Above the clouds

A few days back, this whitepaper made the rounds of the blogosphere. It is basically a survey report of cloud computing by some folks at RADLabs in UC Berkeley. I had the paper on my reading list since then and I finally go around to reading it today.

It was a good read, but nothing in the paper should come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the cloud computing space. Content aside, I had quite a few (albeit, minor) issues with the writing of the paper. I am guessing it might be due, in part, to the long list of authors.

  • lots and lots of repetition (such as Table 1 and Table 6)
  • sloppy writing in many places, broken sentences, undefined acronyms and such
  • you get the idea

But I think the paper does a very good job of laying out the landscape for people who want to learn about cloud computing, and also gives a high “big picture” view for people who are already in this space. I particularly liked the discussions on how to decide whether a move to the cloud is worth it, financially and otherwise.

The list of the top-10 challenges and opportunities is also interesting. I’m always intrigued by how problems can always be distilled down to “top 3″ or “top 5″ or “top 10″ :-) I personally think that debugging distributed systems should have been ranked higher in the list. Data lock-in, and overall visibility/transparency are I think the biggest inhibitors for adoption, especially in the enterprise.

Virtualization is playing a key role in pretty much all cloud computing efforts. But we are far from the “perfect isolation” promise of VMs. I did some work back in 2006 on improving the performance isolation among VMs in Xen and many of those issues still remain.

Leave a Reply