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Author Topic: Red Hat's new target: cloud computing  (Read 3564 times)
isthisthingon
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« on: September 08, 2009, 09:05:42 PM »

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/090309-red-hat-virtualization.html?source=NWWNLE_nlt_daily_pm_2009-09-03
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 10:38:16 PM »

"cloud computing"

Oh boy, another term that has no meaning.  Last one was "Web 2.0".  It took me
about a year to grasp that one.

Yes, I read the wikipedia page about "cloud computing" already; it didn't help me much,
I'm not at the engineering level.

The "cloud" comes from the little circle drawing that some ppl use to illustrate the web,
internet, or any sort of network.

So it's actually network computing, but that only confirms the meaninglessness of the term.

Sounds like a LAN to me spread out over a bigger, not-well-defined area so it can be cloud-ish.

Clouds come and go.  Rise and fall.  Some are pretty, some dangerously dark.

I think I'll just stick to my dual floppy drives.  (jk)

my rant,
out,
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isthisthingon
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 11:29:17 PM »

One aspect of cloud computing that is purely cloud and distinctly not Web 1.0 is SaaS, or Software as a Service.  Inherent in SaaS is the concept of a multi-tenant environment (you live in one apartment amongst endless others, with the same rules, pool, jacuzzi, water, power and trash service).  More importantly, SaaS also contains the purely cloud concept of the:

Programmable Web

SaaS literally gives us the ability to program inside the Web (more accurately, a programmable "cloud" within it).  In web 1.0, you build something from scratch with some dev environment with varying degrees of rapid prototyping and then "publish" it to some unknown IP address and there it sits, waiting for the lamest of things to happen: idiotic crawlers show up to determine your search relevance based primarily on the information you choose to provide them.  Soon you wind up on page x of search engines and hope for the best.  Then this process repeats, at an unsustainably high rate to maintain any degree of search relevance, obscuring an ever growing pool of services, products and information from the world.

While the end of that diatribe is not specifically what cloud computing is, it does describe an aspect of the web that caused part of the movement. 

Web 1.0 = baby boomers.  Web 2.0 is generation x and cloud computing is gen Y.  It is hard to see and probably frustrating if it feels like being raped by terminology.  I'd probably feel the same way but I just happened to get deeply involved in "cloud computing" and eventually gained an appreciation for the distinction.

Unfortunately, these days everyone and their mother claims to be a "cloud service" so it doesn't help matters a bit.  And there's lots of people who feel exactly the same way you do.  But consider that Dell fought to the death to trademark the term and even greater outside pressures stopped them from doing it (http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3763391)


A decent summary from Webopedia:

Quote
Cloud Computing

Dell, IBM, Sun, Microsoft, Amazon and many others are all doing it this year. Cloud computing is a type of computing that is comparable to grid computing, relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing power (normally used by military and research facilities) to perform tens of trillions of computations per second.

To do this, Cloud computing networks large groups of servers, usually those with low-cost consumer PC technology, with specialized connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Often, virtualization techniques are used to maximize the power of cloud computing.

There are many people out there who believe the term cloud computing is just another buzzword that is used to describe too many technologies, making it confusing to many. The term Cloud computing has been used to mean grid computing, utility computing, software as a service, Internet-based applications, autonomic computing, peer-to-peer computing and remote processing. When most people use the term, they may have one of these ideas in mind, but the listener might be thinking about something else.

Regardless if you share this view or not, you're bound to hear more on cloud computing in the coming year.

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isthisthingon
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 11:52:34 PM »

Another way to look at it:

  • Web 1.0: basic info. sites, brochure-ware & web stores.  Single "disconnected" points of interest.
  • Web 2.0: the Myspace/Facebook/RSS-style connected and configurable web.  An amorphous and personalized one-to-one tool for the masses
  • Cloud computing: the programmable Web

However, a "cloud Service" is frequently the term now used for everything from gmail to NetFlix and astrology updates Roll Eyes  Mere climbers on the bandwagon.
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2009, 11:59:36 PM »

Hehe, cloud computing. I like this term because it haven't been defined yet. Now it has so much possibilities and now it's up to great minds to innovate software world all over again.
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isthisthingon
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 12:38:03 AM »

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Hehe, cloud computing. I like this term because it haven't been defined yet. Now it has so much possibilities and now it's up to great minds to innovate software world all over again.

