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Cloud Computing Needs To Embrace the Linux Model, Says Rackspace CTO

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the hug-a-penguin dept.

Cloud 42

Nerval's Lobster writes "Companies are rushing to lock customer data into their specific walled gardens, Rackspace CTO John Engates argued in an interview after a Cloud Expo keynote in Silicon Valley. That makes it more important than ever to ensure that the cloud undergirding all the various functions of daily life remains open. 'These companies have grown up in the era of enterprise software and they're addicted to enterprise software margins, magnitudes more profitable than what we make as a hosting company,' he said. 'Now you have software companies embracing cloud computing and taking the same enterprise-software playbook they've had for years and trying to run it in the cloud.' Ultimately, he added, cloud computing needs to adopt the Linux model. 'Linux opened it up and gave you vendor choice, with numerous vendors bringing their own strengths to the table.'"

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*cough* (0)

negRo_slim (636783) | about a year and a half ago | (#41899997)

GNU model...

Re:*cough* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900275)

Sticking their acronym everywhere?

Re:*cough* (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900875)

If it's the GNU model, then they have to issue long, sleep-inducing manifestos about how the Cloud Wants to Be Free. I don't think Rackspace and Amazon are up for that.

They also need a lame recursive acronym....

Re:*cough* (4, Funny)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about a year and a half ago | (#41901229)

CLOUD = CLOUD Local Operation and Usability Debatable?

I could come up with a better one given time.

Re:*cough* (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908523)

CLOUD = CLOUD Local Operation and Usability Debatable?

You misspelled "debacle".

I could come up with a better one given time.

Keep trying!

Linux model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900081)

I guess some people have a problem with their computing history. Oh well, I don't expect much anymore.

Re:Linux model? (3, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900499)

I guess some people have a problem with their computing history. Oh well, I don't expect much anymore.

He's refering to Bob J. Linux, not that operating system developed by the Torvalds bloke. It means security through obscurity, obfuscation, cruft, API's not being closely adhered to, code bloat, empire building, gaping security holes, finger pointing, denial of overwhelming evidence, fat bonuses for executives based upon their ability to get it without actually adding anything to the product or company, outsourcing to Elbonia and ultimately winning marketshare with bikini models in your advertising.

Works everytime.

Re:Linux model? (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41902331)

Oh dear, no mod points for me today, so I'm unable to give you a "+1, Keyboard Alert".

Thanks for the insightful and humorous post!

Did I miss his point? (4, Funny)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900185)

Or did i get it totally?
'These companies have grown up in the era of enterprise software and they're addicted to enterprise software margins, magnitudes more profitable than what we make as a hosting company,'
which translates into: I have picked the wrong business model, and someone should fix it for me.

Re:Did I miss his point? (2)

mrbluze (1034940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900333)

... I have picked the wrong business model, and someone should fix it for me.

You have it right. The cloud companies are charging an unrealistic premium for their services without offering genuine security. Should regular hosting companies worry yet? I don't think so, not until someone offers a cloud computing system that does not, by default, leave its encryption keys lying around on the host server.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

elusive_one (2525924) | about a year and a half ago | (#41901675)

I think he's talking more about how cloud (Specifically OpenStack) needs a Linus Torvalds. Some marquee name to hold it all together and not let it fragment too much. Have a cloud at the core... then openstack/cloudstack/nebula/etc are "distributions" that sit on top. You can make a piece of the software and it will run on any of the distributions since they are all based on a core that works for them all. http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/10/25/0128207/does-openstack-need-a-linus-torvalds [slashdot.org]

Re:Did I miss his point? (5, Interesting)

Hylandr (813770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41902727)

Because it's a waste of time.

Rackspace is trying to keep everyone focused on the hype of the cloud, to keep racking in your dough.

One "Cloud Server" with 16Gig of Ram and 4 Procs with rackspace would cost me $700+ .

I can get a third of a cabinet from CoreNap for less than $400 Month. I can fill that space with vastly more powerful hardware for about 5k. ( Shopping Smart )

Now lets do the math assuming a hardware life cycle of 5 years.
400 x 12 == 4,800 ( one year )
4,800 * 5 == 24,000 ( Five years )

hardware: $5,000
52 weeks in a year times 5 years == 260 weeks.

