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Understanding GoGrid and Cloud Standards

Sunday, March 29th, 2009 by

It’s important to us to clarify GoGrid’s position with regard to cloud computing standards and the Open Cloud Manifesto (OCM). There has been a fair bit of controversy in the ‘blogosphere’ recently over the OCM, which is to be released on Monday.

In particular, myself and Steve Gillmor (of TechCrunch IT fame among others), had a somewhat heated, but friendly exchange over his scathing assessment of the situation. Steve invited me to a “News Gang” podcast of the Gillmor Gang on Friday, which was posted here. During that live podcast he asked us to clarify GoGrid’s position.

This post is really about making sure everyone is on the same page and understands how GoGrid views the OCM and cloud computing standards in general.

Background
It’s unnecessary to recap everything in detail. I think James Urquhart handled this fairly succinctly. Geva Perry also has a nice summary including a link to the draft document. In a nut:

  1. Some folks tried to lay down some guiding principles for “open” cloud computing in the Open Cloud Manifesto
  2. Some folks reacted badly feeling that the process wasn’t actually “open”
  3. Bruhaha ensued

Who cares?

(more…) «Understanding GoGrid and Cloud Standards»

Measuring the Performance of Clouds – GoGrid

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 by

Raditha Dissanayake posted a blog entry comparing Amazon EC2 and GoGrid performance. Unfortunately, we think Raditha did not use the most rigorous methodology possible for doing his comparison. It would be inappropriate for GoGrid to performance test Amazon’s EC2. In fact, their Customer Agreement may actually make such activity questionable, but IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer).

Let’s take a more rigorous look at GoGrid disk subsystem performance.

Framing the Issue

As a start the entire issue is a LOT more complex than can potentially be covered here. Today’s disks, hard drive controllers, and operating systems have many different kinds of caching mechanisms. In addition, virtualization systems like Xen can impact results in unexpected ways. For example, did you know that Xen can be deployed in two major manners?

Either ‘paravirtualized’ or ‘hardware virtualized’. The two different models almost certainly impact any testing methodology. And yes, you guessed it, Amazon and GoGrid don’t configure Xen in the same way. Amazon uses paravirtualization and GoGrid uses hardware virtualization. Beyond this public information neither Amazon nor GoGrid provide significant details about their infrastructure considering it, rightfully so, proprietary intellectual property.

Without a deep understanding of all of the issues it’s difficult to do a test much less a proper comparison.

(more…) «Measuring the Performance of Clouds – GoGrid»

Cloudcenters are Datacenters in the Sky

Thursday, January 8th, 2009 by

Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) is not the only way to build scalable Cloud Infrastructures.  There are two emerging methodologies for constructing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) AKA “Cloud Infrastructure Services”.  The first is what we call “cloudcenters”, which are essentially datacenters in the sky.  The second is what we call an “Infrastructure Web Service”.  GoGrid was one of the pioneers for cloudcenters, while AWS largely created the second model.

New_Cloud_PyramidUnderstanding IaaS means looking closely at these two approaches.  Clearly the notion of cloudcenters embodied by AWS competitors such as ourselves, FlexiScale, ElasticHosts, AppNexus, and others is important.  My colleague, Michael Sheehan, will go into more depth on how we think this distinction modifies his earlier Cloud Pyramid (right) in a follow-on blog posting to this one.

Infrastructure Cloud Models

Understanding these two approaches is important because it directly affects your selection of a Cloud Infrastructure provider.  These two models highlight a difference in core infrastructure and in target markets. Cloudcenters provide a direct equivalent to traditional datacenters and hence are usually more desirable for IT staff, systems operators, and other datacenter savvy folks.  Infrastructure Web Services on the other hand are more analogous to Service-Oriented-Architectures (SOA), require significant programming skills, and are much more comfortable for software developers.

Infrastructure Web Services

I’m going to assume for this article that you are somewhat familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS), but I’ll briefly re-cap.  AWS provides a number of different ‘Web Services’ that can be consumed individually or put together to support different kinds of applications, usually a batch processing or web application of some kind.  These services include: (more…) «Cloudcenters are Datacenters in the Sky»

8 More Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 by

Hi, my name is Randy Bias, the new VP Technology Strategy at GoGrid.  As the new year approaches, I’m happy to make my first post on this blog.

I haven’t ever provided a New Year prediction list before, so I hope you will indulge.  As the newest member of and the technology visionary on the GoGrid executive team I’m pretty excited to toss a few predictions into the ring for 2009.  Hope this inspires more cloud conversation.  Find more on my thoughts around infrastructure and cloud computing on my personal blog.

  1. Cloud-Oriented Architectures (COA) becomes much better understood
    De facto standards drive the adoption of cross-cloud, loosely-coupled, distributed web applications that are connected by REST interfaces.  The community at large comes to understand that this new category of applications are Cloud-Oriented Architectures (COA) and differ from SOA in being deployed on clouds, aware of clouds, and built using grassroots-derived standards instead of top-down standards like SOAP & WS-*.
  2. No Cloud Standards Emerge
    Despite hype and hope, no new top-down derived cloud ‘standard’ emerges.  Some forward thinking providers do move the ball forward by opening their platforms and hints of potential standards start to develop by widely embraced, but grass roots developed standards and APIs.
  3. Big Iron still has no clue
    The Big Iron folks (Dell, IBM, Sun, and HP) continue to flail at offering ‘cloud’ offerings because they can’t take their focus away from hardware.  Nothing real develops from those folks except failed attempts at ‘standardization’ and cloud offerings.
  4. Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) look to clouds & DR
    Economic reality forces the hand of SMEs looking to shave IT costs.  More and more dip their toes into the water, moving their non-production and elastic compute needs to ‘the cloud’.  Disaster Recovery becomes the ‘killer app’ for forward thinking SMEs who want to minimize their exposure while maximizing dollars saved.
  5. Broad testing of internal clouds by F500
    Fortune 500 widely tests internal cloud systems using VMware vCloud, EUCALYPTUS, OpenNebula, and related offerings.  Small scale tests, but enough to get a flavor.
  6. Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) wake up and realize their business model is at stake
    CDNs finally figure out that as clouds go global the primary barrier to entry for the CDN business, foreign real estate deals, disappears allowing customers to roll their own and a flood of *more* small upstarts enters the already crowded market.  Smart CDNs turn into global cloud providers, further accelerating adoption, or remain clueless and are squeezed from both sides.
  7. Hybrid clouds come of age: scale-out on virtual servers and up on iron
    Clue finally sets in that virtualization != clouds and multiple major cloud vendors provide combined virtual+physical server solutions, on-demand just like any other cloud computing offering.  The new hybrid model sets Web 2.0 folks on fire escalating up take for folks reticent to re-engineer for massively distributed databases.  Instead, using big iron for scaling up the DB becomes the de facto solution for anyone who cares more about getting to market and less about faux ‘scaling issues.’[1]
  8. Clouds enter Asia
    AWS goes to Asia or a credible competitor arises there capturing mind share and further expanding the global reach of cloud computing providers.  Conversely, clouds entering Asia realize that it’s a fragmented market with expensive intra-country bandwidth, making cost effective traction difficult on a cross-Pacific Rim basis.

 


1. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we’re leading the charge with one of our latest offerings, Cloud Connect, that allows cross-connecting dedicated servers to your GoGrid cloud.