Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Open Source Facing a Difficult Battle For Cloud Relevance

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the someone-get-a-rock-and-a-sling dept.

Software 141

A recent eulogy for open source's relevance to cloud computing by Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady caught the attention of Matt Asay, who breaks down the difficulty of this David and Goliath problem. "In a world where horsepower matters more than the software feeding those 'horses,' in terms of the entry cost to compete, and where big vendors like Amazon and Google are already divvying up the market, the odds of a small-fry, open-source start-up challenging 'Goliath' are slim. It's not a new argument: Nick Carr has been suggesting for some time that only a few, big companies can afford relevance in this hardware-intensive business. Given this fact, O'Grady thinks the best we can hope for (and he thinks it's pretty important) is 'a loose coalition or confederation of [open-source] projects and vendors that will together comprise an increasingly viable top to bottom alternative to some of the cloud providers today.' He includes projects like Puppet (Reductive Labs) and Hadoop in this mix, but is careful to point out that he doesn't see a full-fledged, open-source alternative seriously challenging the closed platforms of Google, Amazon, Salesforce, and the other mega-clouds."

cancel ×

141 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Too many anaologies in the summary (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574067)

But if open-source can hit the bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

Re:Too many anaologies in the summary (1)

Foredecker (161844) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574235)

What the heck does that mean?

Re:Too many anaologies in the summary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574315)

You know by tattling on your friends, you're really just tattling on yourself. By tattling on your friends, you're just telling them that you're a tattletale. Now is that the tale you want to tell?

Re:Too many anaologies in the summary (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574445)

I think that post was a real home run.

Re:Too many anaologies in the summary (1)

MrPhilby (1493541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574693)

Exactly what I was.

Re:Too many anaologies in the summary (3, Funny)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575137)

For some reason my brain automatically did this:
<Zap_Branigan>

But if open-source can hit the bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

</Zap_Branigan>

Re:Too many anaologies in the summary (2, Informative)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575971)

And a subtle, suave, sexy reference to Futurama's own Captain Zapp Brannigan.

Crybaby (4, Informative)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574091)

Really, is this situation THAT MUCH different from what we have today?? What are the chances of a small mom-and-pop start up create a virtual bookstore to rival Amazon, or an Internet services infrastucture empire to rival Google??

Re:Crybaby (2, Interesting)

mjasay (1141697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574199)

That's the point (read the full article). We keep expecting open source to topple old hegemonies, but the reality is that it's simply helping to create them (Google) and keep them in check (everyone, including Google). That's a very important role, but it's not the BigCo Destroyer role we too often assign to open source.

Re:Crybaby (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574313)

There's one big huge flawed premise in the article. Free software has already established its relevance. It is the cloud computing concept that has yet to establish its relevance. Even if it does, which is questionable, if it does so by using virtualization of commodity hardware, then the question of what software is being run in the cloud is irrelevant, because all of it will do so. If you are renting computer cycles, the ability to pare things down to the bare bones and tweak the internals is more relevant than ever, which gives the edge in such an environment to open source software. If the question is, what is the group using to operate their cloud, the answer is, who cares? May as well ask the farmer what brand of tractor he uses... it's irrelevant.

Re:Crybaby (2, Funny)

Adm.Wiggin (759767) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574919)

...but I only eat vegetables and fruits that were cultivated lovingly by John Deere! What else could be more relevant?!

Re:Crybaby (2, Interesting)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576377)

This guy is right on the money.

Consider this as well: If you are with an organization that is scaling into the cloud, and needs to fire up a couple hundred server instances a few times a year to handle the load, would you rather fire up an open source operating system and related free applications (LAMP, or whatever), or would you rather fire up a couple hundred server instances that required licensing for the OS and software? Would you like to manage the additional overhead of the proprietary systems/software? Would you be willing to pay more to have your cloud service manage it for you?

FOSS is more relevant in the cloud than most folks realize, even on a proprietary/closed cloud infrastructure.

Re:Crybaby (2, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575775)

Since when is the point of open source was to kill big companies. That sounds like the sort of thing MS would say ("its communist").

Surely Google, Amazon and others use open source, so we are talking about one open source vendor based platform competing against another. The question then becomes, can open source somehow magically make the economies of scale involved in running infrastructure disappear, at which point the question answers itself.

Re:Crybaby (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576599)

It seems like they're trying to compare a software company to software. Open source projects can't compete with Google because they're just pieces of software. The real comparison is between companies that use open source and companies that don't, and like they mentioned in the summary, Google uses open source.

headline is backwards (5, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574115)

should be "Cloud computing facing a difficult battle for Relevance"

Re:headline is backwards (1)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574147)

but these are *mega* clouds

Re:headline is backwards (2, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575723)

The forecast is "Clear sky's ahead".

Cloud computing is like the net pc. A big deal until everyone realizes is not.

Re:headline is backwards (1)

orngjce223 (1505655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576099)

I need portability - I use at least three different computers regularly. In this case, if it's not the cloud, it has to be the sneakernet, and I am notorious for losing flash drives. Therefore, yes, there is a role for cloud computing even if it is only a niche consisting of five people. It just depends on whether you round down or not afterwards.

Re:headline is backwards (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576709)

Are you sure that an old-fashioned network wouldn't be sufficient for your needs?

Salesforce is Software not Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574123)

Salesforce runs on ~ 1000 Dell servers (and thats with redundancy). Hate to say it, but Salesforce is a great example of making a very slim product (it only did just barely enough to begin with) but very efficient. The products limitations are endlessly frustrating but the sales pitch was fantastic. Salesforce is not about spending huge amounts of Money - its about making it. They have 55,000 customers and 1.5M user accounts...
http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/23/the-efficient-cloud-all-of-salesforce-runs-on-only-1000-servers/

Re:Salesforce is Software not Hardware (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574281)

This is wholly misleading.

