Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Side trip: Valley of fire


My wife Brenda and I are currentlly in Las Vegas. I'm here speaking at interop on cloud computing. Yesterday we took a side trip to the Valley of Fire, very hot!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Enomaly Launches Giftag.com for Best Buy

Enomaly is proud to announce the launch of Giftag.com BETA in partnership with Best Buy. The guys have been working hard on the site for a few months, so it's exciting to see it finally out in the wild. So what is Giftag.com you ask? The easy-to-use social application that lest you make lists of things you want and share them with others.

Check it out at: http://www.giftag.com

Sun Solaris On Demand Program (Mostly Vapor)

Today Sun announced a new Sun Solaris On Demand Program. At first glance it appears to be their first attempt at an on demand cloud computing solution built on Solaris Containers. Upon closer examination I found a few issues with their supposed cloud offering.

1. The pricing is fishy. "Play in Sun's sandbox free for 90 days." Then what? How much?
2. Virtualized Tenancy - Quote
"Worried about having to re-architect your application for multi-tenancy? With the Solaris On Demand program for ISVs you don't have to. Solaris On Demand virtualizes compute resources through Solaris Containers. Each container is isolated from other containers, providing a secure execution environment for separate application instances. So you can run your OnPremise software On Demand without re-architecting." ... What does that even mean? The sun virtualization will scale for you, I doubt it.

Whether you're using containers or traditional virtualization, serving a single tenant application in a VM doesn't magically make it "Multi-tenant" Sun makes no mention of how they auto-magically achieve a multi tenant environment, other then it just happens (Like magic). For the most part this new on demand cloud solution appears to be primarily vapor or an attempt to grab some consulting work.

Sun yet again has done a great job at showing how clueless they really are when it comes to cloud computing and virtualization.

Learn more http://www.sun.com/third-party/ondemand/index.jsp

Dinner with Rackspace founder Patrick Condon

Last night I had a very interesting conversation over dinner with Patrick Condon founder of Rackspace. Our conversation ranged from why VC's suck to how to build your own Cloud. What's interesting about rackspace has been there apparent lack of interest in "Cloud Computing". Not so says Condon. It became extremely clear he is very familiar with the latest trends and appears to have his finger on the pulse of the industry. My guess is Rackspace is waiting for the perfect moment to jump in.

A few Interesting points from our conversation.
  • You don't need to be first, you need to better then the rest
  • Customer support is more important then any other metric
  • The future lies in the Cloud, (I could of told you this)
  • We are in the midst of a major shift in the hosting business.
I found it interesting he had little to say about their "platform as a service" offering Mosso. I can only wonder what kind of uptake that service is getting. I've always been more partial to infrastructure as a service over platform.

What's also interesting is with the new support offering from Amazon, AWS appears to have rackspace directly in their sights. Condon doesn't seemed phased, he seems to think that this movement toward cloud computing will ultimately help his company more then hurt it. Only time will tell if Rackspace adapts to the this latest evolution in hosting.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Five ways of defining cloud computing (Infoworld)

Shane Schick at InfoWorld has posted an overview of our discussions on the definition of cloud computing on the infoworld site, but unfortunately neglected to include a link to our google group.

You can read the article at

P.S, Shane, please include a link to

Amazon Lowers Data Transfer Cost for AWS

Amazon continues to wow and amaze! To today they announced a lower data transfer cost, making them even more competitive.

We've often told you that one of our goals is to drive down costs continuously and to pass those savings on to you. We have been able to reduce our costs for data transfer, so we're pleased to announce that we're lowering our pricing for data transfer, effective May 1, 2008. You'll notice below that we've reduced price at every existing usage tier of transfer out, as well as added an additional tier for the heaviest users.

Current data transfer price (through April 30, 2008)
$0.100 per GB - data transfer in
$0.180 per GB - first 10 TB / month data transfer out
$0.160 per GB - next 40 TB / month data transfer out
$0.130 per GB - data transfer out / month over 50 TB

Data transfer "in" and "out" refers to transfer into and out of the Amazon service. Data transferred between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3-US, Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon SQS is free of charge (i.e., $0.00 per GB). Data transferred between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3-Europe will be charged at regular rates.

New data transfer price (effective May 1, 2008)
$0.100 per GB - data transfer in
$0.170 per GB - first 10 TB / month data transfer out
$0.130 per GB - next 40 TB / month data transfer out
$0.110 per GB - next 100 TB / month data transfer out
$0.100 per GB - data transfer out / month over 150 TB

Data transfer "in" and "out" refers to transfer into and out of the Amazon service. Data transferred between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3-US, Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon SQS is free of charge (i.e., $0.00 per GB). Data transferred between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3-Europe will be charged at regular rates.

