The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Amazon

Everywhere you look you hear more and more about cloud computing as well as hearing one of my favorite lines from a Microsoft commercial “Let’s take it to the Cloud…”. Companies are jumping on the cloud bandwagon in quite a big way. I wanted to point out and mention some stories and services that I am using personally and having good success with.

Apple has done quite well serving up the AppStore and iTunes for the mobile devices and Apple has recently announced that it was discontinuing MobileMe and replacing the service with iCloud. It can go without saying that this has been an invaluable tool for use with my iPhone and iPad.

One of the most intriguing names that has hitherto been at the periphery of the OpenStack initiative is Citrix. Up until last week, Citrix’s contribution was to ensure OpenStack ran on XenServer. However, this week at it’s Synergy event, Citrix made some more sigificant announcements about Project Olympus, through which it aims to provide (in collaboration with Dell and Rackspace) a route to commercial exploitation of the OpenStack codebase. For some time I have been perplexed as to what Citrix is doing. Are they genuinely intending to enter this space? Is this the real play or is it a spoiler?

Amazon failed because of simultaneous failure of its EBS in two Availability zones. If you were dependent on one of these (or mirrored across the two) you lost access to the filesystem from your Instances. It may be sensible to move to the use of the S3 mechanism (or some portable abstraction over it) for new applications, but if you have an existing application that expects to see a filesystem in the traditional way, Gluster can provide a distributed cloud-agnostic shared filesystem with multi-way replication (including asynchronous replication).

Amazon’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) is so narrowly-drawn that it could easily be argued that the recent Elastic Block Store (EBS) outage wasn’t a failure of Amazon Web Services at all. Anyone using EBS in a production environment was, arguably, reaping the fruits of their own folly. Of course they don’t tell you when you read the hype that architecting for resilience in the Cloud is actually very complicated, particularly if you want to take the sensible step of not relying on a single provider like Amazon, no-matter how dominant their hype may be.

I was reading the post Small Business Virtualization and that really got me thinking about Small to Medium Businesses and what part Cloud Computing will play in that market. There are plenty of small businesses in and around my area and I have a couple of friends that are the owners of a couple of these small businesses. A majority of these small businesses have a single or a couple of point of sale machines that feed to the accounting program. It is these businesses that I think of when I think of what a small business is. Would virtualization help these companies? Sure, I think so but would it really be worth the cost to setup and maintain?

In July 2009 I wrote an article entitled Cloud Computing Providers — are they content providers or carriers? and in January of 2011 Chuck Hollis wrote an article Verizon To Acquire Terremark — You Shouldn’t Be Surprised. Now with the Terremark acquisition almost complete and RSA Conference 2011 also over, at which I talked to Terremark about the benefits of belonging to Verizon, a picture is starting to emerge. Yes, my predictions in 2009 make sense and still hold forth today, but is there more of an impact than we realize?

Whilst I have been away on vacation, something fairly interesting has happened in the area of Open Source initiatives for Infrastructure as a Service in the form of a new initiative from NASA and Rackspace called OpenStack. You may remember in our last post in this area, we noted that there was a proliferation of offerings in the IaaS space, and it was in the customer’s best interest for there to be effective migrateability (or even mix and match) amongst public and/or private clouds. However, the API standards to support interoperability are proving elusive.