When I was younger it was common to hear the phrase “into the ether.” Ether being the proposed theoretical substance through which light would transmit, before it was understood light and energy could travel in a vacuum (the so called fifth element). Typically anything that went into the ether was either lost or was in an unknown state. Of course as computer networking evolved the term came to be used more and more in an abstract reference to networking and even included in a particular implementation of networking, Ethernet. So when data went into the ether it was understood it was out there in the “network” somewhere and over time increasingly that “network” was the Internet.
Younger generations are further removed from the concepts of the ether and often only know about it as some sort of anesthetic liquid or gas. Ethernet is becoming archaic in a way even though it’s still very prevalent. People classify all kinds of networking as the same thing: Internet, LAN, WAN, and other acronyms. They don’t realize there are distinct types of networking protocols and implementations. The general consensus is you just plug in a cable and there she is! (I’m happy to have a conversation with someone who even recognizes what RJ-45 means and can be ecstatic if we can talk Token-ring.)
The Evolution of the Ether into the Cloud
Despite this, the concept of the “ether” has not left us; it has just changed names. We now refer to it as “The Cloud.” It’s in the cloud, one is heard to say. Because of this cloud is as unknown and ambiguous as the aluminiferous ether was to early scientists. It’s practically devoid of specific meaning. It’s in a sense equivalent to A Christian Creed’s declaration of God as being “invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, [and] immense” (and by some Geeks is even treated like a religious deity). This makes any discussion of “cloud” really impossible—it becomes the equivalent of a politician’s rhetoric and as ambiguous as their promises.
It’s possible though to have a rational conversation if we look at the cloud the same as the ether. There is a real concept behind it, a concept that exists to describe a phenomenon. The difference with cloud is it exists where the ether does not. We simply need to understand the phenomena cloud exists to describe. Amazingly enough it is the same as the ether. Cloud is the “medium” by which data traverse to arrive at us. Just like energy can be split into several forms (or wavelengths if you want to get technical) such as light, x-rays, gamma rays (Hulk Smash!), and cosmic rays (“It’s clobbering time!”), data can be seen as everything from pictures, videos, applications, spreadsheets, bits, etc. All of this uses the cloud medium to get from one point to another.
Like any medium impurities can decrease or block the transmission of energy. Take for example glass, if the purity is low or the surface isn’t perfectly smooth, light passing through the glass will bend and change. Fiber optics work because of the purity of the glass, which ensures the physics of light transmission occur exactly as predicted. In the same way, if the cloud has impurities or imperfections the data travelling through this medium will be distorted or arrives in inefficient non-predictable means. This is to say it comes in slowly or it’s “off.” Your Netflix streaming of the Avengers is arriving at about 5 frames a second, Iron Man is speaking Thor’s lines, and the Hulk is looking like his later apostate comic-book appearances of grey. Something needs to be done to “purify” and perfect the medium.
Giving Your Cloud Superpowers with Moab
That is the aim of Adaptive Computing’s Moab Cloud Suite. Think of the realities of cloud. There is the data, which is whatever we want to think of it such as applications, video, pictures, etc. Whatever it is, it’s the one’s and zero’s. Emitting all of this data (i.e. the light source) is some type of physical hardware—the servers, storage appliances, routers, mainframes, switches, etc. So when I’m playing Angry Birds, there aren’t any real silly looking birds living in my phone having their heads cracked open by the cruel intentions of my finger. It all adds up to network requests going to hardware going to software coming back to hardware coming back to network coming to my screen. And none of these look the same, talk the same, or walk the same. And despite the desire to have Aerosmith make sense of the whole affair, it is what it is. Something has to translate the software to the cpu, the bits on the cpu to the network packet, the packet to Internet Protocol, and all of it back again. All of this translation and adjusting is the heart of the cloud medium. And it’s the heart that Moab Cloud Suite works with.
Imagine a two-layer cake, with yummy cream cheese frosting in the middle. The top layer is the app or service, the middle layer is the physical hardware, the yummy frosting (which really perfects the whole cake) is that managing layer—if you virtualized it’s the Hypervisor, if it’s a straight physical setup it might be the networking manager or storage management. Indeed it could be a host of management tools. The architecture of Moab is such that it peers into these management layers and using knowledge of the app and the physical layers (which typically these days the app is unaware of the physical and the physical is unaware of the app thanks to virtualization) and works in this between layer to ensure efficiencies between the two.
For example, you’ve placed your whole data center on a virtualized infrastructure. Your Windows OS Application believes it is running on a 2GHZ CPU with 2 GB of memory. In reality it is one of many virtual machines operating on a 16 core 4GHZ system with 128GB of memory. The storage is all run with Netapp. The routers: Cisco. And all of this is unknown to your app. So any optimization of the OS and the Application will be for the virtualized environment not for the actual physical materials running the whole setup. If you optimize the physical hardware you’ll be optimizing it for the best use of virtual machine’s not necessarily for the important stuff running within. The optimizations can and often do cancel each other out. Add Moab Cloud Suite to the mix and all of sudden it begins to work. Moab will look at the efficiency of the hypervisor (sensing when it’s overloaded and unable to schedule the multiple cpu and memory requests) and place those VM’s on hypervisors better suited to the work. Moab Cloud Suite, through the use of its policies, can take into account the needs of the application and using resource managers considers the various aspects of the physical environment and in real-time makes best placement decisions. Which all means we’ve optimized the cloud, the medium by which all of this really is being used.
In essence Moab-rays have transformed your mild manner Bruce Banner of an application service into a raging, green goliath that defeats the bad guys, competitors (I always saw them as bad guys except when I worked with a Libertarian think tank—they just became guys, but you still wanted to smash them), and makes way for truth, justice, and your company’s way. So if you want to be more than a hero, you want to be a super hero, look into optimizing the cloud medium. Remember it took three elements to make Captain America super—super serum, vita-rays, and a vibranium shield. If you optimize the hardware and the application you are still missing that third super hero component.
The future of Moab Cloud Suite is continuing to focus more on the cloud medium and ensuring your data has an efficient, pure, and perfect medium to work with. Add some Moabranium to your cloud medium today!