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Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

 

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.

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“10 Obstacles to Cloud Computing” by UC Berkeley & How GoGrid Hurdles Them

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 by

By now, many in the Cloud Computing space have heard about (or even read) the University of California Electrical Engineering & Computer Science’s (EECS) study on Cloud Computing titled: “Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing.” Published on February 10th, 2009, the EECS’s paper provides a seemingly academic study of the Cloud Computing movement, attempts to explain what Cloud Computing is all about, and identifies potential opportunities as well as challenges present within the market.

The 20+ page study is authored by Michael Armbrust, Armando Fox, Rean Griffith, Anthony D. Joseph, Randy H. Katz, Andrew Konwinski, Gunho Lee, David A. Patterson, Ariel Rabkin, Ion Stoica and Matei Zaharia who all work in RAD Lab. (Interestingly, several of the companies mentioned within the study are also Founding Sponsors and/or affiliate members: Sun, Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, etc.).

There has already been plenty of discussion and analysis of this study (by James Urquhart, Krishna Sankar and has even appeared on Slashdot.org). Needless to say, I felt compelled to get my two cents in, especially from the perspective of a Cloud Computing Infrastructure vendor.

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From an academic standpoint, this document definitely has some legs. It is complete with carefully thought out scenarios, examples and even formulae, as well as graphs and tables. Some of the points that are brought up even got me scratching my head (e.g., using flash memory to help by “adding another relatively fast layer to the classic memory hierarchy”). Even the case analysis of a DDoS attack from a cost perspective of those initiating an attack to those warding off an attack on a Cloud was interesting to ponder. I commend these group of authors on undertaking such a grand task of not only writing by committee but also overlaying a very business school vs. mathematics and computer sciences approach to the writing and analysis.

Unfortunately, however, as I read through the document, I started scrawling madly in the margins with commentary that is somewhat contrary to what was written within the study.

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New Larger RAM Instances Now Available on GoGrid

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 by

GoGrid_win2k8_4GB_ram Last week, we quietly released some new larger GoGrid Cloud server instances. Today we are making that announcement a bit louder. What does this mean to you? Well, your GoGrid cloudcenter just got a bit broader and more powerful. For a year now, we have been offering 0.5, 1 and 2 Gigabyte RAM options in both Windows and Linux, now we have 4 and 8 GB RAM instances available. These larger instances, available on all 64-bit operating systems, allow for new types of higher-end environments to be spun up using all of the characteristics of Cloud Computing.

The lower size RAM instances (0.5, 1 & 2 GB) are perfect for a web front-end, where either Apache or IIS are running. For extremely high-performance and high I/O instances, we have been offering Cloud Connect as a way to create a dedicated hybrid infrastructure where Cloud Web Servers running on GoGrid can be linked via private dedicated network connections to dedicated and managed servers within the ServePath network.

With the new 4 and 8 GB RAM options, you can now set up a infrastructure with a robust set of high-performance application servers within the Cloud. These types of high RAM instances are perfect for users who want to take advantage of the increased RAM, CPU cores and persistent storage, especially when used in conjunction with specific applications (e.g., Microsoft SQL server or other Enterprise applications) that require more larger amounts of resources like RAM or CPU.

The 4 GB RAM server images can be deployed via the GoGrid web portal and API. The 8 GB RAM server images currently may only be deployed via the GoGrid API. I recommend reading the API section of the GoGrid wiki in order to fully understand how to deploy 8 GB RAM instances.

The 4 and 8 GB RAM images, available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1, CentOS 5.1, and Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 64-bit operating systems bring a new level of performance to the GoGrid line. 4 GB Cloud Servers have 3 CPU Cores and 8 GB have 6 CPU Cores, ensuring dedicated CPU allocations and high performance.

All GoGrid Cloud Servers come with persistent storage. The new larger RAM allocations announced today, are delivered with increased persistent storage: 4 GB Cloud Servers have 240 GB of hard drive space and 8 GB have 480 GB of storage allocated at boot time. Additional storage can be added using GoGrid’s dynamically scalable Cloud Storage offering which includes a 10 GB free allotment to start with. Each 1 GB thereafter costs $0.15/GB/month.

