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Preview: by Bert Armijo

by Bert Armijo


Is Cloud computing safe enough ?


Since I have read some post about cloud computing security, i become somewhat septic to invest in this  technology , so to what extent it is  safe for data storing mainly when i experienced a data storage crash with a cloud company that i do not want to name , so to what extent it is safe for data storing  , so which are the best reliable companies affording quality services  .I am awaiting your expertise advices .Thanks in advance

Cloud computing safety and security


The points explained in the discussion are clear are very interesting .. My point is that i want to invest in this cloud computing ; However; since I have read some stuff about   cloud computing information   and security, i become somewhat septic to invest in  , so to what extent it is  safe for data storing security  and which are the best reliable companies affording quality services .

Off to LT Pact


I'm headed to LT Pact for the next couple days, Layered Tech's customer gathering in Vegas. Layered has been a close partners and puts on a great event, with folks from all over the world interested in delivering web applications. Most, of course, host with Layered, but not all. It's an open event, registration is free, and you don't have to be a customer to attend.

The only downside is this means I'm in an airport AGAIN, for the third time in as many days, enduring that infinitely un-American intrusion into my life that is TSA. This morning's line extended more than 100 yards outside the terminal itself. If either presidential candidate would commit to ending this assualt on our civil liberties they'd have my instant support. Any takers???

Toward a cloud computing standard


Last year in a flurry of blog posts, there were several folks pushing to start work on a cloud computing standard. At the time I responded that I thought it was too early, because the realm of possibilities needed to be explored further. Plus, IMHO the best standards don't document what is, but provide a framework for future work.

Well I'm happy to say that I think the time has come when we have enough companies in the space working on creative products and services that a standard can progress productively. We've begun to share our vision for what that standard can achieve, it's called Cloudware, and covers not only AppLogic but a whole new way to approach infrastructure.

Over the next couple months I'll be reaching out to companies that may be interested in participating in a standards effort as well as looking into what the right venue is for the work. I've worked on a few standards in my career (SCSI, QIC, 1000BASE-X, 10GBASE-X, Infiniband) and have found that truly open bodies that foster broad participation create the best standards, though they require the most work. For this effort I'd love to see not only the folks who label themselves cloud computing today, but also data center operators, networking vendors, server vendors, ISVs and folks like APC who deal in power infrastructure. If you're interested, please email and I'll keep you up to date.

Velocity Conference in SF


A few of us from 3tera will be at the  O'Reily's Velocity Conference in San Francisco for the next couple days. In fact, this will be a pretty busy week. In addition to  Velocity, we'll be presenting at Cloud Camp and LTpact, and will be attending the Structure 08 conference as well.

Dennis Barker talks cloud computing with 3tera


I talked with Dennis Barker last week about Cloudware and he did a nice write up in GRIDtoday covering the work 3tera's doing to open cloud computing up. It well worth a read.

John Willis kicks aaS!!!


John Willis posted a satirical kick in the aaS at the myriad of folks trying to reduce cloud computing to X-as-a-service. It's a must read for anyone following the cloud computing space.

Agathon Group becomes 3tera partner


Our latest partner, Agathon Group, has begun offering AppLogic based services and they've put an innovative portal in front of the system so customers can sign up online and get down to business right away. A few partners have discussed creating such a portal, but Agathon is the first to put one in production. Plus, not only can you select the service, but using sliders you can specify the amount of cpu, memory and storage. It's quite well done and worth a look.

Also, in addition to grid based virtual servers and virtual data centers, Agathon is offering complete scalable LAMP and Ruby stacks; something quite a few rusers have requested so I'm sure they'll do well with it.

New 3tera team members


It's been WAY too long since I've found time to write. If you ever start a company, be prepared - a packed calendar is a requirement for success.

Since the last time I posted we've added 3 new members of the 3tera team:

Sean Mulvaney came on board last month as an account manager. Sean's spent years in the software business and is quickly ramping up to speed bringing new users into the cloud.

Shubham Gupta joined the engineering team as a summer intern and got dropped right in the middle of the Windows build out.

Joseph Dempsey is now an integral part of our support operations. He's got many years of Linux and Windows operations experience and if you use AppLogic you're sure to encounter Joseph posting on the forums.

We're growing quickly and have several more openings in support, engineering, operations and sales. Care to take a walk in the cloud?

What kind of cloud are you using?


Alistair Croll has an interesting post on gigaom's refresh the net about understanding the various types of cloud computing that's worth a read. He tries to break down cloud computing along two axis, whether you get to decide what software your run or the service provider does, and where the resources are located. He ends up with two classifications, development clouds where the provider selects the stack, and operations clouds where you select your software.

