Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Ian Khan

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Release Management , @CloudExpo

Linux Containers: Article

Cloud Computing Expo: Exclusive Q&A with Yahoo! SVP Cloud Computing

Open Source Is Key to Cloud Computing, Says Shelton Shugar

"Ultimately, we believe that advancement in cloud computing technology will be driven by open source initiatives where large communities of engineers can collaborate and develop new code for the new applications and demands posed by the cloud model," says Shelton Shugar, SVP Cloud Computing at Yahoo! - and upcoming Keynote Speaker at SYS-CON's 4th International Cloud Computing Expo, in this Exclusive Q&A with Cloud Computing Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan.

Jeremy Geelan: What are the chief advantages of Cloud Computing from the point of view of Yahoo!’s customers worldwide?

Shelton Shugar: Yahoo! has more than 500 million unique users per month across the world. Yahoo! Cloud services enable us to provide superior user experiences and deliver targeted content to our enormous audience. Examples include faster content access around the globe, real-time sports updates, a personalized homepage experience, targeted news feeds, geo-specific ads and many more.

In addition, Yahoo! Cloud technologies enable us to innovate faster based on common, global and scalable platforms, thus enabling consumers to gain access to innovative features and products faster than ever before.

As one of the largest providers of consumer Internet services in the world, Yahoo’s cloud operates at virtually unprecedented scale, making it a unique environment and testing ground for cloud computing technologies.

Geelan: You have been quoted as saying that “Cloud is pushing up the Operational Excellence curve” – what exactly do you mean by that?

Shugar: Almost no other company can boast of having to tune its infrastructure to deal with the technical requirements and high standards of performance that are involved in serving more than 500 million unique users per month across the world. To meet this challenge, Yahoo!’s Cloud includes a collection of infrastructure and functional services targeted at dramatically improving the company’s efficiency throughout the entire product development cycle, from gathering user feedback and insight, to feature testing and iteration to ongoing product operations.

Cloud technologies allow us to achieve higher agility and quality while maintaining scale to meet the needs of our users. When I say “Cloud is pushing up the Operational Excellence (OE) Curve,” I mean simply that cloud enable our developers to focus more on creating great products for our users and less on the “heavy-lifting” of building complex infrastructure.

Geelan: As we approach the zettabyte (and perhaps even yottabyte) age, can value really be extracted from the voluminous data that is now in existence? How is that possible?

Shugar: Yes, it’s possible using technologies such as Hadoop. Hadoop is an open source distributed file system and parallel execution environment. Yahoo! runs Hadoop on tens of thousands of servers, enabling us to process and extract value from massive amounts of data. Apache Hadoop is an open source project of the Apache Software Foundation. Yahoo! is the largest contributor to Hadoop technology as well as its largest user.

Yahoo! recognized that the next-generation Web-scale services demand large distributed systems, and a growing number of other companies and organizations are likely to need similar capabilities. In addition to contributing most of the Hadoop code base, Yahoo! provides open source resources to the academic research community enabling them to access Internet-scale supercomputers for conducting systems and applications research.

Geelan: So exploring data-intensive computing in industry is clearly gaining momentum; what specific initiatives has Yahoo! been taking to encourage expertise in Hadoop and progress toward faster supercomputers? (Just a few, maybe – I know there are many!!)

Shugar: Earlier this year, Yahoo! announced the Yahoo! Distribution of Hadoop, in response to frequent requests from the community. Yahoo! is opening up its investment in Hadoop quality engineering via the Yahoo! Distribution of Hadoop, which has been tested and deployed at Yahoo! on the largest Hadoop clusters in the world and is based entirely on code available from Apache Hadoop. By making the Yahoo! Distribution of Hadoop generally available, Yahoo! is contributing back to the Apache Hadoop community so that the ecosystem can benefit from Yahoo!’s quality and scale investments.

In addition to Hadoop, Yahoo! is heavily investing in other cloud-related technologies such as storage, distributed caching, and serving to solve massive data-intensive computing challenges with serving our consumers.

Yahoo! also has very strong expertise in next generation cloud computing and data management technologies, and is leveraging its leadership in open source software, including Hadoop and Pig, to contribute to global, collaborative efforts around Internet-scale computing.

Over the past few years, we have made significant partnerships and have contributed technology to some of the leading research and development entities worldwide:

  • November 2007: Deployment of a supercomputing-class data center, called M45, for cloud computing research (first deployed at Carnegie Mellon University).
  • July 2008: Open Cirrus™ testbed formed with Hewlett Packard, Intel, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in Singapore, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany
  • April 2009: University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst join Carnegie Mellon University to take advantage of Yahoo!’s cloud computing resources
  • June 2009: Participation at Open Cirrus Summit, three new sites to join Open Cirrus: the Russian Academy of Sciences, Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), and Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS).

Geelan: When Yahoo! contributes to open source software such as Pig and Hadoop, what does the company get back?

Shugar: Yahoo! is a long-time supporter and contributor to open source software. Yahoo! is a platinum sponsor of The Apache Software Foundation, and the leading contributor to Hadoop to date, for example. Several members of Yahoo!'s development teams are active, long-term code contributors to Apache Hadoop, and we are committed to advancing the state-of-the-art in distributed computing through the incubation of new Apache projects.

We currently, and will continue to, actively collaborate with the industry, academia and the open source community, including through our Open Cirrus consortium, involvement with Hadoop, Pig and gradually other cloud-related technologies, and support of Apache. We are contributing back to the community so that the ecosystem can benefit from Yahoo!’s quality and scale investments, renowned technologists and innovation in next-generation Web technologies.

