Interface to the World Wide Cloud?

By By Dennis Barker, GRIDtoday

June 23, 2008

Sure, it’s among the hottest computing trends around, but let’s face it: cloud computing can look kind of blobby. It’s amorphous, lacking solid definition, with inestimable girth. But this blob will shape up, and some proponents say it will shape up like the Web did: by letting smart people get in there and innovate.

This won’t happen, though, until there is a shared set of interfaces, simple interfaces, the cloud’s equivalents of HTTP, TCP and HTML, says Bert Armijo, senior vice president of product development at 3Tera. 3Tera, known for its unique virtualization and scalability technology, wants to provide some of those interfaces, some of the essential building blocks to get things going. The company’s Cloudware architecture, which it recently began rolling out, is about defining that first set of interfaces, Armijo says. It is an open framework that incorporates the basic elements — from computing to storage to software catalogs — and the ways in which they all work together.

“Those simple methods for pointing at and defining data on the Web allowed people to build things on top of it that no one had dreamed of,” Armijo says. “When Tim Berners-Lee was developing the Web, he didn’t necessarily envision Akamai coming along, or YouTube or Amazon. All these things were made possible because of the very open nature and simple nature of the protocols that supported the Web.”

“What we’re tying to do with Cloudware,” he says, “is to provide some of the interfaces so that the cloud can do with infrastructure what the Web did with information — make it possible to express infrastructure in such a way that it’s extensible and fluid.” One way to think of it, in very simple form, is that infrastructure becomes like a Web page consisting of a bunch of different components, possibly served up from a bunch of different places, and coming together to display a cohesive piece of information.

Cloud Logic

The core of 3Tera’s approach is its established grid operating system, AppLogic, which enables users to scale applications up and down on demand across commodity servers, without having to modify their code. Since AppLogic is chugging away behind so much of what Cloudware will do, it’s worth recapping what it can do: scale applications from a piece of a server to the whole server farm; add or drop servers or storage without interrupting the running application; automate failover; and simplify management of servers, storage and applications from a browser. With AppLogic as its sort of magic center, Cloudware will dynamically create virtual appliances that build the “disposable” infrastructure an application needs to run.

3Tera just released beta version 2.3 of AppLogic, “the first step toward Cloudware,” Armijo says. The biggest addition probably is support for Open Solaris and Solaris 10. The virtual appliance catalog now includes Open Solaris-based appliances, but not Solaris 10 appliances because of Sun licensing requirements, the company says. The core system also now supports 64-bit applications. Windows support is planned for August, Armijo says. (“No way you can do cloud computing without supporting Windows,” says Armijo.)

Other planned additions include pre-fabricated MySQL clusters, database replication appliances and the ability to choose multiple centers worldwide.

However, while AppLogic is a significant component of Cloudware, it is not Cloudware itself. “We’re taking AppLogic and breaking it down into its vital pieces,” Armijo says. One of those pieces is ADL, or application descriptor language. “Just as the Web had HTML,” he says, “the cloud can have ADL. It has been part of AppLogic since day one, but we haven’t exposed it until now. People will be able to see how AppLogic builds applications. Lo and behold, it’s very much like what we see with HMTL. Just as HTML tells your browser how to build a Web page, ADL can tell the cloud how to build infrastructure. With an ADL file, we’re going to be able to describe a service.”

Cloudware is designed to provide the necessary elements for scalable cloud computing, including: AppLogic, the execution engine, which creates resource pools of computing, storage and networking capabilities; a global catalog where developers can publish their appliances and applications for other cloud users; a control interface, including monitoring screens, dashboards, design and development tools, and a Web services API for adding features to the cloud; the infrastructure delivery network, which provides authentication, resource registration, control interfaces and catalogs; and client software that will enable users to connect to the cloud and run applications as if they were on a regular network.

“We want to offer our components and open all the specs for the cloud, and make sure they’re defined well enough so that people can build to them,” Armijo says. “Cloudware is about going way beyond an API to describe infrastructure at a higher level and being able to piece together large services, like we do with information today on the Web.” 3Tera will start publishing specifications as to how the different components interact, as well as the specs for ADL, and at some point approach standards bodies, he says.

In the open cloud 3Tera envisions, AppLogic and other Cloudware elements will enable the system to build the different components needed for infrastructure. “An ADL descriptor will build the application or service for you, and that application will be to move and use resources anywhere,” Armijo says. “In Cloudware, you wouldn’t have to establish a relationship with a datacenter when you suddenly need resources to handle an increase in traffic, or to provide disaster recovery. You would create instances that could then run on any other services. You can even publish your application as a service. People will be able to publish very complex infrastructure.”

