Everybody is talking About Clouds

From the opening keynote at CommunityOne East we begin with Everybody is talking About Clouds.

It’s difficult to get a good definition, the opening cloud definition today was Software/Platform/Storage/Database/Infrastructure as a service. Grid Computing, Visualization, Utility Computing, Application Hosting. Basically all the buzz words we currently know.

Cloud computing has the ideals of truly bringing a freedom of choice. For inside or outside of an enterprise, the lower the barrier, time and cost into freedom of choice give opportunities including:

  • Self-service provisioning
  • Scale up, Scale down.
  • Pay for only what you use.

Sun’s Vision has existed since 1984 with “The NETWORK is the Computer”.

Today, Sun’s View includes Many Clouds, Public and Private, Tuned up for different application needs, geographical, political, with a goal of being Open and Compatible.

How do we think into the future for developing and deploying into the cloud? The answer given today was, The Sun Open Cloud Platform which includes the set of core technologies, API’s and protocols that Sun hopes to see uptake among many different providers.

The Sun Cloud Platform

  • Products and Technologies – VirtualBox, Sun xVM, Q-Laser, MySQL
  • Expertise and Services
  • Partners – Zmanda, Rightscale, Kickapps
  • Open Communities – Glashfish, Java, Open Office, Zfs, Netbeans, Eucalyptus

The Sun Cloud includes:

  • Compute Service
  • Storage Service
  • Virtual Data Center
  • Open API – Public, RESTful, Java, Python, Ruby

The public API has been released today and is available under Kenai. It includes two key points:

  • Everything is a resource http GET, POST, PUT etc
  • A single starting point, other URI’s are discoverable.

What was initially showed was CLI interface exmaples, great to see this still is common, a demonstration using drag and drop via a web interface was also given, showing a load balanced, multi-teired, multi server environment. This was started and tested during the presentation.

Then Using Cyberduck (a WebDAV client on Mac OS/X) and being able to access the storage component at storage.network.com directly, then from Open Office you now get options to Get/Save to Cloud ( using TwoGuys.com, Virtual Data Center example document).

Seamless integration between the tools, and the service. That was impressive.

More information at sun.com/cloud. You can get more details also at the Sun Microsystems Unveils Open Cloud PlatformOfficial Press Release.

Event: CommunityOne East in New York, NY.
Article Author: Ronald Bradford

Extending application data to the cloud

I was one of the invited panel speakers to A panel on Cloud Computing this week in New York. As one of 2 non vendor presenters, it was a great experience to be invited and be involved with vendors.

While I never got to use my slides available here, I did get to both present certain content, and indeed questions and discussions on the night were on other points of my content.

Cloud computing is here, it’s early days and new players will continue to emerge. For example, from the panel there was AppNexus, reviewed favorably at Info World in comparison with EC2 and Google App Engine, 10gen, an open source stack solution and Kaavo which from an initial 60 seconds of playing provide a management service on top of AWS similar to what ElasticFox provides. I need to investigate further how much the feature set extends and would compete with others like RightScale for example.

The greatest mystery came from Hank Williams and his stealth Kloudshare. He did elaborate more on where they aim to provide services. A new term discussed was “Tools as a service”, akin to moving use metaphorically from writing in Assembly language to the advanced frameworks of today’s generation of languages such as Java and Ruby.

Thanks to Murat Aktihanoglu of Unype who chaired the event.

Your data and the cloud

I will be speaking on July 29th in New York at an Entrepreneurs Forum on A Free Panel on Cloud Computing. With a number of experts including Hank Williams of KloudShare, Mike Nolet of AppNexus, and Hans Zaunere of New York PHP fame is should be a great event.

The focus of my presentation will be on “Extending existing applications to leverage the cloud” where I will be discussing both the advantages of the cloud, and the complexities and issues that you will encounter such as data management, data consistency, loss of control, security and latency for example.

Using traditional MySQL based applications I’ll be providing an approach that can lead to your application gaining greater power of cloud computing.


About the Author

Ronald Bradford provides Consulting and Advisory Services in Data Architecture, Performance and Scalability for MySQL Solutions. An IT industry professional for two decades with extensive database experience in MySQL, Oracle and Ingres his expertise covers data architecture, software development, migration, performance analysis and production system implementations. His knowledge from 10 years of consulting across many industry sectors, technologies and countries has provided unique insight into being able to provide solutions to problems. For more information Contact Ronald.

Setting up on EC2

Thanks to my friend Dustin, and his EC2 demo using Elasticfox Firefox Extension for Amazon EC2 I got an EC2 image setup. With other references Link 1,Link 2,Link 3 I was also able to create my own AMI.

Some notes specific for my configuration.

Pre-config ElasticFox key for launching directly from ElasticFox SSH connections.

mkdir ~/ec2-keys
mv ~/Downloads/elasticfox.pem ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox
chmod 600 ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox
chmod 700 ~/ec2-keys/
ssh -i /Users/rbradfor/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox [email protected]

Installed Software.

apt-get update
apt-get -y autoremove
apt-get -y install apache2
apt-get -y install mysql-server
# Prompts for password (very annoying)
apt-get -y install php5
apache2ctl graceful
echo "Hello World" > /var/www/index.html
echo "< ? phpinfo() ?>" > /var/www/phpinfo.php

Configuration to save AMI.

scp -i ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox pk-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem cert-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem [email protected]:/mnt
ec2-bundle-vol -d /mnt -c cert-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem -k pk-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem -u AccountNumber -r i386 -p ubuntu804_lamp
ec2-upload-bundle -b rbradford_804_lamp_ami -m /mnt/ubuntu804_lamp.manifest.xml -a AccessID -s SecretKey

Working with Google App Engine

Yesterday I took a more serious look at Google App Engine, I got a developer account some weeks ago.

After going though the getting started demo some time ago, I chose an idea for a FaceBook Application and started in true eXtreme Programming (XP) style (i.e. What’s the bare minimum required for first iteration). I taught myself some Python and within just a few minutes had some working data being randomly generated totally within the development SDK environment On my MacBook. I was not able to deploy initially via the big blue deploy button, the catch is you have to register the application manually online.

Then it all worked, and hey presto I’ve got my application up at provided domain hosting at appspot.com

Having coming from a truly relational environment, most notably MySQL of recent years I found the Datastore API different in a number of ways.

  • There is no means of Sequences/Auto Increment. There is an internal Unique Key, but it’s a String, not an integer, not enabling me to re-use it.
  • The ListProperty enables the use of Lists in Python (like Arrays) to be easily stored.
  • The ReferenceProperty is used as a foreign key relationship, and then can be more reference within an object hierarchy
  • I really missed an interactive interface. You have no abililty to look at your data, specifically for me I wanted to seek some data, then I wanted to delete some data, but I had to do all this via code.

Having developed a skelaton FaceBook application before in PHP, I figured a Python version would not be that much more work, but here is where I good stumped Information at Hosting a Facebook Application on Google AppEngine leveraging the PyFacebook project didn’t enable me to integrate Google App Engine with FaceBook just yet.

This had me thinking I need to resort to a standalone simply Python Facebook application to confirm the PyFacebook usage. Now my problems started. Under Mac it’s a lot more complex to install and configure Python/Django etc then under Linux. I tried to do it on my dedicated server, but drat Python is at 2.3.4, and it seems 2.5.x is needed.

Still it was a valuable exercise, I dropped the FaceBook goal and just worked on more Google App Engine stuff. Still early days, but it was productive to try out this new technology.

What I need to work on now is how to hold state within Python infrastructure so I can manage a user login and storing and retrieving user data for my sample app.