IMHO, though, I think Alistair has fallen into a trap laid for him by dozens of other bloggers and vendors - accepting the idea that anything run outside your data center is cloud computing. This notion, which started with folks relabling SaaS as cloud computing, eventually lead to the explotion of XaaS acronyms.

I have to admit, it's been easy to do fall into this pattern, and I've even caught myself doing it. At the root of this confusion I believe is that many new cloud computing services cropping up today are really built from old infrastructure. On one hand, several companies have tried to copy EC2 by offering virtual machines provisioned through an api. On the other hand many services have cropped up offering hosted platforms, essentially shared software stacks deployed as a cluster.

With the proper technology, this type of tradeoff isn't needed. Agathon Group, a new data center partner of 3tera, is using AppLogic to offer not only both virtual machines, and prebuilt software stacks, but also full virtual data centers. And, of course, they're doing all this from a single physical infrastructure.

For cloud computing to truly succeed, requires real technology innovation. As new services come out the difference will become clear and the terminology confusion we're experiencing today will subside.

AppLogic - The Personal centralized interactive utility grid


Grid computing has been evolving over the past few years from the purely academic number crunching endeavors of it's roots, to new and innovative uses, including utility computing. The IEEE computer society has now published an attempt at classifying emerging classes of grid technology. Such a classification effort is not for the faint of heart in a rapidly emerging field, but the authors do an admirable job. I was quite impressed that I could actually find a full classification for AppLogic, and if I understand the taxonomy correctly, AppLogic would be considered a "personal centralized interactive utility grid operating system" in the proposed classification.

Dan Farber Interviews LinkedIn's Lloyd Taylor


I just ran accross a podcast of Dan Farber interviewing Lloyd Taylor of LinkedIn from December that I highly recommend. It's an excellent listen for anyone who wants to understand how a VP of Technology Operation should be spending his day - focused on adding value to his customers. Lloyd even states up front that he's able to do this because his infrastructure is sound. The day to day stuff works.

For the record, they are not a 3tera customer. LinkedIn did it the old fashioned way, but that only adds to my admiration.

When virtualization disappears


I made a quick trip to the golf shop today to pick up some balls. (TopFlite XL for you golfers). Just like the Visa commercials I zipped in, picked up the balls, swiped the card, and was out the door in less than a minute. That's the power of virtualization!


What? Right now many of you are trying to figure out what part of that story was about virtualization. Perhaps the cash register was running VMware or Xen? Nope. I'm talking of course about my credit card - virtual money.


In fact, money IMHO is the oldest form of virtualization. Consider what money really is. The golf shop accepted the swipe of my card in exchange for a hard asset, the golf balls. They did this because they have a high expectation of getting money from the credit card company as a result of that swipe. The money they'll receive is virtual as well. It's nothing more than some digits on a computer screen or bank statement, but they have a reasonable expectation that they can exchange that virtual money for goods and services just as I did. That's a social contract we've all accepted even though we don't typically think about it. The virtualization of the exchange has disappeared.


There are many more examples of virtualization in our every day lives, phone numbers, steering wheels in our cars, etc.


The relevance of these examples to our industry can't be overstated. Each of these forms of virtualization took many years to become accepted, but once they did they literally disappeared from conscious use. Likewise, server virtualization will become a fixture over the next few years and it two will disappear from view. If you find that a stretch, as I’m sure virtualization vendors will, consider how often you think about extended memory managers. You're probably using one even while reading this post, but you're not even aware of it.


As we move forward, servers AND virtual servers will disappear as system administrators find it more productive and simpler to work with new abstractions. At 3tera we see this already. During speeches and sales presentations I often say "servers need to be treated like light bulbs in the ceiling - no one in an office worries about a specific bulb, but rather about light." While folks may find this incredulous, this is in fact something we designed our system to do and usually within a few days of using AppLogic the concept takes over users.


Instead of thinking about servers, even virtual servers, they're thinking about they're application, it's infrastructure and performance. Servers, like light bulbs, become just a resource.


So, as we in the industry try to help our users move forward, and as we begin to contemplate standards for this new space, we too need to look beyond current implementations - to a time when servers and server virtualization disappear.

AppLogic turns 2


How time flies when you're slaving away in a startup ;-)

Although it seems like only yesterday, it's now been two full years since the first users logged in on AppLogic grids during our private beta.  It seems hard to believe, but at the time we launched no one had uttered the word grid in relation to hosting, utility computing was considered dead, clouds meant rain, and Amazon was a book retailer.