3Tera says Cloudware will simplify cloud development and deployment for many organizations. Any company that needs the infrastructure to run Web applications and services would benefit from not having to invest in servers and other datacenter equipment. These types of subscribers can run whatever applications and middleware they need, scale up and down as needed, and pay only for what they use. One customer 3Tera says is planning a move to Cloudware is DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit site where people can help high schools in need.

Software developers could publish virtual appliances or complete, ready-made applications in the resource catalog. By way of example, Armijo says Oracle could offer an Oracle RAC instance that anyone can use for a subscription fee.

Datacenter operators and service providers will be able to publish resources such as servers, firewalls, load balancers, and network connectivity and make them available to customers on a subscription basis. Because this published infrastructure will be shareable — open source infrastructure — cloud users can take advantage of the proven efforts of others rather than have to build or buy every piece themselves.

“Fundamentally, cloud computing is about making self-service IT systems by combining grid computing and virtualization,” says Alistair Croll, an analyst who covers emerging Web technologies for Bitcurrent and posts at bitcurrent.com. “This is great for operations, and it’s what 3Tera addresses. But there’s also a layer of services atop that, which makes things work better or makes it easier to develop applications rapidly. And that’s great for engineering.”

An open, Web-like cloud with a layer of innovative services has been one of 3Tera’s big messages with Cloudware. The company is providing hooks into the cloud, underlying technologies and potential standards, along with a philosophy for the way forward. 3Tera execs like to note that when big cloud vendors say “cloud,” they mean their cloud. In a Cloudwarian cloud, except where users want it, there will be no “their.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Supercomputers Streamline Prediction of Dangerous Arrhythmia

June 2, 2020

Heart arrhythmia can prove deadly, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of deaths from cardiac arrest in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, many of those arrhythmia are induced as side effects from various medicati Read more…

By Staff report

Indiana University to Deploy Jetstream 2 Cloud with AMD, Nvidia Technology

June 2, 2020

Indiana University has been awarded a $10 million NSF grant to build ‘Jetstream 2,’ a cloud computing system that will provide 8 aggregate petaflops of computing capability in support of data analysis and AI workload Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been instrumental to AMD’s datacenter market resurgence. Nanomet Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer-Powered Protein Simulations Approach Lab Accuracy

June 1, 2020

Protein simulations have dominated the supercomputing conversation of late as supercomputers around the world race to simulate the viral proteins of COVID-19 as accurately as possible and simulate potential bindings in t Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC Career Notes: June 2020 Edition

June 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it's a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we've got Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

AWS Solution Channel

Computational Fluid Dynamics on AWS

Over the past 30 years Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has grown to become a key part of many engineering design processes. From aircraft design to modelling the blood flow in our bodies, the ability to understand the behaviour of fluids has enabled countless innovations and improved the time to market for many products. Read more…

Supercomputer Modeling Shows How COVID-19 Spreads Through Populations

May 30, 2020

As many states begin to loosen the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that have forced most Americans inside for the past two months, researchers are poring over the data, looking for signs of the dreaded second peak of t Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Indiana University to Deploy Jetstream 2 Cloud with AMD, Nvidia Technology

June 2, 2020

Indiana University has been awarded a $10 million NSF grant to build ‘Jetstream 2,’ a cloud computing system that will provide 8 aggregate petaflops of comp Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Expands to Europe, Reports on Research Projects

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium, a public-private effort delivering free access to HPC processing for scientists pursuing coronavirus research – some utilizing AI Read more…

By Doug Black

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Boosts Deep Learning Accuracy on Memristive Chips

May 27, 2020

IBM researchers have taken another step towards making in-memory computing based on phase change (PCM) memory devices a reality. Papers in Nature and Frontiers Read more…

By John Russell

Hats Over Hearts: Remembering Rich Brueckner

May 26, 2020

HPCwire and all of the Tabor Communications family are saddened by last week’s passing of Rich Brueckner. He was the ever-optimistic man in the Red Hat presiding over the InsideHPC media portfolio for the past decade and a constant presence at HPC’s most important events. Read more…

Nvidia Q1 Earnings Top Expectations, Datacenter Revenue Breaks $1B

May 22, 2020

Nvidia’s seemingly endless roll continued in the first quarter with the company announcing blockbuster earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Nvidia Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft’s Massive AI Supercomputer on Azure: 285k CPU Cores, 10k GPUs

May 20, 2020

Microsoft has unveiled a supercomputing monster – among the world’s five most powerful, according to the company – aimed at what is known in scientific an Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Contributors

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve Read more…

By John Russell

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This