For me, this year's PDC in LA will totally be about the "Cloud". Sure topics that interest me are Mesh and Sql Server Data Services (SSDS), but I'm sure there's more to come, about things like Oslo and other European cities, perhaps BizTalk Services and a curiously colored and mysterious canine, RedDog.
There are two things that interest me, personally, in these kind of cloud paradigms. First, that there are new application models, new architectures, new colors in the pallete, new tools (modeling is one of them). Just look at all the technologies I mentioned. Most of them are usable to develop enterprise applications, they are not customer-facing new things (Mesh is the partial exception here). The second thing that interests me is precisely the engineering challenge, the new problems we will have to solve in a world where almost nothing can be taken for granted. (Can we communicate at all, if everything is extremely loosely coupled?)
Truth is, however, that I don’t think this will be an easy or widespread shift (regardless of what Nicholas Carr thinks). If you talk to most people working in IT today about “moving to the cloud”, you’ll hear jokes about “fog”, and (legitimate) questions about data ownership, security, trust, cost, SLAs and QoS, etc. These issues will have to be tackled with, or at least enough of them.
Data and Business Logic has been near (“it’s mine, all mine!”) almost since the first days of IT, after all.
… so if you are in Portugal or nearby and want a partner company to explore some new ground using these technologies (or just have interesting discussions), get in touch. :-)