Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

CloudFormation – Cool, But Who Is It For?

A few weeks ago Amazon released a new feature for Amazon Web Services (AWS) called CloudFormation

A few weeks ago Amazon released a new feature for Amazon Web Services (AWS) called CloudFormation.  This allows a user to organize the process for provisioning and operating resources in the AWS environment and is an evolution of the AWS model of “some assembly required.”  We have often viewed the features and functions within AWS as a box of parts, from which users are left to build their own creations.  This model is highly biased towards developers, the kind of people who like to have a box of parts and are willing to put in the effort to build new and interesting creations from them.

CloudFormation allows a user to coordinate a number of features within Amazon’s environment, such as: launch a set of AMIs (virtual machine image w/ application), configure a security group (pseudo firewall), setup an ELB (Amazon’s version of a web load balancer), and configure CloudWatch monitoring and alarms.  All of this can be managed from a template that describes each of these setup steps, and is written in easy-to-use JSON.

So this new feature is pretty cool, but after working with it for a while, I’ve been wondering who the target user is.  If you are a developer that is interacting with AWS through their API, then you already have a method of coordinating the resources and services in Amazon.  By definition, up to this point, you had no choice.  But more than that, if you are programming to the API, you want to have control over the details of your deployment, and to be able to monitor the steps and process.  The CloudFormation is an alternative to your current methods, but is not necessarily better – if you are using the APIs, you still have to monitor the progress and deal with faults during the CloudFormation process.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are the “enterprise-class” users who are looking for full configuration management of their deployments – they want to control the full lifecycle of their system and software deployments including change control of all of the components within the system.  The CloudFormation solution is really a provisioning engine, and even at that, it leaves off the early and late parts of provisioning – the actual configuration of the base servers, and the “customization” aspects of running in Amazon. Configuration and customization include things like creating the base images, controlling the OS configuration (kernels, boot parameters, etc.), selecting device drivers for consistent integration and operation, adjusting for randomly-changing IP addresses in Amazon, configuring load balancing based on the notion of instance ID rather than IP address, etc.  The actual construction of the application and the configuration of the OS is done outside of CloudFormation, with CloudFormation operating as a provisioning engine.

Given that the developers have the tools they need to coordinate the provisioning and the enterprises are looking for full configuration management, where does this leave the target market for CloudFormation?  Clearly the Amazon console users that are interacting with Amazon through the AWS portal are best served by this new feature.  CloudFormation gives these users a simple “portal” for provisioning and managing their cloud deployments – but it comes at the cost of programmatic access and integration with existing application lifecycle tools and processes. Console interaction drives cloud activity into its own silo, and fosters the concept of the cloud as being a separate, foreign, and independent environment.

So what does this feature mean for CloudSwitch customers?  Not much really, since our customers are looking for tight integration with their existing systems and processes, and want to have end-to-end control over their virtual hardware, operating systems, and application configuration.  While CloudFormation is designed to allow a user to coordinate a number of features and functions of AWS, the user still has to use the new and somewhat different components provided by AWS. For example: using AMIs for their VM images, limitations on the kernels, operating systems, and OS configurations, firewall and load balancing configurations that are non-standard, and behaviors in the deployment and operation that deviate from the expected behavior in the enterprise.

In the CloudSwitch model, if a user wants to configure a firewall, they use a full-featured firewall with full configurability, not an Amazon-specific version; if a user wants to monitor their applications, they use their existing tools and processes; and if a user wants to have full configuration management of their deployments, they can control every detail of their servers virtual hardware, operating systems, networking, and applications – and not conform to the restrictions of the cloud provider.  As our customers know, CloudSwitch is about giving the enterprise full control over cloud configurations and processes, rather than coordinating the components that a cloud provider delivers.

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
Today companies are looking to achieve cloud-first digital agility to reduce time-to-market, optimize utilization of resources, and rapidly deliver disruptive business solutions. However, leveraging the benefits of cloud deployments can be complicated for companies with extensive legacy computing environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, founder and CEO of Metavine, will outline the challenges enterprises face in migrating legacy solutions to the cloud. He will also prese...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
Elon Musk is among the notable industry figures who worries about the power of AI to destroy rather than help society. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, embraces all that is going on. AI is most powerful when deployed across the vast networks being built for Internets of Things in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, healthcare, government and other sectors. Is AI transforming IoT for the good or the bad? Do we need to worry about its potential destructive power? Or will we...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
Your clients expect transactions to never fail, cloud access to be fast and always on, and their data to be protected - no exceptions. Hear about how Secure Service Container (SSC), an IBM-exclusive open technology, enables secure building and hosting of next-generation applications, both cloud and on-premises. SSC protects the full stack from external and insider threats, allows automatic encryption of data in-flight and at-rest, and is tamper-resistant during installation and runtime – with no...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Cloud-based disaster recovery is critical to any production environment and is a high priority for many enterprise organizations today. Nearly 40% of organizations have had to execute their BCDR plan due to a service disruption in the past two years. Zerto on IBM Cloud offer VMware and Microsoft customers simple, automated recovery of on-premise VMware and Microsoft workloads to IBM Cloud data centers.
Why Federal cloud? What is in Federal Clouds and integrations? This session will identify the process and the FedRAMP initiative. But is it sufficient? What is the remedy for keeping abreast of cutting-edge technology? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rasananda Behera will examine the proposed solutions: Private or public or hybrid cloud Responsible governing bodies How can we accomplish?