Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Igor Drobiazko, Anders Wallgren, Elizabeth White, Karyn Jeffery

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Article

Who Has the Industry Lead in Cloud Computing?

Amazon, Google, Microsoft Are All Pumping Cloud Computing Steroids

Stephen E. Arnold's Blog

Google has shifted from solving problems in distributed, massively parallel computing to developing next-generation cloud-centric applications. Google can, with the deployment of software, deliver global services that other companies cannot match in terms of speed of deployment, operation, and enhancement.


Cloud computing has become commonplace. Amazon has pumped steroids into the Amazon Web Services product line. Microsoft executives have been providing forecasts of a bold new service offering. Other vendors blasting off from mother earth to loftier realms include IBM, Intel, Rackspace, and other big name firms.

One of the most interesting documents I have read in months is a forthcoming technical paper from Microsoft’s Albert Greenberg, Paranta Lahiri, David Maltz, Parveen Patel, and Sudipta Sengupta. The paper is available from the ACM as document 978-1-60558-181-1/08/08. I have a hard copy in my hand, and I can’t locate a valid link to an online version. The ACM or a for fee database may help you get this document. In a nutshell, “Towards a Next Generation Data Center Architecture: Scalability and Commoditization” explains some of the technical innovations Microsoft is implementing to handle cloud-based, high-demand, high-availability applications. Some of the information in the paper surprised me. The innovations provide a good indication of the problems Microsoft faced in its older, pre-2008 data centers. It was clear to me that Microsoft is making progress, and some of the methods echo actions Google took as long ago as 1998.

What put the Amazon and Microsoft cloud innovations into sharp relief for me was US2008/0262828 “Encoding and Adaptive Scalable Accessing of Distributed Models.” You can download a copy of this document from the easy-to-use USPTO system. Start here to obtain the full text and diagrams for this patent application. Keep in mind that a patent application does not mean that Google has or will implement the systems and methods disclosed. What the patent application provides is a peep hole through which we can look at some of the thinking that Google is doing with regard to a particular technical issue. The peep hole may be small, but what I saw when I read the document and reviewed the drawings last night (October 24, 2008) sparked my thinking.

Before offering my opinion, let’s look at the abstract for this invention, filed in February 2006 in a provisional application. Keep in mind that we are looking in the rear view mirror here, not at where Google might be today. This historical benchmark is significant when you compare what Amazon and Microsoft are doing to deal with the cloud computing revolution that is gaining momentum. Here’s Google’s summary of the invention:

Systems, methods, and apparatus for accessing distributed models in automated machine processing, including using large language models in machine translation, speech recognition and other applications.

In typical Google style, there’s a certain economy to the description of an invention involving such technical luminaries as Jeff Dean and 12 other Googlers. The focus of the invention is on-the-fly machine translation. However, the inventors make it clear that the precepts of this invention can be applied to other applications as well. As you may know, Google has expanded its online translation capability in the last few months. If you have not explored this service, navigate to http://translate.google.com and try out the system.

The claims for this patent document are somewhat more specific. I can’t run through the 91 claims in this patent document. I can highlight one, and I will leave review of the other 90 to you. Claim 5 asserted:

The system of claim 4, wherein: the translation server comprises: a plurality of segment translation servers each operable to communicate with the translation model server, the language model servers and replica servers, each segment translation server operable to translate one segment of the source text into the target language, a translation front end to receive the source text and to divide the source text into a plurality of segments in the source language, and a load balancing module in communication with the translation front end to receive the segments of the source text and operable to distribute the segments to the segments to the segment translation servers for translation based on work load at the segment translation servers, the load balancing module further operable to direct translated segments in the target language from the segment translation servers to the translation front end.

The claim makes reasonably clear the basic nesting architecture of Google’s architecture. What impressed me is that this patent document, like other recent Google applications, makes use of an infrastructure as platform. The computational and input output tasks are simply not an issue. Google pretty clearly feels it has the horsepower to handle ad hoc translation in real time without worrying about how data are shoved around within the system. As a result, higher order applications that were impossible even for certain large government agencies can be made available without much foot dragging. I find this remarkable.

This patent document, if Google is doing what the inventors appear to be saying, is significantly different from the innovations I just mentioned from such competitors as Amazon and Microsoft. Google in my opinion is making it clear that it has a multi-year lead in cloud computing.

The thoughts that I noted as I worked thorough the 38 pages of small print in this patent document were:

  1. Google has shifted from solving problems in distributed, massively parallel computing to developing next-generation cloud-centric applications. Machine translation in real time for a global audience for free means heavy demand. This invention essentially said to me, “No problem.”
  2. Google’s infrastructure will become more capable as Google deploys new CPUs and faster storage devices. Google, therefore, can use its commodity approach to hardware and experience significant performance gains without spending for exotic gizmos or try to hack around bottlenecks such as those identified in the Microsoft paper referenced above.
  3. Google can, with the deployment of software, deliver global services that other companies cannot match in terms of speed of deployment, operation, and enhancement.

I may be wrong and I often am but I think Google is not content with its present lead over its rivals. I think this patent document is an indication that Google can put its foot on the gas pedal at any time and operate in a dimension that other companies cannot. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me learn where I am off base. Your view is important because I am finishing a write up for Infonortics about Google and publishing. Help me think straight. I even invite Cyrus to chime in. The drawings in this patent application are among Google’s best that I have seen.

More Stories By Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold monitors search, content processing, text mining and related topics from his high-tech nerve center in rural Kentucky. He tries to winnow the goose feathers from the giblets. He works with colleages worldwide to make this Web log useful to those who want to go "beyond search". Contact him at sa [at] arnoldit.com. His Web site with additional information about search is arnoldit.com.

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
jeffhardy 11/24/08 11:43:02 AM EST

Cloud Computing Fact and Fiction

In mid-November I participated in a session at PubCon regardint Cloud Computing. My goal was to cut through the hype and buzz talk to articulate the real potential benefits and debunk false claims. I got a lot of feedback. So much so that I wrote a follow up article:
http://www.smartertools.com/blog/archive/2008/11/20/cloud-computing-chal...

It is important that we remember what Cloud Computing is and what it isn't.

Be well,
Jeffrey J. Hardy
http://www.smartertools.com

Jeremy Geelan 10/28/08 04:45:00 AM EDT

Even though Google's maybe the elephant in the cloud, there are at least 49 others competing already in the cloud computing space including not just Amazon and Microsoft but also Akamai, Force.com, IBM, Sun, VMware and a host of others. I had a first shot at a Top Fifty list here: http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/665165

@ThingsExpo Stories
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
Join IBM June 8 at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn how to innovate like a startup and scale for the enterprise. You need to deliver quality applications faster and cheaper, attract and retain customers with an engaging experience across devices, and seamlessly integrate your enterprise systems. And you can't take 12 months to do it.
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
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, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
The paradigm has shifted. A Gartner survey shows that 43% of organizations are using or plan to implement the Internet of Things in 2016. However, not just a handful of companies are still using the old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways, unaware of the critical barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can you become a winner? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan will present a methodical approach to guide the holistic adoption and enablement of IoT implementations. This ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
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...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...