Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: David Sprott, Pat Romanski, Rex Morrow, Datical, John Wetherill, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: CloudExpo® Blog, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing

CloudExpo® Blog: Interview

"Private Clouds Cut Costs of Internal IT," Says Univa CEO

Pioneering the Use of Virtualization in HPC: Jason Liu

Cloud computing, both private and public, will unquestionably make life easier for IT. That is the firm opinion of Jason Liu, CEO of Univa UD, expressed in this Exclusive Q&A with Jeremy Geelan of Cloud Computing Journal and conference chair of SYS-CON's market-leading International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo series. Liu also discusses many other aspects of Virtualization and Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing Journal: How exactly is High-Performance Computing converging with Cloud and Virtualization-focused usage models?

Jason Liu: Let’s talk about virtualization to begin with. Historically, HPC has taken the perspective that the infrastructure can never adopt virtualization because of performance degradation. Now, Univa is actually pioneering the use of virtualization in HPC – it’s viable right now and ready for prime time. We’ve already started moving customers to virtualized environments (at their demand), and benchmarking has shown less than 5% performance degradation. So, you get the huge benefits of virtualization with essentially no changes in performance. That’s why we’ll see the majority of HPC environments moving to adopt virtualization in the next 12 months.

Now let’s look at how cloud plays into this. Cloud environments have these 5 characteristics: Support for boundless applications, resource pooling, a virtualized infrastructure, a services approach to application delivery, and a metered usage-based payment model. Given this definition, it’s clear that HPC is actually an early-adopting cloud market because HPC environments already use the majority of these capabilities and technologies. What’s been missing has been the support for virtualization. But now, we’re able to turn HPC environments into efficient private clouds where virtualization is supported and performance – as I discussed before, remains high. In fact, I’d say based on our work with users that technical computing is actually one of the faster adopters of private cloud technology.

Cloud Computing Journal: And how then specifically does Univa UD’s cloud suite fit in, is it an evolution of your grid computing heritage?

Liu: Absolutely. Grid technology is a precursor to cloud, and Univa is of course one of the pioneers in grid computing. With our years of experience in grid and utility computing, our products are production-ready for internal, external and hybrid cloud scenarios. Unlike other vendors who are trying to retro-fit old technology into cloud or have developed brand-new tools from scratch, we’re unique in that we’ve been dealing for years with the same technology challenges that cloud brings. Historically, our grid technologies have supported 4 of the 5 key capabilities that define cloud (as I outlined previously). Univa technology was built to meet these challenges and has done so for years. And now, our infrastructure products offer support for virtualization, the final component in cloud enablement. It’s this heritage, along with our proven technology, that positions us well in the cloud enablement and management space.

You also asked about our product suite. Univa is the only company out there that is offering products to address all 3 of the top cloud use cases: public, private and hybrid. Not only that, but we address both infrastructure management and service governance – think of this as the muscles AND the brains of cloud. You can’t get that range of proven technology anywhere else.

Cloud Computing Journal: Have advancements in Virtualization and Cloud Computing made managing an organization’s IT resource inventory easier or harder?

Liu: Let’s keep in mind that virtualization is only 1 component of cloud (along with resource pooling, metered payment and other criteria). To speak to Virtualization in particular, I’d say that Virtualization will definitely make IT easier in the long run. But the challenge right now is that many companies have deployed Virtualization without a proactive strategy, and they haven’t instituted a manageable environment. As a result, they’re dealing with virtual server sprawl without a plan to manage this. Over time, with the proper adoption of dynamic resource management technology and planning, companies will begin to see the true fruits of their virtualization efforts.

Cloud, both private and public, will unquestionably make life easer for IT. Private cloud technology, which is general will be the first major adoption area, will dramatically reduce the costs of internal IT and more importantly allow IT to measure the cost of delivery. That hasn’t been possible in the past – and how can you evaluate or improve your performance if you can’t measure it? Cloud computing allows this. Also, cloud lets internal IT groups compare their performance to external benchmarks like managed service provider offerings to determine the real value of their services. Additionally, cloud can drive efficiencies through the pooling of resources which means lower costs but also reduced management overhead – again, making life easier for IT.

As for public cloud computing, of course IT’s life is made easier when computing can be effectively and securely outsourced. With today’s products, on ramping to a public cloud can be done in hours and companies can very quickly gain enormous benefits with no more effort than they’d exert in a static internal compute environment (or even less).

Cloud Computing Journal: What real-life use cases of cloud computing saving time and money would you point to right now as examples from which other companies can learn?

