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Nimbula: Cloud Computing Predictions for 2012


What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this series exclusive.

Cloud Computing Predictions for 2012

Contributed Article by Vividh Siddha, VP of Engineering, Nimbula

The prominence of cloud computing as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction is going to accelerate. As we move into 2012, the application world and the infrastructure world will see better convergence than what existed before. Here are some predictions that will influence the application and the infrastructure world in 2012:

1) Enterprise and Web-Scale Applications Moving to Cloud Architectures Will Accelerate Rapidly

2012 will start the funeral march for monolithic application stacks, and applications will move towards supporting cloud based service oriented architectures (SOA). Customers want to migrate to the cloud for increasing profits while increasing utilization and Quality of Service (QoS). Cloud computing is expected to become the ubiquitous platform for deploying new applications. The transition of these applications to cloud architecture will accelerate and is planned to substantially increase in 2012 and beyond. This pace of this acceleration will strongly influence the entire ecosystem and will have a significant impact on the infrastructure providers.


2) IaaS Service Metrics Will Gain Prominence

Though the momentum has been increasing for moving applications to the cloud, there have been important factors inhibiting the adoption to the cloud such as performance, security and QoS. The Cloud Operating System (OS) is the control and management plane software that enables the data plane in a cloud (storage, instances and networks). The cloud computing infrastructure apart from being distributed is also heterogeneous, complicating servicing these requirements further.

The decision to move applications to the cloud is difficult largely because the IaaS layers have been unable to provide the metrics and the guarantees that the applications require. For example, IaaS layers typically use OS virtualization to increase the utilization factor in servers. OS virtualization only virtualizes the OS and is unaware of applications that are running on the OS. In addition, those same applications don't realize that they are using virtual hardware on top of a hypervisor. By inserting this extra software management layer between the application and the hardware, the applications might encounter performance issues that are beyond their control. Most IaaS Cloud OS layers only provide basic support for CPU/memory shapes, provisioning response time, rejection ratios and availability that are insufficient for the applications. Testing for these in the cloud has been another challenge faced by the application world. Performance of the applications also depends on how well the virtual infrastructure (servers, storage and networks) is managed by the Cloud OS. The Cloud OS platforms will need to provide a platform that meets the requirements of the applications moving to the cloud.

Some of the service attributes that will be implemented by the IaaS providers will be performance, security, scalability, availability, reusability, data management and maintainability. Of these, performance and security will be the most important.


3) The Touch Points Between Applications and Infrastructure Will Be Programmable and Extensible

The application world and the infrastructure world will define multiple touch points for requesting and managing the resources in the cloud.

The infrastructure layer will provide these touch points for security, network performance, storage performance and characteristics, locality, deep packet inspection, virus detection, billing, metering, etc. The applications world will start leveraging these touch points to measure, monitor and manage the applications.  These touch points will be programmable and extensible by the applications. This will enable applications to be built with information from the infrastructure and the infrastructure to adapt to the varying needs of the applications.


4) Cloud Standards for Service Metrics Will Still Be a Distant Away

The early adopters and platforms will drive the definition and implementation of the service metrics. There will be multiple service definitions, and the application world will struggle to adapt to multiple providers for similar attributes. We don't expect any standards to emerge in 2012 to unify the efforts of the infrastructure providers.



Cloud computing provides elastic computing infrastructure and resources which enable resource-on-demand and pay-as-you-go utility computing models. New applications can leverage these models to achieve new features with the capabilities that the IaaS service metrics will provide. It's even feasible for IaaS providers to provide these capabilities as a service which can be leveraged by the applications on-demand. 2012 will lay the foundation stones for the application world and the IaaS world to not only work on top of each other but also to work along with each other and provide a platform to build richer applications.


About the Author

Vividh Siddha, Vice President of Engineering at Nimbula

Vividh brings over a decade of technology development and management expertise in software, computer networking and wireless communications. Previously, Vividh was the VP of Engineering at IPInfusion and was responsible for product management and engineering driving R&D, Professional Services and Support. Prior to IPInfusion, Vividh acquired a range of experiences in developing solutions in IP and wireless technologies at Coree Networks, Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs Innovations and Siemens AG. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Pune, India. He is a member of the IEEE Computer and Communication Societies and the ACM.

Published Thursday, December 22, 2011 10:00 AM by David Marshall
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