Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, James Pathman, Jeev Trika, Lori MacVittie

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
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. 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 dev...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
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 ...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...