Cloud in the Heartland

I was busy this past week, visiting several small midwestern cities within driving distance of my location in Northern Illinois, talking to businesspeople and academics about cloud computing and big data.

One visit was to the School of Information Technology at Illinois State University, located in Bloomington-Normal. Major companies such as Caterpillar, State Farm, ADM, Hitachi Data Systems, and Discover hire IT grads from ISU, as does John Deere, a couple of hours drive away.

The school has about 500 students enrolled, several thin- and zero-client teaching facilities, strong Internet 2 participation, and a diverse curriculum that embraces languages, frameworks, and specific 1-credit-hour classes in special topics such as iOS and Python.

I heard some frustration about cloudwashing, about innovation being quashed by vendor lock-in, and about the potential of PaaS to reform app development and how it’s taught.

As I ready myself for Cloud Expo in Santa Clara next week, I hope to articulate all my thoughts from this real-world trip – so much of today’s cloud product and service innovation is coming from Silicon Valley, but my impression is that the word has gotten out to the heartland in a big way.

read more