Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Saar Bitner, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal, OpenStack Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Scalability – The New Buzzword for Cloud Computing

An exclusive Q&A with Barbara P. Aichinger, co-founder of FuturePlus Systems and VP of New Business Development

"I think SMAC will continue to grow and mature and the demand for more sophisticated data like streaming videos and online television will be a real game changer," stated Barbara P. Aichinger, co-founder of FuturePlus Systems and VP of New Business Development, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair. "Analytics is also very important and will become part of "Big Data," meaning the data pulled and pushed to and from the cloud will have an analytic associated with it."

Cloud Computing Journal: The move to cloud isn't about saving money, it is about saving time - agree or disagree?

Barbara P. Aichinger: It's about saving time and money but it can be scary. As someone who really understands how the hardware works and, more important, how it doesn't work I can understand the apprehension. The cloud needs standards especially in the quality and reliability area so that folks know their data is safe.

Cloud Computing Journal: How should organizations tackle their regulatory and compliance concerns in the cloud? Who should they be asking/trusting for advice?

Aichinger: I see two pieces here - first is the actual hardware, networking and the physical building that the machines are in. The second is all the layered products and software. My company is on the hardware side so I can speak to that. We make validation tools used by the designers of cloud servers. We see cost pressures causing hardware vendors to take short cuts on system validation. This can then show up in the data center as "ghost errors," i.e., memory errors that just happen once in a while but over time cause system outages.

The industry does not have standards for memory subsystem compliance. What has happened is that the industry has created tools to test the memory subsystem for compliance to the JEDEC memory specification. This is different from an actual compliance program. It's basically voluntary. If you are a good vendor, you use the right equipment to make sure your servers are compliant. The problem is many vendors do not, and since the end user has no idea about memory standards, they never ask what type of compliance testing is being done. IT managers should insist on seeing the validation reports for the servers they buy. System integrators who package up various hardware pieces and sell them as a complete server should also take a good hard look at what memory subsystem compliance testing has been done.

Cloud Computing Journal: What does the emergence of open source clouds mean for the cloud ecosystem? How does the existence of OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus and so on affect your own company?

Aichinger: I think open source is great especially for small companies trying to put something together for initial product releases. We use open source Ubuntu and the Google Stress App Test to exercise cloud hardware so that our tool can see if the memory subsystem is violating the JEDEC rules. In eight out of 10 systems we look at we find violations. These don't cause errors right away but over months and years they are statistically very likely to cause system crashes and cloud outages. OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, and Eucalyptus are all great additions to the cloud ecosystem. Our role at FuturePlus Systems is to make sure the hardware stays up by validating the design so these products can add value to the users of the cloud.

Cloud Computing Journal: With SMBs, the two primary challenges they face moving to the cloud are always stated as being cost and trust: where is the industry on satisfying SMBs on both points simultaneously - further along than in 2011-12, or...?

Aichinger: I think consumers don't have too much problem with moving to the cloud but for small businesses it can be a challenge. For a core engineering company like FuturePlus Systems the issue is more trust than cost. We know the ins and outs of the cloud hardware and the network so we take a good hard look at what data we keep in the cloud. Having said that we are excited to see our tools being used more and more by system integrators and cloud IT managers. We are teaching them how to make sure the systems they deploy in the cloud are quality and that the memory subsystems are compliant to the standards. As the cloud becomes "healthier" and more secure more SMBs will be more comfortable moving to the cloud.

Cloud Computing Journal: 2013 seems to be turning into a breakthrough year for Big Data. How much does the success of cloud computing have to do with that?

Aichinger: With all the sensors and mobile devices on the market Big Data is inevitable and that pushes the need for expansion in the cloud. Scalability is the new buzzword for cloud computing. I have read some papers that say Google already has one million servers deployed. Facebook is heading there quickly right along with others.

What many don't stop and think about is how do failures scale? In 2009 a landmark study looked at the failure rate of the memory DIMMs in the Google fleet of servers. The data suggested that failures were far more often than the vendors' specifications indicated they should be. Scaling those errors out to the one million servers Google has and the reported uncorrectable error rate of 1.3% to 4% would have servers going down 13,000 to 40,000 times a year. Boil that down and you have two to five failures every hour somewhere in the Google fleet. These failures are expensive. The system has to be taken offline and repaired or replaced. Energy costs, labor and parts can quickly add up.

