Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Proposal for Principles of Foundation of Open Cloud Federation

This post has been prepared as contribution to the Boston Open Research Cloud Workshop that MIT is hosting on May 11-12, 2017. The aim of the workshop is to discuss the issues, reach consensus on how to move forward, and begin actively working towards the establishment of a federated scientific research cloud.

The two main cloud computing deployment models are public and private clouds. Public clouds are multi-organization, shared environments that are hosted, managed and operated by a third-party provider. Private clouds are single-organization, dedicated environments that can be hosted on-site at the organization data center or off-site at a service provider’s data center. Both deployment models provide agility, improve experience, flexibility and instant provisioning, but while private clouds offer greater control of security, customization and performance, public clouds offer higher scalability, simplicity, low upfront investment costs and pay per use.

Both public and private clouds can be multi-site infrastructures consisting of multiple geographically distributed, but tightly coupled data centers. These datacenters are typically replicated with a few instances on a continent wide scale in semi-autonomous zones. For example, at the time of this writing, Amazon maintains 38 availability zones within 14 geographic regions around the world, Microsoft operates 30 regions, Softlayer operates 31 data center facilities and Google operates 6 cloud regions.

Although cloud computing has grown, developed and evolved very rapidly over the last half decade, cloud federation continues being an open issue. Vendor lock-in, trust, security and incompatibility issues are plaguing current cloud offerings and hampering innovation.
A federated cloud is not a large-scale cloud based on a multi-site distributed data center infrastructure but a cloud composed of resources from different providers. In the federated cloud model, clouds managed by different organizations federate to allow users to utilize any of the connected clouds.

Hybrid clouds combine the existing on-premise private cloud infrastructure with outsourced resources from one or more external public clouds, enabling to transform the local datacenter into a highly scalable IT environment. Hybrid cloud computing is the next step beyond private clouds in the evolution of cloud computing, and it is emerging as the mainstream of IT as more and more organizations are embracing or planning to embrace hybrid cloud as part of their IT strategy.

With the quickly increasing number of scientific institutions building private clouds to support their research projects, a growing pressure has been placed to establish conventions supporting the federation of research and scientific cloud resources, and their hybrid combination with public cloud resources. There are several cloud federation initiatives around the world building distributed infrastructures made of academic and science private clouds and driven by requirements of the scientific community. Some fundamental principles should be adopted in order to define an open framework for cloud federation that integrates existing standards and best practices. This  would allow any research institution, hosting provider, telecom or public cloud provider to join this open interoperable ecosystem.  

I suggest the following principles as the foundation of Open Research Cloud Federation:

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Monday, February 20, 2017

9 Years of Open-source Driving Innovation in Cloud Computing

Nine years ago, in February 2008, OpenNebula announced the first open-source management software for deploying private and hybrid clouds, and released one of the most transformative platforms for innovation in the cloud. OpenNebula was the first of many open-source software components that now constitute an active and quickly growing open ecosystem in a private cloud market estimated in $7 Billion.

“Open source” software refers to source code that is freely available for use, modification and, depending on the terms of its license, redistribution of modified and extended versions of the software. It is not only that the code is open and free, collaboration between technology providers and users is a huge advantage in the open source arena. One of the beauties of open source is that it is a meeting point between users and innovators, both from industry and academia, where they can freely share resources and knowledge. Open source software is also playing a vital role in the timely dissemination and transfer of important research and technology advances in cloud computing.

Open-source has been a growing phenomenon for more than two decades, but it has been with cloud computing when open-source has become the leader for innovation and the dominating form of technology, disrupting the traditional, commercial closed-source software business. During these years, we have witnessed how open source has played a key role in driving and supporting the transition to cloud computing, accelerating the pace of innovation, and facilitating new products and services.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

OpenStack Cloud Bubble Has Started to Burst

It was a couple of years ago in march 2014 when we wrote about the small user base and penetration in the market of OpenStack, mostly compared with the investment made by vendors and VCs. At that time we estimated that the investment in OpenStack was approximately $300 million per year. This was quite conservative, there were other estimates above $0.5 billion per year, some reaching to $1 billion per year. These estimates mainly include development cost and marketing of upstream OpenStack community. Additionally, there are other direct costs from many companies also allocating resources to develop their proprietary OpenStack distribution, training or documentation, a big overhead in indirect costs, and of course opportunity costs.

