All posts by Mike Norman

From 2009 to 2014 Dr Mike Norman was the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Open Source Cloud Computing. He covered 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 DevOps. in 2014 he moved on to become Cloud Services Architect at JP Morgan Chase.

Citrix announces IaaS Project Olympus built on OpenStack

I like OpenStack (the Open Source IaaS Cloud Platform intiative), partly because of the model of open innovation and permissive licencing (which reminds me of my time at Eclipse) and partly because even within the existing governance model (which I have criticised) there is the opportunity for different agendas to surface and to drive the project in different directions and this diversity makes an analyst’s life more interesting.

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, something which I’m sure Citrix cares about, but perhaps wasn’t top of the list of requirements for the rest of the world. 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. Continue reading Citrix announces IaaS Project Olympus built on OpenStack

Why would a Developer choose VMware?

It is interesting to see Edward’s comment that according to EMC/VMware, widespread production deployment of Cloud Apps is 3-5 years off.  If that is the case the VMware CloudFoundry initiative should be focused on cutting-edge development rather than porting existing apps, and in much the same way that Microsoft has always courted developers, CloudFoundry should be the latest cool thing for developer productivity. It’s interesting to talk about this stuff in the abstract, and at the strategic level, but sometimes it’s worth understanding what happens when you need to make the decisions for yourself.

So, although I’m more of an Architect than a Developer I’m knocking up a prototype application – this isn’t a thought experiment I really am building a real prototype with a view to showing to a real enterprise customer (in fact several), but it’s not being built for one specific customer so there aren’t any pre-defined corporate standards on the technology that I have to build it on.  Continue reading Why would a Developer choose VMware?

Is Gluster the answer to Scalable Cloud Storage and the Amazon Outage?

One of the differentiating features of an IaaS cloud implementation, is that you do not get access to a consolidated scalable storage infrastructure. At least not in the same way that you might expect if you were just scaling out compute nodes attached to the same SAN.  You get remote block storage (Elastic Block Storage, EBS, in the case of Amazon) connected to a specific machine image, and you get REST-style object storage (Simple Storage Service, S3, in the case of Amazon) which is shared amongst images but does n0t speak the traditional APIs.

A lot of people have become dependent on EBS as it seems closest to what they are used to. 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 is also worth noting that EBS images are not like CIFS or NFS filesystems in that they can only be attached from a single instance, so you are still left with a bunch of headaches if you have a replicated mid-tier that expects to see a filesystem (for example to retrieve unstructured data). 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, this will require you to rewrite your code, so you are left looking for a distributed cloud-agnostic shared filesystem with multi-way replication (including asynchronous replication), and this is where Gluster fits in. Continue reading Is Gluster the answer to Scalable Cloud Storage and the Amazon Outage?

VMware’s CloudFoundry and Red Hat’s OpenShift – Compare and Contrast

Over the last few weeks, VMware (as we indicated in an earlier post) and Red Hat have initiated two very similar initiatives known respectively as CloudFoundry and OpenShift. These are Platform as a Service (PaaS) plays, being developed for the longer term, primarily looking to encourage the development of (and thereafter to provide infrastructure for) applications specificallysuited to the the cloud. In this article we compare and contrast the two offerings and discuss their significance for the PaaS market as a whole. Continue reading VMware’s CloudFoundry and Red Hat’s OpenShift – Compare and Contrast

Technically, the Amazon Cloud didn’t actually fail

As the dust settles on the Amazon Cloud Outage (or the mist lifts, or whatever cloud-related metaphorical cliché you prefer) I’d like to make a number of conclusions related to scalability performance, reliability and openness.

For those of you who haven’t followed the minutiae of the story, it appears that Amazon failed because a network event caused Elastic Block Storage (EBS) to start re-mirroring itself, which in turn saturated the network and caused more mirroring events in a cascade that made EBS unavailable. Continue reading Technically, the Amazon Cloud didn’t actually fail

DOJ blocks EMC/VMware from acquiring Virtualization Patents from Novell

EMC, the majority owner of VMware, has agreed with the Department of Justice not to acquire 33 Virtualization Patents from Novell as part of a side-transaction in the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate.  The Statement from the Department of Justice sheds significant light on the deal that had been struck between Novell and a newly-created company formed by Microsoft, EMC, Apple, Oracle to acquire a portfolio of patents for $450M, and the anti-trust threat that the Department of Justice saw to the Open Source community.  And whilst  the spotlight has been on Microsoft’s role, it seems that the role of EMC in seeking to acquire Virtualization patents was at least as concerning to the Department of Justice.

Under the terms of the original deal, at the same time as Attachmate acquired Novell, a newly-formed company called CPTN Holdings would acquire a portfolio of 882 patents from Novell, and then Microsoft, EMC, Apple and Oracle would each acquire some of these patents from CPTN Holdings. Continue reading DOJ blocks EMC/VMware from acquiring Virtualization Patents from Novell

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