Thursday, April 14, 2011

Waves and clouds...

The final keynote just finished, Nick Barcet presented a really interested overview of what's happening in Canonical about clouds.

We surely had the possibility to hear a lot about clouds, virtualised infrastructures and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) during the past three days. We know that clouds are becoming increasingly popular since they can help reducing costs, improve flexibility and their adoption is being driven by developers.

We heard this morning that IaaS instances are conceptually very similar to Object instances in OO programming. For example a single Image can have multiple instances; those instances can initialise themselves based on user-data passed to it. Specialisation of the instance is not linked to the image and storage can be dynamically attached according to the needs and it is not linked to the image.

...But I personally did not realise there was something more: clouds are leading a "second wave of OSS adoption" (as Nick said this morning).

We saw a first OSS wave in 2000 focussed on Linux and LAMP, finding open source, free alternatives to commercial software and commercial products. In that case, the winners were RedHat and MySQL.

The second OSS wave is motivated by innovation needs rather than imitating commercial paradigms or models. In other words it is not the need of having a free alternative to a commercial product, it is really seeking new opportunities.

If being closer to a rapidly changing community is what it is leading this process, Open Source it is what it is practically enabling it. For example to achieve scalability and sustainability in distributed, flexible computing environment, relying on free software components is crucial.

In other terms, we are probably assisting to a new, more "grown up" role of free and Open Source software in the HPC and Grid communities. A key role in changing, enabling and facilitating.

I think we are going to see many interesting and possibly surprising things in the next future (and in the next EGI meetings and forums of course!!).

No comments: