Virtualization, SOA, And Cloud Computing At 2008 LinuxWorld Expo - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Information Management
05:24 PM
Roger Smith
Roger Smith

Virtualization, SOA, And Cloud Computing At 2008 LinuxWorld Expo

Virtualization was the first topic of the morning on Tuesday at the Executive Summit, an exclusive one-day conference for senior IT professionals at the 2008 LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco.

Virtualization was the first topic of the morning on Tuesday at the Executive Summit, an exclusive one-day conference for senior IT professionals at the 2008 LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco.Winston Bumpus, director of standards architecture at VMware, a 38-year industry veteran who chairs the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) standards organization, talked about virtualization and standards. After taking a poll of the 60 or so session attendees and finding out that more than half were directly involved with the management of data centers, he reminded them, "As IT customers, you have a lot of power. You drive the standards." Bumpus also said that virtualization isn't a new technology, that it's been around for a decade or more but it is changing, hence the need for virtualization standards. Standards are important, he joked, even though it seems at time there's an endless number of them. Virtualization standards do the following:

  1. Increase choice -- you're not locked into a single vendor

  2. Reduces cost -- more competition means you're not reinventing the wheel

  3. Improves interoperability

Bumpus then talked about Open Virtualization Format (OVF), a new specification created by Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware, and XenSource that aims to become an industry standard. OVF is a platform independent, efficient, extensible, open packaging and distribution format for virtual machines. OVF enables efficient, flexible, and secure distribution of enterprise software, and facilitates the mobility of virtual machines, thereby giving customers vendor and platform independence. Customers can deploy an OVF-formatted virtual machine on the virtualization platform of their choice. According to Bumpus, OVF greatly enhances customers' experience with virtualization, with more portability, platform independence, verification, signing, versioning, and licensing terms.

Comparing OVF to the MP3 digital music format that is used to encapsulate music information, Bumpus described the OVF deployment model that allows virtualization packaging, distribution, installation, and management -- all within an archive or Tar file such as "myApp.ova," which can include a digital signature for security. For more info, check out the Web site or do a search on YouTube to see a hands-on demo of a VMware and IBM walk-thru of an cross-vendor virtualization installation process.

SOA And Cloud Computing Panel

One of the more interesting presentations at the Executive Summit was by a panel of SOA and cloud computing experts that include Tony Bishop, CEO of Adaptivity; Sam Charrington, VP of product management and marketing at Appistry; and Rachel Chalmers, research director of The 451 Group. Bishop talked first about the SOA life cyle model that he developed "from the trenches" as chief architect of Wachovia's Corporate Investment Banking Technology Group, where his team designed, built, and implemented a leading-edge 15,000 node SOA and utility computing infrastructure. His basic formulation for SOA is

SOA = architecture + infrastructure + runtime

The goal of any SOA is make it run it like a gas or electric service utility "similar to when my wife goes home, she can turn on TV, microwave, etc., and everything just runs." Bishop talked about the importance of standardizing how your SOA nodes are deployed and maintaining a library, as well as his team's experience using the toolset from the Data Synapse SOA vendor for automated deployment.

Bishop's presentation was followed by a clever cloud computing (CC) presentation by Appistry's Sam Charrington, who highlighted his talk with some original Ogden Nash-style poetry that talked about the "Dangers of Perspective," saying defining CC at the moment is like the six blind men trying to describe an elephant since CC is focused on the convergence of all SOA/SaaS/PaaS independent trends to create a next-generation stateless platform.

Charrington discussed his experiences with the Cloud Camp, a cloud computing "nonconference" held in San Francisco 6 weeks ago and the Google cloud computing group, where he said the most relevant cloud computing information currently gets exchanged. Charrington showed a graph of the exploding interest in the CC term, using a Google keyword trends map from the past nine months. (For more on cloud computing, see my report from Wednesday's Cloud Computing technical session.)

A more ironic take on SOA and cloud computing was put forward by Rachel Chalmers, research director of The 451 Group. A long-time SOA skeptic, Chalmers detailed the experiences of a European telecom that she said had been forced to rip out its SOA infrastructure and replace it with virtualization technology. She discussed some of SOA and CC semantic arguments, saying "We spent 5 years not defining Grid computing -- it looks like we're going to spend another 5 years not defining cloud computing."

From her experience, many IT shops have Google and Amazon envy, but she said they need to realize that they can't manage cloud computing like another enterprise IT project. She then discussed the problems of a specific financial SOA deployment (apparently Merrill Lynch, although she didn't name the company) and showed a photo of a pyroclastic cloud from a volcano in Chile colliding with an electric storm to illustrate her point that premature SOA/CC deployments can cause IT storm clouds rather than innovation. In a short rebuttal to Chalmers, Bishop said that since Wachovia was further along with its SOA adoption cycle than Merrill Lynch, Wachovia was evidently better able to manage the technical issues involved.

For further information on the virtualization market and some objective strategies, InformationWeek Analytics has a report that assesses the current state of virtualization management from the perspective of business technology professionals. The research is based on a survey of 323 business technology professionals and features in-depth analysis, user perspective, and 11+ tables and charts. Download the report here.

InformationWeek also has recently developed a "Guide To Cloud Computing" that describes the cloud computing strategies of Amazon, Google,, and five other leading vendors. That report can be downloaded here.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Data Science: How the Pandemic Has Affected 10 Popular Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/9/2020
The Growing Security Priority for DevOps and Cloud Migration
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  9/3/2020
Dark Side of AI: How to Make Artificial Intelligence Trustworthy
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  9/15/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Automation Transforms Network Management
In this special report we will examine the layers of automation and orchestration in IT operations, and how they can provide high availability and greater scale for modern applications and business demands.
Flash Poll