A Flexible and Interoperable Cloud Operating System
The foundation of an open cloud ecosystem
Jan. 13, 2010 11:30 AM
Future enterprise data centers will look like private clouds supporting a flexible and agile execution of virtualized services, and combining local with public cloud-based infrastructure to enable highly scalable hosting environments.
The key component in these cloud architectures will the cloud management system, also called cloud operating system (OS), being responsible for the secure, efficient and scalable management of the cloud resources. Cloud OS are displacing "traditional" OS, which will be part of the application stack.
Flexibility in Cloud Operating Systems
The Cloud OS manages a number of servers and hardware devices and their infrastructure services which make up a cloud system, giving the user the impression that they are interacting with a single infinite capacity and elastic cloud.
In the same way that multi-threaded OS define the thread as the unit of execution and the multi-threaded application as the management entity, supporting communication and synchronization instruments; multi-tier Cloud OS define the VM as the basic execution unit and the multi-tier virtualized service (group of VMs) as the basic management entity, supporting different communication instruments and their auto-configuration at boot time.
This concept helps to create scalable applications because you can add VMs as and when needed. Individual multi-tier applications are all isolated from each other, but individual VMs in the same application are not as they all may share a communication network and services as and when needed.
A Cloud OS has a number of functions:
OpenNebula is an open cloud OS that provides the above functionality on a wide range of technologies. However, in my view, the main differentiation of OpenNebula is not its leading edge functionality but its open, modular and extensible architecture that enables its seamless integration with any service and component in the ecosystem. The open architecture of OpenNebula provides the flexibility that many enterprise IT shops need for internal cloud adoption. Cloud computing is about integration, one solution does not fit all. Moreover, as pointed out in the CloudScaling "Infrastructure-as-a-Service Builder’s Guide", the right configuration and components in a Cloud architecture also depend on the execution requirements of the service workload.
Interoperability at the Cloud Management Level
At the cloud management level, interoperability means:
In fact interoperability should be evaluated from three different angles:
With high-end computing demands, cloud operating systems will continue to be a very active field of research and development. An open and flexible approach for cloud management ensures uptake and simplifies adaptation to different environments, being key for interoperability. The existence of an open and standard-based cloud management system like OpenNebula provides the foundation for building a complete cloud ecosystem, ensuring the new components and services in the ecosystem to have the widest possible market and user acceptability.
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