Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Robin Miller, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Cloud: Datacenters, Meet Software! By @IoT2040 | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

The Open Compute Project Sets the Direction

The PC revolution has redefined the notion of a computer over the past four decades. Now it might be time to redefine the notion of a collection of computers, that is, to redefine the notion of a datacenter.

Datacenters are thought of as big places. Some of the more recent plants used by mega-users like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have acres of land under roof, with many tens of thousands of individual systems and power requirements that would support a small city.

Even your friendly local, on-site enterprise datacenter is likely to be a big room with a big budget commitment and a lot of people hired to manage it

But what if a datacenter could fit in the corner of a room, or under a desk, or in the palm of your hand?

This seems to be the direction we're headed, as data loads simultaneously grow exponentially and become ever more distributed. This is also part of the vision I saw and heard outlined at the recent Open Compute Summit in San Jose.

Transparency as a Service
The summit was sponsored by The Open Compute Project Foundation, with a goal "to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage and data center hardware designs for scalable computing," according to its mission statement. Members strive to share ideas, specs, and intellectual property in an open environment. The foundation is keyed by Facebook and the company's commitment to transparency in how it builds out the massive datacenter infrastructure it requires.

One significant announcement at the summit was made by Vapor.io and company CEO Cole Crawford. The company aims for nothing less than utter transformation of the datacenter, starting with a programmable, open-source based management solution at the top of the stack.

Crawford and Chief Architect Steven White envision a modern, data-driven datacenter in which servers are "cattle, not pets," following the still-new concept of software-defined servers and centers. "The Open Data Center Runtime Environment is the first accepted contribution to the Open Compute Foundation using the reciprocal license thus ensuring that forks and branches won't exist," according to Vapor.io. "We did this to ensure that when you are interacting with your data center, you're communicating over a community owned, community standard.

The company's ultimate vision is a modern hardware configuration that brings new levels of efficiency and output to datacenters of all sizes.

Mobility & Then the IoT
The fast-growing global dataflow has mobility as today's primary driver. The proliferation of tablets and especially smartphones on a worldwide basis will cause the total amount of data being processed by the Internet to exceed a zettabyte (1 billion terabytes) annually this year or next. That's more than 30 terabytes per second.

Smartphone ownership will reach into the billions soon enough, and even in many developing countries, such as the Philippines, there are now more mobile phones than people.

But we ain't seen nuttin' yet-the Internet of Things (IoT) will be adding billions of new devices to the global Internet soon enough. Though much of the traffic it generates will be hyper-local (via Bluetooth and other short-range technologies), enough of it will be traveling along the Internet to increase global bandwidth to the dozens of zettabytes by the year 2020, according to Gartner and others.

Think of it as cloud computing to the nth degree in all dimensions. Think of the phrase made famous by Sun Microsystems-"the network is the computer"--extending out to "the edge of the network is your computer."

The edge of the network seems to me to be much like the edge of the universe, that is, there is no such thing to the single observer. One person's edge is another's center. Cyberspace expands outward from wherever you are, and you will expect the same performance (some day) for your single device or your enterprise no matter where you are.

Big, bulky, centralized data centers cannot provide this edge service ubiquitously and effectively. There is also the matter of energy consumption. Datacenters were using about 2% of all electricity consumption in the US in 2011-that number has certainly risen since then, although it did not rise as quickly as the EPA had originally estimated for the period 2007-11.

Focus on Power Consumption
But let's not get distracted by this particular metric. The big picture is one that features global power consumption and the aspiration of billions of people in developing nations to have better lives.

As I've written about many times, and about which much of our research at the Tau Institute is focused, developing nations typically consume 3 to 5% of the electricity per-person of the developed world.

We believe that an aggressive national commitment to IT is a primary indicator of sustained economic and societal growth. To achieve significant economic improvement therefore means we must achieve significant new efficiencies in power consumption.

Right Direction
The vision laid out by Vapor.io seems to be a positive step in this direction. Crawford says the technology, which already has its first customer in Indiana in the US, aims for a PUE of 1.1, compared to an industry average of 1.9 (PUE, or power usage effectiveness, is a simple measure of the ratio of total energy required by a datacenter divided by the amount used by the computing resources. The overhead is primarily eaten up by air-conditioning.

Crawford and team go further, asserting that a new metric needs to be put into place. The metric would be called performance per watt per dollar, or PWD.

New efficiencies and new metrics are one big part of the puzzle. Another big part takes us back to the question near the beginning of this article. What if I could hold a datacenter in my hand? When will I be able to do this?

For now, the direction is being set. The world will need more mega-datacenter technology in smaller urban spaces, as mobility and the IoT inexorably drive dataflows upward. It will also need as much cloud-driven technology within buildings and some day, per person, as we can imagine.

The Software World
The third big piece of the puzzle involves the software that's eating the world, in the phrase made notorious by Mark Andreessen in the Wall Street Journal in 2011. The world of cloud computing is a world of virtualization, containers, languages, platforms, architectures, and many things as-a-service.

It is a world that is not familiar to many people in the world of datacenters. A grand conversation is beginning to take place, and will need to intensify dramatically to sync up where the world of data is going and where the world of datacenters should be going.

Contact me on Twitter

Follow Cloud Expo on Twitter

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, pane...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit 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. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.