Gamification is a very interesting concept for motivating individuals and teams for business objectives, by using concepts usualy found in games, and more specificaly in computer games. For example, I have been involved in the development of a tool for motivating contact center agents using leaderboards and KPIs.
I have stumbled upon this interesting video/lesson where these concepts are explored for educational purposes:
Containers seem like an interesting technology for many virtualization and cloud scenarios, specially for hosting providers looking to support more virtual machines or service instances in a physical host.
Check this video for an overview: “Containers and the Cloud: Do You Need Another Virtual Environment? – James Bottomley, Parallels”
In my day job at Satory Global I spend a lot of time educating people about the Windows Azure Platform and helping them develop applications on the platform. In my book, the Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook, I provided instructions for how to perform about 80 or so specific tasks when developing for the Windows Azure Platform. In this blog, I tend to write posts focused on a specific Windows Azure feature or API. In a post about a year or so ago I described the Windows Azure Platform as it was then. In this post I am going to describe the Windows Azure Platform as it is now, showing how the recently announced infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) features complement the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) features that have traditionally defined Window Azure.
The post is organized around the four core features of any cloud service offering:
Apache CloudStack can be used to deploy a full-featured public or private IaaS cloud. You can use it to manage either a small private cloud containing a few VM hosts or a large-scale public cloud spanning several distributed regions and thousands of machines.
CloudStack is compatible with several hypervisors. This means that you can use it to manage an heterogenous network of VM host providers.
Acording to Apache, these are some of the features it provides:
Works with hosts running XenServer/XCP, KVM, Hyper-V, and/or VMware ESXi with vSphere
BareMetal (via IPMI)
vSphere (via vCenter)
Provides a friendly Web-based UI for managing the cloud
May provide an Amazon S3/EC2 compatible API (optional)
Manages storage for instances running on the hypervisors (primary storage) as well as templates, snapshots, and ISO images (secondary storage)
Orchestrates network services from the data link layer (L2) to some application layer (L7) services, such as DHCP, NAT, firewall, VPN, and so on
Set up an on-demand elastic cloud computing service.
Allow end-users to provision resources
CloudStack consists of the management server and the cloud infrastructure (resources to be managed). Inside the cloud infrastructure, the resources are grouped using the following terminology:
Regions: A collection of one or more geographically proximate zones managed by one or more management servers.
Zones: Typically, a zone is equivalent to a single datacenter. A zone consists of one or more pods and secondary storage.
Pods: A pod is usually a rack, or row of racks that includes a layer-2 switch and one or more clusters.
Clusters: A cluster consists of one or more homogenous hosts and primary storage.
Host: A single compute node within a cluster; often a hypervisor.
Primary Storage: A storage resource typically provided to a single cluster for the actual running of instance disk images. (Zone-wide primary storage is an option, though not typically used.)
Secondary Storage: A zone-wide resource which stores disk templates, ISO images, and snapshots.
About the management server:
Provides the web interface for both the adminstrator and end user.
Provides the API interfaces for both the CloudStack API as well as the EC2 interface.
Manages the assignment of guest VMs to a specific compute resource
Manages the assignment of public and private IP addresses.
Allocates storage during the VM instantiation process.
Manages snapshots, disk images (templates), and ISO images.
Provides a single point of configuration for your cloud.
Elastic scaling is one of the offered fetaures:
In a basic network, configuring the physical network is fairly straightforward. In most cases, you only need to configure one guest network to carry traffic that is generated by guest VMs. If you use a NetScaler load balancer and enable its elastic IP and elastic load balancing (EIP and ELB) features, you must also configure a network to carry public traffic.
For some hypervisors you can enable automatic elastic scaling, by speciyfing some performance indicator value thresholds.
“Watson” is a very interesting tool that allows you to search the [Semantic] Web for semantically anotated documents containing your search items. You can use its web interface or its API to fetch results.