The result of this pricing change is that all customers will see a reduction in the price of transfer out. For example, a customer transferring 50TB a month will save 16% and a customer transferring 500TB a month will save 26% on transfer with the new pricing. Please see http://aws.amazon.com for full pricing information for each service.

Microsoft as a Platform (Marketing to the Geek vs CIO)

Very interesting post the other today on the Microsoft Live Mesh blog. Mike Zintel describes the upcoming release of Live Mesh, or Microsoft as a Platform.

He made some very interesting points.. I found this statement of particular interest.
" One of the typical early conversations in a new project is the target audience: consumers or enterprise? Large or small organizations? Web, Windows, Mac or mobile? What mobile targets? We rejected this early and focused us on adding value to individuals: people who may work in enterprises and belong to multiple organizations, but who also make choices as consumers, and use multiple technologies (and who are probably frustrated with the productivity barriers that exist as a side effect of the seams the industry imposes on them)."

This has been a reoccurring question we've had with our Enomalism platform, out of the 12,500 or so members of our community, the vast majority have been the early adopters. We face the a common delema of needing to cross the chasm between the %1 of the market who quickly tap into the latest trends versus the 99% who have never heard of cloud computing. The problem with the early adpoters is they also tend to be the ones who don't write the cheques, a big benefit when trying to grow a community around a freely available open source product, but difficult when trying to monetize it. I feel this is probably going to be a problem for others trying to get their "Cloud Platforms" off the ground specially folks who may not choose open source their product or are boot strapping development. Companies with large existing customer bases or large VC funds may not have the same concerns.

My question is who do you market to, the geek or the CIO?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SaaS and Cloud Computing track at interop (Las Vegas)

I'm happy to announce my involvement in SaaS and Cloud Computing track at interop next week. I'll be speaking on several panels and would be happy to meet some of you who may be in attendance.


I'm also helping organize the first interop unconference, specifically on, yes, you guessed it, Cloud computing. It will be held at Interop Las Vegas, from 5:00-7:00PM on Tuesday, April 29, 2008.

The evening event has a candid and informal setting, with only a little structure—a dramatic departure from the traditional conference format, one in which attendees drive the content. A bunch of us will probably head out for some drinks and other random activities afterward.


Please feel free to get in touch.

The cult of Jeff Bazos

Wired has an interesting article this month on Cloud Computing / Amazon Web Services / Jeff Bazos (AKA Geek God.) The title is "Cloud Computing. Available at Amazon.com Today". It's a little too ass kissy for my taste. But It's generally pretty good. a good mainstream overview of the AWS and cloud computing in general.

I also found this tidbit interesting. "When AWS launched in earnest a couple of years ago, with the S3 storage utility, Amazon's computer system was at times running at just 10% of its capacity, according to CEO Jeff Bezos. Now, AWS demand has "far exceeded the excess capacity of our internal system," says AWS head Andy Jassy. AWS is "now big enough to be piling up its own silicon.""

Monday, April 21, 2008

Amazon Networking & Noshing Party : April 24

Amazon Networking & Noshing Party at Jillian's @ Metreon, San Francisco

Amazon.com and Amazon Web Services would like to invite you to an evening of networking at Jillian's @ Metreon in San Francisco, CA. Drinks and appetizers will be served from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Stop by and chat with Amazon.com engineers and the team from Amazon Web Services about some of the cool projects they are working on and sign up for free giveaways!

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Jillian's @ Metreon
101 Fourth Street, Ste 170
San Francisco, CA

What is Cloud Computing?

Recently a group of us formed a "Cloud Computing" mailing list on Google Groups. At last count we had 176 members.

One of members asked an interesting Question, What's the difference between cloud computing and Grid Computing? Below is an excerpt from my attempt to answer him

As for what is cloud computing, I've been asked this a lot lately and I seem to give different answers depending on who is asking. When I'm presenting to a group of VC's it's a fundamental shift in the way people interact with applications, a kind of ubiquitous network computing environment. But then again VC's like that kind of talk, so i won't B-S here.

I typically break up the idea of cloud computing into three camps and this is probably how I will attempt to explain it next week during my presentation at Interop in Las Vegas.

Enablers - These are companies that enable the underlying infrastructures or the basic building blocks. These companies are typically focused on data center automation and or server virtualization (VMware/EMC,Citrix,BladeLogic, RedHat, Intel, Sun, IBM, Enomalism, etc) These enables can range from the chip level such as intel VT, to the hypervisor such as xen or vmware to the orchestration such as 3tera or our Enomalism elastic computing platform.

Providers - (amazon web services, rackspace, Google, Microsoft). The ones with the budgets and know how to build out global computing environments costing millions or even billions of dollars. Cloud providers typically offer their infrastructure or platform. Frequently these "As a Service" offerings are are billed & consumed on a utility basis.

