Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Virtualization & Cloud Computing: Public Clouds Are Not Just Big Virtual Server Clouds

Not all clouds will use virtualization; virtualization is just a multi-tenancy strategy.

Randy Bias's Blog

There is a myth going around about virtualization and cloud computing. It’s expressed in a variety of ways, but the takeaway is always the same: “Public clouds are big virtual server clouds.” Sounds good, but untrue once you look under the covers. For good reason, since virtualization isn’t a panacea.

Here’s the deal. Public clouds (IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS) are all multi-tenant. It’s a fundamental definition. Multi-tenancy is one of the core properties of any cloud. Whether it’s a cloud like GoGrid's, EC2, Google App Engine (GAE), or Salesforce.com (SFDC). Multi-tenancy is a mechanism whereby public cloud providers give customers cost efficiencies by aggregating capex at scale and providing it as a subscription service.

Virtualization is just a multi-tenancy strategy.

Virtualization as Multi-Tenant Solution
That’s right. It’s only a multi-tenancy strategy. Not all clouds will use virtualization. Clouds like GAE and SFDC use completely different technologies to create multi-tenancy, but even for strict compute clouds, folks like AppNexus surface physical hardware that customers then carve up themselves into virtual machines. While others, like NewServers, serve up completely physical clouds. For those folks their multi-tenant strategy is more coarse, based simply on a single piece of physical hardware.

Scaling Up Still Matters
Simply put, for the foreseeable future there are many pieces of software that do better scaling ‘up’ versus ‘out’. For example, your traditional RDBMS is much easier to scale by throwing physical iron (instead of virtual) at the problem.

A well known Web 2.0 company recently expressed to me that they are running with hundreds of thousands of customers on big database servers with 128GB of RAM and lots of high speed disk spindles. This is one of the poster children of the Web 2.0 movement. If they can scale out their RDBMS by simply throwing iron at it, why would they re-architect into (for example) 10 extra large EC2 instances and deal with the engineering effort involved with a heavily sharded database?

To put this in perspective, you could do this:

  • 10 extra large EC2 instances
    • 16GB RAM each
    • ~8 EBS network-based storage devices
    • 2 cores each
    • ~$6000/month including storage
    • $ X to engineer for sharding at application level

or:

  • 2 redundant big iron physical servers
    • 128GB RAM each
    • 16 high-speed spindles on local disk
    • 8-12 cores each
    • $40,000 in capex or ~7,500/month for servers+storage

Conclusion

It’s kind of a no brainer. For certain use cases it’s more economical to scale using bigger hardware. There are two key reasons why this won’t change in the near future. The first is that many folks are working hard to make database software scale better across more cores. The second is that we’ll be at 16 and 32 cores per 1U server in the not so distant future. Scaling up will continue to be a viable option for the future. Period. Clouds need to enable this in the same way they enable virtualized servers for scaling out. It’s not an either/or proposition.



Update: The ‘well known’ Web 2.0 company I mentioned has informed me that my estimate on dedicated hardware was far too high. Something around $5,000 for those servers is more accurate, meaning there is even less reason to consider scale-out as an option.

 

More Stories By Randy Bias

Randy Bias is Co-Founder and CTO of Cloudscaling. His provocative views on the cloud computing disruption have made Randy Bias one of the industry’s most influential voices. He has inspired organizations to embrace cloud to transform business processes and position for success in a new world where computing resources are ubiquitous, inexpensive, instantly scalable, and highly available.

A vocal open systems advocate for more than two decades, Randy was the technical visionary at GoGrid and at CloudScale Networks. He led the open-licensing of GoGrid's APIs, which inspired Sun Microsystems, Rackspace Cloud, VMware and others to follow. In 2006, he co-founded Cloudscaling and since then has led teams that built and deployed cloud infrastructure for more than two dozen clients globally.

Randy was an early and vocal supporter of the OpenStack project, and led the teams that deployed the first public OpenStack storage cloud (Swift) outside of Rackspace, and the first public OpenStack compute cloud (Nova). He is a founding Board Member of the OpenStack Foundation. He also popularized the cloud server "pets vs. cattle" meme.

Randy blogs at Cloudscaling and Simplicity Scales, as well as GigaOm, CloudAve, O’Reilly Radar, TechCrunch and others. He is consistently recognized as one of the most influential social media voices in cloud computing. He is frequently interviewed in the media, and he speaks at dozens of industry events annually.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one b...
Steaz, the nation's top-selling organic and fair trade green-tea-based beverage company, announces its 2017 "Mind. Body. Soul." tour, which will bring authentic experiences inspired by the brand's signature Mind. Body. Soul. tagline to life across the country. The tour will inform, educate, inspire and entertain through events, digital activations and partner-curated experiences developed to support the three pillars of complete health and wellness.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...