Re: [clouds] Clouds and / vs. virtualization

Tim Bray <> Mon, 22 February 2010 18:11 UTC

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Subject: Re: [clouds] Clouds and / vs. virtualization
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On Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 9:56 AM, Paul Hoffman <> wrote:
> An earlier definition of "cloud" was a virtualized computer that was managed by an entity outside one's own enterprise. Later, "private clouds" were invented, which eliminated the "outside one's own enterprise" but also significantly changed the security model. Later still, "XaaY" (for many values of X and Y) latched onto the "cloud" buzzword, describing applications and services by themselves, not virtualized computers.

I think there's reasonably good agreement on the values of X and Y.  Y
is "S".  X is I for infrastructure, meaning roughly "like what Amazon
does", P for Platform, meaning roughly "like what Google App Engine
and Heroku do", and S for Software meaning roughly "like what does".

I'm not convinced that there's a value-add for the IETF here, but if
there were, it'd be at the IaaS level.

> An IETF effort that tries to cover XaaY seems doomed to failure due to over-generality, while wasting a lot of participant effort. Instead, I think defining a cloud as "one or more virtualized computers where many components of each computer are managed separately" gives us a reasonable basis from which to work on how to provision such clouds and the networks over which the clouds run.

The big value of IaaS is that it lets you fire up servers and
configure them without involving Mordac the Preventer of IT, using
only some Web forms and your credit card.  Amazon's API for doing this
is kinda klunky, but tons of people are doing it anyhow so it's
plausible that there really is a big market for this kind of stuff.
Thus there are lots of proposals for APIs that are better and don't
belong to anyone, and a handful of efforts under way in various
standards orgs out there; a few are enumerated at and
also check out VMware's vCloud.