A few fundamentally unique and name-worthy manifestations in the webosphere caused the justified creation of the term cloud computing.  These were so compelling (including the programmable web & multi-tenancy) that like vultures, others jumped on the bandwagon so quickly the original definition was obscured.

I could give a rats-ass about the name.  The truly "programmable web" is what we will all choose to accept when we're ready to accept it.  The warp-speed adoption rates and exponential improvements in TCO and risk factors insure that it's going nowhere but everywhere.

So whatever the name, the collection of services and architectural framework known as cloud computing is the dominant focus of a few players worth mentioning: Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle/Sun, Red Hat, Facebook, Amazon and of course Force.com.

 Nerd

But I'm sure they're all just confused and wasting billions chasing phantom terminology Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 11:40:27 AM »

A System 5 mainframe by any other name...  ROFLMAO

"Programming inside the web" really ITTO? I mean, how honestly is this different than me knowing if my CoLo is a VPS or solid machine? I agree that the notion that spontaneous access to unlimited cycles, ram etc is cool, but how many people really need that... or is that really a good model?

As an abstraction layer, I get it. But as a philosophy, I really kind of only get it's significance in the boardroom, not the server room. I'm probably a dinosaur yet again, and probably laughably archaic. But I don't get it's significance at the level you seem to.
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 12:08:25 PM »

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"Programming inside the web" really ITTO?

Absolutely.  A good way for you specifically to think of the programmable web is to imagine your framework that you designed in PHP.  Now imagine the framework is completely drivable with a freehand object oriented language, scalable to millions of users, with an associated meta-data driven database to complete the picture (not MySQL but something on "top" of it).  (Apex)

The UI is also a completely freehand HTML-like language that ties to the freehand OO back-end (Visualforce).  PHP would probably not be used but instead probably C++ .NET or something to write the "online compiler" or "online script processor" that makes these scripts turn into actual, live programs, websites, clusters of transactional functionality across multiple clouds with different "online script processors" and differently designed cloud environments - using RESTful communications between all of them.  (My latest email marketing application floats on the latter, working with the Lyris cloud from the Force.com cloud)

Then someone codes a new web store with their own custom code at the PerkCloud.  They save this code into your cloud and their own custom store begins to work in your cloud as well, looking like nothing more than it's own store but completely living with your "multi-tenant architecture". 

That's SaaS.  You would then have a SaaS cloud.  Does that make sense?  That's what I mean by "Programming inside the web."  Perhaps a different name is more appropriate but it certainly is not just a board room topic since they wouldn't know jack about how to do all this stuff Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2009, 12:24:11 PM »

It just dawned on me that there's an easier way to describe SaaS.

Imagine you have one computer living somewhere on the net that has unlimited resources and unlimited user logins.  This SaaS cloud is for PHP, let's say.  You get a login, write a PHP program and the it lives there once it's written.

That's your PHP SaaS cloud for ya Smiley

The underlying technologies required to build and host this virtual PC are called a cloud service.
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2009, 02:11:32 PM »

So a mainframe running M$ Terminal Server would be like a cloud service, no? Or a distributed computing architecture that you could add machines to as you need more cycles, providing unknown numbers of virtuals but are perceived as a single IP/contact point?
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isthisthingon
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2009, 02:48:52 PM »

>So a mainframe running M$ Terminal Server would be like a cloud service, no?

This is correct but the reason I specifically use SaaS is that what you mention is not SaaS, though with so many other things it's happily lumped in with cloud "computing."  And totally confusing for everyone.

With SaaS, the main difference is a managed multi-tenant architecture, not simply giving everyone a virtual slice of available processing power.

So in my PHP example, here's the difference.  On one hand (non SaaS) you have literally a virtual machine that someone rents for PHP development.  In the SaaS cloud (managed multi-tenant) the PHP is interpreted twice.  The first interpretation determines many things including compliance to governor limits.  But more importantly it generates something like a mock-PHP that then gets interpreted into what appears to be PHP but is something entirely different.  It only appears to behave like a handicapped PHP but is actually a collection of lower level cloud services "executing" each line of SaaS "code" at runtime into your mock-HTML presentation layer.

This is why you wouldn't have actual MySQL but a meta-data driven model on top of it.  The reason is that the SaaS cloud is a living interpretation of everything that a SaaS programmer designed and coded - 2 levels up.

SaaS can't have any notion of location, virtual machines, IPs, etc. and all processing is done atop a layer of intelligence that does all the distribution of work.  This happens across virtuals, servers, locations, etc. etc. and entirely abstracted from SaaS programmers and SaaS end users.