Along the way AppLogic has picked up many new capabilities as well; metering, built-in monitoring, 64 bit support, dynamic appliances, and hosting partners on three continents. Plus, the largest individual grid grew to more than 450 cpu cores, 1TB of RAM, and 50TB of storage.

It's been a great two years and I'm happy to report that thanks to the creativity of our users there's much, much more to come this year.

Building the run book into your applications


One of the most unique aspects of AppLogic is its ability to package full distributed systems into executable entities. When we designed AppLogic, the purpose of packaging the application was to ensure the complete separation of hardware and software operational responsibilities. This was critical to enabling true utility computing. We succeeded in the effort.

Users, however, found another use for the packages - documenting the applications themselves. AppLogic's graphical depiction of application structure makes it easy to see at a glance what components exist, what the communication linkages are, what volumes exist and which contain user data. This was a use case we hadn't foreseen.

In the 2.3 release of AppLogic, due to go into beta around the end of March, we'll be adding enhanced annotation capabilities to AppLogic to provide for creating more complete application documentation. You'll be able to add text and graphical annotation elements to application diagrams plus be able to create text notes for appliances. Combined with the ability to operate directly upon the application and to embed operational policies into applications with dynamic appliances, adding annotation essentially turns the application into its own run book.

As a teaser, below is a screen capture from the QA grid being used to test the 2.3 release, in which you can see a bit of the annotation in the infrastructure editor.


John Willis demystifies cloud computing


John Willis has a great posting today titled Demystifying Clouds in which he cuts through the hype to offer a definition of cloud computing and catagorizes many of the cloud computing offerings on the market. He's done a great job thinking through the differences between services which makes for a great read.

RE: De-centralized utilities and the case against Red Shift



Great post. Not only does the "5 data centers will rule the world" concept go against some basic laws of economics, it is completely out of whack with some of the best business history lessons. If you look at almost any mature manufacturing industry (and I firmly believe that what we are talking about is just the manufacturing model reborn in digital form), I bet they would say you are nuts if you told them they had to have the CapEx expenditure or brain drain into supporting fields (like designing you own switches and servers) that Google has. Sure Google has to do this because this is such a nascent industry... but it's just silly to think the Google model will stay the same as the rest of the industry matures. But hey, it sure does make for fun stories in the tech news! :)


RE: De-centralized utilities and the case against Red Shift


Came across this while researching Red Shift, and I wholeheartedly agree. There are some major economic principles being entirely ignored by those that promote it.

De-centralized utilities and the case against Red Shift


Phil Wainewright has an interesting post  in which he looks at the future of the data center that Sun's promoting as Red Shift, in which all the worlds computing resources ultimately rest in the hands of a few large utility operators. Sun argues this is the most efficient operating condition and that only a few companies will be able to deliver the technologies required to realize these utilities. Phil notes:

". . . concentration of compute power in the network is in the interests of those who operate the large data centers. Sun, Google, Microsoft and Amazon will lobby hard for it . . ."

Economics, however, argue against this eventuality. The basic building blocks of a data center aren't produced by these companies. The real sources of power are processors, memory, disks, switches, cables, cooling, electricity, etc. Although Google has begun to vertically integrate by building it's own servers and reportedly it's own switch, it's hardly in control of all the resources required. In fact, none of the supposed five are. They will all be massive consumers.

I agree with Phil, that the power of the internet comes from it's decentralization. That belief is one of the key reasons 3tera has chosen not to build out our own data centers but instead to work with hosting providers and system integrators who already possess this skillset and are very efficient at it.

Although I do believe we'll see data center consoliation over the coming years as the cost of operating data centers within enterprises becomes untenable and the ease of adopting utility computing improves, I don't believe this will make Thomas Watson correct (assuming you believe the quote) - the world will still need more than five computers.

Utility computing is green


One of the truisms of promoting new technologies is that the market never forms as fast as you expect.  Spending sixteen hours a day, seven days a week working on steeped in the nuances of your technology, it can be frustrating trying to breakthrough the FUD accumulated in consumers minds by years working with the status quo. So, when you start to see that people get it, the moment is really gratifying.

One such moment was finding an article on ZDnet about Accenture Technology Labs' assesment that utility computing is a green technology:

"Industrial-scale computing facilities can be located so as to optimize across land costs, power costs, bandwidth costs and power reliability  . . . This can result in significant savings and is not an option most enterprises have available to them. "