|By Jeremy Geelan||
|October 3, 2009 07:00 PM EDT||
"Ultimately, we believe that advancement in cloud computing technology will be driven by open source initiatives where large communities of engineers can collaborate and develop new code for the new applications and demands posed by the cloud model," says Shelton Shugar, SVP Cloud Computing at Yahoo! - and upcoming Keynote Speaker at SYS-CON's 4th International Cloud Computing Expo, in this Exclusive Q&A with Cloud Computing Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan.
Jeremy Geelan: What are the chief advantages of Cloud Computing from the point of view of Yahoo!’s customers worldwide?
Shelton Shugar: Yahoo! has more than 500 million unique users per month across the world. Yahoo! Cloud services enable us to provide superior user experiences and deliver targeted content to our enormous audience. Examples include faster content access around the globe, real-time sports updates, a personalized homepage experience, targeted news feeds, geo-specific ads and many more.
In addition, Yahoo! Cloud technologies enable us to innovate faster based on common, global and scalable platforms, thus enabling consumers to gain access to innovative features and products faster than ever before.
As one of the largest providers of consumer Internet services in the world, Yahoo’s cloud operates at virtually unprecedented scale, making it a unique environment and testing ground for cloud computing technologies.
Geelan: You have been quoted as saying that “Cloud is pushing up the Operational Excellence curve” – what exactly do you mean by that?
Shugar: Almost no other company can boast of having to tune its infrastructure to deal with the technical requirements and high standards of performance that are involved in serving more than 500 million unique users per month across the world. To meet this challenge, Yahoo!’s Cloud includes a collection of infrastructure and functional services targeted at dramatically improving the company’s efficiency throughout the entire product development cycle, from gathering user feedback and insight, to feature testing and iteration to ongoing product operations.
Cloud technologies allow us to achieve higher agility and quality while maintaining scale to meet the needs of our users. When I say “Cloud is pushing up the Operational Excellence (OE) Curve,” I mean simply that cloud enable our developers to focus more on creating great products for our users and less on the “heavy-lifting” of building complex infrastructure.
Geelan: As we approach the zettabyte (and perhaps even yottabyte) age, can value really be extracted from the voluminous data that is now in existence? How is that possible?
Shugar: Yes, it’s possible using technologies such as Hadoop. Hadoop is an open source distributed file system and parallel execution environment. Yahoo! runs Hadoop on tens of thousands of servers, enabling us to process and extract value from massive amounts of data. Apache Hadoop is an open source project of the Apache Software Foundation. Yahoo! is the largest contributor to Hadoop technology as well as its largest user.
Yahoo! recognized that the next-generation Web-scale services demand large distributed systems, and a growing number of other companies and organizations are likely to need similar capabilities. In addition to contributing most of the Hadoop code base, Yahoo! provides open source resources to the academic research community enabling them to access Internet-scale supercomputers for conducting systems and applications research.
Geelan: So exploring data-intensive computing in industry is clearly gaining momentum; what specific initiatives has Yahoo! been taking to encourage expertise in Hadoop and progress toward faster supercomputers? (Just a few, maybe – I know there are many!!)
Shugar: Earlier this year, Yahoo! announced the Yahoo! Distribution of Hadoop, in response to frequent requests from the community. Yahoo! is opening up its investment in Hadoop quality engineering via the Yahoo! Distribution of Hadoop, which has been tested and deployed at Yahoo! on the largest Hadoop clusters in the world and is based entirely on code available from Apache Hadoop. By making the Yahoo! Distribution of Hadoop generally available, Yahoo! is contributing back to the Apache Hadoop community so that the ecosystem can benefit from Yahoo!’s quality and scale investments.
In addition to Hadoop, Yahoo! is heavily investing in other cloud-related technologies such as storage, distributed caching, and serving to solve massive data-intensive computing challenges with serving our consumers.
Yahoo! also has very strong expertise in next generation cloud computing and data management technologies, and is leveraging its leadership in open source software, including Hadoop and Pig, to contribute to global, collaborative efforts around Internet-scale computing.
Over the past few years, we have made significant partnerships and have contributed technology to some of the leading research and development entities worldwide:
- November 2007: Deployment of a supercomputing-class data center, called M45, for cloud computing research (first deployed at Carnegie Mellon University).
- July 2008: Open Cirrus™ testbed formed with Hewlett Packard, Intel, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in Singapore, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany
- April 2009: University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst join Carnegie Mellon University to take advantage of Yahoo!’s cloud computing resources
- June 2009: Participation at Open Cirrus Summit, three new sites to join Open Cirrus: the Russian Academy of Sciences, Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), and Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS).
Geelan: When Yahoo! contributes to open source software such as Pig and Hadoop, what does the company get back?
Shugar: Yahoo! is a long-time supporter and contributor to open source software. Yahoo! is a platinum sponsor of The Apache Software Foundation, and the leading contributor to Hadoop to date, for example. Several members of Yahoo!'s development teams are active, long-term code contributors to Apache Hadoop, and we are committed to advancing the state-of-the-art in distributed computing through the incubation of new Apache projects.
We currently, and will continue to, actively collaborate with the industry, academia and the open source community, including through our Open Cirrus consortium, involvement with Hadoop, Pig and gradually other cloud-related technologies, and support of Apache. We are contributing back to the community so that the ecosystem can benefit from Yahoo!’s quality and scale investments, renowned technologists and innovation in next-generation Web technologies.
Yahoo! benefits from the contributions of others to open source projects and is able to collaborate with and sometimes hire the most talented researchers and engineers in the world, based on their interest in large scale application of open source technologies.
Geelan: And how does helping developers help Yahoo! in bottom line terms?
