So far we’re looking at things like…

Doug Crockford (creator of JSON) on gluing together web apps in a cloud world

Ryan Sarver (dir. of platform, Twitter) on all of the stuff you’re hearing rumors about

Jonathan Ellis (Rackspace) on Cassandra

Alex Popescu (of InfoQ) on the NoSQL landscape

Emil Eifrem (Neotechnology) on Neo4j

Dave Smith (Basho) on Riak

Joe Shirrey (msft) on Windows Azure

Someone from Google on Goog App Engine

Eric Marcoullier (Gnip) on Real-time data stream collection

Eve Maler (PayPal) on User Managed Access

Pam Dingle (of Ping Identity) on SAML vs. OpenID (when to use what)

Sunir Shah (Freshbooks), Scott McMullan (Google), and Ben Kepes (CloudAve) on Glue for the Small Business

David Recordon (facebook) on Activity Protocols

I think it’s a pretty good early list. Add to it sessions around OAuth/WRAP, Managing complexity in a post-cloud world, federated provisioning, building a scalable API, Integrating in a SaaS environment, open/linked data, webfinger, webhooks, A6, OCCI, CTP, platform providers (google, windows,, amazon, rackspace, heroku, eucalyptus, etc), and other NoSQL stuff (drizzle, HBase, Nutch, etc) — and you can start to get an idea of the breadth and depth of what is going to be the one do not miss events for developers in the cloud.

I know it’s a bit early to get excited. But I am.

Conference Diversity

January 9, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Context: There was a bit of a kerfluffle last year when some folks started pointing out the lack of diversity at some tech events. I’ve addressed this in the past on the Defrag blog, but it’s worth saying again — this is a problem I’m aware of and actively working on (year in and year out). And I want your help.

To that end, O’Reilly Media recently published a Conference Diversity statement. I asked Tim O’Reilly if he’d be willing to put the statement under a Creative Commons license, so that smaller guys like myself can copy, rip, mold and twist…all while aiming at a common goal. As such, what follows is Gluecon’s version of O’Reilly’s original statement (and a big thanks to Tim for so quickly responding with a “use it”):


Conference Diversity

Glue LLC (a.k.a., “Gluecon”) believes in spreading the knowledge of innovators. We believe that innovation is enhanced by a variety of perspectives, and our goal is to create an inclusive, respectful conference environment that invites participation from people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientation.

We’re actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, and sponsors through our calls for proposals, other open submission processes, and through dialogue with the larger communities we serve.

This is an ongoing process, and one that we are consciously working on. We hope that you’ll work on it with us.

Here are some ways you can help:

1. Recommend appropriate speakers and sponsors.

2. Forward blog posts and our conference URL to relevant affinity groups with the message that we are looking for a diverse speaker roster.

3. Suggest to potential speakers that they submit a proposal directly to me (enorlin AT

4. Suggest ways that the onsite conference experience can be more welcoming and supportive, free from intimidation and marginalization.

5. Share your ideas and best practices for how we can realize our vision.

6. Encourage active participation of diverse groups via attendance. Our events are interactive, and the makeup of the audience is probably actually more valuable than simply who is “on stage.”

We value diversity in the communities we bring together, and we welcome your contributions to bringing balanced representation of the richness of our collective human experience.

A Gluecon Re-write

January 5, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

I woke up and did some re-writing of the Gluecon homepage – so I thought I’d share:

As the “cloud” becomes a common platform, web applications still live in a “stovepipe” world. It’s not a question of “should we move to the cloud?” It’s a question of once some, or most, or all of our web applications live in the cloud, how do we handle the problems of scalability, security, identity, storage, integration and interoperability? What was the problem of “enterprise application integration” in the late 90s, is now the cambrian explosion of web-based applications that will demand similar levels of integration. The problem, put simply, is how to “glue” all of these apps, data, people, work-flows, and networks together.

Glue is the only conference devoted solely to this new problem-set facing architects, developers and integrators. At Glue, we’ll explore the new technologies that are forming around web applications in a post-cloud world. At Glue, we’ll aim to explore things like:

APIs & Protocols: Twitter, Facebook, Websockets, PubSubHubBub (PUSH), XMPP

Languages/Frameworks: JQuery, Zend, Ruby/Rails, Git, Django, Dojo, Scala/Lift

Formats/Standards: RDF/Linked Data, JSON, Microformats, HTML5

Open Data: DBPedia, Geonames,, AWS Public Data Sets, Open Street Map, Open Calais, Alchemy API

Platforms/Providers: Amazon, Rackspace, Goog App Engine, Heroku, Eucalyptus

Storage: SQL vs. NoSQL (Cassandra, CouchDB, MongoDB, Riak, Voldemort, Dynomite, Sherpa, Pig, Hadoop, Drizzle, etc)

Identity: OAuth/WRAP, OpenID, SAML, InfoCards, SPML

…and much more.

Glue is about all of the bits and pieces, APIs and meta-data, standards and connectors that will help us to glue together the varying applications of a post-cloud world. If you’re a developer, architect, designer or implementer that’s living in this world, or just new to exploring it, Gluecon is the place for you.

Early speakers confirmed

January 4, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Here we are in early 2010, and I realized that I’ve been sending some tweets around speakers we’re confirming for Gluecon, but seeing as how you might not be obsessively following my twitter stream, I thought I’d better post something here as well. [sidenote: the "official" gluecon twitter stream is here; the "ramblings of a madman (namely, me)" stream is here.]

So, the earliest of early confirmed speakers include:

Doug Crockford – Doug’s the creator of JSON, a prime mover in the world of JavaScript and a Senior JavaScript Architect at Yahoo!

Ryan Sarver – Ryan is the Director of Platform/API stuff at Twitter. They’ve been making a lot of noise in this area lately, and Ryan’s coming to Gluecon to talk about where they’re headed, and hang out with the great Glue community.

Jonathan Ellis – Jonathan’s working on Cassandra at Rackspace. If you’re not up on Cassandra yet, fear not – there’s a big bad world full of NoSQL innovation going on, and we’re bringing the key players to Gluecon. To that end…

Emil Eifrem – Emil is the CEO over at Neo Technology and the driving force behind the Neo4J project. This whole area of non-relational databases that are built to handle data at internet-scale (ie, networked information) is *massive*.  I’m also working on getting folks from CouchDB and MongoDB confirmed as well.

That’s the early early stuff. Topically, past posts lay out a lot of where I’m looking, and this list of confirmed speakers will grow pretty quickly over the next 45 days. Stay tuned, Gluecon’s gonna blow people’s minds this spring.