Cloud Computing Journal: What about the role of social: aside from the acronym itself SMAC (for Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) are you seeing and/or anticipating major traction in this area?

Aichinger: I think SMAC will continue to grow and mature. I think the demand for more sophisticated data like streaming videos and online television will be a real game changer. Analytics is also very important and will become part of "Big Data," meaning the data pulled and pushed to and from the cloud will have an analytic associated with it. FuturePlus Systems has been dealing with Big Data for decades as we capture every signal on every clock edge in our tools that validate the cloud hardware. With cloud hardware going faster and becoming greener we have lots more data points to add to our own "Big Data" problem. I also think SMAC will drive better visualization techniques so that humans will be better able to digest all of the analytics associated with it.

Cloud Computing Journal: To finish, just as real estate is always said to be about "location, location, location", what one word, repeated three times, would you say Cloud Computing is all about?

Aichinger: Standards, Standards, Standards. When I meet up with engineers and managers who actually have to deploy the cloud hardware or that provide cloud hardware, they seem to be constantly exhausted. Pricing pressures are causing them to look hard at the nuances between the various server platforms, disk vendors and DIMM DRAM memory vendors. How do they know if it will work reliably? How do they know what the performance is? Will it be hard to maintain?

Most people never think about the actual machines that run in the data centers. These data centers are the life blood of the cloud. If they don't work well I don't care how good or open your software is... it's not going to do anything. Good solid standards that address the functionality of the hardware, the reliability of the disks, the JEDEC compliance of the memory subsystem would go a long way to advancing cloud computing.

This is where FuturePlus Systems comes in. We have been providing validation tools for both hardware and software developers for more than 20 years. We are moving into the data center to help customers evaluate the servers they are purchasing and allowing software developers to see what performance loads they are putting on the system. This year will be our first year exhibiting at the Cloud Expo in New York so we hope folks will come by our kiosk in the Big Data Pavilion and take a look at our DDR3 Detective tool.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

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
As enterprises engage with Big Data technologies to develop applications needed to meet operational demands, new computation fabrics are continually being introduced. To leverage these new innovations, organizations are sacrificing market opportunities to gain expertise in learning new systems. In his session at Big Data Expo, Supreet Oberoi, Vice President of Field Engineering at Concurrent, Inc., discussed how to leverage existing infrastructure and investments and future-proof them against e...
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session a...
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in San...
"Desktop as a Service is emerging as a very big trend. One of the big influencers of this – for Esri – is that we have a large user base that uses virtualization and they are looking at Desktop as a Service right now," explained John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Mobile commerce traffic is surpassing desktop, yet less than 20% of sales in the U.S. are mobile commerce sales. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dan Franklin, Segment Manager, Commerce, at Verizon Digital Media Services, defined mobile devices and discussed how next generation means simplification. It means taking your digital content and turning it into instantly gratifying experiences.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the ...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Ulunsoft is a start-up that focuses on how enterprises build cloud-based IT infrastructure for business," explained Haibo Zhu, President of Ulunsoft Corp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Application monitoring and intelligence can smooth the path in a DevOps environment. In a DevOps environment you see constant change. If you are trying to monitor things in a constantly changing environment, you're going to spend a lot of your job fixing your monitoring," explained Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile ...
"SOASTA built the concept of cloud testing in 2008. It's grown from rather meager beginnings to where now we are provisioning hundreds of thousands of servers on a daily basis on behalf of customers around the world to test their applications," explained Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core...
"Verizon Digital Media Services is responsible for the broadcast, video and content delivery network that accelerates, scales and helps our customers reach end users with all kinds of video and web content," stated James Segil, CMO of Verizon Digital Media Services, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Creative Business Solutions will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Creative Business Solutions is the top stocking authorized HP Renew Distributor in the U.S. Based out of Long Island, NY, Creative Business Solutions offers a one-stop shop for a diverse range of products including Proliant, Blade and Industry Standard Servers, Networking, Server Options and...
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. But what about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today's databases are anything but agile - they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application an...
“We are strong believers in the DevOps movement and our staff has been doing DevOps for large enterprise environments for a number of years. The solution that we build is intended to allow DevOps teams to do security at the speed of DevOps," explained Justin Lundy, Founder & CTO of Evident.io, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.