(more…) «New Larger RAM Instances Now Available on GoGrid»

GoGrid’s Randy Bias & Michael Sheehan Cloud Computing Podcast (Overcast Show #6)

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 by

overcast_podcast Last week, Randy Bias, VP of Technology Strategy and I participated in a podcast on Cloud Computing called “Overcast: Conversations on Cloud Computing“, hosted by James Urquhart and Geva Perry. The Overcast podcast series discusses various aspects of the Cloud Computing Industry and related technologies. Previous guests included Lew Tucker (Sun Microsystems), Greg Ness (Infoblox) and John Willis (a leading cloud computing blogger), among others. The podcast, “Overcast Show#6: Feb 5, 2009 – with Randy Bias and Michael Sheehan, GoGrid” is a little less than an hour in length and covers many of the following topics:

  • Distinction and clarifications around the terms “Cloudcenter” and “Infrastructure Web Services” as they existing within the Cloud Infrastructure layer. (More reading on cloudcenters can be found here and here.)
  • Understanding GoGrid’s approach to standards and interoperability, especially as they relate to datacenter and infrastructure standards
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers such as Google App Engine and how Cloud Infrastructure (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and GoGrid fits in
  • Discussion around how we recently put our GoGrid API under a Creative Commons license as well as our efforts to involve other cloud providers and vendors, such as Flexiscale, RightScale and Eucalyptus, in building open standards from the ground up (more info here)
  • How GoGrid is working with Puppet and Chef technologies to automate system administration and configuration management
  • Using GoGrid’s Cloud Connect offering to “cloudburst” and create hybrid infrastructure topologies using the dynamic scalability of Cloud Web Servers and the robust, high I/O throughput of dedicated backend servers
  • …and much more…

We encourage you to listen to this podcast to gain some insight on our thought leadership, concepts and ideas around Cloud Computing, GoGrid and the hosting industry in general. This (and all) podcasts are available in a variety of formats:

  • Download Overcast Podcast #6 as an MP3 File
  • Subscribe to Overcast in iTunes (Note: this link will attempt to launch iTunes.)
  • Play from this site (click on the graphic below)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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“In Cloud We Trust?” ReadWriteWeb Asks & My 2 Cents

Monday, January 26th, 2009 by

readwriteweb_logo Today, Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb posted the question, “Do you trust the cloud?” to FriendFeed and wrote about her findings in the article “In Cloud We Trust?” The problem is, I believe the question itself was too vague. But this “finger to the air to test the wind direction” did spark quite a bit of discussion and further made me realize that the public in general doesn’t fully yet understand the full spectrum of Cloud Computing (and this was even within a social media/tech-savvy audience).

As is evident from the 90+ comments that popped up within 18 hours of posting the question, people have a lot to say about the subject. The important thing to consider here is the lack of granularity of the question and the range of responses. To really ask and analyze the question better, one must fine-tune it more to the detailed components of what makes up Cloud Computing, namely: Cloud Applications, Cloud Platforms, Cloud Aggregators, Cloud Extenders and Cloud Infrastructure. My guess is, most people responding to the question don’t truly understand the differences between these layers in the Cloud. Perhaps better, more focused questions would have been:

  • “Do you trust Cloud Applications like Flickr, Facebook and Gmail?”
  • “Do you trust Google or others with your critical data?”
  • “Do you see yourself using the Cloud as your primary or ancillary IT strategy?”

New_Cloud_Pyramid

It seemed to me that the common thread within the FriendFeed responses was that of FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The question itself is phrased with an inherent FUD factor which can quickly skew the resulting answers. However, I do think that this question is important from a consumer standpoint, that of the everyday user of Gmail or Evernote or DropBox, for example. The biggest commonality that I saw from reading through all of the comments was that of “backups.” My read is that people are concerned that their data will be lost in some way, either by a company pulling the plug or a hard-drive crashing or just not being able to physically “touch” it.

From a consumer standpoint, this article is appropriate. As the amount of data that consumers produce in the form of emails or photos for example, continues to grow almost exponentially, they are realizing that storing this un-replaceable data in a single location is risky. Many back up this priceless data on external hard-drives or CDs/DVDs. Some seem to be venturing to the “Cloud” as a secondary redundancy, by using Cloud Storage to solve this.

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