|By Lori MacVittie||
|September 21, 2010 04:30 PM EDT||
Infrastructure 2.0 ≠ cloud computing ≠ IT as a Service. There is a difference between Infrastructure 2.0 and cloud. There is also a difference between cloud and IT as a Service. But they do go together, like a parfait. And everybody likes a parfait…
The introduction of the newest member of the cloud computing buzzword family is “IT as a Service.” It is understandably causing some confusion because, after all, isn’t that just another way to describe “private cloud”? No, actually it isn’t. There’s a lot more to it than that, and it’s very applicable to both private and public models. Furthermore, equating “cloud computing” to “IT as a Service” does both a big a disservice as making synonyms of “Infrastructure 2.0” and “cloud computing.” These three [ concepts | models | technologies ] are highly intertwined and in some cases even interdependent, but they are not the same.
In the simplest explanation possible: infrastructure 2.0 enables cloud computing which enables IT as a service.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dig in.
ENABLE DOES NOT MEAN EQUAL TO
One of the core issues seems to be the rush to equate “enable” with “equal”. There is a relationship between these three technological concepts but they are in no wise equivalent nor should be they be treated as such. Like SOA, the differences between them revolve primarily around the level of abstraction and the layers at which they operate. Not the layers of the OSI model or the technology stack, but the layers of a data center architecture.
Let’s start at the bottom, shall we?
At the very lowest layer of the architecture is Infrastructure 2.0. Infrastructure 2.0 is focused on enabling dynamism and collaboration across the network and application delivery network infrastructure. It is the way in which traditionally disconnected (from a communication and management point of view) data center foundational components are imbued with the ability to connect and collaborate. This is primarily accomplished via open, standards-based APIs that provide a granular set of operational functions that can be invoked from a variety of programmatic methods such as orchestration systems, custom applications, and via integration with traditional data center management solutions. Infrastructure 2.0 is about making the network smarter both from a management and a run-time (execution) point of view, but in the case of its relationship to cloud and IT as a Service the view is primarily focused on management.
Infrastructure 2.0 includes the service-enablement of everything from routers to switches, from load balancers to application acceleration, from firewalls to web application security components to server (physical and virtual) infrastructure. It is, distilled to its core essence, API-enabled components.
Cloud computing is the closest to SOA in that it is about enabling operational services in much the same way as SOA was about enabling business services. Cloud computing takes the infrastructure layer services and orchestrates them together to codify an operational process that provides a more efficient means by which compute, network, storage, and security resources can be provisioned and managed. This, like Infrastructure 2.0, is an enabling technology. Alone, these operational services are generally discrete and are packaged up specifically as the means to an end – on-demand provisioning of IT services.
Cloud computing is the service-enablement of operational services and also carries along the notion of an API. In the case of cloud computing, this API serves as a framework through which specific operations can be accomplished in a push-button like manner.
IT as a SERVICE
At the top of our technology pyramid, as it is likely obvious at this point we are building up to the “pinnacle” of IT by laying more aggressively focused layers atop one another, we have IT as a Service. IT as a Service, unlike cloud computing, is designed not only to be consumed by other IT-minded folks, but also by (allegedly) business folks. IT as a Service broadens the provisioning and management of resources and begins to include not only operational services but those services that are more, well, businessy, such as identity management and access to resources.
IT as a Service builds on the services provided by cloud computing, which is often called a “cloud framework” or a “cloud API” and provides the means by which resources can be provisioned and managed. Now that sounds an awful lot like “cloud computing” but the abstraction is a bit higher than what we expect with cloud. Even in a cloud computing API we are steal interacting more directly with operational and compute-type resources. We’re provisioning, primarily, infrastructure services but we are doing so at a much higher layer and in a way that makes it easy for both business and application developers and analysts to do so.
An example is probably in order at this point.
THE THREE LAYERS in the ARCHITECTURAL PARFAIT
Let us imagine a simple “application” which itself requires only one server and which must be available at all times.
That’s the “service” IT is going to provide to the business.
In order to accomplish this seemingly simple task, there’s a lot that actually has to go on under the hood, within the bowels of IT.
