Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog, Andreas Grabner

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Agile Computing: Article

Can Google Chrome Bring Cloud Computing to the Masses?

Google is looking to make a profit from this ploy by getting people to use the "cloud" for lots of other applications

Stephen DeAngelis's "Enterprise Resilience" Blog

Google is following a common pattern used in the IT industry - get something out there and then tweak it as necessary. I'm not sure how all of this will play out. I do know that when the elephants start fighting a lot of dust will be raised. Only when that dust settles will we have a better idea about the future of cloud computing and the Internet.

As New York Times technology columnist Steve Lohr reports, "Hardly a day goes by, it seems, without some announcement of a new “cloud computing” offering or initiative." ["Commercializing the Cloud," 1 August 2008] Lohr's column was about two new IBM data centers that are going to be built in Tokyo and North Carolina.

"The I.B.M. statement says its North Carolina operation will afford its lucky customers 'unparalleled access to massive Internet-scale computing capabilities while gaining the cost and environmental protection advantages of I.B.M.'s industry-leading energy efficiency data center design.' Yes, yes, a veritable technological second coming. The skeptics might point out that I.B.M. has been promoting a back-to-the-future vision of computing delivered as a service from large data centers for more than six years. Back then, it was called computing-on-demand — a sort of digital equivalent of an electric utility. Still, what we’re seeing today is an evolutionary step beyond the earlier vision. The cloud centers, analysts note, rely on a technological bedrock of industry-standard server computers and open-source software like Linux, linked together in huge computing clusters. Many of the techniques were initially developed in the nation's federal supercomputing labs. The technology was applied at scale by the pioneering Internet companies (think Amazon, Yahoo and Google), and now I.B.M. and its commercial brethren are beginning to offer cloud computing."

Lohr also noted that Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard and Intel had announced a joint cloud research program. All this is great for big commercial and government clients, but Google now wants to bring the power of cloud computing to individual home users via a new browser ["Google's Chrome Ups Ante," by Heather Green, BusinessWeek, 3 September 2008]. Green writes:

"Browser wars? On steroids. When Google announced on Sept. 1 that it was releasing its own Web browser, Chrome, the immediate buzz was that the bruising battles over browser domination, played out between Netscape and Microsoft in the late 1990s, were back on. Google, though, has much bigger ambitions. The goal, say Google execs, is not merely to win share of an existing market, but to change the very nature of Internet browsing—and the way we use computers. If Chrome works as planned, it will lead much of computing from the desktop—Microsoft's domain—toward remote data centers. These, in Google's lingo, are known as the 'cloud.' Google runs the biggest and most efficient data centers on earth, and moving much of the world's computing from desktops into its clouds is the heart of the company's strategy."

Of course, this isn't just about browsing using the power of cloud computing. Google is looking to make a profit from this ploy by getting people to use the "cloud" for lots of other applications as well.

"'Google really believes the future of the Web is running applications on the Web,' says Danny Sullivan, who runs Calafia Consulting, a Web consulting firm. 'They want to be leading the charge.'"

As Steve Lohr noted above, IBM shares the same vision of the future. But IBM and Google aren't the only big corporations interested in capturing a share of the future. When it comes to browser wars, Green writes:

"As this battle commences, Microsoft enjoys a towering head start. Its Internet Explorer dominates the browser market, with 75% share. And Microsoft is launching its latest upgrade, IE8, which is loaded with new features. Google's Chrome, by contrast, appears bare-bones. Its power, say Google engineers, will come from its ability to run applications faster and more securely, especially those hosted outside the PC, on the cloud. Unlike Google's top-secret search algorithms or the proprietary software it uses to carry out its searches, Chrome was born as an open-source system."

"Bare-bones" doesn't exactly make Chrome appear to be a likely contender to dethrone Internet Explorer. Green, however, reminds her readers of how the browser war began.

"To understand what's new [about Chrome], think of Netscape, the browsing sensation 14 years ago at the dawn of the World Wide Web. The goal back then was simply to open and read Web pages. This is still important, of course, whether Web surfers are reading a story in The New York Times or checking out a friend's home page on MySpace. Most browsers today, including Mozilla Firefox and Apple's Safari, have grown to provide that Web browsing service. Google, though, wants people to use browsers to do much more, particularly to run software applications, like word processing, spreadsheets, video editing, and conferencing. In Google's scheme, the browser is a gateway into the clouds, one that will eventually be tapped from anywhere—a PC, a mobile phone, perhaps even a television. And many of the applications available in the clouds, from calendars to e-mail, will likely compete directly with Microsoft's dominant suite of Office applications, including Excel and Outlook. Says Google co-founder Sergey Brin: 'What we have is a lightweight engine for running Web applications that doesn't have the baggage of an operating system.'

