Monthly Archives: April 2009

Simon Wardley responds to my “Cloud Relationship Model” article

Simon Wardley, Software Services Manager at Canonical UK and noted Cloud Computing expert and public speaker, responds to my article “Cloud Relationship Model“, with specific mention of my paraphrasing of a talk I saw him give; and thereby explains the history behind the “*aaS” double entendre.

Seriously though, the number of heads on the “*aaS” Hydra continues to grow, and Simon’s comment soon focuses upon the genuine need for a stable and standardised taxonomy, something I agree with wholeheartedly, along with a little bit of temperance and cool-headedness when it comes to thinking up and announcing more “*aaS” classifications…


Alas I cannot claim that joke to be my own.

Back in early 2007 when I gave a talk at ETECH, I described the changes in the industry as a continued shift of the computing stack from a product to a service based economy.

At that time I often categorised the computing stack into three layers – software, software platform and hardware (back from 2006). Whilst I had made comments that the software layer was really about applications and therefore SaaS should have had a more unfortunate acronym, this was not my true crime nor the origin of the joke.

The problem was that whilst SaaS and HaaS had been in common usage, the mid layer was known as SaaS Platform. This neither fitted neatly into the naming convention nor was it correct, as this layer of the stack contained many framework elements. So I started to describe this as the framework layer and FaaS seemed to be the obvious choice.

Hence at OSCON in Jul’07 I described the stack as a trio of SaaS, FaaS and HaaS.

Robert Lefkowitz (in a later talk at OSCON’07) warned us that this trio of “oh so wrong” nomenclature would lead to a whole lot of “aaS” and hence the joke was born.

Well Robert, as always, was spot on. In the last few years we’ve seen a plethora of different “aaS” terms (at last count it was about 16, including multiple versions of DaaS). The last few years has seen a constant exercise in revisionism.

Whilst the distinction between the layers of the computing stack is valid and meaningful, especially in context of the shift from products to services, what is not meaningful is the constant creation and recreation of terms.

Fortunately we now seem to be settling down to a three layer stack of application, platform and infrastructure – though I’m sure there is going to be more arguments.

This is why I argue the one thing we need in cloud computing today is a stable taxonomy.

Good post by the way.

Simon W

Sun Microsystems, Dynamic Infrastructure and the Register

Sun’s Dynamic Infrastructure is a Suite of Services, enabled by technology, and is just one of the ways that we can help you move toward a virtualized datacenter platform that fully exploits our expertise in IT architecture and process automation, enabling agility through the extremely flexible, efficient and secure deployment of the IT infrastructure.

It’s being going for at least three or four years, possibly even longer, and is led by Jason Caroline, who also spent time looking after Sun’s “Solution Delivery Network” (SDN, or what Scott used to call “a great big freking web tone switch”), and is currently involved in some of the work around Sun’s Cloud Computing offerings. You can learn a whole lot more about Sun’s Dynamic Infrastructure initiative here:

You’d probably be unsurprised to find that our Datacentre Virtualisation, Consolidation and Efficiency practice is one of our most repetitively successful lines of business in the UK and Ireland; and is enabled by the great delivery team that have assembled over the years in the UK Sun Services organisation (I even worked with them myself more than a few times whilst I was part of Sun’s Professional Services organisation).

Over the last couple of days I’ve been getting more than a little bored by all the articles on the Register going on about IBM’s Dynamic Infrastructure initiative, especially as if you’d imagine from the articles no-one had ever combined the words “Dynamic” and “Infrastructure” before and because of the relative closeness of some of the messaging (and yes, you could argue the initiatives are totally different but my gripes are to do with the above).

You may think I’m going over the top here, but really, six articles in the last two days, each mentioning “Dynamic Infrastructure”, is going a bit far. I couldn’t resist leaving the following comment on the article most focused upon the initiative in the hope that that leaves the aforementioned a little more balanced…

Don’t want to rain on your parade but…

…Sun have been talking about ‘Dynamic Infrastructure’ for a few years now, in a similar light, you’d almost imagine someone might have read their press releases and material too.

More here:

Is syndication and responses a measure of blogging success?

