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Posts Tagged ‘SaaS’

 

“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.

EECS_banner

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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Ten Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by

crystal-ball_cloudy After about a year of Cloud Computing under my belt, analyzing trends in the market, talking with various professionals as well as customers in the space and watching our own Cloud Computing product, GoGrid, take off as a Cloud Computing leader and innovator, I feel that it is time to make some 2009 predictions for Cloud Computing. Who would have guessed that 2008 would have been “The Year of the Cloud“? I think that 2009 will be “The Year of the CLOUDS” (emphasis on multiple).

A Quick Look Back

If you look back to January 2008, the players in Cloud Computing were few are far between. Obviously, Amazon was breaking ground in establishing themselves as the front-runner at that time. But the term was too new and largely undefined. One of my first blog posts discussed some trends of grid computing, virtualization & virtualized hosting, cloud computing and “green hosting.” For the most part, many of those concepts have not changed. Rather, they have evolved, grown and become more established as leading technologies for the future. As of the writing of that article, GoGrid was still in Private Beta, but with well over 2 years of development getting it ready for prime time.

Virtualization was definitely the buzzword of the beginning of 2008, mainly because it was something that people could fairly easily understand. There were several desktop virtualization products available for users to host different OS’s within their own OS. As Jeff Kaplan predicted, On-Demand services started to really take off for several reasons that are applicable even today (if not more so). His number 1 reason: “Services are Recession Proof” (more about that later in my predictions). While Jeff’s ideas were largely focused on SaaS, there is a lot to be said when you apply them to Cloud Computing in general.

Close to when GoGrid was launched at the end of March 2008, coincidentally(?) the search term “Cloud Computing” (according to Google Insight) really started a strong upward trend within World Wide Searches:

Google_insight_Cloud_computing_2007-8

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Control GoGrid Cloud Programmatically Using Windows PowerShell

Monday, October 13th, 2008 by

MSpowershell GoGrid user Mitch Denny created an outstanding use of the GoGrid API using Windows PowerShell. For the uninitiated, Windows PowerShell is a command line shell and scripting language designed to help IT professionals achieve greater control and productivity through the use of of an admin-focused scripting language, complete with 130 standard command line tools, consistent syntax and utilities (paraphrased from the PowerShell product page). PowerShell runs on Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008 and is a great way for sysadmins to control existing IT infrastructure through scripting.

The GoGrid API has been available for some time now and I have been waiting for a stellar use of it to showcase. (I’m still waiting for a very resourceful developer to use it either to create an iPhone web application or stand-alone application…hint, hint.) Mitch, who is an avid .NET developer from Australia and Senior Consultant at Readify, created a PowerShell Snap-in for GoGrid which uses the GoGrid API. His project, documented here, is open-source, hosted at CodePlex, and seems like will continue to evolve. Currently a Beta2 release, the “PowerShell Snap-in for GoGrid” was designed to “demonstrate how useful it can be for infrastructure-level SaaS providers to expose an API for their customers to use.” Mitch has some good visions on how and why API’s should be available, including:

  • Configure applications for performance testing.
  • Run load agents for performance testing.
  • Test disaster recovery scenarios.
  • Provision hardware for project work (i.e. development teams).
  • Support instructor led training with virtualised labs.
  • Host demonstration environments for presentations.
  • Controlling scale of your underling SaaS infrastructure.

Mitch’s code seems to work quite well. Following his instructions, I actually used it to provision a new load balancer within my GoGrid instance. It simply worked and took just a few minutes to set up. It’s actually fun executing the commands within PowerShell and watching devices magically appear within the GoGrid GUI.

What you need to get started:

  1. A GoGrid accountsign up now!. You will need access to the GoGrid portal in order to create an API Key.
  2. Windows PowerShell – download it from the Microsoft website here. Be sure to select the proper version for your OS. Have it fully installed before you start.
  3. The PowerShell Snap-In for GoGrid – this is the CodePlex project page, current version is “GoGrid 1.0 (BETA2)”. As of this writing, some of the Wiki pages describing some of the actions have not been fully built out but I expect that to change over time. The Snap-In is available for download in the upper right of the project page.

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The Cloud Pyramid

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 by

This insightful post on the RightScale blog recently got me thinking. The term “Cloud Computing” is much too vague. People want and need “slots” or “segments” where they can group things. This is how the mind operates through categorization and ordering. So, to possibly help with this, I would like to propose a “Cloud Pyramid” to help differentiate the various Cloud offerings out there.

Cloud Pyramid

There are other ways to display this hierarchy, however I elected to show it as a pyramid. For example, if one were to weight the graphic by the number of providers within each segment, the pyramid would be upside-down. The point here though is to show how these cloud segments build upon and are somewhat dependent upon each other. While they are directly related, they don’t require interdependence (e.g., a Cloud Application does not necessarily have to be built upon a Cloud Platform or Cloud Infrastructure). I would propose, however, that Cloud trends indicate that they will become more entwined over time.

Cloud Application

Within this part of the pyramid, users are truly restricted to only what the application is and can do. Some of the notable companies here are the public email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Quicken Online, etc.). Almost any Software as a Service (SaaS) provider can be lumped into this group. Most retail consumers use the services within this Cloud. You get pre-defined functionality and you cannot much further than that. Applications are designed for ease of use and GTD (getting things done). SalesForce, a huge Cloud Application/SaaS provider that has led the way for hosted software, falls into this category as well, however, their force.com product does not. Even online banking offerings could be lumped into this group.

Characteristics:

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