Virtualization and Cloud Computing – Road Ahead – Trends ’10


I was thinking of writing a cloud computing prediction list, but realized that it is better to talk about trends, which are more relevant in the ever changing world of cloud computing. Also it is easier to write as :

  • Trends are vectors than a single snapshot point in time, thus giving one a thick gray region
  • And the fact that trends need not be linear gives one the latitude to say things that are closer to reality …

First we need a trends model and then a mapping of the trajectory and locus cloud domain onto that model – both shown below (of course, you can click on the pictures to get the larger view):

Technology Trends Model

The Model:

The technologies can be viewed in the traditional X-Y axes, Technology Adoption vs. Maturity.

  • Quadrant I is where the maturity and adoption are high, resulting in stable technologies.
  • In Quadrant II, we have mature technologies, solving effectively niche problems but not yet mainstream. The extreme is the top left corner, where we have complex technologies solving extremely special problems very well.
  • Then we have Quadrant IV, where the domain drives the technologies. Many times the requirement is very fast that standards are preempted by the users. And the extreme case is the bottom right corner, when there are complex domains where technologies can never mature.

Usually technologies take three different routes:

  1. A linear trajectory, when the technology matures in sync with the adoption
  2. A trajectory where the technology matures and then veers into the mainstream
  3. A trajectory where the users force standardization and maturity in a technology

Cloud/Virtualization Mapping into the trends Model:

Let us map some of our favorite cloud technologies onto this model:

  • Virtualization as a substrate for business architectures:
    • Virtualization as a technology is in sync with the adoption – at least at the present state. Which means the advances are absorbed by the adoption. In the very near future, we will see virtualization based solutions for traditional systems problems, like DR and HA. I remember designing elaborate systems for HA (with multi-cast active-active processes) which are all irrelevant now.
    • I did study the VMware HA and FT (as part of VCP) and they are right steps. Still not there yet, but just usable now. This is where the user adoption and influence can help to mature the product.
  • Virtualization-native security
    • There is a big gap in the security mechanisms at the virtualization layer. Vmware has technologies like security zones and vmsafe. But we need prevalent programming models as well as tools to effectively implement security – at different levels.
    • Actually this is the case with virtualization-native network – switching and routing – as well
  • Hybrid Cloud
    • While technologies to implement public clouds are maturing; and strong public clouds are emerging, there are no real solutions for the hybrid clouds. Again, a trajectory where the users will determine the maturity and force standardization of the technologies.
  • Cloud Storage
    • In my humble opinion, cloud storage is maturing more than adoption. As Mark Carlson points out in the SNIA paper, network based storage protocols (iSCSI, NFS, FCoE, and so forth) are standards and are implemented with interoperability. The big table type of storage is just developing (more below) and the Cloud based storage is working through it’s paces
  • No SQL key-Value Stores
    • Actually I am lumping key value stores as well as non-structured stores (like bigTable and HFS) in this category. Again, quoting Mark Carlson, these are table space storage focusing mainly on scalability (rather than features). They are solving niche problems very well, but not yet mainstream. They will follow the path of maturing technology driving the adoption.
  • IWM (Intelligent Workload Management) based on predictive analytics
    • I am sure Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, Savvis and others have implemented some form of IWM; but the algorithmics and programming models are not yet available as mainstream packages. I believe that this is a domain that will be driven by the users.
    • As virtualization becomes norm, the cloud infrastructure control and management planes will get complex and that is when we need the quants to help us out!
    • I am working on a few pragmatic ideas on this, which I will share in another blog, in the near future.
  • PaaS
    • No prediction (whether trends or not) will be complete without PaaS; so I left the best for the last !
    • And thanks to insights from Gary Berger and James Urquhart, some of my thinking in this area were clarified …
    • So far, PaaS is a “my way or highway” i.e. an all encompassing full programming environment; which is fine but not the chosen path for many including the best of the breed mode.
    • This is the year PaaS is going to lose it’s shine and meet the contenders. I think time has come for virtualization based composable abstractions as part of a PaaS platform.
    • An orthogonally extensible PaaS platform that can be part of (and integrate well with) normal private clouds (and public clouds!) will emerge
  • Cloud Builders
    • I predict that this year the role of cloud builders and scalability architects would be more clear and relevant. We understand application architects and developers very well, but in the era of clouds there are also new distinct roles that need to fulfilled.

So … what thinks thee ? What generates intensity and motivation for you in the cloud business ? (I assume you are in the cloud business, otherwise you will not reach here ;o) …

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4 thoughts on “Virtualization and Cloud Computing – Road Ahead – Trends ’10

  1. Pingback: The Art of Cloud standard(s) « My missives

  2. Pingback: Quora

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