Provide a single point of contact and management for multiple cloud service providers and maximize the benefits of leveraging multiple external clouds.
When you are buying and selling stocks or other securities, you hire a broker to execute the trade on your behalf. One reason for that is convenience. You don’t need to take care of the details of placing orders and working with multiple stock exchanges, and whatever else is required to trade securities.
How about working with multiple cloud service providers? For sure, you can go online to any cloud provider as long as you have your credit card ready. But is the service provider the best fit for your requirements? Do you have a backup plan if you are not satisfied with your service provider? Can you easily switch among your service providers to minimize cost or maximize flexibility? If you are not sure, you may then need something like a cloud broker.
Solution Read more...
While 2011 is coming soon, many technologists and medias are busy with predictions for 2011. I got an email from the chief of Cloud Computing Journal Jeremy Geelan (@jg21) for my predictions. Here are my thoughts on the cloud computing for 2011 and beyond: Read more...
- The focus of cloud computing will gradually shift from IaaS to PaaS which becomes key differentiator in competition. Developer enablement becomes more important than ever in ecosystem evangelism, full software lifecycle integration, IDE support, API and framework, and etc.
- Many more mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will take place in cloud space for companies to build stronger cloud portfolio. For big players, it should include dual vertically complete stacks both as services and products. Whoever gets there first will gain enormous advantages over its competitors.
Provide an easy way to provision new infrastructure and application services for a computing cloud
To run a large-scale computing infrastructure, you will need many different types of services, including compute, storage, and networking, among others. After virtualization has successfully detached compute from the physical hardware, it’s very easy to provision and scale compute. But compute requires storage and networking which are lagging behind. To maximize the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing, it’s natural to push the storage and networking in the same direction.
Looking beyond the infrastructure to consider applications, we need various types of services such as database, directory, messaging, and more. I’ve covered the App VM pattern that allows using IaaS for PaaS in a previous blog. While you can pack some of these services into an application VM, the problem is that it scales well but does not follow the aspectual centralization pattern.
Solution Read more...
Provide a configurable structure for modularized information processing
Complicated data processing involves many distinctive and repetitive steps. Each of these steps can be mapped to a software module that is independently developed and assembled for particular cases of data processing.
Given the elastic nature of cloud computing, it’s a perfect platform for data processing. We need a solution that is flexible in two ways:
1. Modularized components for data processing;
2. Configurable so that different modules can be re-used easily in various cases.
Solution Read more...
Provide packaged software stack as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform for running applications
As Known As
We all know the three different types of cloud services from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), PaaS, to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). If you want to leverage PaaS, you have to choose one of the PaaS service providers like Google or Microsoft. Leveraging an external PaaS has its own benefits.
What if you want to keep your applications running in-house but still enjoy the benefits of PaaS? Today you don’t have much choice. Google, for example, does not sell its App Engine as a product that you can install and run on premise. You have to run it on the Google cloud.
Solution Read more...
IBM Researcher Kyung Ryu presented a private cloud RC2 at LISA 2010 conference. As a typical IBM project, the presentation has 20+ co-authors. The following is based on my notes taken from the session, therefore may contain my misunderstandings.
Having an internal cloud is not a big deal these days. You can find several products from the market. What is truly unique and challenging for RC2 is that it supports very different virtualization platforms from X86 based hypervisors on X-series servers, to IBM PowerVM on P-series, to the mainframe based native virtualization on Z-series. Therefore RC2 is really a hybrid private cloud.
The talk focused on system architecture with several diagrams. I cannot reproduce these diagrams but would list the key components of the system: Read more...
Provide a single point of contact for a large-scale system consisting of many virtual machines so that they are viewed as one giant VM from outside
As Known As
When a system becomes big, you need multiple VMs to support the workload. For ease of use reasons, external users don’t want to manage multiple connections to each of the virtual machines. Who wants to remember a list of IP or DNS names for a service? Also, you just cannot expect your users to pick up the least-busy VMs for balanced workloads across your cluster of VMs. And to scale your application when your overall workload increases, you want a seamless way adding new capacities without notifying others.
