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Cloud Computing

Infrastructure and Platform as a Service

Initiatives and Projects
         
  Open Cloud
Manifesto
  Open Cloud
Consortium
 
  Open
Daylight Project
  Open Compute
Project
 
         
Cloud Computing
Internetworking Scalability
Market Leaders
         
  Amazon
Web Services
  Google
Cloud
 
  IBM
Cloud Services
  Microsoft
Azure
 
         

Cloud computing is evolving rapidly and in uneven aspects and features; there are multiple platforms with public, private, and hybrid delivery. Standardization and data portability issues are being addressed.

There has been controversy associated with the Open Cloud Manifesto and developing principles for cloud interoperability. A few vendors were strongly in favor of common standards: AMD, IBM, Rackspace, Sun Microsystems, and VMware. Most of the important players were against the idea, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. The OCC: Open Cloud Consortium has been working on the interoperation of different clouds. The Open Daylight Project goal is to deliver common code and industry standards; this includes an open controller, a virtual overlay network, protocol plug-ins, and switch device enhancements. It is a collaborative open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation to accelerate the adoption of software-defined networking and create a standardized foundation for NFV: Network Functions Virtualization. Commercial hardware and software companies have committed software and engineering resources to help define an open source SDN platform. Each are having a role in the hardware and networking interoperability for cloud computing.

There are other committees and open source projects to promote best common practices. The IEEE: Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, ISOC: Internet Society, W3C: World Wide Web Consortium, IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force, and IAB: Internet Architecture Board jointly affirmed a set of principles contributing to the exponential growth of the Internet and related technologies. The OpenStand Principles are developed through an open participatory process to foster standards, innovation, and global competition. They are intended to serve as foundation for products and services to meet the needs of markets and consumers. Adoption is voluntary. The Open Source Initiative https://opensource.org is the steward of the OSD: Open Source Definition and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant. The CSA: Cloud Security Alliance is developing standards for security services and ways to protect sensitive data.

There are hardware and software companies supporting different and sometimes overlapping platforms and open source and commercial standards. Some providers will not allow software created by customers to be moved off their platform. Corporations increasingly rent the use of computers from cloud computing service providers. Cloud companies receive approximately ten percent of all spending on business computing; growth is occurring at thirty percent per annum. 1  There are estimates that one-fifth of application development in 2016 was being done on cloud systems and it is increasing. 2


OpenStack

OpenStack is the leading open source IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service platform for private, public, and hybrid clouds. It provides an extensible operating environment for cloud infrastructure with a public roadmap and packaged distributions. OpenStack is a collection of modular services for creating pools of processing, storage, and networking resources. The OpenStack Foundation and project provides a framework and tools into which products and technologies can be integrated to create cloud services. There is a dashboard for managed administrator control and resource provisioning through a web interface. Although modules are designed to work together, components can be selected and used specific to operational requirements. Many OpenStack services are API-compatible and have equivalent AWS: Amazon Web Service capabilities. Applications running on AWS can execute in any OpenStack environment; this includes an on-premises data center.

The OpenStack Integrated Release has been expanded to include multiple projects. Every six months there is a release with new features and modules; incubation projects for future releases also may be included. The software releases are named based on alphabetical sequencing: 1- Austin 2 - Bexar 3- Cactus, and so on. Ocata was released in February 2017. Most leading hardware and software companies participate in the project.


Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry is an open source PaaS available under the Apache 2.0 license. Organized by EMC / VMware as Pivotal - Cloud Foundry, a consortium of vendors were allowed to participate in its governance. Founding members included EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Rackspace Hosting, SAP, and VMware; there also was financial backing from General Electric and Ford Motor Company. A free version of Cloud Foundry can be downloaded from the Internet. In 2016, Pivotal was acquired by Dell Technologies.

Cloud Foundry is a set of software development blueprints and tools; there is commercial moneticization and add-on service component. Pivotalís aggregation and analytics tools can help businesses make use of the data generated by apps. Commercial versions of Cloud Foundry are offered by IBM, HP-Enterprise, and other companies. Cloud Foundry can run software applications on a internal VMware infrastructure or beyond the firewall on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud public clouds. It greatly reduces the cloud lock-in for installations that want to avoid replicating the over-dependence on a single vendor such as IBM, Microsoft, or Oracle in prior technology eras. Cloud Foundry supports Microsoft .NET and open source languages: Google - Go, Java, Node.js, Perl, PHP, and Python. There are divergent opinions on whether open source PaaS software backed by enterprise vendor support will emerge as an industry standard or more likely applied to specialized niche market applications.


Leading Public Cloud Providers

Enterprise cloud computing IaaS and PaaS providers are a mix of new entrants and legacy computer software and hardware companies. Amazon and Alphabet - Google built cloud infrastructure to support their core business operations; not just for developing a cloud computing service. Cloud computing has become an extension and transitioning of hardware and software business models. Microsoft and IBM have been deploying significant resources to compete in new markets: open source software, acquisitions, and joint ventures. Other Fortune 1000 computer hardware, software, and service providers also have been addressing the changes in information technology cost structures and demographics and the movement towards the cloud computing platform. Only a few companies, mostly in China, have the technical expertise and capital to build such systems. Each of the big cloud providers has built a global network of over a million computer servers. The market leaders in public cloud computing are AWS: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Alphabet - Google Cloud - Compute Engine, and IBM. According to industry analysts - public cloud computing is where growth projections and developer interest is greatest. 3 Facebook has a global computing network, but has not indicated interest in a corporate or consumer cloud computing service. Both Apple and Oracle have global data centers with considerable resources and assets; both are pursuing strategies which diverge from an exclusive public cloud.

