Thursday, October 18, 2012

The future of next generation clouds at eChallenges

With Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes' recent announcement of her cloud strategy for Europe practically still ringing in our ears, this morning’s session looked towards the future of next generation clouds. Chaired by Maria Tsakali, from the European Commission, the session examined ways to move Europe from being cloud ready to cloud active, including tackling vendor lock-in, reviewing advances in middleware and showcasing new paradigms in using clouds.

Bastian Koller of Stuttgart’s High Performance Computing Centre introduced us to the concept of ‘CloudBricks’. These are business logic elements or bricks that are separated out of the traditional set up of cloud services, essentially to provide the *aaS parts of the equation (insert Software, Platform or Infrastructure as required). Their aim is to help minimise vendor lock in but keep the characteristics of cloud computing that make it attractive in the first place: simplicity, dynamism and scalability. Koller’s team is developing a concept and toolset for integrating cloud solutions. This needs to take into account the requirement that no new software stacks should be introduced, it should support legacy server-side software, maintain the current cloud business models, and be simple to use - the simplification of cloudification. Bricks can theoretically be provided in a dual flavour mode, so commercial bricks on a pay per use basis, free bricks for an open source community. The aim is to decouple the application developer from the diversity of the underlying infrastructure. As a result, the cloud market in Europe should be strengthened by increased delivery speed, improved reach and enhanced capabilities.

Quality of service was the focus of Wolfgang Ziegler’s talk on OPTIMIS. This is a toolkit for supporting service provisioning using cloud ecosystems made of multiple cloud infrastructures from different providers but with guaranteed quality of service. The toolkit looks at the TREC elements of trust, risk, eco-efficiency and cost. It can provide support throughout the service life cycle including construction, deployment and operation. Theoretically this can be done without human intervention as SIaaS – software infrastructure as a service – automatically externalising services and applications to the best execution venues in a hybrid cloud environment.

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