Liu: We’ve got several users I can point to right away who are having great success. In the private cloud arena, I’d reference Corus, a leading global manufacturer of steel products and services who is optimizing their computational workload and making HPC simpler and more flexible for users via SaaS delivery of applications over the web. With our private cloud technology, Corus has created an internal environment for more easily submitting, executing, tracking, and monitoring HPC workload, providing their users all the necessary functionality to run their HPC applications over the web in a secure internal environment.

As a public cloud use case, I’d cite Pathwork Diagnostics as an early adopter who is doing cloud clustering in Amazon EC2. Pathwork was looking to avoid a large hardware investment, so they decided to implement cloud and chose Amazon EC2 for pay-per-use computing and Univa for building the HPC clusters in the cloud. It’s been a fantastic solution for Pathwork – they’re really the model user for a service like EC2 because the cloud is serving their peak needs and helping them avoid purchasing hardware that would go underutilized a majority of the time.

Cloud Computing Journal: So in your view Cloud Computing is definitely recession–relevant?

Liu: Oh, very. That goes for both private and public cloud computing. Private cloud is all about measuring usage in a service based metered approach, and also more efficient use of hardware resources. So yes, the recession is forcing IT accountability and thereby requiring proper measurement and reduction in costs thru better utilization of what you’ve already paid for. With a mature virtualized environment, we’ve seen customers go from a 10% server utilization mark to a ceiling of 50-60%. Now with cloud, we can take that to 70-80% while reducing their OPEX and CAPEX (operational and capital expenditures). This is a very compelling value proposition in today’s economic climate.

With public cloud, the price points are dropping as we are increasingly seeing cost analyses demonstrate that you can save money by using public cloud. At the very least, a public cloud option gives businesses the flexibility to dynamical adjust their cost structure based on IT usage. It’s not about cool technology – it’s about the bottom line.

Cloud Computing Journal: And how about service governance, how does that help a company’s IT organization optimize the resources they are utilizing in the cloud?

Liu: How would the body operate without a brain? That’s the best analogy for what service governance does for a cloud environment. You may have tools in place for moving resources around and sending out workload, but unless there’s some logic and intelligence to what’s happening, there’s no way to optimize utilization and make sure the right decisions are being made (and actions taken) to protect performance and SLAs. That’s what products like Univa’s Reliance do.

Cloud Computing Journal: So this can be managed on the fly and still meet user SLAs?

Liu: It certainly can be. Right now in most data centers, SLAs are managed manually – that is, a human has to notice that an SLA is being violated and proactively initiate the actions (let’s hope it’s the best action) to rectify the problem as soon as possible. I think it goes without saying that an automated approach is faster and smarter. Univa offers the most mature SLA automation product in Reliance, which comprehends both application and infrastructure SLAs to ensure application performance is optimal, and also provides content management to ensure high-value users or workloads get priority.

Cloud Computing Journal: So your contention then is that if you run your applications on precisely the right cloud resources, you’ll not pay more than absolutely needed?

Liu: Part of the argument to manage toward application service levels is cost efficiency – users can reduce cost and increase utilization this way. But the biggest benefit is actually managing the business more efficiently. I’ll give you two 2 examples: First, a company running a web application with no concept of queuing. This is like McDonalds operating a drive-thru with absolutely no sense of how long people are waiting or whether orders are being filled correctly. Managing SLAs lets businesses prioritize high-value customers ahead of low and make sure those customers don’t wait too long for their work (where too long = whatever the customer defines). It takes 8 times more effort to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one. So shouldn't smart businesses make sure that happens, especially for their high value customers?

My other example is a Service Provider who can manage applications on a service level basis – so the provider can charge for services based on the SLA. This lets him prioritize customers and offer higher pricing (and service levels) to customers who will pay it, much like an airline does. It also lets the provider ensue that these customer with demanding SLAs actually get a higher level of service – automatically, guaranteed.

Cloud Computing Journal: How would you characterize the overall state of service governance technology today. Is Univa the sole pioneer of application-centric resource provisioning or are there competitors out there?

Liu: Well, there is certainly lots of confusion and misinformation out there. The reality is that no company is truly doing application service level management except Univa. The majority of others who claim this are either (a) only monitoring an environment that they can’t automate – so they require manual processes to remediate issues, or (b) are offering infrastructure but not application SLAs – so actions are taken based on the needs of the infrastructure but not the application. This means for example that if a server goes down, it gets replaced right away (some IT guy gets a call to go fix it) – even if no application SLA is in jeopardy. Is that smart use of resources, both human and machine? Not if you can avoid this by automating the whole scenarios based on previously negotiated application SLAs. The bottom line is that users want to define good service based on how quickly they get the results they want, not on the % that some server is being utilized. Tools like our Reliance make that possible.

