Apr 09 2011

Communications-as-a-Service

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 8:28 am

I heard a term for a new type of cloud computing during the week:

  • Communications-as-a-Service or CaaS

I remembered that I had listed the different types of Cloud Computing before on my blog, so I found the article: Cloud Computing in 2009. The amazing thing about this article is that I published it in January 2009!


Apr 06 2011

Amazon Dedicated Instances

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 6:23 pm

I read an interesting news release last week from Amazon Web Services (AWS), but for some reason I forgot to add it here :o

Anyway, the article announced that Amazon will soon allow customers to run their machine instances on dedicated hardware within the cloud. For more information see Amazon VPC Adds Dedicated Instances and Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances.

This is an interesting development, because it moves the machine instances slightly away from the original spirit of the cloud. However, it does enable Amazon to compete with other existing cloud providers who were offering dedicated hardware (unfortunately, I cannot remember their names).

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Mar 21 2011

Cloud Computing in Dublin

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 6:22 pm

Amazon, Microsoft, and many more see Dublin as an ideal location for their data centres according to Dublin Emerges as Cloud Computing Hub.

Some of the linked articles are also very interesting, such as Colocation Dublin that lists all of the data centres in the Dublin area.

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Feb 08 2011

Irish Green Party Enters the Clouds

Category: Cloud Computing,Education,eGovernmentTeknovis @ 6:51 pm

It is election time in Ireland at the moment, but I am not going to discuss politics. However, I can still write about the political manifestos as long as they relate to technology. The policies that caught my attention today come from the Irish Green Party, and they are contained in We will recover if we play to our strengths.

The first interesting policy is:

Transfer all public services to cloud computing

This really makes me wonder if the author understands what cloud computing means! “Public Services” in the election context generally means tangible services that are available to the public, such as policing, health, and education. I am unclear how health care will be provided by cloud computing :D

Seriously, is it meant that all government computing will be performed in the cloud? This raises many interesting questions:

  • Will it be hosted in a single cloud (with potential vendor lock-in)? Or will it be distributed across several clouds (and potentially loose economies of scale)?
  • Will it be a public cloud (and hence how will security concerns be addressed)? Or will it be a private cloud (and will this still deliver environmental benefits as new infrastructure is used)?
  • Where will the cloud be hosed (in order to protect citizen’s privacy rights)?
  • Would it be more beneficial to focus on delivering better eServices, instead of changing the backend infrastructure?

If I was a cloud provider, I would probably be very excited about the opportunities here (as long as I ignore the political opinion polls).

Another policy that caught my attention is:

Invest €70m in web training for 20,000 unemployed people who can then work to web-enable Irish business

Hmmm… I think that I would instead focus on improving the take-up of science and computing for those already in education at all levels.

Provide access for the private sector to Government data

Interesting… Was the Green Party not involved in curtailing Freedom of Information rights during the last few years?

Finally, the last policy that caught my attention is:

Roll out ultra fast broadband Exemplar network nationwide

The Exemplar network is very exciting (see Exemplar Network), but I do not think that it is ready for a nation-wide commercial deployment yet. Also, I do not think that this would be the best usage of this technology.

I think that the cynics will wonder why the Green Party did not do these wonderful things during its time in power :|

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Sep 25 2010

Verizon Offers Cloud Computing Services

Category: Cloud Computing,TelecomsTeknovis @ 8:20 am

Somebody told me during the week that Verizon was entering the Cloud Computing market place. I think that this is a very interesting development.

Computers can be thought of abstractly being composed of only three capabilities:

  • Processing capabilities
  • Storage capabilities
  • Networking capabilities

The existing Cloud Computing providers (such as Amazon Web Services (AWS)) have already successfully brought the first of those two capabilities into the Cloud Computing environment.

However, nobody has successfully brought network capabilities into the Cloud Computing environment (or alternatively, nobody has brought the cloud outside of the data centre).

I suspect the reason for this is two-fold:

  • The existing Cloud Computing providers do not own the infrastructure outside of the data centre.
  • The telecos, who own the infrastructure, do not really have the enabling technology.

Therefore, it will be very interesting to see if Verizon’s move into the Cloud Computing environment will be the start of true Cloud Computing!

For more details about this read Verizon Introduces New Pay-As-You-Go Cloud Computing for Small, Medium Business Markets.

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Sep 16 2010

Amazon EC2 Micro Instances

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 4:33 pm

I saw today that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has released new, low-cost, entry level instances! Very cool! I am extremely happy with the service from Blacknight, but if circumstances changed then I would definitely consider moving some of my sites!

For more information about this see New Amazon EC2 Micro Instances – New, Low Cost Option for Low Throughput Applications.

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Mar 20 2010

“Cloud Application Architectures” by George Reese

Category: Cloud Computing,ReviewsTeknovis @ 8:02 am

I recently read Cloud Application Architectures: Building Applications and Infrastructure in the Cloud by George Reese.

