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Posts Tagged ‘computing’

 

Computing on "Cloud Nine"

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 by

353558249_5b33a0281d_oEveryone seems to be either talking about cloud computing, launching their product “within the cloud” or developing a “cloud” infrastructure. I would like to take a step back and really think about why the word “cloud” is being used in the first place.

First, a quick side note: as I tried to track down the origins of the term “cloud computing” I did come across a very insightful post by Paul Wallis that does a fantastic job stepping through the evolution from “supercomputing” through “the cluster” into “the grid” and eventually up into the “clouds.” The concept of having “data clouds speaking to supercomputer clouds” is becoming a reality, according to Wallis, however, I echo his concern that in order for this magical marriage to take place, there needs to be a new level of Quality of Service connecting the two, among other things.

Even with the foundation being laid by some heavy players, cloud computing is still in its infancy. But this is not the subject of this article. I still circle back to the marketing “genus” that coined the term “cloud” to describe this new computing paradigm. For that, I move away from the technical and more to the linguistic.

The term “cloud” can be used in many forms of speech:

  • Noun – The clouds of smoke filled the room
  • Verb – The smoke clouded the room
  • Adjective – The cloudy smoke filled the room
  • Adverb – The smoke cloudily filled the room

So, cloud is a good word choice from a grammatical perspective since it can be used with a variety of ways. But is it a good term to use to describe a product or technology? I’m not so sure. As an exercise, I started writing down words that came to mind when I thought about “cloud”. In no particular order:

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One of the Better “Cloud Computing” Posts that I have Read

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 by

Alex_Iskold_graphic As I strive to better understand these new emerging technologies such as “cloud computing”, I frequently find myself reading various blog articles, many professing to be the end-all definition related to the topic. It is not very often that I actually come across an article that is informative, understandable and compelling enough to warrant note.

The post by Alex Iskold is a perfect example of one of these excellent articles. An important definition from his post:

The idea behind cloud computing is simple – scale your application by deploying it on a large grid of commodity hardware boxes. Each box has exactly the same system installed and behaves like all other boxes. The load balancer forwards a request to any one box and it is processed in a stateless manner – meaning the request is followed by an immediate response and no state is held by the system. The beauty of the cloud is in its scalability – you scale by simply adding more boxes.

Some may say that this article is a bit “heavy” on Amazon as the “killer service.” But I believe his point is that Amazon has put a lot of weight behind and person-hours into their products and they will be hard to duplicate, at least for players developing “cloud” products. But some of his general comments hold true regardless of the product: “Free from the need to solve the scalability problems, startups are able to focus on the specific problems their product or service is trying to solve.”

I recommend this as a good read on what Cloud Computing is, a la Amazon, and for people really trying to make heads or tails of grid, utility, cloud and distributed computing.

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Understanding “Clouded” Computing Terms (revised)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 by

Author’s Note: This post was revised on 6/23/08. The nature of computing is under going a revolution and rather than fully remove this post, I elected to refresh it so as to provide a better framework for readers.

There seems to be a lot of debate around different types of Computing Terms being used to describe server and hosting solutions. In fact, in the past, the blogosphere seemed to throw around terms like Grid, Cloud, Utility, Distributed and Cluster computing almost interchangeably. But, as of this revision, one term is rising to the top: Cloud Computing. (See recent trend analysis here.)

The definitions vary from source to source, author to author. While I cannot (and will not) attempt to articulate the end-all definition, I can write about how I view these terms and how they apply to the products that we offer, namely GoGrid. But before I dive into MY interpretation, providing what others view on these subjects may shed some light on our framework.

Terms as defined by Wikipedia

wikipedia_logo_sm Many people view Wikipedia as an authoritative source of information but that is always subject to debate. Wikipedia defines some of these terms as follows (not the end-all definitions though) and I have taken some liberties of removing non-relevant information for argument’s sake:

  • Grid Computinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_computing
    • Multiple independent computing clusters which act like a “grid” because they are composed of resource nodes not located within a single administrative domain. (formal)
    • Offering online computation or storage as a metered commercial service, known as utility computing, computing on demand, or cloud computing.
    • The creation of a “virtual supercomputer” by using spare computing resources within an organization.

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