Consumers - On the other side of the spectrum I see the "consumers" companies that build or improve their web applications on top of existing clouds of computing capacity without the need to invest in data centers or any physical infrastructure. Often these two groups can be one in the same such as Amazon (SQS,SDB,etc), Google (Apps) and Salesforce (Force). But they can also be new startups that provide tools & services that sit on top of the cloud (Cloud management). Cloud consumers can be a fairly broad group including just about any application that is provided via a web based service like a webmail, blog, social network, etc. Cloud computing from the consumer point of view is becoming the only way you build, host and deploy a scalable web applications these days.

As for Grid, I would describe grid as a methodology for the distribution of parallel computing processes. Taking a job (workload) and running it on more then one CPU.

OpenVZ on Amazon EC2

A few days ago Amazon announced a new feature for EC2 called User Selectable Kernels. This feature allows developers to use custom kernels other than the default Amazon EC2 kernels with their instances thus opening up a wide variety of possibilities for Amazon EC2 for web hosting.

One of the more interesting opportunities is to use container based virtualization to get more bang for your buck on EC2. In particular openVZ looks ideally suited for this job. openVZ is able to host hundreds of containers on a entry level EC2 instance (the main limitations are RAM and CPU). It extrapolates in a linear fashion, so it is possible to run up to about 320 such containers on an EC2 instance with 2 GiB of RAM. At 10cent an hour, 320 VM would cost .00031 cents per hour per container, or 7cents a day. Combined with the new persistent storage feature, you've got an extremely low cost and scalable hosting environment.

A Live migration function now makes it possible to move a demanding containers from one EC2 instance to another without shutting down the problem container. The process is known as checkpointing: a container is frozen and its whole state is saved to a file on disk. This means that as your needs grow you can move problem hosts to a more powerful instance, on the fly.

I/0 is also avaliable, each container is assigned an I/O priority, and the scheduler distributes the available I/O bandwidth according to the priorities assigned. Thus no single container can saturate an I/O channel.

So how do I make this happen? Grab the OpenVZ xen kernel, and hope the folks over at Amazon give you access to the user selectable kernel beta.

July 2010 Update

Use Your Own Kernel with Amazon EC2
You can now use the Linux kernel of your choice when you boot up an Amazon EC2 instance. See blog post here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Enomalism v2.01 Released

Enomaly, Inc. is pleased to announce the latest alpha release of the Enomalism Elastic Computing Platform, Enomalism v2.01, (Alpha 2) (Enomalism should be out of alpha in a couple weeks)

Latest Enomalism Updates include:

New Features

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed Admin group security permissions. Users in Admin group now have full access to all features of the admin user.
  • Fixed user level permissions. Users granted access to VM's will now be able to start/stop/restart.
  • Fixed JEOS Gutsy machine image to include Realtek driver for newer versions of Red Hat Enterprise and Ubuntu 8.04
  • Fixed many Xen related bugs. Please see instructions in Wiki for getting Xen VM's working. (http://trac.enomalism.com/enomalism/wiki/enomalism-trouble)
  • Many Ajax and visual fixes. (ie7 mostly)
  • Multi-server cluster fixes
  • Updates made to Amazon EC2 module.
For installation Documentation and core distribution download, please visit

Direct Downloads are available on sourceforge at

We are currently seeking BETA testers to assist with the following tasks
  • Interface Debugging CSS, JS (IE7,Firefox)
  • Platform Testing (Linux,Windows,BSD,OSX)
  • Cluster Testing
  • Amazon EC2 Testing
  • Repository / Appliance Testing
  • Module Testing
  • User Management Testing
  • REST API Testing
  • Anything else that needs fixing.
If you are interested in lending a hand, please visit the Enomalism forums at

Or on the irc at irc.freenode.net #enomalism

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For Intel, thing are looking up!

I typically try to keep an eye on what our biggest customers CEO's are saying during earnings season. It helps me gauge what they're doing both financially and technically this quarter is no different. There seems to be some ray's of positive light be emitted from Intel today.
CEO Paul Otellini intimated that the biggest fretting is probably taking place in Manhattan (read: Wall Street), but Intel's global business is still going strong, including in mature markets such as the United States and Europe.
Also interesting was his mention of "cloud computing",
Companies building out on the back-end to take advantage of so-called cloud computing.
I'm feeling more & more confident about our biggest customer!

Open Flash Chart

Searching around for a open source graphing engine for our cloud monitor, I came across this great project called Open Flash Chart it looks very promising

Here's how they describe it.

You will need to include the Open Flash Chart in your HTML, and you also need to provide the data file on the server. The data file is either a text file, or a .php, Perl, Python, Java (or another flavour of dynamic) page.