Spread the cost of the hardware over 5 years. ( Cash outright or lease )
$5,000 / 260 weeks. == .01923 per week for the hardware.

Not worth adding to the 24,000 you will spend over the next 5 years, compared to the 42,000 you will spend for a single inferior server instance at Rackspace.

And you're not eliminating engineers by going to the cloud. You still need admins.

- Dan.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41903545)

Your post is like saying there is never a reason to rent a car because you should just buy one. Yes, yes, car analogy. IaaS is not intended to compete with static collocation for identical scenarios.

Re:Did I miss his point? (2)

Hylandr (813770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41906541)

I agree on both your points.

It's a good place to fire up something to experiment with, and a good place for new companies just starting out.

But there are large enterprises that have completely missed the memo regarding static collocation vs the cloud.

- Dan.

Re:Did I miss his point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41905591)

Now please scale back and forth to 200 servers.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41906545)

Provide a use case please.

Re:Did I miss his point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41906559)

Not really and apples to apples comparison you're making there.

And when the hardware running your cloud guest dies, the guest will simply start running on another compute node. And when your server dies, you just die.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

bad-badtz-maru (119524) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907425)

This needs modding up. After ten years of dealing with occasional hardware issues on colocated servers, I am more than happy to pay a small premium to let someone else worry about the metal, and to avoid those outages for my clients.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41910793)

In this case doubling the price is not a small premium.

While it's every Engineer's dream to not have to mess with hardware, clouds don't make sense from a business perspective.

- Dan.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

bad-badtz-maru (119524) | about a year and a half ago | (#41911527)

Are your clients willing to wait, with their sites offline, while you truck down to the datacenter to troubleshoot a server? Or did you expend resources to deploy a failover solution? How fast can you bring up 5 new boxes, imaged from another? Are your OS sessions virtualized, for when customer X wants to give their own admins root, or do you have to have separate hardware for those customers? There's so many extra costs, soft costs, and risks that don't seem to have been considered. If running your own hardware was bottom-line effective, there wouldn't be so much migration towards cloud solutions.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41911663)

If Engineered correctly;

- There will be no single point of failure.
- A failure registers as an amber light on a server
- Tech gets the notice.
- Dell is called and they fix it.

[quote]If running your own hardware was bottom-line effective, there wouldn't be so much migration towards cloud solutions.[/quote]

I can't account for the power of good marketing, FUD and hype. I think it's largely due to people not thinking things through, and engineers that want a magick box, or an easy button.

Re:Did I miss his point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900341)

Exactly. As long as the referenced companies are making tons of money they have no reason to care what he says.

Re:Did I miss his point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900867)

No...it translates into, "I built my hosting platform on OpenStack and all my perspective customers have locked themselves into the AWS ecosystem...everyone (*cough*AWS*cough*) should use OpenStack-compatible infrastructure to ensure that it's simple for customers to switch between clouds so that I can compete on equal footing."

Basically, Rackspace wants to turn cloud hosting into a commodity product and race to the bottom like they've done successfully in hosting instead of competing with Amazon and other non-OpenStack vendors on value-adds.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41903461)

Your post reflects a complete misunderstanding of their business model. If anything Rackspace is all about value-adds. In fact, value adds are the entire point of the commoditization of hosting. Rackspace 's "traditional" dedicated hosting business is a premium one, charging higher prices for a higher level of support. The company aims to do something similar with cloud hosting. This is the opposite of a race to the bottom. An ecosystem with a commoditized baseline forces companies to compete on "value adds" like support and extended capabilities. Sure, it's in Rackspace's business interests as a company that has bet on the "open cloud" through Open Stack, but the rest of your post makes little sense.

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916149)

I smell astroturf...

Re:Did I miss his point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41901755)

actually he's saying that the companies rushing to roll out "enterprise cloud" solutions are used to highly profitable revenue streams from enterprise software licensing models, whereas Rackspace and other hosting companies are used to operating on much thinner margins and will thus have an advantage over the rest of the industry

so... you got it backwards, which happens to the best of us...

Re:Did I miss his point? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41902385)

Rackspace and other hosting companies are used to operating on much thinner margins and will thus have an advantage over the rest of the industry

If that were true he wouldn't need to make this statement, right? Also if running on "thinner margins" was so great why are all the major PC OEMs having issues with their profitability versus Apple? Why are many of the "thinner margins" Android phone makers like HTC having major profitability issues vs Apple and Samsung? Oh right, that's because running on thinner margins is not an advantage.

