Tuesday, September 22, 2009
'We are using cloud' = WTF does that mean?
I finally had an hour to catch up on some reading and it struck me that cloud computing - on the surface - hadn't changed much. People are still talking about cloud startegy, cloud rollouts, virtualization is the vapor of the cloud, etc. etc. etc.
I still ask the question - So What?
Cloud is a concept that is desperately trying to find a product category and an accounting method to charge for it. When I hear something to the effect of 'We are rolling out a cloud computing platform' or 'We are adopting Cloud computing' I cant help but think - So What? I have a huge crate of Lego blocks. Same difference.
Legos can be used to build really cool things. From incredibly complex to a simple collections of blocks to form a cube. Same with Cloud Computing. The Cloud is a bunch of stuff in a data center. You can roll out something incredibly complex and proprietary, or a simple massive storage application to put bytes into. Your call.
I recently had the priviledge of working with NASA to deploy a cloud stack. So what? Great question!
NASA wanted a simple, ubiquitous, adoptable, stack of applications for two things - raw compute and storage. That's it - two specific problems adressed in one stack of apps that would be made available to the organization. It is named NEBULA.
The interesting thing to me with NEBULA, is that by default in the way the stack was knitted together, they get three benefits out of one stack:
Infrastructure as a Service: Quite simply, IaaS is the delivery of computer infrastructure as a service. Instead of buying servers, software, data center space or network equipment, clients purchase necessary resources as a fully outsourced service. Nebula users can think of this as an evolution of web hosting and virtual private server offerings.
Platform as a Service: Nebula’s PaaS functionality facilitates the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing numerous hardware and software layers. Services are provisioned as an integrated solution over the web. No software downloads or installations are necessary to realize full computing capabilities.
Software as a Service: The SaaS functionality of the Nebula Cloud includes typical moderation workflows, terms of service, and several levels of basic policy compliance, security, and software assurance. Users desiring to utilize the underlying Nebula components directly will be required to pass the necessary security reviews, content reviews and legal certifications themselves.
In my next blog post, I will cover the issues that arise when it's successful...
Posted by Mark Mac Auley at 5:42 AM