Saturday, December 15, 2012

3 Ways the EU Is Supporting Open Source

Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, presented on Friday at the Open Source Conference 2012 the three ways the European Union (EU) is supporting Open ICT systems, namely open-source, open-procurement, and open-data. Mrs. Kroes outlined the huge benefits of open-source and open-standards, the several hundred-million-euro benefits per year of Open ICT systems for the public sector alone, and how the EU is using open source solutions itself.


Mrs. Kroes made reference to OpenNebula as flagship of European open-source cloud innovation supported by EU investments that is laying the basis for interoperable data centers.

Since 2005, OpenNebula has helped many organizations develop value by building innovative cloud services and solutions to meet their user and customer needs in new ways or to meet new market needs. OpenNebula is playing an important role in driving and supporting the transition to cloud computing, and in accelerating the pace of innovation on the datacenter side.

We are really proud of this!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

David Versus Goliath in Open-source Cloud Computing: The OpenNebula Recipe for Success

Now that OpenNebula has been listed by GigaOM on the list of main reasons why Europe really matters to cloud computing, I am receiving several emails asking about how OpenNebula is able, what’s its "secret recipe", to compete with other open-source projects, like OpenStack, CloudStack or Eucalyptus, backed by strong IT vendors and with wide media presence. Here are some of its ingredients, mix them into a single product:

  • A vibrant and engaged community. Many people and organizations contribute in different ways to the project, from the expertise and dedication of our core committers and hundreds of contributors to the valuable feedback of our thousands of users. 
  • The power of user-driven development. OpenNebula's roadmap is completely driven by users needs with features that meet real demands, and not features that result from an agreement between IT vendors planning to create their own proprietary cloud solution. 
  • Volunteer development by the users. Most of contributors are users of the software that are willing to contribute new innovative features from their production environments, they are not developers hired by vendors to contribute to the project. 
  • Delivery as a production-proven, packaged product. OpenNebula comprises all key functionalities for cloud computing with a single installing, patching and updating process. Other open-source alternatives require proprietary components to be ready for the enterprise. 
  • Cloud-API agnostic. OpenNebula provides cloud consumers with choice of interfaces, from open cloud by main standards bodies to de-facto standards. OpenNebula does not try to reinvent the wheel and create a new cloud API. 
  • Richer functionality and wider integration capabilities. OpenNebula does not only bring an open-source implementation of the most common public cloud interfaces, but also the latest innovations in the management of virtualized data centers for the deployment of cutting edge enterprise clouds.  
  • Marketing-free technology. OpenNebula mainly invests its resources in developing technology and serving its users, being really vendor agnostic and free of marketing. 

In summary, a vibrant and engaged community, along with our focus on solving real user needs in innovative ways and the involvement of the users in a fully vendor-agnostic project, constitute the OpenNebula’s recipe to compete with the rest of open-source cloud management platforms.

Thanks to all the people and organizations that have contributed to OpenNebula since its foundation in 2005!

Friday, September 28, 2012

European Union Unveils its Cloud Computing Strategy

During the last two years I have been reporting about the different consultation events undertaken during the development of the cloud computing strategy. Now, finally, the European Union has just announced a strategy to boost the use of cloud computing among its members in the private and public sectors and an implementation plan based on three cloud-specific actions:

  • Cutting through the Jungle of Standards 
  • Safe and Fair Contract Terms and Conditions 
  • Establishing a European Cloud Partnership to drive innovation and growth from the public sector
The document entitled Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe sets out these actions and serves as a call on all stakeholders to participate in their implementation.
This is very good news, but we have to remember that creating a good strategy is only the start. The real challenge is in execution.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Role Does Open-source Play in Cloud Computing Innovation?

What Role Does Open-source Play in Cloud Computing Innovation? is a guest post that I have written on GigaOM to show how open-source is playing an important role in driving and supporting the transition to cloud computing. According to our experience, the availability of open-source cloud management tools like OpenNebula is accelerating the pace of innovation on the datacenter side.

Since we started the OpenNebula project in 2005, we have helped many organizations develop value by building innovative cloud services and solutions to meet their user and customer needs in new ways or to meet new market needs. The guest post looks at cloud innovation from different perspectives, including some specific examples.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why is Europe Behind the US on Cloud Computing?

I have decided to write this post after receiving several emails from different people asking me about the reasons for the slower adoption of cloud computing in Europe. In comparison to the US, it is clear that EU is some years behind in size and maturity of cloud infrastructure provision and adoption.

In my view, this delay is mostly due to different factors:

A. From the supply side

B. From the demand side, and according to the study Quantitative Estimates of the Demand for Cloud Computing in Europe and the Likely Barriers to Take-Up by IDC
  • EU organizations are more conservative, being slower in the adoption of new services and technologies
  • Small organizations are usually the most reluctant adopters 

C. Last, but not least, market fragmentation
  • Europe does not have a single digital market, and the main concerns about cloud services are security, data location and legal jurisdiction over data. So there is a clear need for a legal framework for international data protection and privacy to overcome fragmentation and allow to trade across borders

In my view the US has currently a better developed cloud infrastructure and Europe runs a high risk of becoming dependent on non-European providers, and this is critical if we consider cloud as the next utility. However, Europe has many advantages and strengths that can lead to opportunities in a cloud market which is about to rapidly accelerate:
  • A strong Telecom industry with operators that are starting to leverage their unique advantages
  • Many hosting and small cloud providers developing innovative cloud offerings 
  • EU-funded research projects and infrastructures, and open source technologies that are bringing innovation to the market and helping create an open interoperable cloud ecosystem 
The Commission is preparing the European Cloud Computing Strategy considering demand and supply side concerns in order to make Europe not only cloud-friendly but cloud active. This Strategy seeks to
  • Harmonize the legal framework for cloud
  • Raise awareness & promote uptake of Cloud computing, mostly among SMEs and public authorities
  • Promote interoperability, portability and open-source to create an open interoperable cloud ecosystem 
  • Support research on critical issues to create better cloud 
Work has started with the publication of a report that a select industry group has prepared with key recommendations to the European Commission on the orientation of a Cloud computing strategy for Europe, and the report on Advances in Clouds - Research in Future Cloud Computing prepared by the EC Group of Experts in Cloud Computing that includes a state-of-the-art view on cloud computing technologies, its position in and its relevance for Europe.