Finally, if you offer a public service, you don’t want to allocate a public IP address for each of your VMs. These days, public IPs are scarce resources and may cost you money. Read more...
Ensure a virtual machine does not carry a permanent state so that it can be easily provisioned, migrated, and managed in the cloud.
Also Known As
Virtualization is the cornerstone for cloud computing, especially at the infrastructure level. With many virtual machines created, managing them becomes a big challenge.
Among these challenges are system provisioning, backup, archiving, and patching different virtual machines. These administrative tasks take lots of CAPEX and OPEX.
We need a better way to architect applications for the cloud.
Making a VM stateless solves a lot of problems. For one thing, you force applications to save data outside of the virtual machine. No longer do you need to back up the virtual machine – only the data. It also makes the system provisioning easier without differentiating the different instances. When the stateless VMs crash for whatever reasons, you don’t lose much. Just add a new virtual machine and voila! Read more...
Separate concerns in large scales computing by leveraging different types of services in the cloud
The history of computing reveals different eras starting from mainframe to client/server to Web computing. With mainframes, computing is contained within the boundary of a mainframe. With client/server and web computing we see the separation of the presentation from the data. With all these computing models, the data is owned and maintained by different applications. The IT staffs who run and maintain the applications are responsible for backing up and maintaining data.
With the rise of cloud computing, I see a new trend that will fundamentally change the game and push productivity to all new levels. I call this “Aspectual Centralization” (AC). This is as important to cloud architecture as Model-View-Controller (MVC) is to software architecture.
With AC, different aspects of an application are extracted out and delegated to centralized services: data services, messaging services, logging services, and so on. Read more...
IBM DeveloperWorks recently published the result of a survey of 2000 IT professionals excluding IBM employees. The key findings are:
- Cloud Computing to overtake on-premise computing. For the question, “how do you rate the potential for cloud computing to overtake on-premise computing as the primary way organizations acquire IT by 2015?” 30.4% said likely, 21.6% most likely, and 13.6% definitely.
- Mobile application development to dominate. 55% of respondents see app development on mobile grows than other platforms in 5 years.
- IT professionals need, but often lack, industry-specific knowledge. 28.3% thought moderately important, 45.6% very important, and 15.9% extremely important. This is not an IT trend per se, but represents the demands for IT professionals.
The first two findings are mentioned and somewhat confirmed by another survey by Forrest and Dr. Dobbs, which is more developer oriented: Read more...
The Cloud Computing Expo takes place in the Santa Clara Convention Center from this Monday to Thursday. This twice-a-year event attracted thousands of attendees. Thanks to the invitation from Jeremy Geelan, I went to conference checking out several sessions and the exhibitions.
I found many familiar companies in the exhibition, from Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, and many other companies. Unlike VMworld, I don’t find many IHVs in the show. The ISVs demoed their products with strong focuses on Cloud. Microsoft for example demoed its Windows Azure family of services; VMware demoed its vCloud Director. I even found IBM booth which was much smaller than I expected. It turned out to be its recently acquired CastIron part.
Here are several companies I found interesting technologies from my trip: Read more...
If you attended last year’s VMworld keynote by Steve Herrod or watched the online broadcasting, you may still recall the code2cloud.com website (see the top banner here). That was a very simple Web application meant for the keynote attendees to submit names and email addresses to win a chance to go to the backstage with the Foreigner band. The website was hosted at Terramark vCloud and continued to run for about one month afterward. Read more...
Provide a mechanism to fast provision virtual machines (VMs) and manage their lifecycles by maintaining a pool of virtual machines.
Virtual machines can be expensive to create. It takes several minutes to create a new virtual machine. Technologies like linked clone and storage offloading can help speed up the process, but it still takes time. And these alternative approaches, in some use cases, do not help when you need instant provisioning.