Given that today marks the 5th year of (or just “bsc” to us Sun bloggers), and that it was this month two years ago that I published my first blog article (entitled “And finally“, an opinion piece on Gartner’s top ten predictions from 2007), I thought it would be nice to explore what “success” was in terms of blogging.

The most obvious indicator is large and regular readership, but I can’t imagine that that is all there is to it. The next most obvious criteria might be opinion setting, but measuring this seems troublesome and unscientific at that moment (until at least further semantic web infrastructure is in place to better relate meme flow across the Internet, although saying that Autonomy have an excellent visual analysis tool which is an early leading example in this field, the problem with this current non-semantic web model is that you have to generate meta-data by supposition, some of which is irregular at best).

Inward and outbound links are a major contributing factor in the calculation of Google’s “PageRank” algorithm, but I expect this to change significantly in the next few years as two things occur, increasingly effective “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) techniques which will require modification to Google’s rating criteria, and the rise of the semantic web as increasing amounts of meta-data is included with unstructured data across the Internet, driving up implicit relationships between information.

And that leaves me with syndication and pieces written in response to your articles. Frankly I’m not sure that you can qualify syndication as a measure of success of your blog, but I do think it’s a good indicator of how far your message is being spread. I’m still uncomfortable with this, as I would prefer something more Empirical, however I think it may be about the best ‘soft’ indicator we have at the moment.

So using syndication of, and responses to, my articles, as a potential leading indicator, I correlated the following list. Historically I would have used Technorati to generate this information, but Technorati is suffering from some real issues lately, it’s page layout has become befuddled, and worst of all it’s not capturing (even remotely) the responses to my articles, subsequently I used Google Analytics’ “Referring Sites” breakdown instead (the list below isn’t remotely exhaustive, so if there is anything missing you’d like me to add let me know).

Elephant in the room

Or is that “Elephant on the table” I’m never quite sure which of the two you should use, but whichever is the case you’ll be unsurprised to know that it turns out for regulatory and legislative reasons we as individuals should demonstrate caution and discretion about blogging about ‘you know what’ or writing about ‘you know who’ or ‘them’ either. So there we go, that’s why there’s less of ‘that sort of thing’ than you’d probably like.

In the absence of opinion pieces coming out of the community it’s best to stick with the official updates which can be found below.

The early history of packet switching in the UK

Read an excellent article the other week in the IEEE’s Communications Magazine on the UK’s contribution to early packet switching and what would evolve into Ethernet and the Internet.

At the moment you have to be an IEEE member to view the article, however it’s an excellent piece, especially for those interested in the history of communications and technology, as well as the UK’s contribution to the field.

I was particularly interested to read about the barriers the UK teams had, especially when it came to support from the UK communications and technology ecosystem of the time and the incumbent Government. Despite the gap in time some of the issues were surprisingly similar to those present today.

Here’s the abstract from the IEEE site:

In this issue of the History Column we bring you an article by Prof. Peter Kirstein, one of the original contributors to early packet switching. We are probably all familiar with the history of the Internet, beginning with its genesis in the American-developed ARPAnet of the late 1960s and early 1970s. We may be less familiar with the contributions of British researchers, as well as those in other countries such as France, at about the same period of time, who worked closely with American researchers as well as independently in developing the packet-switching technology so fundamental to the Internet. Prof. Kirstein recounts the early activities by British engineers, led by Donald Davies of the National Physical Laboratory, the British Post Office, those of his own group at University College London, and others as well. He also ties this work into ongoing activities in the United States at the time. In future History Columns we plan to have similar articles by U.S. packet-switching pioneers on their own early activities in the field. This series of articles on the genesis of the Internet should be of great interest to all communication engineers. We commend the article following to your attention.

For those not in the IEEE, who are thus excluded from reading this excellent article, the BBC has a nice online piece about the UK’s contribution to early packet switching technology, with particular reference to British mathematician Dr. Donald Davies at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), accompanied by some nice video clips too.

Oracle Corporation set to aquire Sun Microsystems

The Wall Street Journal has just broken the news that Sun is to be acquired by Oracle over at This time it’s much more than a rumor or conjecture as both Sun and Oracle are announcing the news as well… …..