Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Sanjay Zalavadia, Xenia von Wedel, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal, OpenStack Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Scalability – The New Buzzword for Cloud Computing

An exclusive Q&A with Barbara P. Aichinger, co-founder of FuturePlus Systems and VP of New Business Development

"I think SMAC will continue to grow and mature and the demand for more sophisticated data like streaming videos and online television will be a real game changer," stated Barbara P. Aichinger, co-founder of FuturePlus Systems and VP of New Business Development, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair. "Analytics is also very important and will become part of "Big Data," meaning the data pulled and pushed to and from the cloud will have an analytic associated with it."

Cloud Computing Journal: The move to cloud isn't about saving money, it is about saving time - agree or disagree?

Barbara P. Aichinger: It's about saving time and money but it can be scary. As someone who really understands how the hardware works and, more important, how it doesn't work I can understand the apprehension. The cloud needs standards especially in the quality and reliability area so that folks know their data is safe.

Cloud Computing Journal: How should organizations tackle their regulatory and compliance concerns in the cloud? Who should they be asking/trusting for advice?

Aichinger: I see two pieces here - first is the actual hardware, networking and the physical building that the machines are in. The second is all the layered products and software. My company is on the hardware side so I can speak to that. We make validation tools used by the designers of cloud servers. We see cost pressures causing hardware vendors to take short cuts on system validation. This can then show up in the data center as "ghost errors," i.e., memory errors that just happen once in a while but over time cause system outages.

The industry does not have standards for memory subsystem compliance. What has happened is that the industry has created tools to test the memory subsystem for compliance to the JEDEC memory specification. This is different from an actual compliance program. It's basically voluntary. If you are a good vendor, you use the right equipment to make sure your servers are compliant. The problem is many vendors do not, and since the end user has no idea about memory standards, they never ask what type of compliance testing is being done. IT managers should insist on seeing the validation reports for the servers they buy. System integrators who package up various hardware pieces and sell them as a complete server should also take a good hard look at what memory subsystem compliance testing has been done.

Cloud Computing Journal: What does the emergence of open source clouds mean for the cloud ecosystem? How does the existence of OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus and so on affect your own company?

Aichinger: I think open source is great especially for small companies trying to put something together for initial product releases. We use open source Ubuntu and the Google Stress App Test to exercise cloud hardware so that our tool can see if the memory subsystem is violating the JEDEC rules. In eight out of 10 systems we look at we find violations. These don't cause errors right away but over months and years they are statistically very likely to cause system crashes and cloud outages. OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, and Eucalyptus are all great additions to the cloud ecosystem. Our role at FuturePlus Systems is to make sure the hardware stays up by validating the design so these products can add value to the users of the cloud.

Cloud Computing Journal: With SMBs, the two primary challenges they face moving to the cloud are always stated as being cost and trust: where is the industry on satisfying SMBs on both points simultaneously - further along than in 2011-12, or...?

Aichinger: I think consumers don't have too much problem with moving to the cloud but for small businesses it can be a challenge. For a core engineering company like FuturePlus Systems the issue is more trust than cost. We know the ins and outs of the cloud hardware and the network so we take a good hard look at what data we keep in the cloud. Having said that we are excited to see our tools being used more and more by system integrators and cloud IT managers. We are teaching them how to make sure the systems they deploy in the cloud are quality and that the memory subsystems are compliant to the standards. As the cloud becomes "healthier" and more secure more SMBs will be more comfortable moving to the cloud.

Cloud Computing Journal: 2013 seems to be turning into a breakthrough year for Big Data. How much does the success of cloud computing have to do with that?

Aichinger: With all the sensors and mobile devices on the market Big Data is inevitable and that pushes the need for expansion in the cloud. Scalability is the new buzzword for cloud computing. I have read some papers that say Google already has one million servers deployed. Facebook is heading there quickly right along with others.

What many don't stop and think about is how do failures scale? In 2009 a landmark study looked at the failure rate of the memory DIMMs in the Google fleet of servers. The data suggested that failures were far more often than the vendors' specifications indicated they should be. Scaling those errors out to the one million servers Google has and the reported uncorrectable error rate of 1.3% to 4% would have servers going down 13,000 to 40,000 times a year. Boil that down and you have two to five failures every hour somewhere in the Google fleet. These failures are expensive. The system has to be taken offline and repaired or replaced. Energy costs, labor and parts can quickly add up.

Cloud Computing Journal: What about the role of social: aside from the acronym itself SMAC (for Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) are you seeing and/or anticipating major traction in this area?

Aichinger: I think SMAC will continue to grow and mature. I think the demand for more sophisticated data like streaming videos and online television will be a real game changer. Analytics is also very important and will become part of "Big Data," meaning the data pulled and pushed to and from the cloud will have an analytic associated with it. FuturePlus Systems has been dealing with Big Data for decades as we capture every signal on every clock edge in our tools that validate the cloud hardware. With cloud hardware going faster and becoming greener we have lots more data points to add to our own "Big Data" problem. I also think SMAC will drive better visualization techniques so that humans will be better able to digest all of the analytics associated with it.

Cloud Computing Journal: To finish, just as real estate is always said to be about "location, location, location", what one word, repeated three times, would you say Cloud Computing is all about?

Aichinger: Standards, Standards, Standards. When I meet up with engineers and managers who actually have to deploy the cloud hardware or that provide cloud hardware, they seem to be constantly exhausted. Pricing pressures are causing them to look hard at the nuances between the various server platforms, disk vendors and DIMM DRAM memory vendors. How do they know if it will work reliably? How do they know what the performance is? Will it be hard to maintain?

Most people never think about the actual machines that run in the data centers. These data centers are the life blood of the cloud. If they don't work well I don't care how good or open your software is... it's not going to do anything. Good solid standards that address the functionality of the hardware, the reliability of the disks, the JEDEC compliance of the memory subsystem would go a long way to advancing cloud computing.

This is where FuturePlus Systems comes in. We have been providing validation tools for both hardware and software developers for more than 20 years. We are moving into the data center to help customers evaluate the servers they are purchasing and allowing software developers to see what performance loads they are putting on the system. This year will be our first year exhibiting at the Cloud Expo in New York so we hope folks will come by our kiosk in the Big Data Pavilion and take a look at our DDR3 Detective tool.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

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
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...