Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Barcelona, Grids and the Cloud

This week is OGF 23 in Barcelona, a global grid community gathering in support of the agenda of grid standards and adoption in the scientific and business communities. The event is also shared with BEinGrid, an European initiative to demonstrate business relevance of grid, and the launch of OGF-EU, an European FP7 project aimed at championing the standards cause and European contributions to the development of grid. I'm pleased to say that my employer is supporting OGF-EU as well as my continued stewardship of the Grid Computing Now! Knowledge Transfer Network.

So what's the buzz, we're two days into the event and a pattern has emerged, right? Well, yes, it has. Simultaenously, we are told that Grid is not being adopted as expected and that Cloud is the answer. We also had an interesting debate following Werner Vogels excellent keynote speech, he's Amazon's CTO, about whether the "cloud" is in the grid or the grid is in the "cloud"!

There are grains of truth in all of these propositions:-

Firstly, grid is not likely to be widespread in its implementation as a technology. Its proposition is that you are able to distribute your applications to operate in parallel in an heterogeneous compute environment, within and possibly, without your organisation boundaries. This of course requires some form of restructuring of applications previously written with specific hardware configurations in mind. Not a likely course of action for most understaffed (in capability and numbers) IT departments. Without doing this the application cannot take advantage of a grid infrastructure. In addition, configuring grid infrastructures to support transaction processing is in its early days, outside those experts in the major application suite suppliers and leading web service providers, all of whom are building their applications to distributed infrastructure architectures. So, the likely range of adopters is limited.

Secondly, cloud is the next big thing and a sexy concept to discuss. The reality is that the leaders in the cloud service provision industry, which certainly includes but is not limited to Amazon with its Web Services, are simply dipping their toes in the water with large scale commodity infrastructures leveraged from their understanding of the their own e-commerce business models. Remember that the likes of Amazon and e-Bay already operate huge e-commerce infrastructures and literally service millions of suppliers, drawn by the lure of customers! However, looking forwards, the scale of infrastructures being built by these leaders and Google and Microsoft and ... is truly gigantic, often environmentally efficient - in a way that those with data centres in the centre of big cities really can't compete with, and they have the capacity to support many customers before they start to sweat on further investment. The rub is that they have invested in low technology commodity hardware and high technology competitive management practices to deliver resilience and efficient operation - all in the name of keeping the cost of services low - and much lower than the owned data centre!

But you say, doesn't security floor this proposition? Yes it does, but not the way you may think. Its governmental and industrial regulation which is providing obstacles to storage of data on non-dmoestic infrastructures; or an audit trail which forces the trading company to invest in masses of expensive, redundant on-line storage. Perhaps there'll be a white knight government or sector who will look again at these restrictions and the added costs they incur.

Finally, to the Grid in the Cloud or Cloud in the Grid debate? Firstly, who cares? It is a trusim that grid computing technologies are at the heart of all of the new "cloud" infrastructures. Its also true that people can implement grid, which means installing and running middleware in cloud instances to form a virtual grid. So you tell me which came first, the grid or the cloud!

The bottom line of all this? What price the owned data centre of the future. Is it possible that wholesale change will impact the enterprise data centre as CFOs struggle to reconcile a cost m odel which is 10x that of the leading cloud service providers? Who else will be there? Well, the telco's are looking at network service provision with an eager eye. The Big tin vendors are increasingly being pushed down the path of adopting large scale customer infrastructures. Where might they make their profit? In the Cloud!

Labels: , , ,


At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ecommerce software solution helps you to establish and manage your online store. Shopping cart software is one of the highly sought after commerce solutions that is increasingly used for facilitating online sales. However, if you are eager to get hold of this software solution, approach a top-rated ecommerce software development company


Post a Comment

<< Home