Archive for the ‘May 2008’ Category

The rush to embrace cloud computing manifests in the corporate world with rivals IBM and Google recently joining forces to build a worldwide cloud of servers, Microsoft’s (failed) merger with Yahoo and the software giant’s struggle to develop a coherent web strategy of its own. Even the open source community battles for cloud space . Open source consulting firm, Enomalism recently released an open source edition cloud computing platform called Enomalism Elastic Computing Platform . Enomalism Alpha 2 is a Xen based virtual server management system geared towards applications deployment .

Cloud computing is believed to be the dominant software delivery model in the 21st century. Also known as elastic or grid computing, it relies on clouds of servers to handle tasks that used to be managed by individual servers or desktop machines. Important services such as email, calendars, and word processing are hosted entirely online and powered by a cloud of interdependent servers.

Cloud computing is great for large organizations who want to centralize the management of software and data storage . Data and software is stored in the cloud and accessed through a Web site portal by individual desktop computers. It is both reliable and secure. Any failure by a particular cloud does not significantly affect the entire system because the remaining servers could quickly take over the workload. Thus, system downtime or data loss is eliminated.

In fact, as cloud computing becomes more popular, desktop computers will tend be used less as data storage machines and more as terminals to access servers.

Although it sounds new , mass consumers have been using cloud technology for quite some time. Web based email services such as Flickr, Google’s Gmail or Yahoo Mail utilize massive clouds of servers to deliver their applications to end users.

What does this mean for open source?

This huge popularity of cloud computing has positive impact on open source. Companies can develop open source applications and then toss them up into the clouds to run. Basically, it levels the playing field for both open source and proprietary software developers . Cloud computing is the easiest and quickest way to scale an application regardless of whether it is open source or otherwise. Thus, there will be less need for users to install office productivity software, much to the disadvantage of Microsoft , whose revenues rely largely on MS Office. Users can use Googledocs or Zoho, which do not only provide the software , but also the storage space.

In addition, “server market share” becomes less significant than market shares for applications and traffic. Ironically, more clouds mean brighter days for open source.

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