Thursday Apr 09, 2015

Oracle CloudWorld San Jose

Hear from Thomas Kurian, Shawn Price, and Industry/Customers on how you can Pivot to the Cloud with Oracle,

at the San Jose Cloud Day, a one-day public cloud forum, you will have an opportunity to:

  • 1. Hear Thomas Kurian Keynote the Oracle Cloud Strategy
  • 2. Engage on a Partner Keynote and Roundtable re: Partner Strategy for Cloud
  • 3. Experience 8+ Onsite Demos around our latest PaaS cloud services from Oracle, including Database, Java, Mobile, Integration, Process, Documents, BI and More
  • 4. Hear from Customers and Industry Experts on why Oracle is so well positioned to support Cloud Applications
  • 5. Experience 2 Dedicated PaaS Solution Tracks, focused on the Senior IT Persona and Developer Personas, supporting Database, Java, Mobile, Integration, Process, Documents, BI and More

Tuesday Mar 24, 2015

Yes, Larry Ellison's Oracle Is Now A Cloud Company

When you think of the major IT companies providing comprehensive cloud computing services, who do you think of? Yes, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. But you might overlook Oracle if you think we're only a database company. Our IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS offerings are getting a LOT of attention, for example in this recent Forbes article.

And for some truly amazing M7 SPARC processor performance and security features, check out our Software in Silicon Cloud.

Monday Aug 04, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 for Cloud Computing

When Oracle released Solaris 11 back in 2011, I blogged about it here:
https://blogs.oracle.com/drcloud/entry/what_s_a_cloud_operating.
Even at that time, Solaris 11 was fully capable of meeting the operating system requirements for building scalable and elastic cloud infrastructures. Now, with the recent release of Oracle Solaris 11.2 there is more reason to seriously consider Solaris-based private cloud computing, both on Oracle's Intel/x86 servers, and especially on SPARC servers.
New in Solaris 11.2 are additional cloud-enabling features such as the Elastic Virtual Switch and support for OpenStack. Add to that the benefit of running your private cloud infrastructure on the fastest and most scalable SPARC servers, and you really have no excuse to overlook Oracle's cloud technologies!

Monday Feb 03, 2014

Nebulous Analogies

Having done my doctoral research on analogies, including their benefits and misuses, I am often amused by the analogies that crop up in the field of computing.

Starting long ago with von Neumann's "The Computer and the Brain" [1], computing analogies have both illuminated and confused many important IT concepts. The use of the term "memory" for persistent data storage, for example has a fairly clear and beneficial connection to human recall concepts. Less clearly helpful are analogies to thinking and consciousness common in AI research, as well as the current discussions around "cloud" computing. The corresponding characteristics of meteorological clouds and modern distributed computing are imprecise and misleading. It’s not clear how that analogy helps understand the critical technical concepts.

Now we have yet another unhelpful analogy, “Fog Computing” [2]. Attempting to characterize the “Internet of Things” [3] as an all-pervasive, obscuring “mist” explains nothing about the nature of ubiquitous, embedded computing services. And of course, computing vendors will jump at the chance to exploit the latest analogical buzzword to promote their products [4].

It’s difficult to communicate anything without using analogies, since that’s how the human brain works — we think using analogies [5]. But we should be careful in selecting the source analogs when trying to explain complex concepts. Poorly chosen sources can confuse and limit thinking and can hinder solution development. Surely there are better source analogs than clouds and fog. The “web” is clearly better than the “cloud” in conveying the idea of connectivity. But what is the ideal analogy for computing services that will eventually fill every corner of our daily lives, using our always-connected devices like smartphones and tablets, and the embedded services in our homes, cars, businesses, and social media? I don’t think it’s atmospheric phenomena. And I’m not sure it’s the “invisible computer” analogy either [6]. It’s probably more like oxygen [7], although that implies that we can’t live without it.
Hmmm…maybe we can’t.


[1] http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Silliman-Memorial-Lectures-Series/dp/0300181116
[2] http://conferences.sigcomm.org/sigcomm/2012/paper/mcc/p13.pdf
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_Things
[4] http://newsroom.cisco.com/release/1334100/Cisco-Delivers-Vision-of-Fog-Computing-to-Accelerate-Value-from-Billions-of-Connected-Devices
[5] http://www.amazon.com/Surfaces-Essences-Analogy-Fuel-Thinking/dp/0465018475
[6] http://www.amazon.com/The-Invisible-Future-Integration-Technology/dp/0071382240
[7] http://oxygen.lcs.mit.edu/Overview.html

Sunday Jan 05, 2014

Repost from Washington Post: 5 Myths About the Cloud

Interesting article in the 5 JAN 2014 Washington Post, 5 Myths About the Cloud. Some funny survey results from the tech-challenged public, and some good points about cloud security, reliability, and environmental impact. And 2014 looks to be a very "cloudy" year, with more companies and government agencies deploying mission critical applications and data in both public and private clouds. And although many potential cloud computing customers still don't think of Oracle as a major player in this growing technology services market, they will if they do their homework.

If you want to play around with your own Hadoop-based cloud, be sure to check out these How-To articles on the Oracle Technology Network:

Hey! You! Get onto my cloud!

Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

Brendan Gregg's "Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud"

An outstanding new text on UNIX & Linux system performance by one of the best experts.[Read More]

Monday Mar 25, 2013

Join Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison & VP John Fowler for a live web event: Tues., Mar. 26 @ 3pm CT

Join Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison & VP John Fowler for a live web event: Tues., Mar. 26 @ 3pm CT Register: HERE

Wednesday Jan 16, 2013

NIST Cloud Computing & Big Data Forum, Jan 15-17 2012

NIST Cloud Computing & Big Data Forum, Jan 15-17 2012

On the second day of the NIST Cloud Computing & Big Data Forum, we had a real treat...the keynote speaker was Vint Cerf, Google's VP and Chief Internet Evangelist. Allocated a mere 30 minutes, he actually spoke for more than 45, detailing his thoughts on Cloud Computing, Big Data, and related topics. He highlighted some of the security issues concerning cloud computing, like the problem of "leftovers" (data remaining after a virtual service has been deprovisioned), and the need for strong authentication of both user identities and trusted identifiers. He also emphasized the need for non-proprietary inter-cloud communication and collaboration protocols, and mentioned a bit about Google's cloud services including a comment about their current 100Gb OpenFlow-based infrastructure and their potential need for Terabit connectivity in their data centers.

One interesting Big Data comment he made concerned the problem of feeding data fast enough into today's powerful multicore processors, and suggested the memristor as a possible technology solution.

Later in the conference at a panel on Big Data Use Cases, Veterans Affairs CTO Peter Levin gave a briefing on the VA's Blue Button system for accessing veterans' health care records, and its potential to grow to thousands of terabytes as genetic data is included, just one of many examples of Big Data projects discussed today. Presentations from the conference will be posted on the NIST Cloud Computing Web site.

Sunday Sep 23, 2012

ReBlog: So You Want To Build a SPARC Cloud

In case you missed this on Steve Wilson's Blog:
So You Want To Build a SPARC Cloud

Friday Aug 31, 2012

New Book: Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Handbook

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Handbook, by Tom Plunkett, TJ Palazzolo, and Tejas Joshi, Oracle Press.

The well-known characteristics and tiers of cloud computing have spawned myriad implementations by a host of vendors and system integrators. One of these, Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud, part of Oracle's family of Engineered Systems, is a key component of Oracle's public and private cloud computing solutions, providing critical PaaS (Platform as a Service) features for cloud developers. These developers need guidance to take advantage of Exalogic's extensive capabilities, and the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Handbook, written by three highly experienced Oracle technologists, provides that guidance.

Part One of the book covers Exalogic's hardware and software components, and includes a very useful chapter on deployment examples, describing best practices for scalabiity, availability, backup and recovery, and multi-tenant security, including integration with other Oracle Engineered Systems and products such as Exadata and storage subsystems.

Part Two is a thorough guide to Exalogic installation features, configuration and monitoring, packaged application software management, and scalable application development.

The book also provides an extensive list of online resources, including pointers to Web sites, whitepapers, instructional videos, and other Oracle documentation.

So, if you're planning to implement Exalogic as part of your cloud infrastructure, or are considering such, you'll find lots of sage advice and best practices in this handbook.

Wednesday Jun 06, 2012

Clouds Aroud the World

At the NIST Cloud Computing Workshop this week; representatives from Canada, China, and Japan presented on their cloud computing efforts. Some interesting points made:

Canada: Building "Service Canada" cloud for all citizen services, but raised the issue of data location...cloud data must be within Canada border, so they will not focus on public clouds where they don't know or can't control data location.

Japan: In response to the massive destruction of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan is building nation-wide cloud services to support disaster relief, data recovery, and support for rebuilding new communities.

US Ambassador Philip Verveer discussed the need for international cooperation and standards development to enable interoperability of cloud services, keeping in mind cultural and political differences. Additionally, an industry panel reported on cloud standards development, including some actual interoperability testing at http://www.cloudplugfest.org. Much of the first two days of the workshop covered progress and action plans around the 10 High-Priority Requirements to Further USG Agency Cloud Computing Adoption.

Thursday's sessions will cover the work of the various NIST Cloud Computing Working Groups on

  • Reference Architecture and Taxonomy
  • Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart the Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC)
  • Cloud Security
  • Standards Roadmap
  • Business Use Cases

(see Working Groups of NIST Cloud Computing )

Tuesday Nov 15, 2011

What's a "Cloud Operating System"?

What's a "Cloud Operating System"?

Oracle's recently introduced Solaris 11 has been touted as "The First Cloud OS". Interesting claim, but what exactly does it mean? To answer that, we need to recall what characteristics define a cloud and then see how Solaris 11's capabilities map to those characteristics.

