Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Aruna Ravichandran

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica 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. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busine...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
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 Dasher Technologies 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. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” 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. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Though cloud is the future of enterprise computing, a smooth transition of legacy applications and systems is critical for seamless business operations. IT professionals are eager to start leveraging the cost, scale and other benefits of cloud, but with massive investments already in place in existing infrastructure and a number of compliance and resource hurdles, it can be challenging to move to a cloud-based infrastructure.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, will provide a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. Together we will solve a machine learning problem and find an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intellige...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, 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. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launchi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look 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 ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, 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. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...