The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Mike Norman

Mike Norman
Mike NormanDr Mike Norman, is the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Open Source Cloud Computing. He covers PaaS, IaaS and associated services such as Database as a Service from an open source development and DevOps perspective. He has hands-on experience in many open source cloud technologies, and an extensive background in application lifecycle tooling; automated testing - functional, non-functional and security; digital business and latterly DevOps.

Now, of course, this is a simplified version of the question, because in almost all cases Infrastructure Clouds and Platform Clouds are built on Virtual Infrastructure, and in most cases Platform Cloud is built on Infrastructure Cloud, so the question is really about how far into the Cloud you should be prepared to go. My perspective here is of a development manager – someone who is charged with building a new application. I’m thinking as a development manager not a developer and I’m taking decisions to maximise the productivity of a development team – rather than on the “shininess” of the technology.

There is now a huge amount of movement in the area of what we have called “Diverse” Platform as a Service i.e. PaaS that delivers a number of different application infrastructure technologies on a mix-and-match basis and where there is no proprietary technology layer at any point in the platform stack. Amongst these we would include OpenShift, Cumulogic and CloudFoundry from our recent set of posts. AppFog sits in this category, and the fact that it has been recently renamed from PHPFog highlights a major trend in the space, the vendors typically start by developing a single technology, build an initial business plan and gain some market traction within that niche, and then move on to supporting a broader range of platforms.

Secret Shopper Report – VMware CloudFoundry

To recap the story so far, I’m prototyping an application and deploying it to various PAAS environments. I am not getting any special help from any of the vendors in this exercise – you can think of me as a “secret shopper” for PaaS, although I don’t hide my identity. I am approaching each platform on its own merits, and in these posts I am recounting and contrasting my experiences and reaching some general conclusions about the PaaS market.

Over the last few months we have identified a trend towards “diversity” in the PaaS provider marketplace. Platform as a Service has become Platforms as a Service, the providers are offering multiple choices at each layer of the platform infrastructure, and seeing their role as automating the provisioning of properly-configured instances as required at each layer of the stack.

On Aug 2nd, there was another entrant to this “diverse” PaaS provider marketplace called Cumulogic, a startup with a PaaS cloud positioned alongside Red Hat OpenShift and VMware CloudFoundry that we identified earlier.

Over the last few months an additional subproject codenamed Quantum has emerged which deals explicitly with networking and has particpation from networking giants Intel and Cisco as well as from Citrix. It’s a mechanism for defining network topologies aimed at providing Layer-2 network connectivity for VM instances running in clouds based on the OpenStack cloud fabric. It is designed to be extensible to allow higher-level services (VPN, QoS, etc) to be built on top, and to cleanly handle the “edge of network” problem (i.e. the binding of the cloud into the internet).

As mentioned in my previous piece I’ve been doing some prototyping using SpringSource’s Grails. Grails can be thought of as the top of the stack. If you pick up Grails you would naturally pull in the other pieces of SpringSource, including vFabric and ultimately vFoundry. In a future post I will deal with what happens when you stick Grails onto vFoundry, but at this stage I’ve been assessing the health of the SpringSource Ecosystem.

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