Dell's hardware demonstration is indicative of another aspect of cloud computing: the rapid evolution of different components within the total aggregation of resources necessary to support a cloud computing environment. Two weeks ago I wrote about Facebook's Open Compute initiative, which addresses the physical infrastructure of a cloud environment; Dell's offering complements it with a high-density power-efficient computing platform. Suddenly, data centers constructed with the existing components seem horribly out-of-date and uncompetitive.
I don't expect that Dell's offering is the pinnacle of what we'll see on the hardware side -- far from it. But it is, for sure, one of an ongoing steps that will be taken to support the vastly higher scale of computing for the future, offering products that push the boundaries of capability and efficiency.
These are just two of the elements that struck me about the Design Summit, and this doesn't even address the main subject of the conference, which was to enable collaboration and help push OpenStack toward increased functionality and quality. As I noted at the beginning of this post, the energy at the conference was palpable.
What these two elements do illustrate, however, is how cloud computing continues to morph as providers and users gain more experience with the domain. eBay's presentation indicates why cloud computing has so much end user attention -- the cost structures associated with traditional computing environments in the face of scale growth make existing infrastructure approaches obsolete. Dell's "sled" computing shows how new infrastructure products are being created by vendors to better suit these new computing environments.
From my perspective, cloud computing, far from falling into Gartner's famous (or notorious, if you will) "trough of despair," appears to be picking up steam and gaining even more prominence. To quote Al Jolson, the star of "The Jazz Singer," the first motion picture talkie, "you ain't seen nothin' yet!"
Bernard Golden is CEO of consulting firm HyperStratus, which specializes in virtualization, cloud computing and related issues. He is also the author of "Virtualization for Dummies," the best-selling book on virtualization to date.
Follow Bernard Golden on Twitter @bernardgolden. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline