Tuesday Nov 25, 2008

Managing Torrow's Cloud

An off agenda session on Cloud Computing, kicked off by William Fellows of the 451 Group. I quite like his stacks both of functionality, illustrating what needs to be done and the evolution of the cloud from its partly failed predecessors. The discussion then moved to management, with contributions from IRMOS and the Autonomic Internet project, which sounds a bit IBM'ish but isn't. There's obviously some thinking going on about Service Management for Clouds and networks, looking at life cycle issues (is this just job management, probably not because of birth and death), self functioning, SLAs and QoS issues. It seems to me that Robert Holt's experimentation with SMF is exactly the right thing to do. The features that Sun's Systems Management Facilty add to the operating system are a foundation on which a number of features can be built which meet the need of Cloud managers. The BREIN project which says about itself,

"BREIN takes the e-business concept developed in recent Grid research projects, namely the concept of so-called "dynamic virtual organisations" towards a more business-centric model, by enhancing the system with methods from artificial intelligence, intelligent systems, semantic web etc."

I love the etc. It always makes you think people know exactly what they're doing. They have published a white paper here.... Despite this, these projects and this approach might well enable the automated SLA negociation. Can we create a semweb for SLAs? It always been the fact that sustaining and management science comes after the invention stage, but this was a jolly interesting session, and addressing issues identified by both myself and colleagues at Sun and leading industry commentators as crucial. If we don't/can't automate this stuff, we are going to run out of people.

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Can Europe keep up?

I then attended a panel discussion on R&D in Europe, which given the attendees was pretty self congratulatory. HP's VP for Labs is a Brit, and was on the panel. The reason I mention this is that he was the only employee of a global IT company i.e. one not quoted in Europe, who spoke in a plenary session. They sort of said "Great Research, no IT manufacturing" , but why? We do have ICT manufacturers in Telco, including Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia and Seimens.

Can the European NEP's maintain their leadership? What does Europe's computing hardware poverty mean? Can it compensate with a single market, a vibrant software industry and a well educated work force?

It was also shown that not all these advantages are enough. SAP does very little development in Europe these days, and it was said that innovation rate in Europe is too low, despite a world leading position in many areas.

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Wednesday Nov 19, 2008

The EU's Call 4 for research projects funded by FP7

19th November - The Commission of the European Union have advertised FP7 Call 4 [Press Release]. This is the opportunity to undertake collaborative research into ICT with financial contrinbutions from the Commission. The press release talks of seven challanges, "Pervasive and trustworthy network and service infrastructures", "Cognitive systems, interaction, robotics", "Components, systems, engineering", the comma's are theirs, I want to check up on this, "Towards sustainable and personalised healthcare", "ICT for mobility, environmental stability and energy efficiency" and "ICT for independent living , inclusion and governance". The call also looks to promote research in three new areas of Future and Emerging Technologies, one of which is "Concurrent tera-device computing", you'd think we might be interested in that.

An interesting set of priorities, the Call for Proposal is on Cordis, the EU's Community Research & Development Information site.

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008

workshoping the future

Over the last two day, we have been in workshops, discussing aspects of the development of the internet. The workshops, their agenda and supporting papers are all hosted at the future internet site. We'll have to wait for the slides to see what agreement was discovered.

I was interested to attend BO6, "Future Internet Research and Experimentation", otherwise known as FIRE where I heard a number of presentations from FP6 funded projects talking about the Grids they'd built, primarily on University sites. There's a lot going on. It's a shame we couldn't find someone to take on Sun's London "grid-for-rent". There was some innovative stuff in the re-provisioning solution.

The other working groups were called Networks, Services, Content and Security. I am eagerly waiting the slides from the plenary sessions that introduced and concluded these workshops.

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Monday Mar 31, 2008

and in the rest of the world

After lunch, we listened to presentations from the US & Japan. The americans seem to be concentrating on systems issues and using virtualisation to deliver resources to individual researchers. When I get the slides we might discover how easy it is to join their network as suppliers which is an indication of how well they've addressed and solved the 'federation' issues. The presenter was Heidi Dempsey and the projects web site is http://www.geni.net/. Fumito Kubota from Japan presented on Project Akari, which is being run by the New Generation Network Research Centre of Japan, an interesting view on the growth of communication in Japan. The Japanese project has massive academic input, and is very focused on the network layer and bandwidth.

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Wednesday Dec 12, 2007

So what is wrong with the Internet?

On Day 2, of the NESSI AGM, we broke into seminar groups. The first session I attended was called the ' Future of the Internet', it was led by Mike Fisher of BT [Google him], who presented about the forces for change on the internet, both historic constraints and changes being brought about by technology innovation, and demand. Again a key view of the future is the the internet evolves from a network of computers, beyond a network of things to a network of services. Since Mike comes from a network company, and a large one at that, and so understands how poorly IT is ready to manage the challenge of scale raised by these factors.

In the afternoon, I attended the 'Service Orientated Infrastructure' session. Some aspects of the problem domain are very broad and interesting, but the discussions seemed focused around today's grid solutions in academia and commerce, although I arrived late. This working group's documents are also available on the NESSI web site SOI work group page, and their own web site. The GRID Strategic Research Agenda is available from the NESSI Site [.pdf].

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Tuesday Dec 11, 2007

NESSI's Research & Projects

There then followed a series of presentations about the current approach to research and most interestingly presentations from the leading strategic projects. These can be found on the NESSI's AGM page on their web site.

This was followed by cocktails. Very nice!

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Coming soon...servicenet

A EU funded attempt to create an academic Network of Excellence, led by University of Dusberg-Essen, called S\*Cube. There are 16 partner universities who will all participate equally, the UK partner is City University, London.

Dr. (Klaus) Pohl, predicted that the nature of the Internet was going to change so radically, that its name should be changed. His vision is of a network of services. Will the transition from a network of computers to a network of things require new network paradigms and protocols? Will it challenge the Atomic locking single write-ahead log database?

Dr. Pohl exposed a research framework, that analysed Service Technology as the existence and interfaces between business processes, Service Components and Service engineering. These need to be created which requires engineering knowledge and science and monitoring and adapting, which are classified as Service Engineering. It is felt that interfaces between these domains can also be developed and the S-Cube research is looking at developing knowledge from current intellectual property around BPM, grid, systems engineering and service management.

S-Cube have a web site coming on line with a pre-registration feature.

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The ambition of Open Systems

Prof. Carlo Ghezzi, of the Politecnico di Milano, presented on Academic/Corporate collaboration and among other things examined the drivers of macro-change in open world. He argued that inter-operability is not enough, and that both a series of what he called self-\* qualities are required such as self-healing, self-configuration etc. He also again identified the self-advertisement as a new problem to allow services to be discovered and used.

I wonder if these ambitions are contrary to the classic inspection and vote that takes place in today's clusters.

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