@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Charles Araujo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

What Cloud APIs Show Us About the Emerging Cloud Market

An API can give a good indication of what is going on inside the cloud

While there is no “official” definition of cloud computing, I believe programmatic access to virtually unlimited network, compute, and storage resources is an essential characteristic.  Even though many users access cloud computing through consoles and third-party applications, the foundation of a cloud is a solid Application Programming Interface (API).

Since CloudSwitch works with many cloud providers, we have the opportunity to interact with a variety of cloud APIs—both active and soon-to-be-released versions.  After working closely with both the APIs and those implementing them, I’d like to share some impressions:

  1. Despite all the discussion about standards, clouds are still very different.  The important takeaway here is that cloud APIs have to cover a lot more than start/stop/delete a server, and once the API crosses into provisioning the infrastructure (network ranges, storage capacity, geography, accounts, etc.), things get more interesting.
  2. A cloud requires a very strong infrastructure to work properly.  For public clouds, the infrastructure needs to be good enough to sell to others.  If you know what to look for, key elements of the cloud API can inform you about the infrastructure, what tradeoffs the cloud provider has made, and the impact for end users (More on this later.)
  3. The cloud capabilities, and thus the APIs, are evolving fast.  We see new API calls and expansion of existing functions as cloud providers add new features and capabilities.  At the same time, we are talking with cloud providers about services that are coming soon and what form their API is likely to take.  This is a great place to leverage the experience and work of companies like CloudSwitch to integrate the new capabilities into a coherent data model, and keep up with the changes.

An API can give a good indication of what is going on inside the cloud, particularly when you look at the functions beyond simple virtual machine control.  I like to look at the network and storage APIs to understand how the cloud is built.  For instance, in Amazon, the base network design is that each virtual server receives both a public and private IP addresses.  The addresses are assigned from a pool based on where your machine ends up within their infrastructure so that the cloud provider can route network traffic to your servers.  In Amazon, the base network design gives each machine both a public and private IP address, which are assigned from a pool based on where your machine ends up within their infrastructure.  However, even though you get two IP addresses, the public one is actually just routed (or more accurately NAT’ed) to the private address.  In Amazon, you only have a single network interface to your server, which is a simple and scalable architecture for the cloud provider to support, but will cause problems for applications that require at least two NICs (like some cluster applications).

An interesting contrast to this design is found in Terremark’s cloud offering.  Like Amazon, IP addresses are defined by the provider so they can route traffic to your servers, but instead of the generic pool of addresses used by Amazon, Terremark allocates a range for your use when you first sign up.  The good side of this approach is better control of the assignment of networking addresses; the bad side is potential scaling issues since you only have a limited number of addresses to work with.  In addition, you can assign up to four NIC’s to each server in Terremark’s Enterprise cloud, which lets you create more complex network topologies and support applications that require multiple networks for proper operation.

Just when you thought this all makes sense, you have to take into account that in the Terremark model, servers only have internal addresses.  Unlike Amazon, there is no default public NAT address for each server.  Rather, Terremark has created a front-end load balancer that can be used to connect a public IP address to a specified set of servers by protocol and port.  For each protocol and port you want to connect to your server, you must first create an “Internet Service” (in Terremark language) that defines a public IP/Port/Protocol and then assign a server and port to the Service, this creating a connection.  Since this is a load balancer, you can add more than one server to each public IP/Port/Protocol group.  Now that we have opened the discussion on load balancers, I have to mention that Amazon has a load balancer function as well.  And while it is not required to connect public addresses to your cloud servers, it does support connecting multiple servers to a single public IP address.

The key point is that the APIs and the feature sets they define tell a story about the capabilities and design of a cloud infrastructure.  Decisions made at the infrastructure level—like network address allocation, virtual device support, and load balancers—will impact the end user features, flexibility, and scalability of the whole service.  When considering what cloud environment is best for your applications, you need to look down to the API level to understand how the cloud providers’ infrastructure decisions will impact your deployments.

Building a cloud is clearly complicated—but it provides an unbelievably powerful resource when it’s done right.  Cloud providers choose key components and a base architecture for their service which results in clouds with different “sweet spots”.  With CloudSwitch, you can span these different clouds and put the right application in the right environment.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By John Considine

John Considine is Co-Founder & CTO of Cloudswitch. He brings two decades of technology vision and proven experience in complex enterprise system development, integration and product delivery to CloudSwitch. Before founding CloudSwitch, he was Director of the Platform Products Group at Sun Microsystems, where he was responsible for the 69xx virtualized block storage system, 53xx NAS products, the 5800 Object Archive system, as well as the next generation NAS portfolio.

Considine came to Sun through the acquisition of Pirus Networks, where he was part of the early engineering team responsible for the development and release of the Pirus NAS product, including advanced development of parallel NAS functions and the Segmented File System. He has started and boot-strapped a number of start-ups with breakthrough technology in high-performance distributed systems and image processing. He has been granted patents for RAID and distributed file system technology. He began his career as an engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...