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Discussion on the state of cloud computing and open source software that helps build, manage, and deliver everything-as-a-service.

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The First Generation Cloud Dealt with Orchestration; The Next Generation Will Deal with Applications

During the past decade, the world of the cloud has been consumed with orchestration: How can we make an infrastructure which can adapt to the needs of the enterprise?  Words like automation, flexibility, and control have ruled the world of the cloud to date.

But now that a number of cloud orchestration projects have begun to mature, it's time to take a look at the applications themselves.  Until now, the applications which dwell in clouds look suspiciously like the applications which inhabited the traditional datacenter.  And while they may function pretty well, they are not really designed with an agile infrastructure in mind.

Make It Small, Make It Fast

In the world of the cloud, it would make sense to have small applications which are lightweight and nimble.  They should be quick to start and stop.  They should do what they need to do and then get out of the way so that valuable compute resources can be focused on applications which require compute power -- like databases, for instance.

Docker has made inroads in this area by using container technology to share the operating system space between many applications.  Virtual machines contain a full operating system for each instance, which requires lots of disk space, lots of memory, and prolonged startup and shutdown times.  Docker-type solutions keep memory usage down, make startups and shutdowns lightning quick, and create application bundles which are easy to deploy.

But shared resources can mean that an exploit of the base operating system can cause the compromise of dozens or even hundreds of applications resident on that host.  It also means that multi-tenant situations are difficult to achieve, as shared resources could mean increased ability to see your neighbor's work. If you don't trust your neighbor, you want a wall between the two applications which makes them invisible to each other, just like the solutions already extant in the world of hypervisors.

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FOSDEM, Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, openSUSE Mini-Summit, and SCALE 13X All to Feature Xen Project Content!

TestDay

 

Jan 31-Feb 1: Lots of Great Talks at FOSDEM 2015!

FOSDEM is an absolutely huge annual event in Brussels, Belgium, and FOSDEM 15 is a huge event for Xen Project!  Talks include:

Tagged in: Xen xen project
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Recently, I attended a conference session where the presenter said of his mature project, "We are focused mostly on performance these days, not much on new stuff."  To most people, I'm sure this statement was unremarkable.  However, as one who is associated with a project which is over a decade old and powers many of the largest clouds in the world, I found the statement both sobering and horrifying.

It is sobering to think that lack of  innovation within a project speaks of the impending end of the effort; a race has been run, a finish line crossed, and a horse put out to pasture.  It's the inevitable death of all things when there is no more room for real ingenuity or growth.  All that remains is to wait for the inevitable replacement to stand up and become the new go-to solution in the area.

But it is also horrifying to think that a project would choose to so casually embrace this fate.  I understand that once you set out to do something and you succeed, it is easy to say, "Well, I guess we're done with the new and interesting stuff."  But if you come to that conclusion too quickly, you probably suffer from a gigantic vision problem.

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Historically, the computer industry has been impressed with big things.  In the early decades, the mainframes and supercomputers were all the rage.  Even as the technology began to shrink, big rollouts supplanted the big machines.  And now you can find powerful technology which easily fits in the palm of your hand -- but you've probably only heard of the brands which sell in huge numbers.

This industry likes big things.  But sometimes the greatest value comes from the smallest things.  That can certainly be said of Open Source conferences.

Good Things Really Do Come in Small Packages

I've spoken at several dozen Open Source conferences over the years.  I remember when LinuxWorld Conference and Expo was all the rage a decade ago.  It had thousands of attendees, gigantic booths, a huge amount of swag, and plenty of press coverage.  With all its lights and noise, that conference was something to behold.

But I don't find myself wishing I could revisit those days. Instead, I find myself enjoying the smaller, community-driven, regional conferences.  These conferences aren't large, aren't noisy, and don't come with mountains of swag to take home, but they provide attendees with something much more valuable: the equipment to succeed.

It varies from conference to conference, but most of these local conferences include two very important elements: excellent information and local networking. 

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[reposted from the Citrix blog]

The title of this post is a riff on the now famous quote by Mark Twain a.k.a. Samuel Clemens about the New York Journal’s confusion between him and at time his ailing cousin James Ross Clemens who was a continent away. The same thing happened recently with regards to two unrelated events. An organizational change here at Citrix and the perceived vitality of one of the technologies we help support, Apache CloudStack.

Recently we combined the Citrix Cloud Platforms Group and the Citrix Cloud Networking Group into one integrated unit called Citrix NCSP (Networking, Cloud & SP Group). We believe these changes will strengthen our position in the quickly evolving data center market.  Klaus Oestermann as the VP and GM of NCSP will lead the newly combined group. This will create a closer working relationship between the teams that develop our Citrix Cloud Platform (powered by Apache CloudStack), Citrix Netscaler and XenServer(built on Xen Project) and other related products.

Unfortunately some of the pundits in our industry are speculating as part of a recent  reorganization at Citrix (and the departure of some of our former colleagues to pursue other opportunities) that this is a sign that we are abandoning our commitment to Apache CloudStack and the project would die. That’s probably because they don’t exactly understand how the Apache Software Foundation(ASF) works and how Citrix supports them.

I suspect many of them don’t understand that despite the lack of fanfare that the ASF provides technologies that power most of the internet’s websites, a huge part of the Java ecosystem and much, much more. While the tech industry swoons over Big Data (a market that is estimated to reach $50 billion by 2017). They might be surprised to know that the Hadoop mapreduce technology that is the lynchpin for the movement is developed by a relatively small set of developers in the Apache Software Foundation. Or the the Apache httpd server that powers more websites on the internet than any other is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers not a multi-billion dollar company.

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Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangelism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world.

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