Salesforce is crap, there are more competitive alternatives and most people avoid it like the plague. See Siebel for an easy example. Not to mention most people dont' want to have to a: rely on salesforce or b: give up the control that enterprise can and should have.

This is one reason cloud as a concept fails: lack of enterprise control. It has minimal enterprise interest for this reason. Also add a lack of legal certainty as to apps hosted in the cloud and you have something most corporations will not touch with a 100 ft pole, let alone a 20 footer.

Re:Salesforce is Software not Hardware (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574343)

Cloud computing is in essence one step worse than proprietary software, in that not only is your data locked up in proprietary formats but it's now hosted on someone else's servers too, making you even more dependent on the service provider.
On the other hand, unlike software, they are providing a service with contracts guarantees... I would demand a guarantee of a certain level of uptime, and a guarantee that i can always take my data out in a standard format if i want/need to. Very few proprietary software guarantees you the ability to retain your data in a standard format that can be imported into a competing product or service.

Do we really need a cloud? (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574129)

Cloud computing is inefficient, expensive, sensitive to outages, and is vulnerable to all sorts of new types of security issues. Why do we need this again?

Re:Do we really need a cloud? (5, Insightful)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574143)

Now you come to mention it, we do already have all that in Windows.

Re:Do we really need a cloud? (2, Interesting)

Suiggy (1544213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574201)

I think cloud computing will be forever stuck in the realm of casual consumers and enterprise. Someone who purchases a $100-$400 netbook and browses the web will probably be the primary demographic here. And for large businesses, they'll have their own enterprise-wide cloud computing solution. This is really just a web-savvy interface on top of the traditional mainframe infrastructure. For those of us who have been computing for some time now, or require absolute control over our privacy and security, we'll stick to the traditional modus operandi of desktops and laptops.

Re:Do we really need a cloud? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574229)

I really don't understand the long-term value proposition of running your stuff on a public cloud. I can, however, see the IT cost advantages of a properly automated internally managed cloud for internal IT needs. You can get more efficient utilization of hardware and easier administration using virtual servers in a cloud configuration. Of course, there are open source solutions for that, so I'm not sure where the notion that open source can't compete in this area is coming from. Hell, many of the software solutions for this sort of thing are based on the open source Xen these days.

"Cloud" has been, in many venues, too narrowly defined as being "outsourcing to someone else's cloud", when in fact if you already have an IT department that already manages your servers in house, you can probably get more bang for your buck building your own cloud and converting your existing servers to virtual machines running on it.

It's also incredibly dangerous to say the amount of horsepower you have is the most important thing for cloud computing. The most important part of the cloud is the automation and management software. If either of those two things are inadequate, the cloud will be inadequate and very expensive to maintain. The software is the key to a successful cloud implementation. The end result of a successful cloud implementation should be more efficient use of hardware and more efficient and easier administration, resulting in an overall reduction in cost. If the software pieces aren't in place, you won't reach those goals.

Re:Do we really need a cloud? (1)

jaydonnell (648194) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574325)

cloud computing doesn't have a clear definition, but if we are talking about things like big table and map reduce then it certainly isn't inefficient in a big picture way. It basically breaks down like this. If the data set you are working with can be handled by a single machine then that will always be more efficient, but if you know that your data set is too large for that then things like hadoop are a much better approach, and more efficient, than the traditional methods.

Re:Do we really need a cloud? (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575085)

I would agree it is poorly defined. I recently saw a talk by someone from IBM and he basically said. Cloud Computing is the successor to Grid computing. I think of it in those terms and it works for me.

Re:Do we really need a cloud? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574721)

Why do we need this again?

For all the badly written commercial software that's too slow to run on one machine yet too expensive to leave enough budget for a real cluster.

Open source already absolutely relevant (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574133)

Aren't those vendors built on top of open source? If I remember correctly, Google uses their own Linux distribution, Amazon uses redhat, and I have no clue what salesforce uses but I imagine that it's probably some form of open source OS since they can save a lot of time and money using that instead of Windows when we're talking thousands of servers. The cloud revolution, if anything, was brought on my open source since it's made deploying thousands of servers cheap and easy. If the companies had to pay for licensing of software on all of those servers or roll their own OS, they would have built up (buying fewer, more powerful servers) rather than building out.

Re:Open source already absolutely relevant (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574585)

The Cloud is to open source, what Midway was to the allies in WWII. Not just Linux, but open source in general, just claimed a major global victory. moderatorrater poster pointed out this has to be built upon open source, as Microsloth and other proprietary systems would be tremendously cost prohibitive. The cost of licensing, and support costs would be astronomical. Windows may attempt to provide a cloud and claim they are the sole cloud provider. just like they tried to claim to be the backbone of the internet some 30 years after the internet had been invented. But it would be at best mis-spent marketing FUD. The most Microsoft will be be able to do with the cloud, is look at it through the windows. The war wages on, but as history may repeat, it took a nuke to stop the Japanese long after they were defeated. AntiTrust enforcement my be the only thing to really end the conflict. - Dan.

Google App Engine uses Open Source (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574719)

From Government Computer News [gcn.com] :

Basically, GAE is a Google-hosted platform that can run applications written in Python. (Other languages â" such as PHP, Java and Ruby â" are being considered.) With the downloadable software development kit (SDK) and a copy of the Python runtime, you develop your application on a local machine and then upload it to Google. Google will run the app and worry about bandwidth, CPU and storage issues. Google provides a dashboard that allows you to keep track of how often the application runs.

OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger market. (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574149)

Maybe I'm missing something big here, but isn't "cloud computing" largely just a data delivery service, and not really "software"? It's kind of hard to get a handle on "cloud computing" since it's such an amorphous buzzword. Can someone give me a real example of an application that's "cloud computing" based. I thought my little weather app telling me the temperature might be defined as "cloud computing".

