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When the Cloud Is Run on a Cloud

Cloud News Round Up

At first blush, it sounds like a mystic's riddle, somewhere in the vicinity of the sound of one hand clapping. But in reality, it's a setup that makes perfect sense: Rackspace runs its OpenStack cloud in another OpenStack cloud.

"We're running our cloud inside of a cloud," John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace, recently told Wired.com. "All of the control nodes that are necessary to serve the customers on our cloud are running in another OpenStack cloud."

The arrangement is only natural. "It's a better way of doing things," Engates said. "We're merely eating our own dog food. The application we're offering to customers is running on that same application."

OpenStack is a way of pooling resources from a vast collection of machines, including processing power and storage space. Rather than running your software application on a particular server, you run it on OpenStack, a platform that spans hundreds of servers, and this platform can grab you as much processing power as you need, whenever you need it. This makes it easier to launch applications, but it also makes it easier to expand or "scale" them - to reach more users with more servers. And when a server fails, the platform is smart enough to move the machine's work to a new one.

But OpenStack is itself a software application. It too can run on OpenStack, and there's good reason for it to do so. If OpenStack runs on Openstack, Rackspace can more easily deploy it and expand it and update it.

Aereo Legality Upheld by U.S. Court
Cloud computing earned a legal victory recently in a case that has pitted a startup against major broadcasting players.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York has refused to shut down Aereo, a service that lets users record live broadcast content in the cloud for later consumption.

While the court decision was aimed specifically at Aereo, it would apply to any individual or service that was recording and storing broadcast content in the cloud, according to an article on eWEEK.com.

Aereo provides a service that features individual Internet-accessible television receivers, each with its own "antenna" and each with access to cloud storage. Aereo lets subscribers view shows in real time, with a slight delay, or for replay at a later time. Subscribers use Aereo as a way to time shift television shows and skip commercials, just as they might do with a DVR (digital video recorder) at home.

The difference between Aereo and a DVR is that customers don't have to buy the DVR equipment, which is expensive. The fact that the system uses individual receivers and antennas means that Aereo isn't considered a cable television service, which also is covered by copyright rules. Instead, the only significant difference between Aereo and an over-the-air television receiver with a DVR attached is that Aereo uses the cloud for storage and has the receiver a distance away from the user rather than at the user's home or office.

The major television networks said that Aereo was infringing on their copyrights because the cloud-based storage made it a public performance. The court disagreed and held that the use didn't infringe.

Memes of the Week: Cloud Computing
With great power comes great Web memes.

And it seems not even the cloud is immune from ending up as the subject of some pretty clever memes, posted here on the careers section of SiliconRepublic.com. Ain't nobody got time for that? Think again.

Cloud computing shows no signs of letting up. Gartner forecast the public cloud services market will grow 18.5 percent this year and will reach $131 billion worldwide.

With this growth comes jobs. Cloud computing can be a key component in the roles of systems analysts, network system administrators, network and data communication analysts, information systems security specialists, Web developers, application software developers, application programmers, and database administrators.

And with these jobs come workers who apply some humor to the world of cloud computing.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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