Eucalyptus, an Open Source Amazon compatible cloud platform

Posted in Amazon Web Services, Cloud Computing, Virtualization on May 30th, 2010 by don.kosak – Be the first to comment

In 2007 I kicked off a project to “virtualize” Lycos, Inc.’s computing resources into a flexible cost-efficient private cloud. Over the course of a year, we migrated more than a dozen major websites including Lycos Search, Tripod, Angelfire, HotBot, and so on. We still owned the racks and racks of servers, but now, with a few keystrokes, we could allocate more virtual servers to any site to handle a spike in usage, or product growth. Lycos was able to eliminate a huge number of servers and reduce our floorspace, power, and cooling costs considerably.

We used the Xen hypervisor and a bunch of home grown scripts to manage our cloud. (Xen is the same hypervisor that Amazon built their EC2 cloud service on.)

Eucalyptus SystemsRecently, I’ve been helping to build a private cloud system on top of much more sophisticated platform called Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus was engineered to use the same API and formats as Amazon’s EC2 public cloud, in fact, the machine images are even interchangeable. This lets you build systems that can run locally, in your private cloud, or on Amazon’s public cloud infrastructure. And there is no need to write dozens of scripts or work with low level hypervisors.

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Heroku, powerful cloud based ruby platform

Posted in Amazon Web Services, Cloud Computing on March 15th, 2010 by don.kosak – Be the first to comment

HerokuThere is a gap that some startups have a difficult time filling. They have a great product idea, and a programmer (sometimes themselves) who can code the app. But then what? There’s a huge difference between a program running on a laptop, and a scalable internet service on the air for thousands (millions?) to use.

In the “old days”, it was time to bring in a system administrator, (sys admin for short) and start buying hardware. With the sys admin racking and configuring the hardware, you’d shell out for an expensive T1 line and cross your fingers that you’d recover the investment.

Services like Amazon’s EC2, and Microsoft’s Azure cut back on the hardware and dedicated internet connection costs. You generally still needed a sys admin to build machine images, watch the meters and dial up virtual machines as needed. Plus, your development people need to start thinking about how to make the software work on the cloud platform you selected.

Now there’s an even faster way to go from working program to scaleable internet service.

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Why Venture Capitalists Love Cloud Computing

Posted in Cloud Computing on June 5th, 2009 by don.kosak – Be the first to comment

At the Infinity Venture Summit ’09 in Sapporo Japan I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of folks in the Venture Capital space.  I also had the good fortune of spending some time with Stevie Clifton, the co-founder & CTO of Animoto.

Stevie’s company owes part of its success to their early adoption of the “cloud”.  As Animoto’s service took off, they went from 40 servers to over 4,000 servers in just 3 days.  That wouldn’t have been possible if Stevie’s small band had to buy, configure and rack all of those servers the “old-fashion” way.

At IVS ’09 Stevie talked about their decision to move to the cloud early on, and also touched on several points that I want to elaborate on in this post.  Namely, why Venture Capitalists Love Cloud Computing.

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Public vs. Private Cloud Computing

Posted in Cloud Computing on May 16th, 2009 by don.kosak – Be the first to comment

Recently, most of the media attention has been on Public Cloud Computing Services. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer publicly accessible Cloud Computing platforms each with their own advantages and cost structures.

Public Cloud services are extremely cost effective as you’re sharing data center costs with thousands of others. Some offer additional services, like Amazon’s SimpleDB or Google’s BigTable. For most publicly available internet sites, these services are a great fit.

But what if you’re deploying a corporate system, dealing with very confidential information or in a strictly regulated environment? The public cloud can boast some very high levels of security, but it may not fit every situation.

You can still achieve many benefits of Cloud Computing with a Hybrid or Private Cloud Computing platform.

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Cloud Computing: a simple definition

Posted in Cloud Computing, Virtualization on May 14th, 2009 by don.kosak – Be the first to comment

Cloud Computing has become a huge buzzword, unfortunately it has also become a frequently misused and misunderstood buzzword.

It is most often misapplied to Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. SaaS can offer useful services in “the cloud”, like word processing, or customer relationship management. In this case, “the cloud” is used to mean that the service resides in the internet in general rather than in your PC, or corporate data center. That can be a major advantage, but, that’s not what Cloud Computing is about.

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