Feeds

A crack in the madness of clouds

Sanity check 09?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Besides providing some of the biggest technical innovation of 2008, the cloud also wins the award for most amorphous product definition. Few people define "the cloud" or "cloud computing" the same way, leading to market noise and a wealth of misinformation.

"The cloud" as a term really started as a metaphor for the "internet" and has since been bastardized to mean pretty much anything that isn't on-premise computing.

What will see in 2009? Sadly, not a miraculous understanding, but instead a glimmer of hope that the cloud can live up to the hype. In 2008 we were mostly able to break cloud computing (or the cloud - whatever you like) into the following segments:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service - operating system hosting with dynamic provisioning and theoretically unlimited resource scaling. A leading example is Amazon's EC2
  • Platform-as-a-Service - no infrastructure required hosting to develop and deploy applications. Examples here include Force.com, Heroku and Google App Engine
  • Software/Application-as-a-Service - where applications are delivered via a web browser. These examples include Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Gmail

Storage-as-a-Service hovered on the fringe in 2008 and I suspect that it too will become part of the cloud taxonomy in 2009.

Outside of cloud-y infrastructure we also have accessories such as tooling, including monitoring, configuration management and automation, as well as a never-ending supply of APIs to interact with every cloud service. These will become more relevant as cloud consumption increases. With this in mind, these are the masses of precipitation I think we should expect 2009.

Data-as-a-Service

Breaking away from database tables and silos, data-as-a-service will provide a way to consume disparate structured and un-structured cloud-based data across various networks.

For example, let's say I want to pull inventory data from Amazon S3 and user data stored in Google's Bigtable and join it in Salesforce.com through some kind of query. In the relational database world you would use SQL, but each cloud provider has implemented a slightly different database structure and API. Somewhere down the line this will have to get easier.

The ability to apply cohesion to disparate data regardless of what structure it's in or how it's stored could be the cloud's Holy Grail. Former Credit Suisse software analyst Jason Maynard has called this "data-as-an-answer" for its ability to provide insight beyond one silo.

I also think this could introduce a concept of cloud droplets, which will form micro-clouds or transaction points that form a larger computing environment.

In physics, a cloud droplet is very small compared to a raindrop. It takes about a million cloud droplets to make a single rain drop. In the same vein, I believe that we'll eventually get to a place where endpoints - or end-users - act as cloud droplets potentially in the form of peer-to-peer cohesion or possibly as a function of data federation.

Internal clouds

A "compute cloud" is a different animal according to the developers of Eucalyptus, an open-source, EC2-compatible infrastructure-as-a-service. Typically based on virtual machines, "cloud computing allows users to dynamically provision processing time and storage space from a ubiquitous 'cloud' of computational resources."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Portability

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?