[SATLUG] Home Cloud?

Robert Pearson e2eiod at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 06:16:55 CDT 2010

On Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 12:16 PM, Frank Huddleston <fhuddles at gmail.com> wrote:
> Greetings,
>  I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a "Home Cloud": that is,
> cloud-type computing for the home. I might not be using the correct
> terminology, but what I have in mind is kind of the opposite of
> virtualization, although not incompatible with it:
> with virtualization you can run many different types of hosts on one
> physical computer, but with what I have in mind, you'd run many computers
> "as one". Many of us gradually build a kind of elephant's graveyard of older
> computers: could they be yoked together to function something like the
> computing clouds?
> I've seem some things out there that look as though they might possibly deal
> with this kind of computing, like Swarm and Apache Hadoop, but I'm just
> mentioning names: I haven't really looked into them.
> The idea of using multiple computers as one is a really old one, and I know
> lots of things have been tried especially for large computational projects.
> I don't know about home or small business projects, however.
> I'd be interested to see what you all have to say about this: it's of some
> theoretical and practical interest to me.
> Regards,
> Frank Huddleston
> --

Here is the first concrete article I have found on Home/Hobbyist Clouds.

"PaaS as a satisfying and success-ready hobbyist plaform"
by William (@vambenepe on Twitter)
[Article excerpt]
By definition, hobbyists only do things that are satisfying. In the
rarefied air of Silicon Valley, it also helps if there is a
conceivable “upside” to dream about. Platform as a Service (PaaS, e.g.
Google App Engine) provides both to software-oriented hobbyist. And
make it very cheap (borderline free), which doesn’t hurt.

In a well-crafted PaaS environment, the development process and the
result are both satisfying. I am not a Google shrill, but GAE is a
fair example. The barrier to entry is very low (the download is less
than 10MB and contains all you need to get started). In an hour you
have an application running locally. In an hour and 5 minutes you have
it deployed and accessible on the web for all. And yet this ease of
bootstrap does not come at the cost of too many longer-term
limitations (now that the environment has gown a bit from the original
limitations and provides scheduled and background jobs). Unlike Yahoo
Pipes, for which the first impression is “nifty!” and the second is
“gimme a textual representation of my pipe now!”.

Beyond the easy ramp-up, the main source of satisfaction developing in
a PaaS environment is that you spend 99% of your time working on the
application. Not the OS, not the firewall, not the application
container, not the database. Not to mention having to deal with your
co-lo provider or the leased line for the servers in the basement. If
you are a hobbyist with only a few spare hours per week, that’s a make
or break deal. It also means that you have a fighting chance of
developing a secure application because you are responsible for a much
smaller surface of attack.

If you want to be completely locally and on your own hardware then
remember Ernest De Leon's excellent comment "Look up Ubuntu and
Eucalyptus...that will do everything you want.".
More work but more learning but more hours to completion. I no longer
start any projects that cannot be finished in 8 weeks or less.
Preferably 2-8 days (MAX) or hours (MIN).

I Googled for Google App Engine and got a ton of good hits. Googling
for GAE returned nothing.

Google also has many "free" tools for work you will want to do in the
SaaS or POWA (Plain Old Web App)?
"“Freeing SaaS from Cloud”: slides and notes from Cloud Connect keynote"
by William (@vambenepe on Twitter)
[Article excerpt]
I got invited to give a short keynote presentation during the Cloud
Connect conference this week at the Santa Clara Convention Center
(thanks Shlomo and Alistair). Here are the slides (as PPT and PDF).
They are visual support for my bad jokes rather than a medium for the
actual message. So here is an annotated version.
{see article at URL above}
I used this first slide (a compilation of representations of the
3-layer Cloud stack) to poke some fun at this ubiquitous model of the
Cloud architecture. Like all models, it’s neither true nor false. It’s
just more or less useful to tackle a given task. While this 3-layer
stack can be relevant in the context of discussing economic aspects of
Cloud Computing (e.g. Opex vs. Capex in an on-demand world), it is
useless and even misleading in the context of some more actionable
topics for SaaS: chiefly, how you deliver such services, how you
consume them and how you manage them.
In those contexts, you shouldn’t let yourself get too distracted by
the “aaS” aspect of SaaS and focus on what it really is.

Which is… a web application (by which I include both HTML access for
humans and programmatic access via APIs.). To illustrate this point, I
summarized the content of this blog entry. No need to repeat it here.
The bottom line is that any distinction between SaaS and POWA (Plain
Old Web Applications) is at worst arbitrary and at best concerned with
the business relationship between the provider and the consumer rather
than  technical aspects of the application.
{see article at URL above}
Which means that for most technical aspect of how SaaS is delivered,
consumed and managed, what you should care about is that you are
dealing with a Web application, not a Cloud service. To illustrate
this, I put up the…
{see article at URL above}
… guillotine slide. Which is probably the only thing people will
remember from the presentation, based on the ample feedback I got
about it. It probably didn’t hurt that I also made fun of my country
of origin (you can never go wrong making fun of France), saying that
the guillotine was our preferred way of solving any problem and also
the last reliable piece of technology invented in France (no customer
has ever come back to complain). Plus, enough people in the audience
seemed to share my lassitude with the 3-layer Cloud stack to find its
beheading cathartic.

Come to think about it, there are more similarities. The guillotine is
to the axe what Cloud Computing is to traditional IT. So I may use it
again in Cloud presentations.

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