At Atlantic.Net, we hold various certifications (such as SSAE 16, Type II), titles (such as Official Server Host of Disaster Recovery Journal), and organizational memberships (such as the Cloud Advisory Council). Our history of accolades and achievements is not just an effort to show credibility. Integrating ourselves with the hosting world, general IT world, and overall marketplace helps us learn and grow synergistically with expertise from our industry and all walks of life.
In this article, as the Cloud Advisory Council approaches its one-year anniversary, we will explore the role of the organization pertaining to cloud computing. Essentially, it is a number of hosting, datacenter, and other web infrastructure and high-tech organizations and professionals working together to make cloud computing as predictable and secure as possible (similarly to the Cloud Security Alliance). Below, we will look at what the organization is, along with its membership, published content, events, and a sample issue targeted by the CAC.
Note that we covered the initial founding of the Cloud Advisory Council last year. Here we will give general information as well as updates on what has happened in the first 12 months.
History, Mission & Membership
On August 27, 2012, the Cloud Advisory Council announced its formation. The council is a nonprofit intended to chart and guide the progress of cloud infrastructure. By drawing from the expertise of cloud practitioners across a broad spectrum, the CAC seeks to educate web designers and IT personnel, facilitating standards and best practices throughout the industry.
The specific, stated goals of the CAC are as follows:
- determine how the cloud will structurally develop
- issue free and transparent guidelines for the cloud
- publish advice for tools and processes to streamline cloud technology
- provide resources that improve the cloud administrative experience.
Membership in the Cloud Advisory Council is not limited to large organizations. Rather, it is based on expertise and interest in the objectives of the CAC. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), independent software vendors (ISVs), and companies supplying technological products and services comprise the foundation of the CAC. Currently the organization has 45 corporate members. However, end-users can also apply for membership, providing a broader perspective that extends to all angles of the cloud rather than just the supply side.
To present its findings and offer educational support on the cloud to the broader community, the Cloud Advisory Council publishes papers of the following three types (listed along with the first articles in each category):
- Best practices. Sample: With cloud-based applications, storage performance is one of the greatest issues. One confusing aspect is how it fluctuates. Users can also impact the experience of other users, and monitoring is complex as well. What are the best solutions?
- Case studies. Sample: If you understand the basics of redundancy, you can see why RAID – redundant array of independent disks – is so commonly used. If any of the disks becomes damaged, the data is backed up across multiple drives. However, at hyperscale (scaling to thousands of computers, typical for filtering big data across enterprises), RAID is no longer an effective solution.
- White papers. Sample: Understanding energy efficiency for cloud computing, or any aspect of web infrastructure, is difficult to ascertain. Data centers often do not provide information related to their power use; and if they do, it may not be reliable. It’s private information a company can choose not to disclose. Plus, as new hardware develops, efficiency models must evolve with them in order to be accurate. How do we work with the information available to improve efficiency?
The Cloud Advisory Council has taken part in numerous events, primarily via webinars. These events allow the CAC to showcase its aggregate knowledge and present with partners in the field for the benefit of attendees. The Council’s first live event will be an appearance at VMworld 2013 (August 25-29 in San Francisco, California). Previous live webinars have been conducted with Mirantis, Eucalyptus Systems, Big Switch Networks, and Stanford University.
Sample Issue: The Open-Source Enterprise
Cloud Advisory Council Co-Chairman David M. Fishman addressed an issue recently for the CAC: how to take an open-source cloud and get it into the hands of IT managers within enterprises. Though Fishman describes the current climate for IT professionals as “a blizzard of challenges,” he argues that the cloud is perhaps the most daunting adaptation taking place in the world of computing.
Open source has changed the nature of cloud accessibility. OpenStack, initially developed by RackSpace and NASA, allows enterprises – or anyone – to see the internal workings of a cloud infrastructure. OpenStack is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model, just like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Because OpenStack is open source, though, it’s much more exciting to organizations from a customization and developmental perspective.
We are proud to be a part of the Cloud Advisory Council. The work of the organization during the first year of operation has been phenomenal. We’re excited to see how it will grow and the new innovations it will bring to the marketplace.
By Kent Roberts