If the above is true, I don't see how OSS can really make some big impact on "cloud computing" any more than it can make it on websites. If it's not true, how could OSS big a big player in "cloud computing"?

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (2, Insightful)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574189)

That is called FUD. Get the current buzzword related to technology, and just go and make like the OO movement is off the hook on it.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

chdig (1050302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574305)

I'm equally confused, and am wondering whether the author meant to say "open standards" instead of "open source". Whether open standards could dominate the cloud seems like a much more sensible discussion to have.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (2, Informative)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574531)

Could Computing [wikipedia.org] is simply a service provided over the Internet that is scalable and virtualized.

In short the software is in the web browser, while the data is stored somewhere else like on the servers. The word "Cloud" is a metaphor for the Internet.

This is not just an ordinary web application, it usually involves a virtual machine of some sort so that the web applications acts like a desktop application within the web browser. One that can be scaled to handle an almost unlimited amount of users.

So for example the PHPBB2 Forum software is a web application, but not a Cloud Computing application. Google apps, on the other hand works via a virtual machine and software as a service so it qualifies for cloud computing applications. Google apps do GMail, Word Processing, Spreadsheet, etc in the web browser under a virtual machine but the data is stored on Google's servers.

The reason why open source developers don't support cloud computing is because they feel that it locks the users into third party technology and exposes their data across the Internet in violation of privacy that others could spy on it or capture it via packet sniffers. So OSS developers try to avoid making cloud computing applications as a matter of personal ethics, etc.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575237)

Yes, I've read the wikipedia article on "cloud computing" too. I've also seen buzzwords come an go throughout the years, and have a decent understanding behind what they really mean.

Buzzwords like "cloud computing" are MEANT to be amorphously defined, so then you can just say "Yup, we've got -buzzword-. Buzzwords are defined to mean "whatever the customer thinks it means". A wikipedia article that defined is interesting, but not not definitive by definition.

If you COULD generalize, "cloud computing" is a service, not software. That's why talking about OSS with regard to "cloud computing" makes about as much sense as talking about selling cheeseburgers. I'm sure OSS could help both, but the relationship is indirect, not an overlapping one.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575839)

Of course it's amorphously defined. It's a CLOUD, fer chrissakes!

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576615)

What does CLOUD mean?

Client Licensed Outsourced User Data?

Computer Linked Overpriced Usable Datastorage?

Crap Listed Outrageous Unusable Dung!

Central Loaded Off Universal Diagrams?

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576581)

OK Cloud computing takes the Server/Client model one further by hosting it over the Internet instead of just the local network. You are right that it is a buzzword, and it seems as if the definition is very vague and changes definitions depending on who is giving the definition.

Cloud computing is a service, but there is software involved, one of the definitions is software as a service. For example, Microsoft can have something like Live Office which is MS-Office as a service, and host it out for $99/year per user verses the cost of buying MS-Office 2007 for $399 or whatever it costs, and then host the user's Office file formats on their servers as well with an option to download. Prices may be different than what I gave as an example. But Google Documents offers the same service for free.

Did you know that Open Source Cheeseburgers [opensourcecook.com] really do exist? :)

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (2, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575579)

As with anything, it entirely depends on who you ask.

'Scalable' does seem to be nearly ubiquitous for the concept of what 'cloud computing' means. Virtualization is common, but not a prerequisite.

Your description seems to indicate that a 'virtual machine' in this context is referring to the more application-style of what runs in the browser behaving like an application. By and large, this style of making more extensive use of javascript to give a more 'desktop' feel to web applications is a mark of the 'Web 2.0' buzzword (though the context most widely credited with coining the phrase didn't speak to that at all). When people talk about virtualization in the cloud, they almost always refer to OS instances being executed with a virtualization layer abstracting them from the real hardware (and making some of the more fatal hardware situations appear more like a simple reboot to the os instance, and other imminent failures no problem at all). Some rely on higher-order application-level redundancy, and forgo the virtualization aspects (many of the IO intensive workloads are still very reluctant to embrace virtualization, for one). Others even rely on 'user-level' redundancy (i.e. user sees a problem, hits refresh).

Some think of a cloud as a computing resource in which the usage picture is highly dynamic without strict mappings to where things must happen.

Some think of Cloud as a sort of spiritual successor to 'Thin Client', often extended to the internet. Where Thin clients were almost universally thought of as essentially remote displays, the reinvention in the cloud context generally has a more sophisticated client that is fed data to interpret and manipulate, though it's nearly required that client-side data persistence not be a critical pre-requisite. A total destruction of a 'client' in this definition of cloud has little more permanent consequence than 'thin clients'. I.e., Valve's Steam, where you could throw your computer off the top of a building and theoretically recover all your purchases, and, for the games that support it, the settings you use. In steam, the coupling between client and 'cloud' is relatively loose (some aspects can operate completely offline, and save-games may not fit the definition) , whereas 'google apps' is relatively tight.

phpBB could be considered a 'cloud' application, so could BBSes, so could a lot of things if they came to popularity *right now* instead of when they did. Essentially, most all webapss meet *someone's* definition of cloud, and it's such a vague term with no authority behind it, no one can call them wrong for the most part.

I don't think OSS developers avoid making cloud applications no more than anything else. The actual code behind many cloud computing implementations is OSS (Hadoop for one), but people refer not to the software, but to the popular sites that use the software. OSS is a phenomenon built entirely around how software is designed and produced. By most all definitions of cloud computing, it is a phenomenon that is built entirely around how software is put into implementation, usually with the characteristics that the users don't even know what software they are really using.