Back Your Sh!t Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900229)

Never rely on your service provider to "protect" your data. Make sure you have copies of your code, configs and data. If you're running your business on "the cloud" (or any other remote server) and you can't tollerate downtime, make sure you have an alternative "disaster recovery" server ready to go.

captcha: valued

CUM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900345)

else up tHeir asses

"Linux Model" (2)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900467)

I'd love to see some of these cloud storage services start opening up their protocols instead of relying on security through obscurity. I have a dropbox account, and I'd rather like to be able to use it on Linux without a silly proprietary daemon (and also on non-x86 platforms.)

Re:"Linux Model" (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900579)

You're saying you'd rather do without the rather useful integration that makes your dropbox share look like another part of your file system?

Re:"Linux Model" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41900767)

no he's saying he's tired of the binary blob and would gladly help write portable code that works on more than just x86 linux

their excuses for why kqueue on bsd isn't suitable are pretty poor but they wont give us the info we need to write our own client

Re:"Linux Model" (3, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900963)

The Dropbox share is part of the file system. They don't mount a virtual fs or anything, they just create a directory and sync the files in and to it when anything changes.

Walled Garden...? (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900561)

Didn't Compuserv through AOL try this a long time ago? And didn't it work great until users discovered the internet?

Re:Walled Garden...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41904601)

What the fuck is the internet? These are CLOUDS.

of course he does.. (1)

Lashat (1041424) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900577)

why wouldn't he

It already exists in IaaS. No one wants PaaS. (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900813)

In cloud-speak, we call it "IaaS" ("infrastructure as as service"), but if you need some Linux servers, some Windows servers, some database servers, whatever, there's plenty of competition between commodity providers, including RackSpace, already.

There are a few dozen large competitors (also including RackSpace) also trying to get people locked in with "PaaS" ("platform as a service"), but by and large companies are either too smart or too poor (no resources for initial development or migration) to jump into that shark tank.

Re:It already exists in IaaS. No one wants PaaS. (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41903497)

He's not talking about the OS running on the individual IaaS VMs, he's talking about the middleware that supports auth, scaling, provisioning, etc through APIs and applications or portals targeted at them. The case in point for Rackspace is Open Stack.

quote and translation (3, Informative)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41900891)

Ultimately, he added, cloud computing needs to adopt the Linux model.

Translation: "Please, please, please don't use EC2. Oh yeah, and Amazon beats its wife."

Is this a sponsored advertisement? (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#41901325)

It must be because openess doesn't mean shit in the cloud world. It hosts apps that get dialed up and down. What's behind it is unimportant.

Openstack is developed to smell like AWS (1)

mattbee (17533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41901381)

The "everyone should run our open (tm) software" plea. I'm not falling for it. No customer is demanding "cloud portability" because customers don't want to change ISP, ever. I just don't think portability of whole VM networks will ever be feasible on a technical level. Even if you could shuffle IPv4 addresses and masses of data around the whole internet between providers without down time, there's no incentive for ISPs to cooperate, or willingly turn themselves into a cheaper sub-brand of Rackspace. It would instantly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Your entire business model controlled by a competitor? You can go to Parallels for that; their software works out of the box, it will gladly migrate ISPs for you, and the per-customer fees are reasonable!

The customers who have sussed cloud portability already have it through tools like puppet, rigid version control, or a tightly-specced development environment supported by lots of ISPs (PHP, Java, .net - ish). The customers that don't have a portable setup won't magically get it through an "open" hosting API, they will be lashed to their current provider as they always have been.

Don't all major vendors support most platforms? (2)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year and a half ago | (#41902499)

Hmm. All of the major cloud vendors support pretty much every platform. I happen to have an MSDN Ultimate subscription through work and we're investigating Azure as a result (1,500 hours per month of computer time for free for each Ultimate account).

I will admit that I code in C# so the platform integrates well. It only took me two days to learn the platform basics and setup a computational system with queues and a dedicated cache (one WebRole, one CacheRole, multiple WorkerRoles to process work units).

I'm working on the job unit system now, pretty complicated algorithm, although the design lends itself to distributed analysis.

Anyway, the major vendors support all of the major platforms. Choose one based on trust and performance (and integration if you please).

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