Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Trevor Parsons, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Torben Andersen

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: Article

Cloud Computing: Creating a Generic (Internal) Cloud Architecture

Do Cloud-like architectures have to remain external to the enterprise? No.

Kenneth Oestriech's Blog

I've been taken aback lately by the tacit assumption that cloud-like (IaaS and PaaS) services have to be provided by folks like Amazon, Terremark and others. It's as if these providers do some black magic that enterprises can't touch or replicate. However, history has taught the IT industry that what starts in the external domain eventually makes its way into the enterprise, and vice-versa.

I've been taken aback lately by the tacit assumption that cloud-like (IaaS and PaaS) services have to be provided by folks like Amazon, Terremark and others. It's as if these providers do some black magic that enterprises can't touch or replicate.

However, history's taught the IT industry that what starts in the external domain eventually makes its way into the enterprise, and vice-versa. Consider Google beginning with internet search, and later offering an enterprise search appliance. Then, there's the reverse: An application, say a CRM system, leaves the enterprise to be hosted externally as SaaS, such as SalesForce.com. But even in this case, the first example then recurs -- as SalesForce.com begins providing internal Salesforce.com appliances back to its large enterprise customers!

I am simply trying to challenge the belief that cloud-like architectures have to remain external to the enterprise. They don't. I believe it's inevitable that they will soon find their way into the enterprise, and become a revolutionary paradigm of how *internal* IT infrastructure is operated and managed.

With each IT management conversation I've had, the concept that I recently put forward is becoming clearer and more inevitable. That an "internal cloud" (call it a cloud architecture or utility computing) will penetrate enterprise datacenters.

Limitations of "external" cloud computing architectures

Already, a number of authorities have pretty clearly outlined the pros and cons of using external service providers as "cloud" providers. For reference, there is the excellent "10 reasons enterprises aren't ready to trust the cloud" by Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM, as well as a piece by Mike Walker of MSDN regarding "Challenges of moving to the cloud”. So it stands that innovation will work around these limitations, borrowing from the positive aspects of external service providers, omitting the negatives, and offering the result to IT Ops.

Is an "internal" cloud architecture possible and repeatable?

So here is my main thesis: that there are software IT management products available today (and more to come) that will operate *existing* infrastructure in a manner identical to the operation of IaaS and PaaS. Let me say that again -- you don't have to outsource to an "external" cloud provider as long as you already own legacy infrastructure that can be re-purposed for this new architecture.

This statement -- and associated enabling software technologies -- is beginning to spell the beginning of the final commoditization of compute hardware. (BTW, I find it amazing that some vendors continue to tout that their hardware is optimized for cloud computing. That is a real oxymoron)

As time passes, cloud-computing infrastructures (ok, Utility Computing architectures if you must) coupled with the trend toward architecture standardization, will continue to push the importance of specialized HW out of the picture. Hardware margins will continue to be squeezed. (BTW, you can read about the "cheap revolution" in Forbes, featuring our CEO Bill Coleman).

As the VINF blog also observed, regarding cloud-based architectures:

You can build your own cloud, and be choosy about what you give to others. Building your own cloud makes a lot of sense, it’s not always cheap but its the kind of thing you can scale up (or down..) with a bit of up-front investment, in this article I’ll look at some of the practical; and more infrastructure focused ways in which you can do so.

Your “cloud platform” is essentially an internal shared services system where you can actually and practically implement a “platform” team that operates and capacity plans for the cloud platform; they manage its availability and maintenance day-day and expansion/contraction.
Even back in February, Mike Nygard observed reasons and benefits for this trend:
Why should a company build its own cloud, instead of going to one of the providers?

On the positive side, an IT manager running a cloud can finally do real chargebacks to the business units that drive demand. Some do today, but on a larger-grained level... whole servers. With a private cloud, the IT manager could charge by the compute-hour, or by the megabit of bandwidth. He could charge for storage by the gigabyte, and with tiered rates for different availability/continuity guarantees. Even better, he could allow the business units to do the kind of self-service that I can do today with a credit card and The Planet. (OK, The Planet isn't a cloud provider, but I bet they're thinking about it. Plus, I like them.)
We are seeing the beginning of an inflection point in the way IT is managed, brought on by (1) the interest (though not yet adoption) of cloud architectures, (2) the increasing willingness to accept shared IT assets (thanks to VMware and others), and (3) the budding availability of software that allows “cloud-like” operation of existing infrastructure, but in a whole new way.

How might these "internal clouds" first be used?

Let's be real: there are precious few green-field opportunities where enterprises will simply decide to change their entire IT architecture and operations into this "internal cloud" -- i.e. implement a Utility Computing model out-of-the-gate. But there are some interesting starting points that are beginning to emerge:

  • Creating a single-service utility: by this mean that an entire service tier (such as a web farm, application server farm, etc.) moves to being managed in a "cloud" infrastructure, where resources ebb-and-flow as needed by user demand.
  • Power-managing servers: using utility computing IT management automation to control power states of machines that are temporarily idle, but NOT actually dynamically provisioning software onto servers. Firms are getting used to the idea of using policy-governed control to save on IT power consumption as they get comfortable with utility-computing principles. They can then selectively activate the dynamic provisioning features as they see fit.
  • Using utility computing management/automation to govern virtualized environments: it's clear that once firms virtualize/consolidate, they later realize that there are more objects to manage (virtual sprawl) , rather than fewer; plus, they've created "virtual silos", distinct from the non-virtualized infrastructure they own. Firms will migrate toward an automated management approach to virtualization where -- on the fly -- applications are virtualized, hosts are created, apps are deployed/scaled, failed hosts are automatically re-created, etc. etc. Essentially a services cloud.

It is inevitable that the simplicity, economics, and scalability of externally-provided "clouds" will make their way into the enterprise. The question isn't if, but when.

More Stories By Kenneth Oestreich

Ken Oestreich is VP of Product Marketing with Egenera, and has spent over 20 years developing and introducing new products into new markets. Recently, he’s been involved in bringing utility- and cloud-computing technologies to market. Previously, Ken was with Cassatt, and held a number of developer, alliance and strategy positions with Sun Microsystems.

Comments (2) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
sajai krishnan 08/26/08 09:53:44 PM EDT

Ken
Very much on topic. In our parallel area around cloud storage we see interest in internal/private storage clouds as much as with external/public storage clouds. Bandwidth, security are clearly reasons to go with a private cloud, whereas getting offsite copies is certainly one reason to consider a public cloud. There is the additional reason that by building your own storage cloud you can tune the performance characteristics of your cloud by having, for example, beefy, hi-performing nodes for streaming or inexpensive nodes with a lot of disks for archival applications.

As for service providers - I think we will see service providers delivering the typical public service like S3, but could also provide "insourcing" services ... i.e. a service provider managing an dedicated internal cloud for Fortune100 data center in a colo model. I think AT&T's recent Synaptic Hosting is probably headed in that direction.

There are a few different ways to skin this cat in terms of implementation. The key is that the technology matures, and customers get familiar with the commodity scale-out economics, and easy management model that is at the core of this approach.

Regards,
Sajai Krishnan, CEO ParaScale

amuletc 08/25/08 08:14:58 PM EDT

By Dan D. Gutierrez
CEO of HostedDatabase.com

I really like your concept of an "internal cloud"! When my firm launched the web's first Database-as-a-Service offering in 1999, we had a sales option to create a special instance of our product for an enterprise that wanted the convenience of SaaS, but was concerned about privacy and security issues. Bringing in our service as an internal cloud solved these issues. Fast forward nearly 10 years, it is great to see this concept mentioned in this timely article.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...