Australian Architecture Forum 2009

On the 26th August I attended the Australian Architecture Forum. This was the third time that the event was held and this year had three streams covering Green IT, Cloud Computing and General Architecture. The day was broken up into some tradition presentations as well as several Open Spaces sessions. The Open Spaces sessions where designed to encourage discussion of a particular topic by the participants in the room.

Anna Liu from the New South Wales University presented some insight from their research into Cloud Computing. They investigated the public offerings from Microsoft (Azure), Amazon (Elastic Compute Cloud) and Google (Google Apps). Some of the key take-aways were:

  • Plan for Monitoring and Management: these were poorly dealt with by all the platforms
  • Availability has become more of a design constraint than scalability

Gianpaolo Carraro from Microsoft presented “Head in the Clouds, feet on the ground” this was a general presentation on Cloud Computing and provided a good framework for migrating to Cloud Computing. The grid below presents an organisation with several Packaged and Home Built application that can be virtualised and some form.

Cloud Computing 

The final presentation that I attended was on Sustainability for Architects and was presented by Peter Richardson from Object Consulting. He presented a fantastic view on the case for developing sustainable e architectures. Some key points were:

  • The cost of energy is about to rise significantly which will directly impact to TCO of solutions.
  • There is embodied energy which is the cost of producing the server(s) and the In-Use energy which is consumed with the running of the server(s).
  • Infrastructure Architects are going to become even more important when designing solutions and will need to be engaged earlier.

The quality of the Open Spaces sessions was very dependent on the amount of knowledge in the room that could contribute to the discussion. The best of these sessions by far was on “What makes Architects useful to the business?” which was facilitated by Nigel Watson from Microsoft. We brainstormed several attributes of Architects which was entertaining as well as enlightening some of the interesting ones were:

  • Relevance – from a technology and a business perspective (Ivory tower syndrome)
  • Credibility – Are you perceived as a “Can Do” person?
  • “Mordac the preventer” – Are you a blocker
  • Bable fish – can you translate between business and technology

It once again was a great conference with plenty of valuable content and discussions both in the sessions and out of the session. There were noticeably less people at this year’s conference compared to previous years which talking to organisers was caused by less people representing each company. Hopefully the economy picks up and next years session is back as big an as great as previous years.


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