By now, most cloud computing professionals have at least heard of, if not adopted, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Definition of Cloud Computing, including its vocabulary and conceptual architecture. NIST says that cloud computing includes these five characteristics:

  1. On-demand self-service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Resource pooling
  4. Rapid elasticity
  5. Measured service
How does Solaris 11 support these capabilities? Well, one of the key enabling technologies for cloud computing is virtualization, and Solaris 11 along with Oracle's SPARC and x86 hardware offerings provides the full range of virtualization technologies including dynamic hardware domains, hypervisors for both x86 and SPARC systems, and efficient non-hypervisor workload virtualization with containers. This provides the elasticity needed for cloud systems by supporting on-demand creation and resizing of application environments; it supports the safe partitioning of cloud systems into multi-tenant infrastructures, adding resources as needed and deprovisioning computing resources when no longer needed, allowing for pay-only-for-usage chargeback models.

For cloud computing developers, add to that the next generation of Java, and you've got the NIST requirements covered. The results, or one of them anyway, are services like the new Oracle Public Cloud. And Solaris is the ideal platform for running your Java applications.

So, if you want to develop for cloud computing, for IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, start with an operating system designed to support cloud's key requirements…start with Solaris 11.

Friday Nov 04, 2011

The NIST Cloud Computing Forum & Workshops IV (Nov 2-4, 2011)

The new US CIO, Steve Van Roekel, along with senior researchers at NIST, hosted the fourth Cloud Computing Forum and Workshops this week ( http://www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/cloudworkshopiv.cfm ). One highlight was the release of the Draft Cloud Technology Roadmap with a call for public comments. See the Web site for the agenda and downloadable documents and presentations.

There were international participants at the event, with much friendly discussion of "openness", "interoperability", and an idealistic "One Cloud" vision of a "Cloud Without Borders". A very hopeful perspective, but perhaps a bit overly optimistic one given the current political state of the world and various governments' control of Internet access and resources.

One issue that concerns me in all this rush to cloud computing is the question of where the expertise will come from to design, build, and manage massive cloud infrastructures? Concepts such as parallel programming, scalability, virtualization, and cache management need to be integrated into CS curricula from the start, maybe even starting in high school but certainly at the undergraduate level. I don't yet see sufficient emphasis on those areas in the CS courses and textbooks offered by many universities. Without a continuous stream of knowledgeable graduates, the lack of cloud computing experience and expertise will slow the adoption of this transformative technology.

Security and trust in the cloud remain primary concerns; the NIST Cloud Computing Security Working Group has released a draft publication outlining 17 key requirement areas for cloud security ( http://collaborate.nist.gov/twiki-cloud-computing/pub/CloudComputing/Documents/NIST_Security_Requirements_for_US_Government_Cloud.pdf ). Yet in spite of the current lack of mature security solutions and interoperability/development standards, it was still recommended that agencies start their cloud deployments with the expectation that expertise will evolve through experimentation, trial, and (inevitably) error.

Monday Aug 08, 2011

Oh, the irony! Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning!

Yesterday, in a case of extreme irony, real clouds struck back at human clouds when lightning hit a power transformer at the Amazon Elastic Cloud service in Ireland. "Full service recovery may take 24-48 hours", they said. This outage follows by a few months another significant EC2 disruption caused by a configuration update; not that these unfortunate episodes are unique to Amazon. But they do point to the serious cloud computing issue of putting so many eggs in one cloud basket...what are the availability, recovery, and liability requirements for users of large, multitenant cloud services? Clearly we still have a long way to go in this inevitable move to cloud computing. And such incidents imply that at least for now, cloud users may need to implement alternative availability and recovery technologies in order to mitigate the effects of cloud outages.

Wednesday Jun 22, 2011

New Cloud Security Book: Securing the Cloud by Vic Winkler

It's rare that I read a technical book straight through; I usually read key chapters and save the rest for later reference. But Winkler's book, written by an accomplished and highly experienced security professional, was worth a complete read, cover to cover. Of the recently published cloud security books, such as...
  • Cloud Security and Privacy: An Enterprise Perspective on Risks and Compliance, by Tim Mather, Subra Kumaraswamy, and Shahed Latif; O'Reilly Media Inc, 2009;
  • Cloud Computing: Implementation, Management, and Security, by John Rittenhouse and James Ransome; CRC Press 2010;
  • Cloud Security: A Comprehensive Guide to Secure Cloud Computing, by Ronald Krutz and Russell Vines; Wiley Publishing Inc, 2010
...Securing the Cloud is the most useful and informative about all aspects of cloud security. Clearly, through his experience, the author has thought through many practical issues of securing large, virtualized IT installations. His Chapter 6 on Best Practices and Chapter 9 with its valuable checklists are worth the price of the book. If you are among the many new cloud computing professionals, Securing the Cloud is an essential reference for your work.
About

The purpose of this blog is to highlight and to explore general issues around "Cloud Computing" -- its benefits, risks, and component technologies -- and how they are evolving. I'll also periodically comment (of course!) on Oracle's Cloud Computing capabilities, resources, and cloud-related events. -- Harry J Foxwell, PhD, Principal Consultant for Cloud Computing, Oracle Public Sector HW

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