Friday, June 22, 2012

European Digital Agenda: From Cloud-friendly to Cloud-active

Yesterday we participated in the second edition of the cloud computing workshop within the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012 aimed at defining the European Cloud Computing Strategy. Last year, the aim of the workshop was to identify the main elements of a European cloud strategy and the possible need for public-policy intervention, considering demand and supply side concerns. This edition has mainly focused on policy issues to coordinate cloud computing in Europe, international aspects of cloud, and key areas in contract terms, such as data preservation after termination of the contract, data integrity and disclosure. 

The agenda, presentations and recommendations are available at the Digital Agenda web site.

Friday, May 25, 2012

OpenNebula Cloud for HPC at NASA Ames

"Cloud Computing Architecture with Open Nebula – HPC Cloud Use Cases" is the title of the invited talk that I gave yesterday at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division – NASA Ames. I provided an overview of cloud computing architecture with OpenNebula, with special focus on cloud deployments for High Performance Computing environments. You can find bellow the slides and the abstract of the presentation. It was a great opportunity to interact with Piyush Mehrotra's group in the Computational Technologies Branch to discuss how OpenNebula can address their needs, and to talk with some of the people involved in the Nebula Project. Thanks for the invitation!.

OpenNebula is a fully open-source cloud management platform, with excellent performance and scalability to manage tens of thousands of virtual machines, and with the most advanced functionality for building virtualized enterprise data centers and private cloud infrastructures. OpenNebula is the result of many years of research and development in efficient and scalable management of virtual machines on large-scale distributed infrastructures. Its innovative features have been developed to address the requirements of business use cases from leading companies in the context of flagship international projects in cloud computing. OpenNebula is being used by many supercomputing and leading research centers to build HPC and science clouds for hosting virtualized computational environments, such as batch farms and computing clusters, or for providing users with new “HPC as a service” resource provisioning models. The talk describes how to design a cloud architecture with OpenNebula and its innovative features to enable the execution of flexible and elastic cluster and high performance computing services on demand while reducing the associated cost of building the datacenter infrastructure.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Advances in Clouds - Research in Future Cloud Computing

It has been more than two years since the European Commission published in January 2010 its pioneering report about the Future of Cloud Computing. A group of experts was established with the aim to evaluate the state-of-the-art and develop future research directions in cloud computing. Since then, there has been considerable advances in the field, developments have closed some gaps that were identified in this report, but more challenges have emerged.

We were re-convened by the European Commission in 2011 in order to capture these changes and maintain a state-of-the-art view on cloud computing technologies, its position in and its relevance for Europe. The experts, led by Keith Jeffery, Lutz Schubert and Maria Tsakali, have produced a final version of this report entitled Advances in Clouds - Research in Future Cloud Computing. The report brings valuable information for people defining Cloud Computing strategies, developing innovative research lines, or exploring emerging market opportunities beyond today’s Clouds. It is a must-read.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Roadmap on Infrastructures for e-Science in Europe

The last version of the Roadmap on Distributed Computing Infrastructure for e-Science and Beyond in Europe was released last week by the SIENA initiative. The main open-source cloud computing projects, like OpenNebula, and standards bodies, like DMTF, OASIS, OGF, ETSI, and SNIA, have contributed to this roadmap that assesses the situation, identifies issues, and makes recommendations regarding the adoption and evolution of open standards-based interoperable grid and cloud computing infrastructure (e-infrastructure) or to support research in Europe.

As member of its Editorial Board, I recommend to use this roadmap as a reference of the work in cloud standards being developed by the large number of standards bodies and other collaborative groups. I hope this roadmap is a first step to achieve a closer collaboration between them to avoid the existing situation where different working groups are covering the same functionality and needs. As it was pointed out in the Workshop Towards a Cloud Computing Strategy for Europe: Matching Supply and Demand organized at the 1st Digital Agenda Assembly, one of the main barriers to cloud computing adoption is interoperability and portability across cloud providers and products. This is needed to avoid vendor lock-in and create a healthy competitive cloud computing market in Europe.

The roadmap was presented at Cloudscape IV Advances in Interoperability and Cloud Computing Standards, the 23rd of February in Brussels, including presentations from key stakeholders. One very interesting conclusion of the workshop is how open-source is driving forward development and adoption of standards in cloud computing. Most of the initiatives in research infrastructures that were presented during the event are using OpenNebula as vendor-agnostic open platform for building and managing their cloud, and its interfaces are evolving into the standard in this area.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Key Challenges in Cloud Computing to Enable Future Internet of Things

"Key Challenges in Cloud Computing to Enable Future Internet of Things" is the title of the talk about future Internet of Things that I gave today January 19th at The 4th EU-Japan Symposium on New Generation Networks and Future Internet. The talk provides an architectural view of Internet of Things from the perspective of cloud computing, defines its main requirements for the underlying processing infrastructure, and describes the challenges in cloud computing that should be addressed to meet these requirements. The talk concludes with the description of the instruments that should be used to maximize the value of research and to support the collaboration between Japan and the European Union, namely openness, standards, coordination with running initiatives, and code re-use.