Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

2010 is the Year of the Federated Cloud Computing

Also known as hybrid clouds, the notion of federation has been around since cloud computing began

In this first post of 2010, I’d like to look at one of the most important cloud issues that enterprises want to tackle: federation in the cloud — across clouds and between the cloud and the data center. Also known as hybrid clouds, the notion of federation has been around since cloud computing began, but as a long-term vision rather than a working solution. This year that gap is going to close.

What Is Cloud Federation?

Federation brings together different cloud flavors and internal resources so companies can select a computing environment on demand that makes sense for a particular workload. It opens the door to a range of useful scenarios that take advantage of cloud capabilities:

  • Using multiple clouds for different applications to match business needs. For example, Amazon AWS or Rackspace could be used for applications that need large horizontal scale, and Savvis or Terremark for applications that need stronger SLAs and higher security. An internal cloud is another federation option for applications that need to live behind the corporate firewall.
  • Allocating different elements of an application to different environments, whether internal or external. For example, an application could run in a cloud while accessing data stored internally as a security precaution. (We call this concept “application stretching.”)
  • Moving an application to meet requirements at different stages in its lifecycle, whether between public clouds or back to the data center. For example, Amazon or Terremark's V-Cloud Express could be used for development, and when the application is ready for production it could move to Terremark's Enterprise Cloud or similar clouds. This is also important as applications move towards the end of their lifecycle, where they can be moved to lower-cost cloud infrastructure as their importance and duty-cycle patterns diminish.

Enterprise users don’t typically talk about federation per se; they speak in terms of application-specific and general business requirements. While some applications will always belong in their data center, they may have others (possibly hundreds) that could run more cost-effectively in the right cloud. Our customers and prospects tell us that they would love to take advantage of different clouds to get the computing performance they need, along with the desired service levels, scalability, security and price points. And since they aren’t that clear yet on their cloud requirements, and cloud services are in early stages and will continue to evolve, they want the ability to pick up their applications if necessary and move them to other clouds or back to the data center with minimal effort.

The problem is that the cloud is not a homogenous entity, but covers a broad landscape of computing environments, with no consistency between any of them or with the enterprise data center. Federation is the missing link, providing a structure that bridges these disparate environments so enterprise cloud computing can become as seamless and straightforward as it needs to be. Let’s examine some of the key issues and see what CloudSwitch is doing to make federation work.

Bridging the Differences

An application should to be able to run “as is” in any cloud with the resources to support it. But each cloud has its own server platforms, operating system versions, APIs, network settings, storage options—a whole landscape of varied characteristics. Without federation, each cloud deployment becomes a custom “one-off” exercise to meet the requirements of a particular cloud environment. That’s not acceptable internally, and companies are now demanding the ability to leverage different clouds without the underlying engineering efforts required to make it happen.

A unique capability of CloudSwitch is the ability to integrate at an infrastructure level between the data center and different clouds. We sit in the middle of all of these resources and automatically bridge the differences, regardless of variations in virtualization platforms, operating systems, APIs, storage infrastructures or other characteristics of the different clouds. Both internal and cloud resources appear as if they’re running locally, using a common interface spanning multiple clouds and the local environment.

Setting Consistent Rules

Rules and permissions about what employees can do in the cloud must be consistent with those in the data center. Role-based controls are required, for example, to enable a particular individual or group to create servers but not to delete or modify them. However, in these early days of cloud computing, the standard procedure is to allow cloud users access to the cloud credentials; essentially every user has full control and access to the cloud resources. This not only causes control issues but makes auditing and problem resolution difficult since it is unclear who is responsible for any particular action.

CloudSwitch solves this problem by holding the credentials for external clouds and serving as the gateway to cloud accounts. Rather than users accessing their accounts directly, they interact with the cloud through the gateway, which consolidates permissions for all users and multiple clouds for management by an administrator. The approach provides consistent policies governing user and management roles, whether internal or external.  

Streamlining Cloud Management

Federation also means that administrators should be able to manage applications running in one or more clouds as if they were running locally, using their familiar tools and processes for application lifecycle management, monitoring, compliance management, etc. But cloud computing involves a wide assortment of isolated environments to keep track of and manage. Adding to the complexity, cloud providers often have their own management tools that users or administrators need to learn, all different from each other and from what enterprises have internally.

CloudSwitch keeps things simple for the enterprise by replicating the existing IT infrastructure and mapping it to the target cloud. The approach allows current management tools to work seamlessly in the cloud, just as if an application were running locally. Using consistent tools and policies, applications and resources can be managed with the same flexibility, security and control regardless of their location.

Bringing the Vision to Life

Federation is required for cloud computing to be successful, particularly as computing needs continue to expand. Enterprise users want to take advantage of all the capabilities available in the cloud, but without the complexity or risk. The ability to federate this heterogeneous ecosystem—to create a uniform environment spanning external and internal clouds—is going to allow IT organizations to meet user and corporate needs with an agility and economy not previously possible. CloudSwitch is part of an emerging ecosystem that’s making federated cloud a reality.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ellen Rubin

Ellen Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, an enterprise storage company that recently raised $27 million in a Series B investment round. She is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning and go-to- market efforts for fast-growing companies. Most recently, she was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud enablement software company, acquired by Verizon in 2011. Prior to founding CloudSwitch, Ellen was the vice president of marketing at Netezza, where as a member of the early management team, she helped grow the company to more than $130 million in revenues and a successful IPO in 2007. Ellen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...