Thursday, December 19, 2013

 

Industry Analysts, IaaS and Operating Systems...

Once again, I will point out missing aspects in industry analyst conversations around cloud computing...

The conversation around cloud computing tends to classify technologies according to whether it is viewed as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) representing them in an almost stack-like notation that never seems to address fundamental architecture concerns of any particular layer.

Should we be asking ourselves, does cloud computing deserve a different type of operating system? Many applications whether written in Java, .NET or even Ruby on Rails runs in some type of virtual machine container that has its own mechanisms for traditional operating system functions such as memory management. So, why are we duplicating functionality across stack components? Would cloud not be more efficient if we eliminated this type of redundancy?

Consider other aspects of how we deploy applications to the cloud and how this differs from traditional enterprise computing. In cloud, we often deploy a specific part of our application whether it is an application, database, web server and so on in its own virtual machine (VM). In this scenario, we don't need an operating system to provide either process isolation nor complex security schemes to provide one account/user from another.

The operating systems we run on cloud environments still are centered around the notion that infrastructure people twiddle configuration files vs the cloud paradigm of providing APIs for dynamic configuration change programmatically.

Since industry analysts love to show disrespect to open source as well as treat Microsoft as the whipping boy, why can't they beat up on operating system vendors to create a cloud operating system that is separate and distinct but otherwise fully interoperable from an application perspective that lightens the stack....




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