As far as OSS goes, cloud computing might actually be easier in that environment. The companies know the value lies in the data being managed moreso than the software used to manage it, and will risk others leveraging more for the sake of outsourcing development costs to a community. However, the philosophy behind OSS, as you say, may naturally lead some to worry about control of their data.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

john_is_war (310751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575491)

Cloud as a service (give it data and a process and you get results) is one definition of cloud computing. The other is the architecture itself (large scale data management). In order to have cloud as a service, you need the architecture. And that's the biggest problem we have today. Designing a highly scalable architecture is not easy. And without this architecture (which is software based), some other company cannot just create their own cloud (which beats the security issues with cloud as a service). So once a good distributed software system (hadoop, open neptune, etc.) is 'perfected', this will be more possible.

And that should answer your question - the actual architecture itself for cloud computing, is the software which every machine in the cloud runs.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575583)

Google Mail or MS Office Live / Hotmail is a cloud computing solution. Hosting your own exchange server isn't. I suppose your ISP or hosting provider's POP3 server would come under the cloud computing category as well.

Re:OSS also not a big player in cheeseburger marke (2, Funny)

sound+vision (884283) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575669)

Your weather.com systray icon isn't cloud computing, because it only shows the temperature. If it could display the radar maps showing cloud cover, THAT would be true cloud computing.

Physical hardware is needed here (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574159)

Unfortunately, this is where OSS is weak. The larger companies (Google, Amazon) can afford the large iron and backend storage stacks [1]. For the uptimes that modern cloud storage has, the equipment costs are tremendous, because the machines that are able to do the large volume I/O over the net not just have to have performance, but be engineered around reliability, and that means large clusters distributed over geographically different regions storing identical data.

I don't really see how an open source solution can compete here, unless it received funding from governments or research institutions. Reliable cloud storage is all about physical hardware.

The only way I can see an OSS cloud appearing is if someone makes a program that would get clients to set aside part of a hard disk. Then, when someone writes to the cloud, the central server encrypts the data, then splits the data among clients assuming that relatively few will be up, and able to be connected to via an application. Ages ago, there was a LAN level utility for the Mac (worked on System 6 and 7) which created a virtual Appleshare drive by using a chunk of hard disk space from all the linked up machines, and using encryption (or obfuscation) to ensure that only the administrator had full access to the share.

Scaling a utility that keeps track of every write, how many splits (including redundant ones) and where would be extremely daunting. It may be doable, but it would not even come close to the performance of a commercial cloud. Reliability is iffish, especially after a long time as participating machines get reinstalled over time, so the central storing program would have to keep shuffling data around. Of course, unless architected right, there is a central point of failure with the machines that assign the bits to the client machines.

Legal issues also apply. A cloud that is completely open will eventually be used for storing information that is highly illegal in some countries. Would someone participating by offering some HDD space be able to be charged with possession, even though they had an encrypted chunk inaccessible to them? This is very hazy legal territory. Some areas of the world could say its like storing a friend's safe full of doobies; its not accessible, but can still be considered possession.

[1]: I'm calling it a stack because there are a number of layers before bits flung into the cloud hit a physical platter, from distribution among sites, to optional encryption, to an accounting system to not just know how much is stored, but how much for how long, then finally passing the objects to a backend database.

Re:Physical hardware is needed here (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574359)

You can achieve the same level of reliability fairly cheaply, what's expensive is the throughput, which isn't necessary unless you want to support a large number of users, and if you have lots of paying customers you should be able to afford the highend kit.

Re:Physical hardware is needed here (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575057)

Your basic premise is wrong

"The larger companies (Google, Amazon) can afford the large iron and backend storage stacks [1]. For the uptimes that modern cloud storage has, the equipment costs are tremendous, because the machines that are able to do the large volume I/O over the net not just have to have performance, but be engineered around reliability, and that means large clusters distributed over geographically different regions storing identical data."

Google is based on Intel systems, although they have redesigned them a bit:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10209580-92.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20 [cnet.com]

No "big iron" here, except that these systems are deployed 1,160 at a time.

Indeed, Google has so many consumer-level drives that they can publish stuff like:

http://labs.google.com/papers/disk_failures.pdf [google.com]

which gives a review of how good (or not) SMART is on drives.

Google (for one) uses commodity hardware -- lots of it. I would imagine that it would be too painful to FIND a failed system. They probably just ignore them and work around them (after all, they currently use 400,000 or 500,000 servers, maybe more). It's the "RAID" principle applied to systems. Not all 500,000 servers are going down at the same time, and new servers can be (and probably are being) continually deployed. An individual server has little redundancy (except for the battery Google puts in).

Amazon (S3, EC2) has to offer more redundancy to ensure that the customers image isn't lost. Google couldn't care -- at worst a bit of web indexing would need to be redone, or a client would have to reissue a search request. So, Amazon would have more "big iron" in the disk department.

But it is still (probably) cheaper to use two commodity drives!

A cloud is only a base (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574161)

I don't see how Open Source is not more relevant with the advent of cloud computing - sure no small startup can put up a gigantic server farm, but who cares when what's running on all the servers is open source software, and the services written atop THAT are also using open technologies?

There's plenty of room for a small open source company to add a ton of value atop the raw cloud space. Having so many options means businesses will be grateful to anyone who can cull down the selection to a small set and make it easy to work with. Think "Apple in the Clouds".

Re:A cloud is only a base (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575229)

...who cares when what's running on all the servers is open source software, and the services written atop THAT are also using open technologies?

Is it open, though? I expect that Amazon, Google, et. als. have tweaked and customized the bejeezus out of the underlying OS and other software, and aren't about to share it. So yeah, they're (maybe) using open source, and maybe even contributing some improvements back into those projects, but I'm not sure that's enough to say the cloud infrastructure is open source.

Depends... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575639)

Many of these large companies have opened large parts of what they use and contributed back to the community. It is expensive to provide maintenance on a private codebase. Sure, there is worry that a competitive advantage is compromised through others accessing the work, however that risk is weighed against the benefits of pushing the burden of maintenance onto a community willing to work without explicit cost. If your company does something exceedingly clever and unique that has a relatively generic requirement for a masssive, fast storage architecture, you may let the community maintain your storage software safe in the knowledge that your high-level clever thing is what you are really trying to profit from rather than generically solving problems of scalable data management.

