A Guide to Cloud Computing on Linux

Here is an older but still interesting article written by Joe Brockmeierover at Linux


This may not be the year of the Linux desktop, but it’s definitely the year of Linux powering cloud computing. Even though cloud computing is gaining popularity; it’s still not well-understood. Want a bit more on the basics of cloud computing? Read on!

Behind the smokescreen of hype, there’s actually something to cloud computing. You’re already a consumer of cloud computing in the same way that we’re all Linux users. Using Amazon or Gmail? You’re using cloud computing. But that’s not the same as working directly with cloud solutions.

Just like virtualization, the right cloud solution — if any — depends entirely on the workloads you have and your requirements for data handling. Most businesses of any size are probably using at least some cloud computing in the form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), if nothing else.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing, at least as initially defined, comprises on-demand computing delivered over the Internet. This includes several types of computing. First, Platform-as-a-Service offerings (PaaS) that allow users to run applications on cloud infrastructure. This includes services like Google’s App Engine. The infrastructure is completely controlled by the service provider and the customer doesn’t need to worry about the management of the systems or infrastructure that the service is running on. In fact, the user may not know whether the underlying platform is running on Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, some mixture of all the above, or something else entirely. All they need to know is the interface and how to run jobs on the system.

Next is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), such as Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) that delivers on-demand and scalable services over the Internet where organizations can deploy workloads that can grow and shrink on demand to meet the need. This allows organizations to run operating systems or other infrastructure on top of a computing service. Again, customers don’t manage the underlying hardware or platforms that their infrastructure is running on top of — they simply define the level of services that they need and run their infrastructure on top of that.

Finally, SaaS, which has been around for a while now. Instead of installing and running software on your own infrastructure, it runs on someone else’s infrastructure in a pay per use model. Some SaaS, like Google Docs, might be entirely free to the end user. Other services charge per user, by service tier, or a combination of the two. Typically SaaS offerings are Web-based and run through the browser, like the 37 Signals suite.

You’ll find a lot of packages that are designed to be offered by third-parties as SaaS as well. For instance, the Parallels Automation and Plesk Control Panel offerings from Parallels, or Open-Xchange groupware that can be customized and deployed by hosting providers.

It should go without saying, though I’ll say it anyway, that Linux powers the bulk of cloud computing solutions. You’ll find some Windows-based offerings, but Amazon, Google, and other major players are running their cloud infrastructure on top of Linux.

Grid, Cloud, What’s the Difference?

Before there was cloud computing, there was grid computing and Sun telling us that “the network is the computer.” Is there any difference between grid and cloud computing, or is it just technical hairsplitting? Though the two are similar, it’s easy to make the distinction between grid computing and cloud computing.

The best description I’ve seen so far came from RightScale’s blog, attributed to Rich Wolski of the Eucalyptus Project. Wolski describes grid computing as suitable for environments where users make fewer requests, but for larger allocations of computing power. So a project may only have a few jobs to run, but they’re large jobs and tend to consume a fair amount of computing power.

Conversely, cloud computing consists of a lot of smaller requests. Think of applications running on App Engine, or users hitting a SaaS offering. The requests are minimal, but the actual number of requests are much larger. The data sets are typically smaller, but the number of requests over time is much greater.

Clouds and Appliances

If you want to talk about mixed metaphors, think about running a software appliance in the cloud. Though it’s a jarring clash of metaphors, the actual practice of deploying software appliances in the cloud is smooth as silk. (To use yet another metaphor!)

Some vendors are packaging their software as virtual appliances that can be run on top of your internal infrastructure or using cloud computing services. For instance, the BitNami folks have been packaging popular open source stacks and applications to run on top of VMware, Amazon’s EC2, and MyGSI GoGrid. (You can also run the stacks on top of regular servers as well, if you’re still doing old-fashioned computing…)

Appliances on top of cloud platforms simplify deploying and managing applications. Rather than having to provision your own hardware and deal with software dependencies, you can simply fire up a virtual appliance and start using it.

Continue Reading at: Linux

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

6 Responses to A Guide to Cloud Computing on Linux

Comics

At CloudTweaks, we're plugged into the cloud, the internet of things and all that the web has to offer. From wearable technology, to mobile computing, cloud computing and big data, CloudTweaks is your source for updates and news on the most innovative technology.

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Jaspersoft Big Data Survey Shows Rise in Commitment to Projects and Decline in Confusion Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft Community Members Participate in Second Jaspersoft Big Data Survey San Francisco, February 4, 2014 – Jaspersoft, the Intelligence Inside applications and business processes, today shared results from its Big Data Survey. Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft community members responded to…

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery  Business downtime can be detrimental without a proper disaster recovery plan in place. Only 6% of businesses that experience downtime without a plan will survive long term. Less than half of all businesses that experience a disaster are likely to reopen their doors. There are many causes of data loss and…

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow  Online Education is a very exciting topic for many as it opens up many new doors and opportunities. We’ve touched on areas such as Massive Open Online Sources (MOOC) which provides tremendous levels of cloud based interconnectivity. We’ve taken a look into higher education,  the increased demand for online courses as well as…

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

A growing number of small and medium businesses in the United States rely on as a means of deploying mission-critical software products. Prior to the advent of cloud-based products — software solutions delivered over the Internet – companies were often forced to invest in servers and other products to run software and store data. The…

Featured Sponsors

Watching You Shop: Stores And Mannequins “Read” Their Customers And Respond

Watching You Shop: Stores And Mannequins “Read” Their Customers And Respond

Watching You Shop The mannequin in the store window stares blankly ahead as shoppers look at the clothes it is dressed in and contemplate a purchase. One shopper makes some comments. “It’s nice. I wonder if they have my size.” Another takes a few steps inside the store to see where these particular clothes might…

Salesforce Service Cloud: Air Traffic Control For Your Customer

Salesforce Service Cloud: Air Traffic Control For Your Customer

Salesforce Service Cloud One of the greatest benefits of the increasingly reliable and ubiquitous state of cloud technology is the removal of business silos and the consolidation of information flow, both in-house and on the road. This is of particular importance to the many different types of professionals whose work involves customer relationship management (CRM).…

Sponsors

What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Basic Business Software

What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Basic Business Software

What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Basic Business Software You know that feeling. You have multiple business products that aren’t communicating, meaning your employees are doing more work, uploading redundant data into different systems. The software is sluggish and can’t be accessed via browser. You’re paying per user, which is starting to get painful.…

Placement Opportunities - Find Out!

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join Our Newsletter