AWS public cloud computing services are delivered remotely from its global data centers. AWS cloud revenue approached $8 billion in 2015 and were estimated to be $10 billion in 2016; the operating income in prior years was: 2013 - $674 million, 2014 - $660 million, and 2015 - $1.86 billion.4 AWS has dominated the cloud space by applying economies of scale and comprehensive services. According to Wall Street Journal reporting, AWS is expected to generate $17.3 billion in revenue in 2017; this is a 42% increase from 2016. Amazon uses both a RESTful and SOAP API for most services. It has consistently been developing new web services. In addition to OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, AWS works with any application framework.

Microsoft Corporation has been extending its MS Windows Server/SharePoint stack and .NET framework with open standards and OSS: open source software resources for alignment with enterprise computing requirements: financial services, healthcare, government, manufacturing, and retail. Microsoft is positioning itself as a strategic cloud provider which spans IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS on-premises and in hybrid cloud computing. MS Azure enjoys the advantage of a large base of MS applications already in use within enterprises. It also is likely to become easier to migrate the existing MS applications to Azure. There are projections that during 2018 - 2019, Microsoft cloud service portfolio could surpass Amazon Web Services in revenue.

Google cloud will be challenging Amazon Web Services in IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service; competition will be in performance and pricing. Google has been investing in a vertically driven technology strategy through SDN: software-defined networking and fiber-optic networks in conjunction with independent service providers. The consensus is that more additional hybrid cloud-enabling features from Google will smooth the transition to cloud from a virtualized data center for enterprise customers. Google's supports Docker and is emphasizing its Kubernetes open source container orchestrator for integration with OpenStack and vendors in the ecosystem. VMware co-founder Diane Greene was named to head its cloud platform and improve Google's standing with enterprises. In the third quarter, 2016 Google acquired Apigee, the enterprise API management company for $625 million. Both will be important in the Google cloud platform and developer community.

IBM was slow to identify the significance of cloud computing and has made significant investments to develop its business. In June 2013, IBM initiated a new strategy with its acquisition of cloud computing start-up, SoftLayer Technologies for $2 billion. The IBM cloud architecture is based upon a composition and implementation of open standards and APIs which promote portability. Its private, public, and hybrid clouds have a common architecture. Cloud computing is an avenue of innovation for the IBM client base and to a significant degree is being built on open source software. This will address issues with vendor lock-in and participation in a growing market. IBM has invested both in OpenStack - infrastructure and Cloud Foundry platform as service projects. IBM Bluemix is a platform as a service. IBM is offering specialized higher end services and continuing to build its cognitive computing platform.

Alibaba is following Amazon in applying its resources and experience in running an immense scalable e-commerce operation. In 2009, Alibaba started to sell on demand computing services in China. In 2015, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd opened a data center to offer its Aliyun / AliCloud cloud computing services in the United States. The initial AliCloud targeted Chinese companies with American cloud operations that span both the United States and China. The AliCloud services are more basic than AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM SoftLayer. Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud provider in China; it has doubled its revenue in the third quarter- 2017 from the previous year.

The cloud offers significant advantages compared to traditional on-premises data center services. Connecting cloud services is being used for managing information technology assets. A bridge to non-cloud and legacy setups is an industry problem.

The pricing of cloud services has been forcing smaller competitors to niche markets; this reflects consolidation and specialization. Economies of scale and platform-service-featureset completeness / quality of service will continue to be key determinants of market share.


Market Assessments and Technology Projections

Computer Education Techniques aggregates, organizes, and analyzes information in the public domain: software, source vendor documentation, industry standard textbooks, white papers, benchmarks, and report journalism. This includes researching the protocols, standards, and open source projects.

Strategies of commercial hardware and software companies, open source software purveyors, and new entrants are reviewed and summarized. Subject matter is incorporated into the CET knowledge base and lesson plans. Open source and trial software is downloaded for developing lesson plans and documentation to teach IaaS and PaaS application development. Information is distributed through SYS-ED and CETi technology partner websites.

Footnotes

1- Bernstein Research, reported by the Online New York Times.

2- Gartner, Lydia Leong, reported Online New York Times, August 24, 2015, by Quentin Hardy.

3- Bloomberg Business Week: Public cloud computing is where growth projections and developer interest is greatest. The fourth quarter 2016 cloud computing leaders in market share were: Amazon 43%, Microsoft 12%, and Google 5% - approximately.

4- Bloomberg Business Week: Through 2016, Alphabet was not reporting Google Cloud as a business unit. Sales volume was estimated to be in the range of ten percent of AWS.

Sources

Enterprise Cloud Computing: Technology, Architecture, and Applications, by Dr. Gautam Shroff, Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN: 1139490915, 9781139490917.

Google Joins a Heavyweight Competition in Cloud Computing - Online New York Times - December 3, 2014, by Quentin Hardy.

Nightly Business Report - www.nbr.com - 2014 - transcripts and third-party interview reporting with Virginia M. Rometty, CEO IBM Corporation.

New York Times - Online, 2013 - 2017, reporting on IBM and Intel Corporation strategies.

TechTarget multiple reports and white paper distribution: 2013 - 2017.

Wall Street Journal, Alibaba Takes on Amazon in Crowded U.S. Cloud Space, March 4, 2015, by Shira Ovide.

Wall Street Journal, Heard on the Street, November 24, 2017, by Dan Gallagher.

Wall Street Journal, China Circuit, November 24, 2017, by Li Yuan.