Last week Microsoft had the opportunity to attend and participate in Cloud Camp DC Commercial in Reston, VA.  This was a great opportunity to hear and learn from others in Cloud Camp DC Commercial, Microsoft MTC, Reston, VAthe community about their level of interest and early efforts to embrace cloud computing.  Positioned as a platform agnostic gathering for cloud enthusiast, the event attracted more than 90 people from a variety of technology professions.

You may be wondering what exactly is a Cloud Camp?  To answer this question, I pulled the following directly from the Cloud Camp website at http://www.cloudcamp.com.

It’s free and it’s an unconference where early adopter and industry leaders of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry we need a place where we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At Cloud Camp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

So what is an unconference?  Wikipedia states that an unconference is “a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered around a theme or purpose.”  Based on our most recent experience, we have to agree.

The DC event was made possible by the organizing committee at Information Concepts and its 6 sponsors.  Dave Nielsen, a Cloud Camp co-founder, facilitated the DC event, his 29th on record.  The event started at 3:30pm and wrapped up a little over 5 hours later.  Much to my surprise, most attendees, despite having worked all-day, stayed for the entire event.  Awesome!Veronica Kennedy, Zhiming Xue, Dave Neilsen, John McClelland

We found the unconference format to be quite interesting and productive.  The agenda is comprised of 4 main activities

  • Lightning Talks – each event sponsor delivers a 5 minute presentation on their cloud computing initiatives
  • Panel Discussion – the facilitator solicits 6-8 questions from the audience and then recruits a panel of volunteers to share their answers/opinions
  • Breakouts – the facilitator identifies 4 or more breakouts topics during the panel discussion.  A breakout topic usually manifests itself by the level of interest in the topic or subject currently under discussion. A breakout session lasts 45-60 minutes.
  • Networking Social – Attendees meet 1:1 with their peers and event sponsors to explore areas of additional interest and opportunity in cloud computing

As an event sponsor, Microsoft was afforded the opportunity to participate in the Lightning Talk.  Scott Zimmerman, a Solutions Architect in the Mid-Atlantic States District, delivered an excellent summary presentation on our Azure platform initiative.  Take 5-minutes now to listen to Scott presentation:

Customers need your help understanding Microsoft’s strategic direction in cloud computing.  This video and the accompanying slides should be of tremendous help in this regard.  If you are a member of a Microsoft Partner organization, including anyone on the sales, marketing or consulting teams, your ability to deliver a lightning round perspective on Microsoft’s Azure platform will help you build credibility among your customer base.

The video is also posted  here on Channel 9 and the slides are posted here.