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Re: Please let's not talk about "clouds"

On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM, Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> wrote:
    > Now I know what you are referring to.  This is remote virtual computer
    > rental.

    No. Cloud IaaS is very different from just "virtual computer".

I said "remote virtual computer rental", not just "virtual computer".

If what you're talking about is different from remote virtual computer
rental, then I don't understand clearly.  What, concretely, is the

    > Ethically it is a totally different issue from SaaS.

    In both cases, you rely on the underlying installed things by the provider.

I don't think that is inherently a problem.  Not that as such.

    > What does "proprietary" mean in the context of remote virtual server
    > rental?

    We don't have the source code of AWS or Azure. But we do have the source
    code for OpenStack

Is AWS a program, or is it a service?
In other words, does Amazon offer you a copy of AWS (a program),
or is it a service that you might communicate with thru an API?

It is, of course, the latter.  It is a service; it is, in fact, a number of discrete services.  At Eucalyptus, we do our best to provide you with "a copy of AWS" -- a local program that provides the same set of services, using the same APIs with the best fidelity we can manage, as free software.
It is a category error to describe a service as "proprietary" (or as
"free").  If AWS is a service, then it isn't proprietary, and it isn't

    IaaS clouds have very rich APIs and a huge amount of features.

When you call something a "cloud", you confuse it with many other
things; as a result, I have no idea what it really is.  I will replace
"cloud" with "thingumajig".  It conveys the same concrete information
(none at all), but has the virtue of being honest about conveying no

What sort of things are these APIs used to do?  Some of them might be
SaaSS -- it depends on the substance of what they do.

    Also, remember that you can rent a "private IaaS cloud" from these
    providers using OpenStack.

I don't know what a private IaaS thingumajig is.

Not sure if you are pressing this point in a Socratic method to force clarity -- but I find the NIST definitions of "cloud" helpful here, as they provide concrete terminology for study/debate:


They break "cloud computing" down into "essential characteristics" and "service models".

The "essential characteristics":

* On-demand self service of resources (give me a VM pls);
* Broad network access (can be accessed from anywhere and any device);
* Resource pooling (plug in lots of boxes and get VMs from any of them, transparently);
* Rapid elasticity (I want one VM. No, five! No, ten! No, back to one);
* Measured service (who used these 100 VMs?)

There are, naturally, many models that can satisfy these characteristics.  Amazon does so strictly as a service, the guts of which they do not share ("public IaaS"); Eucalyptus provides it as free software that you can host yourself ("private IaaS").

I agree; the terminology tends to be confusing and full of marketing-isms.  I personally am satisfied that we at Eucalyptus are trying to do the right thing -- i.e. provide freedom and choice for users who have attached themselves to the AWS service model.


Greg DeKoenigsberg, Eucalyptus
Build your own AWS-compatible cloud in 30 minutes:

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