Cloud Computing Journal: There seems to be little doubt that lightweight infrastructure is The Shape of Things to Come, for Enterprise IT? When, though? Are we talking 2010 or more like 2020, for major enterprises?

Liu: Let’s use the electricity market as a cloud analogy. Large enterprises went to private generators for 3-4 years before utilizing public services. Likewise, cloud will start internally (with private clouds) and enterprises will also start to experiment with public services. Then, after year 4, price points will be low enough and security concerns will abate enough so workloads can move to a public cloud, reducing the size and weight of the internal infrastructure.

Cloud Computing Journal: How big an issue is security for enterprises who wish to migrate toward Cloud-based infrastructure wholly or in part?

Liu: In private cloud environments, it’s no different an issue than it is for their current data center. The bottom line is that large enterprises must move to this type of setup within the next few years. They will be getting calls from service providers who will be able to quote pricing in the single digit per hour range, and they simply must be able to react by either implementing a private cloud or going with a public service. This means understanding what their costs really are, having that data figured out, and then also being able to deliver more efficiently.

Private cloud is really the only hope for companies who want to optimize internally before computing externally . In public clouds, we’re really dealing with 2 types of scenarios: (1) the consumer focused, Amazon EC2 type of cloud. Here, security concerns are being reduced due to requirements from the users, Amazon has a VPN tunnel to alleviate security concerns, for example. But our sense is that the majority of enterprises will go with (2) the long-term relationships the already have with service provider who can offer a semi-dedicated cloud, where they are fully aware of security, infrastructure and the like. This provides control and peace of mind while still delivering the benefits of a cloud environment.

Cloud Computing Journal: How big a part are standards going to play in the success of the Cloud?

Liu: In private cloud, and also in semi-dedicated clouds where I think the majority of enterprises will go, this is less relevant. For consumer-focused public clouds, there are benefits to standardization especially if you are an ISV who wants to port your applications to the cloud. The biggest problem right now is that applications must be written in a 3 tiered way to enable scaling in a cloud. That has to become standard. This offers complete portability of applications which will become a requirement in the public cloud.

Cloud Computing Journal: Which do you see as being the fastest-growing sector, Private Clouds or Public Clouds?

Liu: For smaller enterprises, I’d definitely say public. The value proposition is incredibly compelling, the technology is ready, and the barriers to adoption are being driven down. For larger enterprises, private cloud is where the growth is happening. This is being driven by competition from public clouds – meaning, large enterprises must go public or figure out a way to operate as efficiently as public clouds do.

Cloud Computing Journal: Finally, what's you top tip, as a seasoned software executive, to those other CEOs out there right now with respect to migrating (or not!) to the Cloud?

Liu: My top tip is: Know the landscape and pick your best approach based on who you are. Look at the cloud world as either private and public. For public, view the options as semi-dedicated public or fully public (consumer-focused) offerings. If you’re an SMB, you should be looking at public cloud computing now. If you’re a large company you should be experimenting with public offerings but at the same time moving rapidly toward private cloud transition within your own environment.

My other tip is: Beware! There are plenty of amateurs out there. Align yourself with seasoned experts who know what they’re doing and have been working these types of environments for years. There are 2 types of misinformation out there: from startups who are just entering the space with new technology, and from client-server infrastructure software companies trying to convince you they can take their tools and apply them to cloud. Be sure you choose vendors to work with who are neither brand-new to the business or so entrenched in one area that they can’t be agile enough to adjust to what cloud users need.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
The world is at a tipping point where the technology, the device and global adoption are converging to such a point that we will see an explosion of a world where smartphone devices not only allow us to talk to each other, but allow for communication between everything – serving as a central hub from which we control our world – MediaTek is at the heart of both driving this and allowing the markets to drive this reality forward themselves. The next wave of consumer gadgets is here – smart, connected, and small. If your ambitions are big, so are ours. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jack Hu, D...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
We’re entering a new era of computing technology that many are calling the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine to machine, machine to infrastructure, machine to environment, the Internet of Everything, the Internet of Intelligent Things, intelligent systems – call it what you want, but it’s happening, and its potential is huge. IoT is comprised of smart machines interacting and communicating with other machines, objects, environments and infrastructures. As a result, huge volumes of data are being generated, and that data is being processed into useful actions that can “command and control” thi...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...