New cloudy horizons

Getting going with a new adventure – Cloud Computing interoperability and federation standards. Goes with the theme of learning new things and pushing the brain-case into a new configuration.

Two full days of meetings coming up, setting up a plan, schedule and scope for building a cloud computing testbed to explore new stuff. I’m the project manager for an IEEE initiative.

Having been to a few cloud conferences so far this year, I’m learning that the view that the “cloud” is all about moving enterprise data centres into virtual locations is naive. Yes, virtualization is front and centre. But the hardware, how things are physically wired up, the virtualization software configuration, the data centre location on the planet, and other factors directly impact what the paying customer a) is able to ask for and b) receives. Compute and Storage resources are tailored for specific requirements. ‘Big Data’ analytics require certain configurations, Software as a Service needs others.

The commonality appears to be massively distributed resources. Keeping a very large application set in sync is massively difficult. Cloud providers do not give customers instrumentation or visibility into the virtual-physical interface. Rolling out uniform code to non-uniform hardware must be a nightmare to troubleshoot. But it is necessary.

In any case, I’m working with a team that is looking at how cloud service providers could federate and interoperate in the background – sharing resources to meet demand without customers having to handle the complexity of multi-provider resources.

Every day is a new adventure. It’s the best thing about diving into new waters. Stay tuned.

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