Some months after this post, in September 2014, 451 Research made public a market analysis forecasting that OpenStack market was growing from $883 million in revenue in 2014 to $1.7 billion in 2016, with service providers with clouds enabled by OpenStack representing 73% of that revenue total. This revenue is relatively very small in comparison with the investment being made and the revenue of the market leaders such as VMware ($6 billion in 2014 ), AWS (now close to $7 billion a year) and Red Hat Linux (now close to $2 billion a year). Cumulative investment was disproportionate to any realistic return. It just does not seem feasible that there is room for several vendors to profit from OpenStack. There were sufficient indicators, for those willing to open their eyes, showing that OpenStack was in a bubble.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Which Are the Top Cited Publications and Authors in Cloud Computing?

The IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing Journal is publishing a paper entitled “A Scientometric Analysis of Cloud Computing Literature” by Leonard Heilig and Stefan Voß (University of Hamburg) that presents an analysis of publication patterns, research impact and research productivity in the field of Cloud Computing. Two interesting results are the top cited publications and top cited authors in Cloud Computing.

 The results on the top publications in cloud computing show that the following paper is the top cited publication.

  • “Armbrust M., Fox A., Griffith R., Joseph A.D., Katz R., Konwinski A., Lee G., Patterson D., Rabkin A., Stoica I., Zaharia M. (2010) A view of cloud computing. Communications of the ACM 53(4):50-58.”  

I am proud to be a co-author of two publications listed number 7 and 17 respectively.

  • “Sotomayor B., Montero R.S., Llorente I.M., Foster I. (2009) Virtual infrastructure management in private and hybrid clouds. IEEE Internet Computing 13(5):14-22”, which describes the original OpenNebula design and architetcure, and 

  • “Rochwerger B., Breitgand D., Levy E., Galis A., Nagin K., Llorente I.M., Montero R., Wolfsthal Y., Elmroth E., Caceres J., Ben-Yehuda M., Emmerich W., Galan F. (2009) The Reservoir model and architecture for open federated cloud computing. IBM Journal of Research and Development 53(4):1-11”, which describes the cloud federation research and technology developed in the Reservoir Project. 

Regarding top authors, Rajkumar Buyya from University of Melbourne is the top cited author, while Ignacio M. Llorente and Rubén S. Montero are in the 26th position of the list. Only three European authors are part of the top cited authors list.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bringing Private Cloud Computing to HPC and Science

HPC-optimized clouds provide access to flexible and elastic scientific and technical computing to solve complex problems and drive innovation. You can find bellow the slides of my keynote at EGI-TF 2013 where I described the most demanded features for building HPC and science clouds, and illustrated using real-life case studies from leading research and industry organizations how OpenNebula effectively addresses these challenges of cloud usage, scheduling, security, networking and storage. The keynote ended with a view of private cloud's future in HPC and science, and grid as the foundation of cloud federation.


Monday, September 16, 2013

OpenNebula: The European Management Platform to Build IaaS Clouds

Last Thursday, the blog of the European Commission Digital Agenda for Europe published an article entitled "OpenNebula: the only European open-source management platform to build IaaS clouds! A success story in exploitation of FP7 research results". It briefly shows how OpenNebula is playing an important role in driving and supporting the transition to cloud computing and thus accelerating the pace of innovation in Europe.

We are proud of being part of a project that is shaping the future of cloud computing!.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Key Challenges in Cloud Computing: Enabling the Future Internet of Services

"Key Challenges in Cloud Computing: Enabling the Future Internet of Services" is the title of our last article published in the August 2013 issue of the IEEE Internet Computing Magazine that describes how Cloud computing will play a major role in the future Internet of Services, enabling on-demand provisioning of applications, platforms, and computing infrastructures. The article describes the several technology challenges that must be addressed to turn this vision into reality. Specific issues relate to deploying future infrastructure-as-a-service clouds and include efficiently managing such clouds to deliver scalable and elastic service platforms on demand, developing cloud aggregation architectures and technologies that let cloud providers collaborate and interoperate, and improving cloud infrastructures' security, reliability, and energy efficiency.

Enjoy the article!