Battle with what? (4, Informative)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574167)

Come on people, most of Google's and Amazon's could are run by Linux / BSD with costume modifications to adapt to the task at hand.

If the article would state that these companies are not giving back much to the community in relation to what they take, then yes, that's probably true but they still rely heavily on OSS software.

For me the whole article completely misses the point, but maybe I'm missing something here.

Also: cloud computing is not going to take over everything. It is useful for certain situations like massive indexing, data backup storage and some forms of HPC (though the last group mostly build their own data centres or rely on distributed computing). The everyday business will not participate much.

Re:Battle with what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574237)

If the article would state that these companies are not giving back much to the community in relation to what they take, then yes, that's probably true

Is it? Google do all that Summer of Code stuff, plus there's Chromium and Android. It feels as though they give plenty back.

Re:Battle with what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574539)

"The everyday business will not participate much."

Depends on what you mean.

If you mean Bob in Cubicle #33, well, his workstation isn't likely to be 'on teh cloud!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111'

If you mean businesses in general - uh, dude? They're already here.

Cloud is going to bitchslap hosting and co-location in the same way that virtualization did.

Re:Battle with what? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574603)

most of Google's and Amazon's could are run by Linux / BSD with costume modifications

Making everything a dictionary word != spell correction. Turn it off, it's making things worse.

Costume modifications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574939)

Costume modifications?... shouldn't it be clown computing or something?!?

The everyday business will not participate much. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575097)

Yet.

Once you get used to virtualization of your resources, clouds become 2nd nature and will open up to use by traditional businesses.

Re:Battle with what? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575179)

Come on people, most of Google's and Amazon's could are run by Linux / BSD with costume modifications to adapt to the task at hand.

So Beastie is going to dress as a penguin?

Free software not relevant? (2, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574171)

It's really hard to see how free software isn't relevant to "cloud computing" services when you can basically build your own using them. Apache/MySQL/Php can let you build quite a bit...maybe that's not enough to be cloud certifiable er...certified but it works for me.

The other issue here is market leadership and time-to-market. Admittedly this speed is somewhat lacking the free software world because the motivations are different but in the long run, free software will win out as it allows more of the best minds to collaborate to build better systems. I'm looking forward to a user/customer owned coop cloud solution and perhaps another one that consists of ready-to-download virtual machines that I can run on my own hardware wherever it may be. A project called Eucalyptus is a step in the right direction in this space.

Some of these network services are starting with the right ethics in mind and it's those we should be talking up. With identi.ca, libre.fm, Eucalyptus and other projects making progress each day, free software(not open source) is anything but dead.

Re:Free software not relevant? (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575853)

A project called Eucalyptus is a step in the right direction in this space.

Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is based on Eucalyptus and is already being heavily marketed by Canonical.

Actually, relevance is *higher* in cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574173)

From a legal standpoint, it's often much easier for a corporation to use open-source software on its servers ("cloud," if you will) than to distribute it. I work at one of the Big Companies mentioned in the article, and have seen firsthand this fact affect technology choice. So moving to a cloud model will probably increase the usage of open source software.

If the article is trying to say that a cloud model may force us to depend on corporations to do computing, well, perhaps... but of course we're pretty much dependent on corporations for things like food, housing, etc. already, so it's hard to say that's a big new deal.

Same old Same old (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574185)

The article says, "Look around. The big vendors controlling IT and the Web are...the same vendors that controlled it yesterday, and are likely the same vendors that will control it 10 years from now." Yeah, look around, who were the major players in IT in the 70's? How many of them are still around? Of those, how many are major players today? IBM, HP, that's all I can think of. Microsoft wasn't a major player, neither was Apple.
Take a look around, how many companies from the Dow Jones Industrial Average were around 100 years ago? Of those were any of them bug names at the time? Heck, IBM didn't make it onto the DJI until 1979. The AT&T that is on the DJI now didn't get on the list until 1999 (the old AT&T was on the DJI back in the day, but that was a different company).

FOSS market should be different (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574193)

While all the corporations go for "cloud computing" and turning your computer usage into a service paid for by hourly or monthly subscription, to the point that if you want ANY corporate backed OS and/or userland and GUI you pay a subscription, people who actually care about controlling their hardware and what their clock cycles are used for will turn to FOSS so they can have a real OS to do their work with, unlike all the idiots buying into cloud computing that could get by with a simple SSH tunnel...

Article missed alot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574197)

Red Hat's oVirt http://ovirt.org/

Once more with feeling (1)

jd.schmidt (919212) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574207)

Cloud computing technologies are NOT about (or only about) big box companies hosting your applications. They are about the ability to host them where ever you want when you want, from big companies to local server farms to *gasp* the user's desktops. The next generation of application after cloud computing will have to do with being able to leverage computing resources anywhere and anytime with automated failover and resource sharing.

Further, economy of scale only goes so far, that is why every company in NOT a giant corporation. At a certain size you don't get additional benefits from specialization and the additional size just adds overhead. If you hiring a plumber, maybe you just need 1 guy who knows what he or she is doing, not a corporation behind him. Once you have a handful of staff members monitoring your servers and nothing else you have gotten all the benefit from specialization (economy of scale) and now you may just be adding needless overhead as you get larger. Large companies can negotiate additional discounts sometimes, but as margins on hardware or whatever become thinner, the discounts become less and less.

The point here is not that no applications should be hosted by large outside vendors but rather that different solutions are now available to all datacenters depending on their size and need. Don't fear cloud computing, but don't believe industry hype. It is just a technology that allows you to more efficiently use resources on an as needed basis.

Last thing to remember, a monitor and keyboard with a "run of the mill" processor is only a little more expensive than on with a "can only run virtual apps" processor, and you still might need that same processor on the back end anyway and that network isn't free either.