SaaS itself is confusing since Software as a Service also describes the end user aspect of renting time with hosted software.  Cloud Service Managed Software Development as a Service is a mouthful but perhaps more accurate Wink

Any wonder why this shit is confusing??

Azure (in part) should be called OSaaS, since it's planning to be an Operating System as a Service.  However, they plan to include ".NET" as a service as well.  But it's not .NET under the hood, it's an additional layer that gets managed as mentioned above.  It will look like a handicapped .NET but it's a Cloud .NET that is totally abstracted from the real thing.

That's why it's SaaS.  And that's why it's not just a fancy new term describing an actual slice (VM) of someone else's real and hosted .NET environment Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2009, 03:58:56 PM »

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Cloud Service Managed Software Development as a Service is a mouthful but perhaps more accurate


That does make more sense to me, a non-geek, although the "Cloud Service", once again
gives the phrase an elusive element. 

But doesn't "Cloud Service" mean "distributed"?

Why does "cloud" need to part of this terminology?

anyways, thanks for your explanations.

Bompa
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isthisthingon
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 04:40:17 PM »

>But doesn't "Cloud Service" mean "distributed"?

Certainly behind the scenes but a "Cloud Service is also confusingly used to represent many things.  A valid use of the term is to offer your cloud service as the lowest level plumbing for a cloud service provider such as the Google App Store to utilize.  Red Hat is going in this direction: providing the low level cloud service development tools where as the App Store (like Force.com) sits on top of it.

>Why does "cloud" need to part of this terminology?

Because they haven't been able to wrap meaningful terms around the numerous technologies this term applies to!  Sarcastically, Cloud is a great term since it's meaning is obscured by clouds Wink

>anyways, thanks for your explanations.

No problem Bompa!  I should clarify for the Cache and be more specific.  When I'm referring to Cloud Computing, I'm referring specifically to what is called SaaS L4 (SaaS level 4 maturity).  This specific level of SaaS is what I refer to most and it's what I hope people on the Cache will learn more about.  It's way cool and totally hidden behind the confusing cloud cluster of terms.  Below is a description of the 4 SaaS levels from wiki (saas).

Cheers,
itto


Quote
Historians can generally classify SaaS architectures as belonging to one of four "maturity levels", whose key attributes are configurability, multi-tenant efficiency, and scalability.[6] Each level is distinguished from the previous one by the addition of one of those three attributes:

    * Level 1 - Ad-Hoc/Custom: At the first level of maturity, each customer has its own customized version of the hosted application and runs its own instance of the application on the host's servers. Migrating a traditional non-networked or client-server application to this level of SaaS typically requires the least development effort and reduces operating costs by consolidating server hardware and administration.

    * Level 2 - Configurable: The second maturity-level provides greater program flexibility through configurable metadata, so that many customers can use separate instances of the same application code. This allows the vendor to meet the different needs of each customer through detailed configuration options, while simplifying maintenance and updating of a common code base.

    * Level 3 - Configurable, Multi-Tenant-Efficient: The third maturity level adds multi-tenancy to the second level, so that a single program instance serves all customers. This approach enables more efficient use of server resources without any apparent difference to the end user, but ultimately comes up against limits in scalability.

    * Level 4 - Scalable, Configurable, Multi-Tenant-Efficient: The fourth and final SaaS maturity level adds scalability through a multitier architecture supporting a load-balanced farm of identical application instances, running on a variable number of servers. The provider can increase or decrease the system's capacity to match demand by adding or removing servers, without the need for any further alteration of applications software architecture.

SaaS architectures may also use virtualization, either in addition to multi-tenancy, or in place of it.[7] One of the principal benefits of virtualization is that it can increase the system's capacity without additional programming. On the other hand, a considerable amount of programming may be required to construct a more efficient, multi-tenant application. Combining multi-tenancy and virtualization provides still greater flexibility to tune the system for optimal performance.[8] In addition to full operating system-level virtualization, other virtualization techniques applied to SaaS include application virtualization and virtual appliances.

The development of SaaS applications may use various types of software components and frameworks. These tools can reduce the time-to-market and the cost of converting a traditional on-premise software product or building and deploying a new SaaS solution. Examples include components for subscription management, grid computing software, web application frameworks, and complete SaaS platform products.
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 05:11:29 PM »

But doesn't "Cloud Service" mean "distributed"?
"Cloud" sounds more cool.
Just like "engine", I am making a game "engine", I am making a scrapping "engine".
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