My fellow blogger and Communications Director at DNS Europe, Steve Hurford, has put together a great position statement on the future of Cloud Computing and its relationship to Grids. Here is an excerpt:
Grids are the building blocks of future clouds
Without knowing today exactly what the future of cloud computing will look like, customers are faced with the decision of what choices to make that give real commercial benefits today and greatest flexibility for tomorrow. As we see it, future clouds will be formed from and accessible by those customers which adopt grid hosting infrastructures, develop multi-tennant applications and offer services that are not tethered by specific location, operating system, physical resources or other geographical constraints. Not only will they be able to integrate with future clouds but they will be best placed to take advantage of other cloud-enabled services and to offer their own services to other cloud contributors.
Clouds should not and will not be “owned”
The term cloud computing is today being used by many providers who, in fact, are actually offering Grid Hosting. Taking Google and Amazon as examples, they have opened up their own infrastructure for customers to deploy their own applications on their “clouds” and use their compute resources for a measured service fee. More correctly, these infrastructures should be called “grids” and the services called “Utility Computing”. Where these offerings substantially differ from our believe of what Cloud Computing will become is in their attempt to own the cloud. Ultimately we believe that this is a futile effort due to the pace of change of market requirements and their restricted service platform development capabilities. Provided that they eventually adopt the principles of open platform integration, they will however become very serious components of the future of cloud computing.
From grids to clouds
Under perhaps the simplest model for differentiating grids and clouds, grids are essentially building blocks, or discrete physical resources that will one day make up, or enable, clouds. One of the key drivers for businesses must therefore be to invest in a technology which facilitates the easiest transition from one to the other. A technology which will enable real cost savings today with open opportunities for tomorrow. A technology which provides a birthing ground for new application and service architectures which will one day fly the nest and reach full maturity in “the cloud”.