Re:Once more with feeling (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574601)

Heh, if the "can only run virtual apps" processor is insufficient to run linux, I will be very surprised. My guess at the requirements for WINDOWS 8 PRO CLASSIC FOR CLOUD would be quintuple quad core at 5.7GHz.

Re:Once more with feeling (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574745)

Cloud computing technologies are NOT about (or only about) big box companies hosting your applications. They are about the ability to host them where ever you want when you want, from big companies to local server farms to *gasp* the user's desktops. The next generation of application after cloud computing will have to do with being able to leverage computing resources anywhere and anytime with automated failover and resource sharing.

You mean like today's bots running on Windows-based botnets?

You could say OSS's future in cloud computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574215)

...is up in the air.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574219)

And in other, related news, Cloud Computing itself is facing a difficult battle for relevance in the first place...

Wrong way round (4, Interesting)

Archtech (159117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574259)

'In a world where horsepower matters more than the software feeding those "horses"...'

Wrong already! Software does the work - the "what" of solving problems. Hardware, while of course necessary too, is basically a fungible commodity - the "how". To use a counter-intuitive but revealing analogy, software is like the car while hardware plays the role of fuel.

Good software is still fairly rare, whereas state-of-the-market hardware can be cheaply and plentifully obtained from several alternative sources. So the article has it exactly the wrong way round: it's software that is important, and hardware that plays the supporting role.

Clouds are not the whole of computing (2, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574269)

I'd suggest that they are likely to grow to being an important part of computing, but no bigger than, for example, the large-server-and-Oracle part. (full disclosure: I'm a capacity planner, so most of my income comes from just that part).

The disadvantage is that my cost per transaction is greater than if I had a steady load and ran my own machine room. The fees I and the other customers pay a cloud service have to cover their whole machine room, whether it's it's busy or not, plus their profit.

So I see a natural evolution for a growing business. While they're small, they'll build a LAMP or Java stack on a small machine in the back room. If they grow slowly and steadily, they'll buy more, larger machines for the back room. If they grow without bound, they'll jump to LAMP-on-cloud or Java-on-a-cloud, with a few code changes as possible.

Once they have mastered that, they'll move back and forth, depending on the business growth rate. If they grow too fast, they'll do a lot in the cloud. If they grow slowly, they'll have a cloud presence, but try to process as much in their own machine room as they can, to improve the profit margins, using the cloud for overflow and to run during my machine-room upgrade.

Conclusion? common software between the cloud and the machine-room is important. Look for any standards developing in the LAMP/SAMP space, like the DMTF incubator at http://www.dmtf.org/about/cloud-incubator [dmtf.org] Look for Java offerings for business, like http://blogs.sun.com/cloud/entry/communityone_cloud_recap [sun.com] When you're there, specifically look for virtual machines that will run in the cloud. Finally, look for load-balancing mechanisms that will send your work to two different places, under your control, sometimes called "application distributors".

Don't assume open source is at a disadvantage: if you can run your stack on a free VM on a standard-conforming cloud, however commercial it might be, then your computing can remain free of the control of others.

--dave

Software as a service, how is this not expected? (1)

Rog7 (182880) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574277)

The higher costs of service versus localized computing has been a known drawback since the beginning. It's part of the drive too, in the expectations of huge profits and / or market-share.

That doesn't mean that open source can't participate, it just means that the big players are the big players. It's not that much of a switch really, money drives a lot of things and "free" does too. I imagine in the drive for domination of the market, the big boys will be clamoring to have other software hook into their cloud resources. Certainly I imagine that will be a part of Google's strategy, leveraging their bandwidth and server farms to become infrastructure for others.

In the end, how is this so different from how the Internet has been so far? I don't mean technically or end-user experience, I mean in the nature of open source competing with closed. It's definitely a switch from desktop computing, but online services are already available in both "free" and various pay models.

Re:Software as a service, how is this not expected (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576229)

It's more than that, though. Cloud computing is going for "Infrastructure as a Service" (IaaS, one of the new buzz acronyms), seeking to replace most of what you currently use in a data center (hardware, racks, power, network capacity). There's big money to be had in this, but it's a niche market.

Closed platform? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574287)

Most of the key components of those "closed" platforms were made open by that companies, or being open and already being widely used. What makes them hard to compete with is more pure horsepower, and human factors than them using closed or open source.

I wonder... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574303)

I wonder how many people are willing to pay a 25% premium to run Windows on Amazon EC2?

It may be difficult for any startup, open source or not, to gain a foothold here. But when you're looking to reduce costs as much as possible, to sell a utility computing model, I don't see why you'd be adding extra software costs right away.

In fact, the summary mentions other things, like Puppet and Hadoop, that make an impact.

I don't know that anyone is claiming open source could provide such a service, any more than open source could provide free and open hardware. Even if you have a completely open [eucalyptus.com] design [opengraphics.org] , you still probably need some sort of corporate entity to build and sell it.

But at the same time, I don't see why any "cloud" provider in their right mind would pass up things like Puppet or Eucalyptus. Indeed, this is exactly the kind of place where the typical objections to open source hold no water -- merely providing a service is most likely not going to force you to disclose any changes, and that assumes you have to change the project at all.

I'm confused (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574317)

OSS isn't releveant to something that's totally irrelevant. So how releveant is OSS?

More distribution is needed. (1)

danking (1201931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574337)

Personally I see could computing as a form of distributed computing. The current infrastructure given by Google, Amazon, etc. I do not see as very distributed since they run a few huge data centers. If they are taken offline then that is a major hit to the overall infrastructure. What I envision as cloud computing is that everyones computer using the cloud acts as a node in the whole infrastructure. Serving pieces of applications and data that reside on the cloud. I have mentioned this idea before and someone made similarities to a giant botnet or I see it as similar to a torrent network. Anyways the current infrasturture given above is not what I envision as cloud computing infrastructure, more of a giant hosting infrastructure.

