InfoQ: Virtual Panel On Cloud Computing
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Earlier this month, InfoQ conducted a VirtualPanel on Cloud Computing on their website. I was amember of their vitual panel. They asked six goodquestions. Here are my answers - you can read the answersfrom the other panelists by clickinghere.
1. What does cloud computing bring to the industry?We really see cloud computing as a model for enabling the industry towork smarter. A prefect storm of events is happening to enable thealignment of a business model (e.g., pay per sip) with evolvingtechnology (e.g., virtualization) and stan
2. What are the practical constraints that a company should keep inmind when adopting the Cloud Computing architecture?When you think about your cloud architecture, we suggest you thinkabout it using a services oriented approach. Given that a succ
3. What’s your take on vendor lock-in and the need forinteroperability between cloud platforms?I wish good luck to any vendor that attempts to bring a lock-instrategy to the table. In this day and age, our customers demand opensoftware and systems – and the choice and interoperability it brings.Now, there is a time for a “settling in period” for some of theemerging standards to mature. However, the usual suspects (vendors) arealready gathering. Let’s take cloud infrastructure as an example; we inIBM are striving to bring our customers the same benefits as when werallied with the industry to bring the world Java-based middleware. Theallure of write-once and run-anywhere is still a powerful thought. Likewith Java, we are now striving to allow our customers to virtualizetheir infrastructure once, and dispense it anywhere (cloud and/orhyper-visor). There are several standards on the brink of bringing ourcustomers this level of flex – the OpenVirtual Format (OVF) is an important standard that will helpenable this behavior. In fact, at IMPACT2009, we announced an option to purchase WebS
4. Why would someone choose to use private clouds instead of publicones?Many of our customers, in IBM, are excited about the prospects ofprivate clouds. In fact, our cloud strategy starts with the thought of “Rainmaking”.Which is a term I apply to communicate the thought of enabling ourcustomers (with products and services) to “seed” clouds (privately) intheir enterprise, and where it makes sense utilize the service ofpublic clouds. Our customers are building private clouds today – andour primary focus is to assist them in creating, automating, optimizingand managing those clouds. Many of them go the private route becausethey are concern about security (of their applications and data) andalready have cost sunken into infrastructure and labor that they wantto utilize. We see customers building private clouds to take on manyinteresting tasks. Test and Development clouds are becoming verypopular. In fact, we now use a private test cloud (using our newlyintroduced WebSphereCloudburst technology) to do product testing of WebS
5. Some cloud vendors offer infrastructure (Amazon) while othersoffer platforms (Google), how should a typical application architectchoose?Infrastructure services excel at allowing a user to run their existing applications and middlewarein a cloud. Most infrastructure service providers enable gene
With Platform services – the infrastructure is “magically” provisioned– and your focus is on the application or services in question. Manycloud platforms have programming models that are specific to the cloudin question (there goes that lock-in thought again :-) which makes theapplication more predictable, thereby allowing the platform to moreautomatically scale, secure and perform. For new applications this isfine; however, moving an existing application often requires thedeveloper to re-write their application. These platforms are usuallyavailable within public clouds –that, along with the overhauling of theapplication in question - make it attractive to some, and unattractiveto others. There is clearly anopportunity for the Java vendors to establish a Java "profile" for thecloud and give our customers some portability across cloud platforms(both public and private).
There are also hybrids models that I think are quite interesting. Forexample, at IMPACT 2009, we introduced BPMBlueWorks, which is a hosted offering for business leaders. TheBlueWorks application provides a portal for business professional tolearn, share and collaborate with others in creating business strategyand process. Once the business asset is created it can be exported intoan on premise cloud infrastructure (perhaps imported as a standard BPMN 2.0document). Thereby creating a model where your assets are developedusing a (public) platform service and run within a priv
6. How can a customer enforce regulatory compliance?One of the interesting aspects of cloud computing is that theabstraction of the cloud into infrastructure, platform and applicationservices allows for points of control to be inserted. IBM is majoringin providing capability at all levels of our cloud architecture togovern the use of the cloud. Customers can use this ability to gain anintimate understanding of how aspects of their systems are being usedand also use the cloud as a point of control and enforcement inaccordance to their polices. For example, our WebSphere Cloudburstproduct produces detailed reports of who is using the cloud and howthey are using it. Administrators can use this data to generate customreports for charging and/or controls. Another example is we see ourcustomers using our WebSphereDataPower SOA appliances along with our ServiceRegistry to discover services and control access (at a fine grain)to those services both in private and public clouds. DataPower allowsthe creation a secure tunnel within your private cloud that can extendinto the public cloud if need be. Using a security gateway, allows youto both midge threats in your cloud, while providing a point of controlfor auditing the two-way application service traffic. Whether acustomer has real regulatory requirements or not, setting up a two-way(web) application firewall around your cloud is one way to work smarter(and safer) with clouds.