As you can imagine, Google touches a sensitive nerve for Microsoft when it discusses "the baggage of an operating system." Microsoft is taking notice Green reports.

"Microsoft insists that even with the growth of cloud computing, users will still demand powerful applications and processing power in their own machines. At the same time, Microsoft has equipped its newest browser with features to throttle Google's exploding search market share. IE8 lets users block information that helps Google place more relevant ads, and it offers an improved Microsoft-oriented search toolbar. Still, the lofty promises surrounding Chrome do raise concerns at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Dean Hachamovich, general manager of Internet Explorer, wonders if Google is embarking on a browser that will separate it, and its users, from the rest of Web traffic. 'As they add things, what happens to everybody else?' he asks. 'Is the Web going to become bifurcated? Trifurcated?'"

Raising fears is always a good tactic for those invested heavily in the status quo. Google executives dismiss such concerns.

"Google executives don't foresee such a schism, but instead predict that others may well borrow the most enticing features from the open-source program. The keys for Chrome, they say, are not a host of jazzy applications, but instead a system that provides speed, security, and easy-to-understand software applications. First-day reviews are mixed, with some reports of glitches and slow downloads. But if, with a few tweaks, Google can coax businesses and consumers to move more of their computing from the desktop onto the Web, the payoff in Google's core business—advertising—could be tremendous. A migration onto its clouds would provide Google with more places to collect data and to serve search ads."

Green reports that Google is launching its new browser in a big way.

"The company is launching Chrome, which it has been working on for two years, in 43 languages and 122 countries. (For now, it's available only for Windows machines—not Macs or Linux.) Most of the magic is hidden inside the system. Google engineers developed a multiprocessor architecture, which means that the browser can run separate applications in different tabs at the same time. So if one application crashes, the rest continue to perform. Though rumors have swirled for years that Google was pursuing its own operating system or a browser, the venture still surprised many. That's because Google has had a close partnership with Mozilla, which manages the Firefox browser. Google's search pops up as Firefox's home page and is the main search engine."

Analysts' surprise over Google's new browser is understandable. Google seemed to have a solid partnership with Mozilla and Firefox has made serious inroads in the browser market. Green continues:

"During the past four years, Firefox has taken off, growing from zero market share to 20%, eating away at the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. As Firefox has taken off, so has Google's reach on the browser. So the fact that it went out on its own, rather than working with Firefox to overhaul the browser, underlines how important cloud computing is to Google's future."

Chrome's release hasn't been without problems, Green reports. But Google is following a common pattern used in the IT industry -- get something out there and then tweak it as necessary.

"Early reviews point to drawbacks of the browser, including the lack of a way to manage bookmarks. Google admits that it's following its familiar pattern of 'launch early and iterate.' John Lilly, the chief executive of Mozilla, who has seen his share of upsets, says it's hard to gauge how popular Chrome can become. 'The consumer Internet is a wild and wacky thing, I think that a lot of people will start experimenting right away with Chrome. But this is a story that will play out over weeks, months, and years, not hours and days.'"

I'm not sure how all of this will play out. I do know that when the elephants start fighting a lot of dust will be raised. Only when that dust settles will we have a better idea about the future of computing and the Internet.

 

More Stories By Stephen F. DeAngelis

Stephen F. DeAngelis is founder, president and chief executive officer of Enterra Solutions, LLC - the leader in Advanced Enterprise Management Systems, helping public and private sector clients transform into resilient enterprises that proactively mitigate strategic and operational risk and optimize enterprise performance. DeAngelis
was recognized as an Esquire’s 2006 Best and Brightest honoree in innovation. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, he is a visiting scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a visiting scientist at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a senior fellow and adjunct professor at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in King’s Point, New York. In June 2008, DeAngelis joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Iraq
Initiative as its co-chair and also serves as co-chair of its Kurdistan Region of Iraq Investment Taskforce.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Microservices Articles
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...