Another very refreshing addition to this year's programme were the manifold end-user experiences, and lessons learned with designing, building, managing and using Cloud to facilitate research and big data processing demands. The opening keynote was delivered by Bob Jones from CERN, who gave an overview of CERN's big data requirements and the progress of the EU Science Cloud, Helix Nebula. The project is shaping up nicely as the current two-year pilot phase continues. CERN is one of the three flagship users in addition to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The three demand-side partners were picked expressly because of the scope of their research and computing requirements.
The ISC Cloud General Chair, Wolfgang Gentzsch opened the tight-paced conference by emphasizing the ISC Cloud conference as an important HPC Cloud community building initiative, and by sharing the initial results from his Uber-Cloud Experiment project, which brings various primary stakeholders together to promote the adoption of HPC in the Cloud and with it, deliver the intended benefits of innovation and increased competitiveness to small-to-mid size enterprises.
The attendees found it valuable to have been part of a crowd that is closely interested in this increasingly visible segment of HPC. A survey conducted during the conference revealed that more than 85 percent of the attendees considered the topics and issues presented at Cloud'12 as very relevant. Besides, 43 percent were motivated to attend due to the extensive conference programme, and close to 66 percent of attendees appreciated the opportunity to participate in the vendor-user dialogues. The evening reception in the vineyard of Dr. Bürklin-Wolf in the famous Pfalz wine region offered a further opportunity to network with other participants and to continue the thematic discussions, also with the experts.
According to Wolfgang Gentzsch, the steering committee this year had a much larger choice of projects to present as research and industrial best-practices, compared to the last two years. "In 2010, we had to rely mostly on vendor case studies and I was quite disappointed myself about the result, but in 2011, we saw some more Cloud providers, like SGI Cyclone, Penguin POD and Bull extreme factory as well as European Commission funded Cloud projects and early adopters in industry, allowing us to select great speakers with hands-on experience on real applications in the Cloud", stated Wolfgang Gentzsch. "Therefore, we, as organizers expect an increasing interest in next year's ISC Cloud Conference."
This year's conference highlights were definitely the Helix Nebula Cloud project, the industry success
stories in the cloud such as rendering, climate, screening and big data. The engineering software in the Cloud touching on new on demand pay-per-use licensing models, like Ansys, CD-adapco, ESI, and Simulia also caught the interest of attendees. Finally, the novel BoF sessions on reference architecture, applications/software in the Cloud, and data transport gave the attendees the opportunity to break into three groups to engage in lively discussions.