Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who owns the Cloud???

Finally some good news... USTPO ( US Trademark and Patent Office) has withdrawn the notice of allowance initially issued to Dell for Cloud Computing trademark. This is one of the most absurd copyright effort I have heard after US-based Bikram Choudhary's move to get a copyright for his method of teaching yoga.

Off late many organizations are jumping into the cloud computing band-wagon; be it Sun, Microsoft, IBM (Blue Cloud) or the latest entrants Yahoo and AT&T. Last week, Intel, Yahoo, HP, and an international trio of research institutions announced a joint cloud-computing research initiative. The ambitious six-site project is aimed at developing an Internet-based computer infrastructure stable enough to host companies' most critical data-processing tasks. Many startups have jumped into the fray to cash-in on this latest buzz.

There are many offerings around the cloud infrastructure (ex. Amazon EC2& S3), hosted applications (ex. Salesforce) , application integration(ex. Boomi on Demand Platform) etc. There are also some open source offerings like Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is an open-source software infrastructure for implementing cloud computing.

Nevertheless, there are still some doubts about how Cloud Computing is different from the Grid? or then is it just the good old wine in a new bottle. The doubts are not misplaced as many vendors are now rebranding their grid and virtualization offerings as Cloud offerings.

Clustering, Grid and Cloud Computing have some overlapping concepts but are yet different from each other.

Clustering is a fault-tolerant server technology, which is similar to redundant servers, except that each server takes part in the processing services requested.

Grid computing is another load-balanced parallel means of massive computation, similar to clusters, but implemented with loosely coupled systems that may join and leave the grid randomly.

Cloud computing is the most recent successor to grid computing, utility computing, virtualization and clustering. Cloud computing overlaps all these concepts, but has its own meaning: the ability to connect to infrastrcture, software and data on the web (the cloud) instead of on your hard drive or local network.

Grid computing typically involves a small number of users requesting big chunks of resources from a homogenous environment. Cloud computing involves large number of users with relatively low resource requirements from a heterogenous environment. Grid is about more with less where as Could is about more with more.

As this space keeps getting crowded, and with all the money being pumped in, it remains to be seen whether Cloud Computing survives the intial hype and proves to be a classic disruptive technology as perdicted by many industry analysts.