Cloudbusting in Galway, Ireland

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Tom Murphy has worked as a producer and cameraman specialising in current affairs and documentaries, filming in many different environments, hostile and otherwise, throughout the world. @tom_murphy

If you have ever wondered why cloud computing is so important and are curious about what practical applications the technology can be used for then a trip to Ireland's West Coast could supply you with a great many answers - many of which should surprise and delight.

Cloudbusting is the name that Damien Joyce and his colleagues have given to the free event that takes place at the Galway - Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on Friday, September 14.

After three months of sustained preparation, those who choose to attend will be met with a panoply of talks centred around six conversational streams. As Damien straightforwardly points out, "If you are planning on working in IT in the next five years and you don't find something of interest to you then I think you should reassess your decision."

A sign of a successful day for Damien would be one, "Where people were struggling to decide to which talk to go to."

Leading out the vast and varied array of speakers is David Allen, Adjunct Lecturer, Digital Brand Strategy at University of Oregon and founding member of the band, Gang of Four. According to Damien, David is likely to be, "Very vocal on the future of music technology and also digital and social media."

Apart from being a former GMIT student (he studied at the Castlebar campus) Damien has a very specific reason for choosing the college as a site for the event rather than some anonymous hotel conference room, "It's about technology, it's about the future, it's about people learning."

Referring specifically to the conference he says, "It's about demystifying the cloud. We all talk about the cloud, everyone talks about the cloud. I am trying to get across to people that the cloud provides opportunity."

He cites the example of Domino's Pizza in the States: "364 days a year they don't really care about how many servers they have but they don't want to pay for anything additional that they are not using. The one day of the year they are very interested is the day after Thanksgiving when no one wants to cook and are ordering in pizza. So Domino's want to spin up as many virtual machines as they can to take the business. They are not a technical company but they are using cloud computing as support.

"It's the same for government, we have speakers like Tim Willoughby and Gar Mac Croista who will talk about what the various agencies are going to do with the cloud and how they are going to do it. This also leads into open data and that leads to other opportunities."

"I'd love it if someone came along to one of these talks and had a light-bulb moment, "I want to learn a bit more about that." Or, "I want to go into that area."

Damien regards the cross-fertilization of ideas and experiences as very important as, "A lot of people work in silos."

To counter this isolation and its inherent restrictions on communication and growth there has emerged in recent years concepts such as devops. This particular approach to collaborative and coordinated working was engendered by the needs of the early cloud start-up companies in combination with the newly prevailing development methodologies such as Agile.

Events like Cloudbusting are designed to expand this theme of collaboration and spread the culture of sharing.

One of the most fun things with learning something new is to share your ideas and knowledge with others. Fortunately, Galway City provides a plethora of opportunities for getting together with like-minded individuals and socializing. Damien has selected Kelly's Bar as the location for attendees to gather after the event to relax and chat.

In addition you can check out live performances from Sive, Twin Terrace and ImYourVinyl. Also, Sive have kindly agreed to play a few acoustic tracks at lunchtime in GMIT.

As the frontiers of cloud computing and expand at ever increasing rates it is no longer possible for any one person (that's sound in the head) to declare themselves the 'expert' in this area or to be considered as such. The moment when that was possible has long passed.

All you can really do is get stuck into the aspects of cloud computing applications and technology that makes your heart sing in the knowledge that there exists other explorers of this new frontier beside you and maybe just a little ahead of you whose knowledge and experience you can call on.

But beyond that, events like Cloudbusting offer the most fun thing of all for a person of curiosity - serendipitous discovery. An idle conversation in a crowded hallway, a talk title that doesn't make sense but makes you want to find out more. A connection made with a somebody that may not have happened in any other circumstance. These chance occurrences are the lifeblood of progress.

It is at events like these that the possibility exists of hearing the right sort of brilliant and intriguing remark that can literally open up whole new worlds of opportunity and possibility.

Considering the quality of the speakers and the attendees, the sheer range of learning and expertise on offer and the opportunity over an entire day and evening of conversation and shared learning then Cloudbusting with its mix of appropriate ingredients has the critical mass to produce the possibility of something very special happening.

Cloudbusting takes place on Friday, September 14 at the GMIT campus in Galway

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