Google today rolled out the welcome mat at the Googleplex for some 300 technology professionals - largely CIOs - at an event called Atmosphere. Clearly, the message here today is the cloud - how cloud computing can save money, how the cloud can increase efficiency and yes, how the cloud can be secure for businesses.
The message, aside from a major update of Google Docs, is not new. For some time now, Google has been trying to sell businesses both large and small on the benefits of cloud computing - and I suspect that we'll hear a lot more about it during sessions today.
On the stage this morning, Google Enterprise president Dave Girouard, calling cloud computing a "fundamentally disruptive" technology said that it brings about a bit of emotion from anyone talking about it. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who consider the cloud to be a computing nirvana. On the other end are those who just don't trust it.
It will be a day filled with discussion and debate about the cloud - and even some poking fun at the close-mindedness of some technology leaders who try to down play the cloud (including some execs from Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.
Girouard offered a smart presentation that breaks down old school business IT - where everything is behind the firewall. The foundation of cloud computing, he said, boils down to applications, platforms and devices. He pointed to a couple of key apps that have long broken out of the wall, such as mail (Gmail, etc.) and CRM (salesforce). The platforms themselves are also available in the cloud - Amazon Web services, Rackspace, Windows Azure and Google, of course. As for the devices, it's no secret that laptops and smartphones have unleashed cloud computing by bringing the mobile Web to portable devices.
Today's lineup includes presentations from Google innovators, including Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf, and guest speakers, including Salesforce CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff and Amazon VP and CTO Dr. Werner Vogels, as well as product managers on-hand to talk about Chrome OS and Android Mobile OS.
We're still at the Welcome and Good Morning stage of the event, with some introductory remarks about the state of the cloud, the triumphs so far and the challenges ahead. I'll be posting later today with more from the event.