I was reading an interesting article on Inhabitat about various large IT companies working to create code auditors that audit for energy efficiency. Being that server farms are a huge user of energy it makes perfect sense to not only try to use renewable energy sources to power them. But to go to the source of the issue and insure the code itself is as efficient as possible. It’s a simple idea but one that to be honest had never crossed my mind. You could compare it to a house that uses old fashioned everything that is an energy hog and is powered by solar. So it takes 10 times as many solar panels to run the house which basically cancels out any impact to the environment since the non-renewable energy used to make the solar panels to begin with. The article also pointed out a Greenpeace campaign called “COOL IT” that gives report cards to big IT companies and their use of renewable energy. To my surprise Cisco seems to be at the forefront. The stranger thing was I saw no mention of Amazon, who is one of the biggest cloud providers around now.
As we understand it from the discussion on stage, a Think Cloud is a “body of knowledge” that is a real-time information base of Amazon cloud that can be pivoted all the way down to the threads and individual data concurrency. It would be an index that acts like a control point that helps define movement of data through a servers and compute tasks. Looking at the journey from the data point of view, including data about the environment itself and how to repair itself when damaged and keep data concurrency in tact.
NYTimes has a good blog post about the nation’s new CIO and his desire to embrace cloud computing:
Mr. Kundra also said that he would push the government to embrace cloud computing — having work done on large servers rather than on desktop PCs. He acknowledged that there are privacy and security issues with some cloud-computing efforts, particularly when the computers are not all operated by the government. But he said that should not stop the government from taking advantage of the speed and efficiency such systems offer.
SC has a good write up on cloud computing security:
Cloud computing, as least as a concept, is being driven largely by economics. It is generally less costly to run applications, add capacity and increase storage in the cloud, rather than investing in new hardware and software, and bringing on additional staff and beefing up networking.
“Cloud computing will happen because it has too much of an economic incentive and developer support – applications can be quickly added and developers can have a single place to maintain source code,” says Vatsal Sonecha, VP, business development & product management at TriCipher.
Overall, incentives include application-deployment speed, lower costs and fast prototyping. These are strong drivers. So much so that Gartner predicts that by 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies will pay for some cloud computing service, and 30 percent of them will pay for a cloud computing infrastructure.
That is not to say that entire data centers will be moving to the cloud, at least in the largest companies. But for certain solutions, the cost benefits are hard to ignore.
I am a Linux guy. But I am also a big lover and user of OpenBSD and FreeBSD. This got me to thinking of BSD and it’s place in Cloud Computing. In terms of Amazon Web Services EC2 I have yet to see it. When checking the FreeBSD and OpenBSD projects I have yet to see it at all in a Xen form. There are a few posting regarding getting it to sort of work. There is a wiki page for FreeBSD project dedicated to a Xen port. I believe this lack of Xen support will not help BSDs to compete with Linux flavors. I would love to be able to use BSD for certain roles.
I have been using Amazon Web Services for some time now and decided to use the Open Source Scalr Project to manage my farms on AWS. After overcoming many hurtles to getting Scalr running successfully I have been using it to manage my farms for about a month. Compared to the initial outlay required my RightScale the time it took to get Scalr running was nominal. Plus I like the ability to have a developer tweak the functionality of Scalr to fit our business requirements. There is an active Google Group for Scalr that I have used to solve most of my issues. People also have the option of using Scalr.net as a pay per month solution to manage their AWS farms. I chose to host my own instance of Scalr since we are doing large scale hosting and the previously mentioned need to customize it. I do enjoy the ease Scalr provides in bundling new custom roles I build for our various application servers. It allows you to simply press a button to save a new role for future use. Along with its ability to auto-scale as traffic dictates those are the two biggest pluses for me in using Scalr.
I will be adding more on my experiences with Scalr in coming days. If you are installing on CentOS5 I have some install notes I posted here.