A few words from Cloud Forward 2016

From 18 to 20 of October I was in rainy Madrid and attended the Cloud Forward 2016 (CF2016) conference. Despite the bad weather, the conference was delightful, lightened up by the keynote speech on the European Open Science Cloud for Research by Juan Bicarregui and followed by presentations on innovative technologies in distributed computing, ranging from architectures to methodologies and new applications and services.

The EGI paper entitled Open Data Platform and DataHub was accepted for presentation at the conference. I was privileged to present the paper in the absence of main authors Matthew Viljoen, Lukasz Dutka, and Bartosz Kryza. It was also nice to see that the final publication had been published in Procedia Computer Science shortly after the conference presentation.

Moreover, I was particularly interested in the track of position papers that gathered earlier state work from industry and academia to analyse the future of and beyond cloud computing. The last presentation by Keith Jeffery gave a nice summary. By reviewing all papers in the last two Cloud Forward conferences (CF2015 and CF2016), Keith provided an analysis of the changing landscape of research interests in the areas of cloud computing, for example:

  • A greater take-up, use, and experience of the cloud
  • An emergence of fog/edge computing – linking with internet of things
  • Interests on interoperation – across platforms and including fog/edge
  • An increased complexity of applications
  • A need for advanced systems development methods – model-driven and beyond

Keith also identified a few major research topics in 2016, including:

  • Advanced systems development methods: based on model-driven technology
  • Placement and locality (of data, software, resources and users)
  • Autonomic SLA management to meet non-functional requirements
    • Pervasively through the software stack including trust, security, and privacy based on policy enactment
  • Interoperability & portability
    • Across hybrid cloud platforms and across heterogeneity of data and software, devices and users

The detailed information and more interesting analysis are included in the conference material and the Hola Portal.

I found the analysis very useful and inspiring. However, it seems to me that it reflects the research interests limited to the CF2016 community, formed mainly by academia and industry. There are some differences to the issues concerned by the EGI community.

For example, instead of a model-driven approach, the EGI community tends to favour a user-driven approach which acknowledges the user’s feedback into the different stages of design and development. This approach avoids the risk of software products not meeting the user’s demands.

The output of the conference will be a report including a recommendation of a cloud roadmap for the European Commission. I am looking forward to reading it.


This article is posted on behalf of our colleague Yin Chen, Senior Technical Outreach Expert. She attended the Cloud Forward 2016 conference in Madrid.