Cloud Technology

Cloud Technology

Cloud computing has obviously aggregated so many various technologies, ideas, and products, that a certain portion of this ballast will have to be disposed of in the near future. As events evolve, it will become clear which technologies prove to be viable, and which fade out to the background of IT history. Anyway, we will try to make a brief overview of promising concepts and products, which have been attracting the largest amounts of attention lately.

Hybrid clouds
Hybrid cloud is an implementation of cloud technology such that one part of the system is located in public cloud, while the other part is in private cloud.

For instance, this kind of integration is possible when backup system is hosted in public cloud or vice versa – backup is done from public cloud to local servers. There are hybrid solutions that allow monitoring of both computing resources hosted within the company and those hosted on remote side (for example, CloudKick by Rackspace and System Center by Microsoft) at the same time. Another variant of hybrid cloud usage implies installing applications to the company’s internal servers, while renting additional power in the cloud owned by third party provider in case of unexpected load increase.

In the long run, exactly hybrid clouds are likely to become the dominating model of cloud computing implementation for organizations.

Computing power markets
One of cloud technology fundamental features lies in the fact that resources are available to a number of users at the same time, while being distributed among them as the load varies. The idea is that owners of private clouds, when being idle, can provide their computing powers for rent at an open market.

An opportunity to make some money is anyway more beneficial than letting servers stand idle. Besides, the open market would get new competitors, which would in its turn make for better pricing and quality of cloud applications.

For the first time such service was put into operation in February 2011 by one of cloud computing pioneers – Enomaly Company. With the help of their service, known as SpotCloud, the owners of surplus server powers (in order to participate an applicant should have at least 500 GB of free disk space) can sign up for free, install Enomally cloud controlling software to local computers and start earning rental profits.

Open source cloud platforms
Closed source code is one of major risks related to cloud technology: if a certain cloud provider becomes bankrupt or starts dictating unacceptable terms of usage, the customers literally will have nowhere to go.

Cloud platforms with open source allow solving or at least mitigating most problems connected with this issue.

Firstly, having source code on hands, any other provider is capable of bring the missing service online, which will also be completely compatible with the initial one. Thus, if one provider fails to continue operation, the customers’ businesses stability won’t be affected since there will be alternative providers ready to host “refugees”.

Secondly, the competitiveness of the market increases, which excludes the possibility of power abuse by monopolist.

Thirdly, the code being open source as a rule means that data formats are open as well: the customers can transfer their data from one system to another, or download it to a backup system anytime.

Fourthly, open source cloud basically allows setting up cloud solutions within the company’s own infrastructure. This option can be reserved for cases when there are concerns about excessive risk that is connected to using remote servers.

The first open source cloud platform to enjoy commercial success was IaaS-system called Eucalyptus, which evolved from a research project held by University of California at Santa Barbara. OpenStack project announced in summer 2010 loses to Eucalyptus in terms of maturity, but it greatly surpasses the older system in popularity. There are other open source IaaS-systems out there such as CloudStack by and OpenNebula. On top of that, VMware Company has introduced Cloud Foundry project in the branch of PaaS-systems.