Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hoff's Cloud Metastructure

Recently, Chris Hoff posted an interesting concept for simply defining the logical parts of a cloud computing stack. Part of his concept is something he is calling the "Metastructure" or "essentially infrastructure is comprised of all the compute, network and storage moving parts that we identify as infrastructure today. The protocols and mechanisms that provide the interface between the infrastructure layer and the applications and information above it".

Actually I quite like the concept and the simplicity he uses to describe it. Hoff's variation is the practical implementation for a meta-abstraction layer that sits nicely between existing hardware and software stacks while enabling a bridge for future yet undiscovered / undeveloped technologies.. The idea of a Metastructure provides an extensible bridge between the legacy world of hardware based deployments and the new world of virtualized / unified computing. (You can see why Hoff is working at Cisco, he get's the core concepts of unified computing -- one API to rule them all)

In a post back in February, I described the contrast of a Cloud "Metaverse" as a logical inverse to the traditional structured view of infrastructure. My idea was to describe everything that exists beyond the confines of a particular virtualized environment through the use of an extensible semantic API abstraction. At the heart of this theory there is the ability to define the relationship of how multiple distributed clouds describe their interrelations between themselves (who, what, where, when, and so on).

I'd also like to point out that my concept was inspired in part by the suggestion of Scott Radeztsky at Sun to look at the problem of cloud interoperability as a meta-problem, (problems describing other problems). Also my original Metacloud post was inspired by a multiverse post I wrote which was itself inspired by a post by Chris Hoff where he proposed an interesting use case for IPv6. So we seem to have come full circle.

In order to solve abstract problems, we need abstract solutions to these problems. This fit perfectly into my Semantic Cloud Abstraction thesis loosely described as an API for other API's.
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