OT: Cloud Computing is coming to ...

Marko Vojinovic vvmarko at gmail.com
Tue Jul 20 18:36:35 UTC 2010


On Tuesday, July 20, 2010 18:21:58 Michael Semcheski wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 12:51 PM, Marko Vojinovic <vvmarko at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Specifically, assuming that I have my own hardware to set the whole thing
> > up, what is the difference between having a server (possibly
> > virtualized), and having a server "on the cloud"? And what is the main
> > benefit of the latter over the former?
> 
> Here's an example.  Imagine a University.  The School of Medicine has
> 10 servers, the Business School has 5 servers, the Engineering School
> has 15.  Additionally, Admissions has 1 server which is mostly idle
> for 9 months out of the year, but pretty busy during October, November
> and December.  The Chancellor has a server, HR has 5 servers, etc.  In
> total, there are 100 servers, but no one unit has more than 15.
[snip]

Ok, I understand what you are saying, but what you actually describe is an 
organizational issue, while I was having in mind a little bit more technical 
aspect.

Let me rephrase. I have a laptop running Fedora, and several virtual machines 
(in VirtualBox, VMware and QEMU) running occasionally or always, depending on 
their purpose. The actual number of VMs and guest OSes is quite dynamic, since 
I often install new ones or delete ones I don't need anymore. I often change 
the amount of RAM, virtual HD space etc. of every virtual machine, depending 
on a particular situation.

Am I running a cloud environment on my laptop?

If yes, why the new name "cloud computing" for what is just a virtualized 
working environment? If not, what additional software might I possibly install 
to turn it into a cloud environment, and what enhancements would that software 
bring? Any relevant package names for Fedora?

I want to know what is the difference between a "set of virtual machines" and a 
"cloud" from a technical perspective, ie. from the point of view of 
*implementation*, not organization.

I understand the underlying hardware in my example (the laptop) is ridiculous, 
but that's not the point --- I want to understand conceptual difference in 
implementing a set of virtual machines versus implementing a cloud. After that 
maybe I'll go build a cloud on a local supercomputer cluster in my University. 
But first I want to know the actual implementation differences, rather than 
abstract set of descriptions (with no definition!) given in that Red Hat 
whitepaper.

My general understanding of any IT concept is that it has two aspects --- 
design and implementation. If cloud computing is purely a design thing that is 
being implemented via other (existing) technologies wrapped together, then 
it's just abstract terminology (which is yet to be defined IMHO). Or in other 
words, just yet another buzz-phrase which doesn't mean much, like a YAA.
OTOH, if it also has an implementation aspect, I would like to know what extra 
software implements it, what is its purpose, and what benefits does it bring.

I hope I'm more clear with my question now. :-)

Thanks, :-)
Marko



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