Consider, if you will, what fulfilling that request means. You need at least two servers and a Load balancer, you need a server and some storage, and you need – albeit unknown to the business user – firewall rules to ensure the application is only accessible to those whom you designate. So at the bottom layer of the stack (Infrastructure 2.0) you need a set of components that match these functions and they must be all be enabled with an API (or at a minimum by able to be automated via traditional scripting methods). Now the actual task of configuring a load balancer is not just a single API call. Ask RackSpace, or GoGrid, or Terremark, or any other cloud provider. It takes multiple steps to authenticate and configure – in the right order – that component. The same is true of many components at the infrastructure layer: the APIs are necessarily granular enough to provide the flexibility necessary to be combined in a way as to be customizable for each unique environment in which they may be deployed. So what you end up with is a set of infrastructure services that comprise the appropriate API calls for each component based on the specific operational policies in place.
At the next layer up you’re providing even more abstract frameworks. The “cloud API” at this layer may provide services such as “auto-scaling” that require a great deal of configuration and registration of components with other components. There’s automation and orchestration occurring at this layer of the IT Service Stack, as it were, that is much more complex but narrowly focused than at the previous infrastructure layer. It is at this layer that the services become more customized and able to provide business and customer specific options. It is also at this layer where things become more operationally focused, with the provisioning of “application resources” comprising perhaps the provisioning of both compute and storage resources. This layer also lays the foundation for metering and monitoring (cause you want to provide visibility, right?) which essentially overlays, i.e. makes a service of, multiple infrastructure resource monitoring services.
At the top layer is IT as a Service, and this is where systems become very abstracted and get turned into the IT King “A La Carte” Menu that is the ultimate goal according to everyone who’s anyone (and a few people who aren’t). This layer offers an interface to the cloud in such a way as to make self-service possible. It may not be Infrabook or even very pretty, but as long as it gets the job done cosmetics are just enhancing the value of what exists in the first place. IT as a Service is the culmination of all the work done at the previous layers to fine-tune services until they are at the point where they are consumable – in the sense that they are easy to understand and require no real technical understanding of what’s actually going on. After all, a business user or application developer doesn’t really need to know how the server and storage resources are provisioned, just in what sizes and how much it’s going to cost.
IT as a Service ultimately enables the end-user – whomever that may be – to easily “order” IT services to fulfill the application specific requirements associated with an application deployment. That means availability, scalability, security, monitoring, and performance.
A DYNAMIC DATA CENTER ARCHITECTURE
One of the first questions that should come to mind is: why does it matter? After all, one could cut out the “cloud computing” layer and go straight from infrastructure services to IT as a Service. While that’s technically true it eliminates one of the biggest benefits of a layered and highly abstracted architecture : agility. By presenting each layer to the layer above as services, we are effectively employing the principles of a service-oriented architecture and separating the implementation from the interface. This provides the ability to modify the implementation without impacting the interface, which means less down-time and very little – if any – modification in layers above the layer being modified. This translates into, at the lowest level, vender agnosticism and the ability to avoid vendor-lock in. If two components, say a Juniper switch and a Cisco switch, are enabled with the means by which they can be enabled as services, then it becomes possible to switch the two at the implementation layer without requiring the changes to trickle upward through the interface and into the higher layers of the architecture.
It’s polymorphism applied to an data center operation rather than a single object’s operations, to put it in developer’s terms. It’s SOA applied to a data center rather than an application, to put it in an architect’s terms.
It’s an architectural parfait and, as we all know, everybody loves a parfait, right?
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
May. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,532
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
May. 24, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,865
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
May. 24, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,250
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.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,385
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,982
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,687
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,273
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,869
Every day we read jaw-dropping stats on the explosion of data. We allocate significant resources to harness and better understand it. We build businesses around it. But we’ve only just begun. For big payoffs in Big Data, CIOs are turning to cognitive computing. Cognitive computing’s ability to securely extract insights, understand natural language, and get smarter each time it’s used is the next, logical step for Big Data.
May. 24, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,816
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!
May. 24, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,838
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.
May. 24, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,018
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
May. 24, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,079
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
May. 24, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,155
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...
May. 24, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,333
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
May. 24, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,359
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
May. 24, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,725
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
May. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,765
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...
May. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,707
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 ...
May. 24, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,809
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.
May. 24, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,107