Ron Wilson, Altera
An air mass that begins life as a single huge cloud may separate, under the complex interactions of wind, temperature, pressure, and humidity, into several distinct strata with different characteristics. Similarly, today’s seemingly uniform cloud data centers are being transformed, through the emerging pressures of big-data computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), into multiple, distinct layers of computing, networking, and storage, reaching from the heart of the data center all the way to the myriad sensors and actuators strewn through the real world. Papers at April’s Open Server Summit in Santa Clara, California offered a unique cross-section view into this developing cloud stack.
An unusual feature of this stratification is that it appears to be driven not by the need for concentrated computing power—the usual force behind architectural change—but by constraints on the movement of data. Increasingly, bandwidth and latency, rather that giga floating point operations per second (GFLOPS), are determining the gross structure of the cloud.
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