Zenoss just published the results of an open source cloud survey they did. They polled more than 100,000 of their community members to determine the prevailing sentiments concerning open source cloud deployments, the perceived advantages and disadvantages of this technology as well as to gain insight into future open cloud deployments within IT departments.
Survey respondents included more than 600 IT professionals including system administrators and architects, developers, network engineers and CIOs.
Unsurprisingly, OpenStack appears to dominate adoption plans today but CloudStack and Eucalyptus are on the rise.
Check out the infographic they created from the data below (click to enlarge). If you want the full report from the survey go here.
Next week in Tel Aviv I'm going to participate in a panel about "the future of clouds", moderated by the legendary Yossi Vardi. In preperation, I wrote down a few of the concepts I've been thinking about for the past several years and I thought I would share them with my readers to get some feedback. Keep in mind these are long-term predicitions and trends (in no particular order).
PaaS Rules :IaaS becomes niche. In the long-run, IaaS doesn't make sense, except for a limited set of scenarios. All IaaS providers want to be PaaS when they grow up.
Public Rules: Internal clouds will be niche. In the long-run, Internal Clouds (clouds operated in a company's own data centers, aka "private clouds") don't make sense. The economies of scale, specialization (an aspect of economies of scale, really) and outsourcing benefits of public clouds are so overwhelming that it will not make sense for any one company to operate its own data centers. Sure, there need to be in place many security and isolation measures, and feel free to call them "private clouds" -- but they will be owned and operated by a few major public providers.
Specialized Clouds: There are many dimensions to an application: the pattern of its workload; the government regulations it must adhere to; the geographic access to it; the programmig language and framework it supports; the levels of security, performance and reliability it requires; and other more specialized requirements. It's not a one-size-fits-all world. At least, not always. There will be big generic clouds, and then, many specialized clouds. I've written about this in the past.
Government Regulation: The largest cloud providers will become nationally strategic infrastructure (like utilities, financials, telcos, airlines and shipping companies in the past). Given my "public rules" prediction above, cloud providers will become crucial infrastructure to the economy and the interests of their respective nations. They will become "too big to fail". Any change in their pricing will have a profound effect on the economy. And they will also hold the risk of a "cloud run" (similar to a "bank run", a sudden surge of demand they haven't anticipated. Not to mention the fact that they will maintain the sensitive data of consumers, corporations and government agencies. Any way you slice it, it spells regulation. But if history teaches us anything, this regulation will only come after "The Great Cloud Catastrophe" (use your imagination to figure out what that will look like).
The Control vs. Freedom Debate: This sums up the story of cloud computing so far. Freedom is the catch-all phrase for drivers of cloud adoption (no upfront costs, on-demand, self-service, empowerment of the rank & file - e.g., developers), but control (or lack thereof) is the catch-all phrase of barriers to adoption by large enterprises. Every democratic country experiences this: there is sometimes a contradiction between the so-called sacred principles of rule-of-law and personal freedom. It's a matter of drawing the line -- and we're just in the beginning stages of understanding this issue when it comes to cloud computing. This debate will be with us for years to come and will shape the variety of enterprise cloud computing offerings.
Cloud Federations - While AWS has enjoyed tremendous international success, in any business that relies heavily on trust, such as IT, nothing beats a local brand. So people will flock to the cloud of their trusted national telco or big IT provider. But on the flip side, they will need to reach a global audience and will want servers around the world. As a result, we will see the formation of cloud federations, similar to what we see in airline alliances, such as Star, SkyTeam and Oneworld.
Financial Efficiency and Sophistication: Computing is a commodity, and every commodity ends up being traded, future-traded, brokered, arbitraged, speculated and manipulated with derivative instruments. The good: the market becomes very efficient. The bad: the market becomes complex and opaque. We are already seeing spot markets
Cloud Standards: About two years ago there was a strong wave of interest and discussion about the need for cloud standards. I wrote then, and still believe, it is too soon. But it is also inevitable. We will, however, see multiple competing standards. At least one formal stanard specification from a standards body and several de facto standards from large commercial players such as Amazon and VMWare.
The Ecosystem Wars: I've recently written about the importance of ecosystems in cloud computing. Success in building an ecosystem will be a determining factor in who wins and loses in the cloud. It is not just about the size and breadth of the ecosystem, but how well it all works together. In many ways, Amazon has done a poor job of this so far, but it has the one big compelling factor for an ecosystem: a very large install base.
Horizontal and Vertical Consolidation: As with any industry, as cloud computing matures, it will consolidate. This will happen both horizontally, for example large IaaS players will roll-up regional and smaller IaaS and hosting providers, as well as vertically, for example IaaS providers will acquire cloud management system providers such as RightScale and enStratus.
I'd love to hear some feedback on these trends. Do you agree? Disagree? Have I left something out? Please let me know in the comments.
Yesterday a couple of Computerworld pieces in which I'm quoted came out. They are both authored by Beth Schultz.
The first is about Cloudonomics, or how can enterprises figure out the potential cost-savings and other financial effects of cloud computing. My basic take was that it's difficult to measure the exact financial impact of cloud computing because one of it's major benefits is business agility. See the full story.
The second is about the plethora of Cloud Services available to enterprises and how to choose among them. My take on this one was that it's not a one-size fits all game and organizations will need different tools for different tasks. Read the full story.
In Shopping the Cloud: Performance Benchmarks I listed a number of services and reports that compare cloud provider performance results, but the truth is that in computing (cloud included) you can throw money at almost any performance and scale problem. It doesn't make any sense, therefore, to talk about performance alone, you want to compare price/performance.