Yahoo! benefits from the contributions of others to open source projects and is able to collaborate with and sometimes hire the most talented researchers and engineers in the world, based on their interest in large scale application of open source technologies.

Geelan: And how does helping developers help Yahoo! in bottom line terms?

Shugar: We believe that the developer community is a key component in making Yahoo! a success. The challenges the industry is facing today in terms of large-scale, global cloud solutions are bigger than any one company (big or small) is able to solve on its own. As we contribute to the community, we also learn from the community, and third party developers are a valuable resource helping to speed innovation

Yahoo! is gradually open sourcing its cloud technology for this exact reason. We want to provide developers out there with an open source framework of scalable cloud technology that will enable them to build tools and solutions that in return will help Yahoo! (and the entire industry) to address these complex challenges.

In addition we believe this ecosystem of solutions “powered by” the core cloud technology will directly benefit Yahoo! consumers. This will provide consumers with customized web-applications (targeted at solving specific user needs) faster and better than ever before.

Geelan: What is it technically that makes Hadoop so powerful for large scale data processing? Are there alternatives?

Shugar: Hadoop provides the software infrastructure used across Yahoo! for large scale distributed computing and back-end data analytics, including fighting spam in Yahoo! Mail, content optimization for the Yahoo! homepage, and better ad targeting based on data analysis.

Hadoop provides a framework that distributes data and processing across thousands of computers, which working in parallel allows us to process and analyze enormous amounts of data in a very efficient manner.

We find Hadoop the ideal solution for Y! based on its scalability and flexible programming environment.

Geelan: How about enterprises, are they going to be adopters of Hadoop too?

Shugar: Yahoo! was the first major technology company to adopt Hadoop. Since then, many other companies, large and small, have begun using Hadoop. You can find more information about how others using Hadoop here:

Geelan: What happens to Yahoo!’s Distribution of Hadoop and growth of the Apache Hadoop project overall in light of the deal with Microsoft?

Shugar: Hadoop is our de facto standard scalable data processing platform at Yahoo!. In addition to Search, Hadoop is used to support display advertizing, content platforms, personalization, machine learning for filtering email spam, research, and all other large scale data analysis and mining.

We remain as committed as ever to developing and using Hadoop, and in contributing our code to the open source community. The Yahoo! Hadoop development team will be busy delivering on short and long term roadmaps.

We look forward to continuing to work with the wider Hadoop community to build an increasingly better Hadoop that will support Yahoo! and the industry’s needs in this area. We have by far the largest team of developers and testers working on the project and hundreds of internal customers who use tens of thousands of computers in large Hadoop clusters. We plan to continue to work on improving the Hadoop core to make it faster, more scalable, reliable and secure.

Geelan: What exactly is the Yahoo! Cloud Serving Platform?

Shugar: For the time being, Yahoo!’s is focused on developing a “private cloud”, focused on making the Yahoo! experience as extraordinary, effective and productive as possible for consumers and advertisers across the world. We see this as a multi-year effort that will provide significant advantages for Yahoo! now and in the future.

The Yahoo! Cloud Serving Platform provides Yahoo! developers, engineering and operations with a technology to build, test, deploy, and manage application in an elastic cloud infrastructure that can grow and shrink based on changing workloads.

The cloud serving architecture is based on the following key concepts:

• Abstracts concerns of the underlying infrastructure and network communication from developers and operations

• Uses virtualization and commodity hardware

• Employs a declarative programming language for defining services and applications • Automates the deployment process

• Standardizes software stacks and packaging

The Yahoo! cloud serving architecture represents a shift in the programming paradigm and, as such, can require a fundamental shift in application-design thought processes.

Geelan: Are interoperability and openness important in Cloud Computing, as far as Yahoo! is concerned?

Shugar: Ultimately, we believe that advancement in cloud computing technology will be driven by open source initiatives where large communities of engineers can collaborate and develop new code for the new applications and demands posed by the cloud model. Yahoo! is a leader in supporting open and collaborative research and development as a competitive advantage, enabling the open source community to drive forward the pace of innovation. We believe open source and collaborative innovation is the way to address the complex challenges that large-scale cloud solution presents. Yahoo! will continue to participate and contribute to such efforts wherever appropriate.

Geelan: What other plans does Yahoo! have, moving forward, for helping deliver a cloud at the scale of the Internet?

Shugar: We are investing internally in further building out and deploying cloud computing technologies and services across the global Yahoo! operation so as to help our product teams innovate faster and deliver high-quality experiences to our customers across the globe.

Over time, we may consider exposing our cloud services in a more comprehensive manner through the Yahoo! Developer Network, which serves as Yahoo!’s front door for third parties seeking to engage with our developer tools and web services. However, we have nothing specific to share at this time.

Geelan: Lastly, 2009 has so far been a year of obvious challenges, from both a CapEx and an OpEx perspective, for anyone involved with Enterprise IT. So, what’s your top tip, as a seasoned software executive, to those other IT execs out there right now – especially CTOs of embattled start-ups who may be looking for some magic bullet to ensure they’re alive (and well) as a company in 2010?

Shugar: For startups and small companies, there are public cloud offerings coupled with other commercial cloud vendors that can provide a pay as you go infrastructure minimizing CapEx investments and reducing the risk in deploying new products. For larger or enterprise companies, a hybrid model maintaining existing compute infrastructure while leveraging public cloud offerings for less critical or experimental projects may provide more flexibility at reduced CapEx.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgeniakhela will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgeniakhela is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing ...
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, will show how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He will use a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors to web services, and cloud integration to connect accounting and data, providing a Bluetooth...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.