Services that scale: the 'intercloud' emerges

When clouds go global and services are shared across multiple time zones, perhaps that heralds the emergence of a new structure. Some have taken to calling this global confederation of services the "intercloud.

When clouds go global and services are shared across multiple time zones, perhaps that heralds the emergence of a new structure. Some have taken to calling this global confederation of services the "intercloud."

Shades of the Internet, the network of networks. In a new post, Lori MacVittie provides a description of the intercloud:

"The intercloud is the natural evolution of global application delivery. The intercloud is about delivering applications (services) from one of many locations based on a variety of parameters that will be, one assumes, user/organization defined. Some of those parameters could be traditional ones: application availability, performance, or user-location. Others could be more business-focused and based on such tangibles as cost of processing."

We had a similar discussion at a BriefingsDirect panel a few months back, in which we debated who or what would be joining forces to offer comprehensive cloud-based services. Dana Gardner and other analysts speculated that many of the large infrastructure vendors would be banding their partner ecosystems into large cloud combines.

Pushing services out into the world to anyone anywhere who needs them just won't happen by magic, of course. Lori talks about "global load balancing" in her posts, which fits into the context of the intercloud. "What I find eminently exciting about the intercloud concept is that it requires a level of intelligence, of contextual awareness, that is the purview of application delivery," she points out. These applications being delivered across the intercloud are even being called "services" again, a la SOA, she points out.

The challenge is that "intercloud requires a bit more awareness than global application delivery; specifically it requires more business and data center specific awareness than we have available," she adds. Emphasis on the business part of the data. This requires automation -- to try to configure a global application delivery system manually would be tedious beyond tedious.