Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The line missing from Open Cloud

Ron Tolido made a good point about the link between the new Intel processors (can't wait for the new Mac Pro) and cloud in that people can still do internal work pretty quickly and these processor help. But I think there is a more obvious link that is missing from the Cloud Manifesto.
Open Cloud means x86
It really is that simple, for a cloud to be open and allow portability then you are going to need to have zero proprietary solutions, this means no z/OS from IBM, no Google App Engine lock-in, no Azure lock-in. The base platform of portability is the x86 machine.

Now you can argue that a Java VM could be portable if you have full JDBC libraries and the like, and I wouldn't argue too much so yes you could have an Open Cloud for Java approach. Theoretically you could do the same with .NET. The Platform as a Service play is however fundamentally a lock-in play in the same way as JavaEE vendors give you lots of specific libraries and features that only work on their platform, sure you can avoid those but a PaaS provider can make that rather hard.

Infrastructure as a Service is the most obvious place for Open Clouds to start and that means agreeing on x86 as the basis. It clearly can't be Java as MS are unlikely to sign up to that and IBM are highly unlikely to agree to .NET therefore the lowest common denominator is the virtual physical machine which has to be x86.

It would be good to see an Open Cloud for Java but can we at least agree that when its an infrastructure cloud that the cloud must be x86 based.

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singh said...

Could you pleas elaborate why does computing engine under the cloud matter? The consumers are concerned with the interface and should be oblivious on which platform computing is done be it x86 or Sparc

GBUK said...

singh, I think Steve is talking in terms of cloud infrastructure (deployment, monitoring, interop...) more than cloud model for applications (at least that's how I understand it).

If you are going to create an image to deploy on any cloud (Open Cloud), you better now what the underlying platform standard is (x86, sparc...).

Even though I would personally prefer a JVM-based infrastructure too, considering the power-play at work I vote for x86 as it is more scalable in terms of adoption than other processor architectures: everyone has (or can have) an x86 computer on their desktop!

Steve Jones said...

GBUK is correct. I'm talking about the infrastructure as a service providers, those that talk about compute infrastructure and in effect are giving you virtual computers. These MUST be x86 based if we are to have portability.

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