News Archive

Jun 6, 2009


RESERVOIR FP7 project is developing breakthrough system and service technologies that will serve as the infrastructure for Cloud Computing and Future Internet of Services by creative coupling of service virtualisation, grid computing, networking, and service management techniques.
Category: News
Posted by: sy

Consider a small start-up company that just came up with a great idea for a new Web 2.0 application. They have tested in-house a small-scale version of their system, and now they feel ready to go public into a full Internet scale service. What are the possibilities for expansion available today to this company? Clearly they can raise the funds needed to build their own infrastructure, but how big should this infrastructure be? If they start small and plan to grow with demand they may miss the opportunity – in today’s competitive online market, responsiveness is one of the most important factors in determining success or failure of an online based service. On the other hand if they build a massive infrastructure right from the beginning this may turn out too big of a bet – if the service is only partially successful, the investment will not be returned.

Alternatively, this start-up can partner with a hosting company. The emerging cloud computing paradigm for hosting web-based services, as best exemplified by the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or Google’s App Engine, aims to facilitate the creation of innovative internet scale services without worrying about the computational infrastructure needed to support these services. However, these new “cloud computing infrastructure providers” have a scalability problem of their own – what warranties can a single hosting company give to ensure that resources will always be available? In fact, no single hosting company can create a seemingly infinite infrastructure capable of serving increasing number of online-services, each with massive amounts of users and access at all times, from all locations.

To truly cater to the needs of service providers, it is inevitable that the compute cloud is going to be made of a federation of infrastructure providers. Only by partnering with each other, infrastructure providers can take advantage of the diversity factor and achieve the economies of scale needed to provide a seemingly infinite compute utility.

The high-level objective of the RESERVOIR project is to significantly increase the competitiveness of the European ICT industry through the introduction of a next-generation infrastructure for the deployment of complex services on a compute cloud that spans infrastructure providers and even geographies, while ensuring QoS and security guarantees. In doing so, RESERVOIR will provide a foundation for a service-based online economy where resources and services are transparently and flexibly provisioned and managed like utilities.

Cloud computing is just the latest incarnation of a concept that has been around since the 1960’s – the emergence of a general-purpose public computing utility. Throughout the story of computing we have seen such utilities appear in one form or another and even though some success stories exist, in particular in the area of high performance scientific computing, where grid computing made significant progress over the past decade, none of these attempts materialized into a general purpose compute utility that is accessible by anyone, at any time, from anywhere.

What makes cloud computing different is that recent developments in IT such as the appearance and fast adoption of virtualization technology for x86-based servers, as well as industry trends such as the adoption of Software as a Service as an alternative method for delivering functionality both to individuals as well as to companies, have finally created an opportunity/need for a global computing utility: On one hand the reluctance to use online services as a replacement for traditional software is lessening – the success of companies such as [17] proves that with the right set of security warranties and a competitive price, companies are willing to trust even their most valuable data – customer relations – to an online service provider. On the other hand, virtualization has made it possible to decouple the functionality of a system as it is captured by the software stack (OS, middleware, application, configuration and data) from the physical computational resources on which it executes, this in turn enables a new model for online computing – instead of specially crafted online software we can now think in terms of general purpose online virtual machines that can do anything, i.e., thru virtualization the era of a general purpose compute utility is now within reach.

Essentially, the RESERVOIR project aims to support the emergence of Service-Oriented Computing [18] as a new computing paradigm. In this paradigm, services are software components exposed through network-accessible, platform and language independent interfaces, which enable the composition of complex distributed applications out of loosely coupled components. Services will be a fundamental element of the online economy and will underlie virtually all business and government activities such as electronic commerce within and across organizational boundaries, enterprise applications, telecommunication systems, energy and utilities, healthcare, travel and entertainment and more. Service-Oriented Computing (SOC) carries the visionary promise of reducing software complexity and costs, expediting time-to-market, improving reliability and enhancing accessibility of consumers to government and business services. However, conditional to
the wide-scale penetration of SOC to the economic landscape, the ICT industry needs to solve several well-recognized technical challenges. One such key challenge is the development of a scalable and effective service-oriented infrastructure. This is the challenge addressed by RESERVOIR.

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