Red Herring? (1)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574365)

Gotta say, this sounds like a red herring to me. Although it may not look like it to those of us in the desktop generation, the cloud vendors are really providing us with a big computer, and operating it for us. If that big computer runs your custom Linux distro in a VM, is this materially different than running your custom stack on hardware provided and operated by your local ISP?

I think cloud hegemony more worrying. For a long time we've had different development camps focused on different technologies. But that didn't stop Microsoft buying Hotmail (though it raised eyebrows).

But imagine the potential for feudal-style woe if you're trying to sell your plucky "10,000 customers and growing rapidly" startup to Microsoft, when the entire operation runs inside a Microsoft competitors' cloud?

Or how about if you find yourself actively competing with your cloud vendor? iPhone app writers are facing this now. What if it becomes the prevailing situation?

In a world . . . (1)

joek1010 (980753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574381)

Anybody else read that in the movie preview voice? It was really exciting until about the 3rd sentence.

What a bunch of crap. (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574387)

Opensource _enables_ cloud computing!

Or are people really itching to spend money on Microsoft Cloud Server Enterprise Edition?

Can CIOs really be that stupid?

(that was a rhetorical question, you...)

Built on standards vs. interoperates with them (1)

kozubik (969276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574391)

I couldn't care less what the cloud, or SAS, or software is running _on_. What I care about is whether or not it provides open, standards-based interoperability.

Does Amazon s3 run on linux or bsd or WIndows ? I don't know, but I do know that I can't just connect over plain old SFTP or WebDAV without major gimmickry and transformation. (FWIW, providers like rsync.net do, in fact, allow direct, standards based interaction, so it's not impossible).

On the other hand, another cloud-like provider might run on a completely closed source, proprietary foundation, but if it provides plain old standards based interaction from the outside, who cares ?

We are the Borg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574419)

If water droplets were to self-aggregate, you get a cloud. In other words, individuals have more storage and computing power spread collectively amongst themselves than any concentrated central source. If you can tap into that collective resource (see bittorrent, folding@home, SETI, etc.), then OSS has no barrier to entry. I like some of the cloud services, but for certain uses I would rather use my personal resources than trust another party.

Citizens and nations (1)

jellybear (96058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574507)

This is like saying that a responsible citizen will never be able to replace a nation state, so we might as well give up. You, as an individual, or as an open source project, have a slim chance of replacing Google, or Amazon, or Salesforce. But, through an open source project, you can alter the rules of the game, and you CAN profoundly affect those big companies, how they operate, what work their employees do, what services they offer their customers, etc.

Cloud computing will not be relevant forever (1)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574577)

This is perhaps offtopic, but cloud computing probably wont be relevant forever. It is hard to imagine, however, how open source will not remain relevant. More than just code, open source is a part of a collective heritage that assimilates the new and builds on the old. It's a tall argument to say that one's heritage may some day become irrelevant.

Below some (offtopic) thoughts on why cloud computing may not stay relevant (if it is, right now) into the future.

  • Geometric growth rate of hardware performance at the ends of the network may meet most application needs. To wit, recall the ephemerally named classic Managing Gigabytes [mu.oz.au] (although, of course, the content of that book is even more relevant to today's data sizes).
  • Open source focus may shift away to the ends of the network. Think p2p, or the desktop.
  • Cloud computing may get commoditized. The drivers behind this may be portability (businesses may not want to commit to a single cloud provider), and yes, open source. Open source is often behind the feature curve when compared to closed source, but it's stronger in assimilating new features and ideas that come into vogue.

OSS is Dead? (1)

qazwart (261667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574613)

Wait a second...

Aren't both Amazon and Google both based upon open source platforms? Not to mention Yahoo, 37Signals, and a whole bunch of other "cloud computing" services.

Looks like OSS is doing pretty well in the cloud computing arena. What was he expecting? Someone writing an app that uses the processing power of third party Linux based systems to run a cloud like service while these PCs run their screen saver?

If I remember correctly, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574631)

... didn't David won?

or oss clouds on distributed desktops (1)

Kargoroth (1534695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574657)

if open source could employ the bandwidth and computing powers of the masses, would it change the david vs goliath theme?
its more in the spirit of oss anyway.

You fail 1t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574691)

you have a play m_istake of electing we all know, on slashdot.org as fittingly locating #GNAA, progress. Any Juliet Are together as those non gay, if you move a table Fortunately, Linux Are a few ggod [mit.edu] found for successful To this. For The future holds practical purposes EFNet, and apply dabblers. In truth, It a break, if errors. Future I recent article put the political mess look at your soft, to the crowd in Talk to one of the Your own towel in GNAA and support

Is there evidence that Nick Carr knows anything? (2, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574757)

Is Nick Carr just some academician who spins crazy theories just to get attention, and maybe make some money?

He seem almost like a professional troll, with sensationalist, often inflammatory, subject lines like "is google making us stupid."

Is there any reason to assume that Nick Carr knows any more about the future of IT than the average bum on the street? Okay, he's educated, since when have whack-job college educated predictors ever proven to be more accurate than flipping a coin?

Re:Is there evidence that Nick Carr knows anything (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576023)

Is Nick Carr just some academician who spins crazy theories just to get attention, and maybe make some money?

He seem almost like a professional troll, with sensationalist, often inflammatory, subject lines like "is google making us stupid."

Is there any reason to assume that Nick Carr knows any more about the future of IT than the average bum on the street? Okay, he's educated, since when have whack-job college educated predictors ever proven to be more accurate than flipping a coin?

Don't know anything about Nick Carr, but...

Google (and the net in general) is affecting our long-term memory retention. Why bother to remember something when you can google it? Technology always affects our way of life, so this is nothing special, but it is worth mentioning.
Also, just for the record, if I could predict things in general with a coin-flip level of accuracy, I would be fucking ecstatic. All it would take is a few lottery tickets...