"Cloud Application Architectures" by George Reese

"Cloud Application Architectures" by George Reese

It was a very enjoyable read, and it was quite an easy read. I think that it is a great place to start reading about Cloud Computing.

The book focuses almost exclusively on Cloud Computing in the context of Amazon Web Services (AWS). This suited me, but it may not be to everybody’s liking.

My only criticism of the book was that it did not go into enough detail. In particular, there is a lot of focus on EC2 and almost nothing about the other services. That is a pity, because I would have liked to have read the same type of material about S3, SimpleDB, and SQS.

Also, despite the focus on EC2, I felt that some fundamental aspects were not described even though the author referred to them extensively. For example, many pages were dedicated to describing the AMIs, yet it is not described anywhere how to create them!

In summary, I think that this book is a great introduction to Cloud Computing. It describes what it is, and when it can be used advantageously. Finally, it really put me in the mood for starting to play with AWS :)

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Mar 06 2010

Cloud Computing Data Centres in Ireland

Category: Cloud Computing,HumourTeknovis @ 9:29 pm

I read an interesting article in The Irish Times recently about Microsoft‘s view on cloud computing data centres in Ireland. The article covers comments by John Vassallo who is Microsoft’s Vice-President of EU Affairs, and it can be read online at Data centres may attract 20,000 firms.

It is a short (and slightly meaningless) article. However, one comment by John Vassallo really caught my attention:

Mr Vassallo added that Ireland was cited in a recent publication as “a beautiful place for a data centre” due to its climate.

It is difficult to interpret this comment! I am not even sure if this is serious! Perhaps the cloud analogy is being taken too far :D

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Feb 26 2010

Yoigo’s Backend Infrastructure

Category: Cloud Computing,TelecomsTeknovis @ 6:23 pm

I attended a very interesting webinar recently about Cloud Computing. It featured a case study about a Spanish company called Yoigo. It was claimed that Yoigo used a Cloud Computing backend to become operational in 150 days!

This is actually quite funny, because according to Yoigo the company had the license for the previous six years during which it was not used!

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Jul 09 2009

Amazon Web Services

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 9:07 pm

I spent my afternoon in the clouds… No, not dreaming!

I was doing some reading about cloud computing, and specifically about the Amazon cloud computing offerings. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) appear to be the most popular.

I did this reading because I intended attending a cloud computing webinar this evening. However, the webinar software would not install for me :(

Anyway, my time was not spent in vain, because I learned a lot! For the sake of convenience, I am including the most relevant AWSs here:

Overall, I was very impressed with what I read :o I think that there are some really useful services here. I think that if I was developing a non-mission critical web application then I would certainly look at AWS due to their simplicity, flexibility, and cost effectiveness. The applications described in Gowalla – Location-based iPhone 3G Application (you need to watch the video) are good examples.

However, I do not think that I would feel comfortable placing a mission critical application into a public cloud. I think that private clouds are the best option in this case. (Although I am still not sure if this is significantly different to having a virtualised back-office :o )

The smaller details that caught my attention were:

  • I am very surprised that Amazon charges for the European services in Dollars instead of Euro. Currency fluctuations may negate some of the price stability that AWS offer. I really do not understand why this is necessary given that the costs in these locations are in Euro :|
  • I am very impressed that Amazon is able to measure such minute amounts of resource usage.
  • Consequently, I am impressed that Amazon is able to efficiently process the corresponding micro-charges. Telcos are usually considered the masters of this :o
  • I know that I am not exactly comparing like for like, but a Blacknight VPS product seems to be much better value than a single EC2 small instance.

Finally, I read about a web site recently that featured on a national television program. The web site was hosted with a traditional hosting service provider, and received a relatively small amount of traffic. However, the web site designers decided to move all of the static web site files to S3 in anticipation of the spike caused by the television appearance.

The web site did experience a huge spike in traffic during the television appearance, and it was able to cope with it. So the web site designers were satisfied with their decision to use S3.

The funny thing about this is that in my opinion it was unnecessary to use S3 because it did not provide any benefits! The reason for my opinion is that all of the web site visitors during that peak were from the geographic area where the television program was being broadcast. Therefore, they were all connecting to the S3 data centre through the same IP exchange. This is also the same IP exchange where the hosting service provider peers. Therefore, it is unlikely that the hosting service provider would have been a greater bottleneck than the S3 :o

Indeed, a well resourced hosting service provider that peers in a national IP exchange should outperform both S3 and CloudFront in countries where Amazon does not have a presence when all of the traffic is originating from that country!

Anyway, right now I feel that I would love to have a personal project to develop using AWS :o

(As a result of this post I have decided to create a dedicated category for cloud computing :o )

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