It’s generally a good practice to pool resources that are expensive to create. In programming, you pool threads and check them out on demand. When it’s done, you check them in back to the pool. This is what most Web Servers do for high performance.
You can leverage the same idea for VM provisioning. You create new virtual machines and put them into a pool. When there is a new request, you just check out one virtual machine from the pool. The following diagram shows how it works. Read more...
Several weeks ago, Christopher Wells sent me an email for permission for translating my blog into Japanese so that more people in Japan can benefit. Today he told me he had translated one of my posts into Japanese and posted it on his blog site. Here is the first paragraph in Japanese version:
オペレーティング･システム（OS）はソフトウェアの一部で、コンピュータのハードウェアを管理し、様々なアプリケーション用の一般サービスを提供しま す。クラウド・コンピューティングの台頭にともなって、OSがまだ関連するのか、また、将来のクラウドにおいてOSがどんな役割を果たすのか疑問に思う人 もいるでしょう。
Now a little quiz: which original article did Chris translate? I will leave it to you to guess out. Hint: here is the link to the full article. Read more...
In my last blog, I wrote about pattern idea from the famous books “Design Pattern” and “A Pattern Language” and how it can be applied to cloud architecture design. Below and in later posts in this series I shall follow the content outline used there to illustrate the cloud architecture patterns.
Provide a standard way to create new virtual machines based on user requirements.
There are enormous combinations of virtual machines with different operating systems, middleware, and applications. And then we have user data to the mix! We need a standard way to create new virtual machines.
General speaking, there are three basic ways to create new virtual machines: Read more...
Design patterns have been very popular among software developers since the book by Gang of Four (Enrich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides) in 1995. If you go to an interview for a software engineering position today, the chances are you most likely get one or more questions on design patterns.
Like many concepts in software that from other disciplines, the “pattern” idea was “borrowed” from “A Pattern Language,” a book by Christopher Alexander on architectural patterns published 20 years before we started to talk about software design pattern. His book turns out to be a great way to summarize and document reusable design elements for different engineering works.
As Christopher points out, “Each pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then described the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way you can use the solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”
Today I “borrow” the same idea and apply the concept to cloud computing on architecture designs. The main focus is on virtual machine-based architecture patterns so that you can best leverage virtual machines for your cloud computing.
What is a Cloud Architecture Pattern?
An architectural pattern extracts the common and re-usable design concepts and components. If we put it in the big picture, it should be somewhere below the overall system architecture and above software design as the middle layer. Read more...
With the gradual adoption of cloud computing, more companies are coming to the cloud service business. With so many new players in the game, how can you stand out in the competition as a service provider? In a marketplace already dominated by companies like Amazon, do you even have a chance?
Yes, you do! Differentiate.
I recently read a book, “Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition” by Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin. Although it mainly talks about differentiation ideas in traditional businesses, it does offer good insights that can be applied in the cloud service business as well.
Before we get to cloud services, let us take a look at what Jack and Steve say about differentiation. They first discuss some commonly held misconceptions about differentiating ideas: Read more...
I am glad to learn that I have been recently named as top 50 bloggers on cloud computing by Cloud Computing Journal. Check out here for all my cloud related articles.
Thanks all for making this happen! The momentum will continue…
The “last mile” or “last kilometer” is a term in the networking industry describing “the close to end connectivity from a communication service provider to a customer”. Although your infrastructure like backbones is very powerful, your end user experience could suffer if your last mile is not there yet.
For cloud computing, we’ve talked a lot about the data centers, backend servers. What about the end users? Your cloud data center could be very powerful too, but does it mean your users will fully leverage that power? Not necessarily. It depends on how you deliver the service to them.
Because cloud service is delivered with traditional network, the traditional network “last mile” issue is there as well. You surely need a good, if not better, connection to the network.
Beyond the connectivity, you will need good interfaces for your users to interact with the cloud. Let me go over the “last inch” options here. Read more...