Open source is not a profit model (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574839)

The way I see it, cloud computing, at least in its current form, is a business model. It is a buzzword that helps print more money, in lieu of actual innovation. It's the internet's idea of a make-work project.

Open source cliques don't give a flying fuck about business models. Linux wasn't created to satisfy some whiney douchebag on CNet, it was created because it served the needs of a small niche of hackers, and it snowballed from there. The way things are right now, real geeks don't care so much about cloud computing, they see it as a fad that doesn't bring tangible improvements to the computing experience. Most providers' cloud stuff is just fully-automated VM provisioning anyway. What's the big deal ? Who cares if a server is really a VM sitting in some big-label datacenter ? There's nothing revolutionary about it. Frankly you could build a buzzword-compliant cloud using the Xen API and some ugly-ass python scripts. You don't need anything fancy, in fact the fanciest thing about Amazon's cloud is the front-end and billing system, IMHO.

If and when a legitimate need is identified, some kind geek will take the time to do it right. It smells like an Apache project to me... but without a clearly defined need, there is no motivation, and without motivation there is no open source project.

P2P Cloud Computing with Open Source (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575009)

Isn't a p2p cloud via the Internet the obvious solution to open-source's ability to compete with a proprietary cloud in some million square foot warehouse? After all, that warehouse is big and impressive, but the Internet is MUCH bigger and has all sorts of redundancies and local hubs, providing a local granularity to the p2p cloud that a few large warehouses can never match.

Re:P2P Cloud Computing with Open Source (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575921)

A truly distributed cloud is an interesting concept, but difficult in practice. First, in order to keep the data safe, it would have to be encrypted. But that means that it's difficult (probably impossible) for the local computer to actually interact with the data. You might be able to do some sort of web of trust thing that allows semi-trusted clients access to the data they need to do calculations, but it looks really hard to me.

Next, in order to ensure that the data is always available, you need to make sure it's backed up several different places. Which means tracking which versions of which files are on which nodes, and keeping everything in sync, which leads to more traffic and resource usage.

Then there's the problem of fairness. The number of people who want to use the cloud will generally swamp the number of people who want to let the cloud use them. You could try something akin to BitTorrent, where they have a tit-for-tat protocol to ensure nobody hogs. But that's prone to error and abuse.

Distributed storage has been done, but this is way harder.

It seems like a more likely path to Ultimate Victory is to engineer an open source cloud where anybody with $20K worth of hardware can easily set up their own micro-cloud, to provide some niche service to a few dozen or few hundred clients. You might have entire companies using that software to run an offsite backup service, scalable web app hosting, or hosting third-party, niche MMORPGs. If your company is entirely devoted to doing one thing -- like deploying Rails apps a la Heroku [heroku.com] , it's hard to imagine Amazon would muscle into your territory any time soon.

HIgher cost of entry (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575091)

When you have to have a fully running infrastructure, the little guy has no real chance of competing on the 'service' side of clouds.

Now, competing on what you run ON ( or under ) the "cloud", OSS can still be relevant.

What the hell is cloud computing anyway? (1)

SpoodyGoon (1574025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575155)

I realize I must be really behind the times or not real bright, I just can't seem to understand what cloud computing really is. I lease a web server and a database from a company I trust they take care of the maintenance and update for it. I'm pretty sure this web server and database is running on a virtual machine, it's accessed through either web services or through http so it's a cloud right? If i need more space I simply pay for a little more and like magic more space appears, I need a different technology (e.g. a php instead of ASP.NET) and once again like magic it appears.

I simply cannot understand what the difference between providing a server and database to someone for a fee, which has been going on for a long time now, and a cloud. I look forward to finally learning what the hell a cloud is because I just don't seem to get it.

Cloud Computing made Possible by Open Source (1)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575451)

The insanity of this article is that "Cloud Computing" has essentially been enabled by open source. Cloud computing is essentially putting huge data centres together with an architecture which supports massive parallelism. Hardware is cheap these days, but software before open source was expensive. And in the case of the OS that ran on that cheap hardware unreliable. Open Source has been the core enabler of companies like Google. Without technologies like Linux to build on Google and Amazon would not have been able to build out the infrastructure they have economically.

So what is this article saying? Well it seems to be saying that Open Source Vendors will not win in the Cloud space. Which is kind of an odd thing to say really, because Red Hat doesn't compete with the Googles and Amazons of the world. Once again we see the blinkered view that something is only worth anything if it can be sold for a pile of cash. The real power of Open Source isn't that some company can make a pile of cash by selling it; its that a pile more companies and individuals can save money by using it. How much money? Enough to allow the Googles and Amazons of the world to actually make a dollar themselves rather than shovelling it into software vendors.

As the article points out; there are some very serious software offerings that will help enable cloud computing - SpringSource dm Server being one of them, and OSGi in general. As discussed on slashdot earlier we need to start thinking about how to deal with data in a decentralized decoupled way in order to enable massive parallelism and redundancy.

When flying through a cloud..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575717)

.. well I'd rather not, especially if I have to trust proprietary software.

This is an intentional metaphor.... regarding cloud computing and the recent Air France tragedy.

cloud computing has the extra baggage of leaks and lags and outages in comparison to your local system on an UPS, that you can reset and take control over to overcome problems while having a better since of securing data/passangers.

really? (2, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576503)

As far as I can tell, open source and Linux are being used far more widely in cloud computing than in corporate America. Cloud computing is going to be a cut-throat business, and it will be tough for companies like Microsoft to compete. Few of their usual dirty tricks work. And the cost of switching is low.

CFengine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576559)

www.cfengine.org

puppet and the people that push it make me very, very worried.

Oh BS (1)

elkto (558121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577025)

Really....

Facebook....

Twitter....

Additionally, I thought Google relies on Linux quite a bit, could be wrong.

Looks relevant to me!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>