Open Source Insider

May 7 2011   2:33PM GMT

Planet Earth is becoming a massive computational cloud

Adrian Bridgwater Adrian Bridgwater Profile: Adrian Bridgwater

Tags:
cloud
devices
Open source

The cloud is becoming massive. Actually, I hate people that call it “the” cloud. It’s the cloud computing model of IT service delivery in the form of applications and data. But that’s a bit long, so we’ll stick with calling it “the” cloud.

So if my original statement holds water, just how many clouds are there right now?

CEO of Eucalyptus Systems Mårten Mickos says that his company has launched over 25,000 clouds, making it the planet’s most widely deployed software platform for on-premise (IAAS) clouds.

Mickos suggests that soon we will have 10 billion connected devices on this planet – phones, pads, laptops, servers, GPSs and vehicles, medical devices, meters and recorders and so on.

It’s almost like the world is becoming one massive computational machine.

Planet_earth.jpeg

If you haven’t heard of Eucalyptus, then your fun fact for the day is the fact that it started as an advanced research project over four years ago at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Why is it called Eucalyptus? Isn’t it obvious? Here’s a clue — Elastic Utility Computing Architecture Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems.

Eucalyptus is an open source offering, so it’s freely open to modification and redistribution.

So what does Mickos think is being done with all the 25,000 clouds that he claims carry the Eucalyptus brand? In his own blog he writes as follows:

“Experimental and production clouds are being established across most types of organisations and among both small and large ones. Earlier predictions that private clouds would appeal only to the most conservative organizations, or just to large ones, seem to have been incorrect. Private clouds are of interest to anyone. Those who are using a public cloud service appear to have an even higher interest in private clouds.”

“A key design principle in the early days of Eucalyptus was providing users with choice, control and freedom. Importantly, we decided to implement on top of our elastic cloud machine the same API functionality that the leading public cloud vendor uses. This has proven to be highly valuable to our users. If it runs on Amazon Web Services, it runs on Eucalyptus, and vice versa.”

“Clouds rely on virtualization that is typically implemented in the form of a hypervisor. Combine the AWS API compatibility, the hypervisor agnosticism and the open source software model, and you get an on-premise IaaS platform that fits right into your existing datacenter infrastructures while effectively preventing lock-in. If you don’t like the hypervisor, you can replace it with another one. You can mix multiple hypervisors in the same cloud. If you need to move your apps, then the industry standard API gives you the widest possible freedom.”

So then, should we view planet Earth as some kind of organic massive computational cloud in the making? It seems reasonable to suggest in some ways — after all we are “empowering” everything from motor cars to fridges with more technology than was ever thought possible (or indeed necessary).

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