The promise of cloud computing is significant. So are the obstacles to making it happen. This week, heavy-hitters HP and Yahoo stepped up to confront those issues. The Cloud Computing Test Bed is designed to enable researchers to test software in a cloud infrastructure from the operating system to user-facing levels.
The piece says that the three vendors will work with data centers, located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and three associated with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. Each will offer between 1,000 and 4,000 processor cores.
There has been significant movement during the past year on the cloud computing front. In this CIO.com piece, an IBM executive offers a nice definition of cloud computing and provides five reasons that it will become a major force during the next half-decade. The reasons are that cloud can help meet the growing needs created by Web 2.0, cut energy use, drive innovation by offering a high level of resources, and simplify and more logically structure an unruly Internet teeming with ideas and inputs.
Of course, the attitude of Microsoft to any new approach is important. This story looks at that and then shifts to describe a recent problem with Amazon's S3 cloud storage service. The Microsoft element of the story is a bit vague. The writer says Redmond has long expressed interest in cloud computing and has several hosted services, which can be thought of as the application layer of a cloud computing infrastructure. Recently, Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie promised cloud options will be offered by the company.
The S3 portion of the story is more concrete. In mid July, the service had an problem that lasted eight hours and impacted both of its sites. Amazon has said it has addressed the problem, but that the spread of the problem from one site to the other is disturbing and that, overall, the incident shows the immaturity of the category.
Another sign that the category is still young can be seen in this description of a conference called CloudCamp that was held this month in London. This Sys-Con post discusses the highlights of the presentations. By far the most interesting mentioned was by Alan Williamson, who is involved in a project called OpenBlueDragon. The presentation said that clouds still are for early adopters. Customers should carefully monitor their applications in the cloud and perhaps link to more than one for redundancy. Writing the application to accommodate more than one cloud can be tricky, however. Moving from the cloud back to a dedicated server arrangement, Williamson said, is a big operation.
This InformationWeek piece suggests that there may be still another cloud forming. The writer happened upon an eBay classified ad seeking a director of cloud computing engineering. He wonders if the ad is for a new project, or if is connected to the company's ongoing internal efforts.