For a simple chart you would just drop the data.txt file on your website and point the Open Flash Chart to this URL.

But what we really want is dynamic data that is pulled from a database or calculated or something. To do this you need to create the data file when it is requested. To do this we point the Open Flash Chart to a .php page and this PHP page does your calculations and/or database lookups, then outputs the data file.

To make this a bit easier there are PHP, Perl, Python and Java classes to write the data file for you.

Using a XMPP bot for Cloud Monitoring

So while working on our distributed monitoring agent for Enomalism it occurred to me that our use of XMPP for Command & Control could also be refitted to act as a cluster / machine monitor. The cool part of XMPP is it acts as both a presence monitor, think of my list of friends who are currently online, but in our case servers who are responding. We can communicate with each server using a secure http based message protocol (SSL), which means no crazy firewall rules. To the outside world XMPP appears as background noise, "IM traffic", which tends to attract little attention, it is extremely light-weight and therefore is easily integrated into existing enterprise environments.

Using this secure messaging channel we can send encrypted details on the state of a given machine or group of machines as well as other other relevant virtual machine information. If we lose a particular VM, cluster or entire region, no worries, they're offline and won't effect another machines in the cluster. The messages can be queued and delivered later when the machines are available again.

XMPP is an ideal method for hooking machines together because its completely decentralized (there is no central authoritative server). Also you can have massive redundancy ejabberd has it built in (developed in Erlang), or get your machine to add all the redundant servers into a "Friends Group" AKA Cluster (named after the service they provide for example), then cycle through all of them until it finds one that is online! Your own personal botnet.

Google App Engine ported to Amazon's EC2

One of the biggest complaints about Google's new Cloud offering "App Engine" has been that Google is locking you into their service. Well worry no more, http://appdrop.com/
AppDrop is a proof-of-concept, to show that Google's App Engine platform can be ported to other hosts. Unlike Google's project, we make no claims to be able to scale beyond a small amount of traffic. We reserve the right to shut the whole thing down at any time. We're running on EC2, so our virtual machine could just disappear. We hope you enjoy AppDrop.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We'll be the next Red Hat?

According to our good friend Mark Hinkle, we have a good chance of being the next Red Hat. Now I assume he means this as a compliment, but I'm not sure we want to be the next Red Hat, I'd rathe be the next mySQL (sold recently for 1billion to Sun). No doubt Red Hat is a dominate player in the open source and operating system world, but a lot of there extra circular activities haven't done very well.

I should also note we're heavy uses of a few of their technologies including Libvirt and RHEL.

Mark's put together a nice list of the "new batch of up-and-coming open source software companies who are not yet venture backed but are developing interesting technologies and services." http://opensource.sys-con.com/read/529607.htm

Thanks for including us!

Wow 128GB of Ram of Sun xVM!

Virtualization.info today posted some pictures of Sun's forth coming release of their xVM Server managed by Ops Center 2.0. Nothing particularly crazy about the platform except for sun's testing equipment is a hell of a lot better then ours. Their test machines appear to have 128GB of ram. Other then that, I'm feeling pretty good about how our Enomalism platform is stacking up against our much better funned competition. I'm also assuming xVM is going to feature a bloated java based management interface compared to our lightweight python based offering weighing in at just 10mb of ram.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Posting from a blackberry

I'm attempting to post to elasticvapor from my blackberry.

Mobile is a very exciting area in cloud computing and represents a tremendous opportunity. This is a great example of this type of mobile acces.

Stay tuned for more posts from the road.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

I'm in Business Week, but my quote stinks!

So I finally got a quote in BusinessWeek (see > Amazon Takes On IBM, Oracle, and HP), but my quote is terrible and totally out of context.
"I'm not seeing anyone bet the farm on mission-critical applications yet," says Reuven Cohen, CEO of Enomaly, which uses Amazon's computing power to offer tech services to corporate customers.
I spoke to Peter Burrows for almost an hour and thats my quote? First of all, Amazon Web Services are great. A lot of companies are "betting the farm" on AWS including us. My quote is taken completely out of context and doesn't do myself, AWS or Cloud computing as a whole justice. Yes, there are some concerns to using remote systems, but they're the same as any remote service like web hosting or SaaS. Why would you buy a whole lot of server hardware and have it sit idle when you could instantly tap into a utility such as Amazon EC2..

Next time I'll be more careful!

Welcome to ElasticVapor

Over the last few years I've been very reluctant to create a blog. My concerns were mostly about whether or not I'd ever update it. But alas, the time has come to create a place where i can share with you my thoughts, ideas and opinions on whatever and whenever.

Lately I've been consumed by our work on our Enomalism Elastic computing platform, so you'll probably see a lot of technically focused posts, as well as just random stuff that interests me.

See you around.

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