Shugar: We believe that the developer community is a key component in making Yahoo! a success. The challenges the industry is facing today in terms of large-scale, global cloud solutions are bigger than any one company (big or small) is able to solve on its own. As we contribute to the community, we also learn from the community, and third party developers are a valuable resource helping to speed innovation
Yahoo! is gradually open sourcing its cloud technology for this exact reason. We want to provide developers out there with an open source framework of scalable cloud technology that will enable them to build tools and solutions that in return will help Yahoo! (and the entire industry) to address these complex challenges.
In addition we believe this ecosystem of solutions “powered by” the core cloud technology will directly benefit Yahoo! consumers. This will provide consumers with customized web-applications (targeted at solving specific user needs) faster and better than ever before.
Geelan: What is it technically that makes Hadoop so powerful for large scale data processing? Are there alternatives?
Shugar: Hadoop provides the software infrastructure used across Yahoo! for large scale distributed computing and back-end data analytics, including fighting spam in Yahoo! Mail, content optimization for the Yahoo! homepage, and better ad targeting based on data analysis.
Hadoop provides a framework that distributes data and processing across thousands of computers, which working in parallel allows us to process and analyze enormous amounts of data in a very efficient manner.
We find Hadoop the ideal solution for Y! based on its scalability and flexible programming environment.
Geelan: How about enterprises, are they going to be adopters of Hadoop too?
Shugar: Yahoo! was the first major technology company to adopt Hadoop. Since then, many other companies, large and small, have begun using Hadoop. You can find more information about how others using Hadoop here: http://wiki.apache.org/hadoop/PoweredBy.
Geelan: What happens to Yahoo!’s Distribution of Hadoop and growth of the Apache Hadoop project overall in light of the deal with Microsoft?
Shugar: Hadoop is our de facto standard scalable data processing platform at Yahoo!. In addition to Search, Hadoop is used to support display advertizing, content platforms, personalization, machine learning for filtering email spam, research, and all other large scale data analysis and mining.
We remain as committed as ever to developing and using Hadoop, and in contributing our code to the open source community. The Yahoo! Hadoop development team will be busy delivering on short and long term roadmaps.
We look forward to continuing to work with the wider Hadoop community to build an increasingly better Hadoop that will support Yahoo! and the industry’s needs in this area. We have by far the largest team of developers and testers working on the project and hundreds of internal customers who use tens of thousands of computers in large Hadoop clusters. We plan to continue to work on improving the Hadoop core to make it faster, more scalable, reliable and secure.
Geelan: What exactly is the Yahoo! Cloud Serving Platform?
Shugar: For the time being, Yahoo!’s is focused on developing a “private cloud”, focused on making the Yahoo! experience as extraordinary, effective and productive as possible for consumers and advertisers across the world. We see this as a multi-year effort that will provide significant advantages for Yahoo! now and in the future.
The Yahoo! Cloud Serving Platform provides Yahoo! developers, engineering and operations with a technology to build, test, deploy, and manage application in an elastic cloud infrastructure that can grow and shrink based on changing workloads.
The cloud serving architecture is based on the following key concepts:
• Abstracts concerns of the underlying infrastructure and network communication from developers and operations
• Uses virtualization and commodity hardware
• Employs a declarative programming language for defining services and applications • Automates the deployment process
• Standardizes software stacks and packaging
The Yahoo! cloud serving architecture represents a shift in the programming paradigm and, as such, can require a fundamental shift in application-design thought processes.
Geelan: Are interoperability and openness important in Cloud Computing, as far as Yahoo! is concerned?
Shugar: Ultimately, we believe that advancement in cloud computing technology will be driven by open source initiatives where large communities of engineers can collaborate and develop new code for the new applications and demands posed by the cloud model. Yahoo! is a leader in supporting open and collaborative research and development as a competitive advantage, enabling the open source community to drive forward the pace of innovation. We believe open source and collaborative innovation is the way to address the complex challenges that large-scale cloud solution presents. Yahoo! will continue to participate and contribute to such efforts wherever appropriate.
Geelan: What other plans does Yahoo! have, moving forward, for helping deliver a cloud at the scale of the Internet?
Shugar: We are investing internally in further building out and deploying cloud computing technologies and services across the global Yahoo! operation so as to help our product teams innovate faster and deliver high-quality experiences to our customers across the globe.
Over time, we may consider exposing our cloud services in a more comprehensive manner through the Yahoo! Developer Network, which serves as Yahoo!’s front door for third parties seeking to engage with our developer tools and web services. However, we have nothing specific to share at this time.
Geelan: Lastly, 2009 has so far been a year of obvious challenges, from both a CapEx and an OpEx perspective, for anyone involved with Enterprise IT. So, what’s your top tip, as a seasoned software executive, to those other IT execs out there right now – especially CTOs of embattled start-ups who may be looking for some magic bullet to ensure they’re alive (and well) as a company in 2010?
Shugar: For startups and small companies, there are public cloud offerings coupled with other commercial cloud vendors that can provide a pay as you go infrastructure minimizing CapEx investments and reducing the risk in deploying new products. For larger or enterprise companies, a hybrid model maintaining existing compute infrastructure while leveraging public cloud offerings for less critical or experimental projects may provide more flexibility at reduced CapEx.
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 30, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 4,385
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Jan. 30, 2015 04:45 AM EST Reads: 4,939
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Jan. 30, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 4,922
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:30 AM EST Reads: 5,791
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:30 AM EST Reads: 5,157
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 2,824
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Jan. 30, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 4,893
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Jan. 30, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 4,822
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 4,872
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 4,825
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Jan. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 4,536
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Jan. 30, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 4,874
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:15 PM EST Reads: 5,473
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jan. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 5,203
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 4,958
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 29, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 6,083
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 4,422
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 5,209
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Jan. 29, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 3,249
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Jan. 29, 2015 01:15 PM EST Reads: 4,267