OT: Cloud Computing is coming to ...

Phil Meyer pmeyer at themeyerfarm.com
Tue Jul 20 22:18:11 UTC 2010

On 07/20/2010 03:38 PM, Ian Malone wrote:
> On 20 July 2010 18:21, Michael Semcheski<mhsemcheski at gmail.com>  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.
>> ...
> While there are quite a lot of advantages to this there are some
> disadvantages, particularly in the research setting you describe where
> each department will have its own set of grants which will have
> allocations for computing resources and everyone will have a different
> idea of the priority on their work.

That is the whole point.  Ideally this is how it works from a ptactical 
point of view:

I am the Dean of Engineering and we need to run a massive simulation of 
a type 5 tornado on a set of bridge types.  This is not only for 
instruction is a senior level class, but as our main graduate focus for 
the next year.

We assess our own needs, and access the University 'cloud' website.  I 
order 256 2.6 GHZ or better CPUs, 192GB of RAM, and 2TB of disk space, 
and specify Linux as my OS.

Thirty minutes later I get an email notification with the hostname, IP 
Address, administrator login, and password for my new compute environment.

My department is billed substantially less for my compute platform than 
if I built it up myself, and the University will re-use those components 
beginning next summer semester.

I am the board of Regents administrator for this same university.  I 
need a database engine that is extremely reliable and very fast to house 
all University records.  I get on the 'cloud' web site and specify: 
Oracle, 96GB RAM, 2TB disk space, HA, and remote hot backup.

Thirty minutes later I get an email with the IP Address and Oracle 
Admintrator password for my new database engine.  These components might 
migrate and update without my knowledge, and they will exist long term.

I am a doctoral candidate at this University.  My thesis is a method to 
accurately map ocean temperatures in comparison to oceanic life forms, 
their movements, life expectancies, reproduction, and eco-systems.  
Since the bulk of my work will be done on my local workstation, what I 
need to add is massive storage.  I get my advisory board to get on the 
'cloud' web site and order 10 TB of storage for my project.

All of these, and many more, are ways of expressing:

Computing as a service
Applications as a service
Storage as a service

All of those and more are what 'cloud' computing can mean.  Its the 
front end web site, and the back end 'glue' that is variable and nebulous.

What is happening in Linux is that bits of glue are being added in 
places, but it does not expose anything, or cause overhead, generally, 
unless used.

For instance, KVM virtualization is enabled in the Fedora kernels by 
default, but most motherboards are shipped with it turned off in the 
BIOS.  Thus, you will never know it or be bothered by it unless you 
specifically enable it, and then use it to create a particular type of 
virtual machine.

So when they talk about enabling 'cloud' features, they almost never 
will affect you unless you wish to use them.

Good Luck!

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