But here's the rub: it is becoming increasingly difficult to compare the pricing of the various cloud providers.
Problem #1: Cloud providers use non-standard, obfuscated terminology
About a year and a half ago I wrote What Are Amazon EC2 Compute Units? in which I raised the issue of how difficult it is to know what it is you are actually getting for what you are paying in the cloud. Other vendors use their own terminology, such as Heroku's Dynos. I'm not just picking on these two, everyone has their own system.
Problem #2: Cloud providers use wildly varying pricing schemes
In addition, the pricing schemes by the various vendors include different components. Take storage as the simplest example, which clearly illustrates the point. Here's a screenshot from the Rackspace Cloud Files pricing page:
It is fairly straightforward, but also contains many elements that are extremely difficult to project (especially for a new application), such as the Bandwidth and Request Pricing. That's OK - you have to make some assumptions.
Problem #3: Not all cloud offerings are created equal
To make things worse, not all cloud storage services were made equal. They have different features, different SLAs, varying levels of API richness, ease-of-use, compliance and on and on.
Problem #4: Cloud computing pricing is fluctuating rapidly
Another big problem with dealing with pricing is that the market is very dynamic and prices change rapidly. Fortunately, most of the movement right now is downwards, due to the increased competitiveness (especially in the IaaS space) and thanks to vendors benefiting from economies of scale and increased efficiency due to innovation.
So what do you do in such a complex landscape? There seems to be no escape from creating a test application and running it on multiple services to see where the cost comes out. Then again, that may turn out to be a very time-consuming and expensive effort that may not be worth it -- at least not initially. So you should be prepared to have to move your app across cloud providers if and when the costs become prohibitive (which I am seeing happening to more and more companies).
Hopefully, the cloud benchmark services will also start paying attention to pricing and provide a comparison of price/performance and not just performance.
Today Zenoss released a survey it conducted about cloud computing and virtualization. It has some interesting data and they created a very nice looking Infographic with the key findings.
Here's the data point I found most interesting:
I have followed many cloud surveys and reports that measure cloud traction of the different providers (see for example Guy Rosen's State of the Cloud). It has consistently been the case that Amazon is ranked #1 and Rackspace #2 (which is what prompted my Rackspace: The Avis of Cloud Computing post). The Zenoss survey suggests a different story with Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure coming in at #2 and #3 respectively, pushing Rackspace to #4.
Also, GoGrid's penetration, as well as RightScale's (which is a very different animal than the other players on the list) is very impressive.
Note that the wording of the question in the survey was a bit ambiguous: "What are your cloud computing plans for 2010?". I say ambiguous because the survey was conducted Q2 2010, so probably close to the middle of the year. But in any case, it has a forward looking element to it, which gives a little indication of the trends as they are happening.
Anyway, lots of interesting info on both cloud and virtualization. Check out the full survey results (requires registration).
As cloud computing matures -- meaning it is being used by increasingly larger companies for mission critical applications -- companies are shopping around for cloud providers with requirements that are more sophisticated than merely price and ease-of-use. One of these criteria is performance.
Performance has consistently been one of the main concerns enterprise buyers have had about cloud computing, as indicated from the chart of the responses to a survey conducted by IDC in Q3 of 2009.
To address this concern, and help potential cloud users in selecting their cloud provider, a number of research, measurement and academic groups have initiated efforts to actually measure and compare the performance of various cloud providers under a variety of circumstances (application use case, geographical location and more).
Here are some of the more interesting performance benchmarks out there today:
Compuware Gomez: CloudSleuth
Still in beta, Gomez CloudSleuth is likely to be one of the more important reference points for customer and media cloud performance testing. Gomez has developed a benchmark Java ecommerece application and measures the end-to-end response time of various cloud providers and locations. The tests are run from 125 end-user U.S. locations in all 50 states and from 75 international locations in 30 countries and are conducted 200 times per hour. Gomez is planning on adding the ability to benchmark a user’s own application.
Although just a startup, if it succeeds CloudHarmony is likely to be an important resource for customers and the media for evaluating cloud provider performance. CloudHarmony has a service called Cloud SpeedTest, which allows users to benchmark the performance of a web application across multiple cloud providers and services (servers, storage, CDN, PaaS). This service is currently in beta and is quite simplistic, but CloudHarmony is working on a more sophisticated version with additional features.
Cloudstone is an academic open source project from the UC Berkeley. It provides a framework for testing realistic performance. The project does not publish as of yet comparative results across clouds, but provides users with the framework that allows them to do so. The reference application is a social Web 2.0-style application.
Duke University and Microsoft Research: Cloud CMP Project
The objective of the Cloud CMP project is to enable “comparison shopping” across cloud providers -- both IaaS and PaaS -- and do so for a number of application use cases and workloads. To that end, the project combines straight performance benchmarks as well as a cost-performance analysis. The project has already measured computational, storage, Intra-cloud and WAN performance for three cloud providers (two IaaS and one PaaS) and intends to expand.
BitCurrent: The Performance of Clouds
BitCurrent conducted a comprehensive performance benchmarking study commissioned by Webmetrics and using their testing service entitled The Performance of Clouds. The study covered three IaaS providers (Amazon, Rackspace and Terremark) and two PaaS providers (Salesforce.com and Google App Engine). It measured four categories of performance: raw response time and caching, network throughput and congestion, computational performance (CPU-intensive tasks) and I/O performance.
The Bit Source: Rackspace Cloud Servers Vs. Amazon EC2