Sometimes this approach works, with few exceptions everybody understands what is meant by “thin client” and “zero client” even when the details of the implementation are wildly different – a Dell Wyse Xenith 2 zero client and a Pano Logic G2M zero client may have widely diverging approaches to delivering a zero configuration plug and play experience, but their appliance-like nature and operational benefits are the same.
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.
WikiLeaks is the most serious social and political event of the emerging Cloud. It has remained alive through a “do-it-yourself” approach as the commercial Cloud was denied to it. When the dust settles, the Cloud may well emerge different, with the rights/obligations of Cloud Services providers clarified.
Eucalyptus-based solution that is bundled into the Ubuntu installation from 9.10 onwards and allows you to install a IaaS cloud into which you subsequently install Ubuntu Server instances, rather than directly installing an Ubuntu Server. The Eucalyptus proposition is that the cloud you create is identical from an API – and therefore a tooling – perspective to an Amazon EC2 cloud, and the same Ubuntu instances can run inside it, and even can be cloud-bursted out to it. Canonical make a lot of this duality in their positioning of Eucalyptus and the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. It feels very-much like an “onramp” message that we hear from VMware.
VMworld is clearly the largest dedicated virtualization conference, and yet from an Open Source perspective it is slightly disappointing because the VMware ecosystem naturally attracts proprietary software vendors, and also some of the more interesting activities in Open Source are through multi-vendor foundations which do not have the same marketing budgets as vendors themselves.
Nevertheless, there are a number of key Open Source players, and some interesting smaller players, represented at VMworld.
There’s been a lot of press around the FREE Ubuntu 9.10 Linux distribution as a client operating system, and a wide set of comparisons made (typically by Mac or PC-using journalists) between Ubuntu and Windows 7, but 9.10 is also interesting from a broader virtualization and especially Cloud perspective. Ubuntu is managed by a UK company, Canonical, through a bona-fide foundation. Ubuntu will always be free, and is aligned with the Debian community.
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In trying to re-use some old server hardware I re-vsisted VirtualBox/Ubuntu, a viable and completely free Open Source option for non-virtualization-enabled hardware. It is a neat solution, simple and well-supported, but the open source version of VirtualBox is nobbled to make it extremely awkward to use, in a different way to VMware’s nobbling of the non-Open Source (but also free) ESXi.
Now is the time, for Oracle/Sun to put all the features of VirtualBox into the Open Source version, and let it live on, perhaps not for use on Linux servers, but as free virtualization platform for other operating systems on Windows. If Apple ever loosens up the licencing on MacOS, it could turn 15 million PCs into Macs – overnight.