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Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprise.pdf

Facebook Meets the Virtualized …

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简介:本文档为《Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprisepdf》,可适用于IT书籍领域,主题内容包含FacebookMeetstheVirtualizedEnterpriseRogerCurry,CameronKiddle,NaydenMarkat符等。

Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprise Roger Curry, Cameron Kiddle, Nayden Markatchev, Rob Simmonds and Tingxi Tan Grid Research Centre, University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada {curry,kiddlec,nayden,simmonds,txtan}@cpsc.ucalgary.ca Martin Arlitt and Bruce Walker HP Labs, Palo Alto, U.S.A. {martin.arlitt,bruce.walker}@hp.com Abstract “Web 2.0” and “cloud computing” are revolutionizing the way IT infrastructure is accessed and managed. Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and social networking platforms provide Internet users with easier mechanisms to produce Web content and to interact with each other. Cloud computing technologies are aimed at running applications as services over the Internet on a scalable infrastructure. In this paper we explore the advantages of using Web 2.0 and cloud computing technologies in an enterprise setting to provide employees with a comprehensive and transparent environment for utilizing applications. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach we have developed an envi- ronment that uses a social networking platform to provide access to a legacy application. The application is hosted on an internal cloud computing infrastructure that adapts dy- namically to user demands. Initial feedback suggests this approach provides an improved user experience while sim- plifying management and increasing effective utilization of the underlying IT resources. 1. Introduction The “Web 2.0” era has brought us technologies such as blogs, wikis and social networking platforms. These technologies provide users more feature rich environments, make it easier for users to generate and share Web content, and increase online social connectivity. The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook [7] is a clear indi- cation of the perceived value of these technologies. We believe that an improved user experience would also be beneficial in an enterprise setting, as it would make tasks more enjoyable and less time consuming. It would likely also appeal to the new generation of enterprise employees, who are intimately familiar with the Web 2.0 experience. However, such technologies have not been widely adopted in enterprises due to concerns over security, produc- tivity and suitability in the workplace. In fact, many busi- nesses block employees from using social networking sites at the workplace [19]. The purpose of this paper is to (1) examine the lessons we have learned from the Web 2.0 era, (2) articulate the needs of enterprises and (3) recommend an IT model that merges the two in an acceptable manner. We have implemented a demonstrator to illustrate the potential benefits to enterprises of the approach we are recommending. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Sec- tion 2 describes lessons we have learned from the Web 2.0 era and Section 3 examines the IT requirements of enter- prises. Our proposed IT model, which leverages the benefits of Web 2.0 while addressing the needs of enterprises, is pre- sented in Section 4. Section 5 introduces our demonstrator, which highlights the utility of our approach. We conclude our paper in Section 6, with a summary of our work and future directions. A more detailed report of this work is pro- vided in [6]. 2. Lessons Learned from Web 2.0 In the past few years, the “Web 2.0” wave has provided new, simple ways for users to create and share content or applications, and communicate with one another. These ca- pabilities have been enabled by tools such as blogs, wikis, and social networking platforms. Our particular interest is in online social networking. Sites such as Facebook [7] and MySpace [15] have become extremely popular with Internet users, in part because of the simplified interfaces they pro- vide to desired capabilities. Simple yet powerful interfaces are extremely valuable as they make the power of IT acces- sible to almost everyone, with little or no training required. The “Web 2.0” wave has also brought users “choice” of applications. Among social networking sites, Facebook was the first to release an application development platform in May 2007. The Facebook Platform provides an API that al- lows third party applications to be integrated into Facebook. 12th International IEEE Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference 1541-7719/08 $25.00 2008 IEEE DOI 10.1109/EDOC.2008.19 284 12th International IEEE Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference 1541-7719/08 $25.00 2008 IEEE DOI 10.1109/EDOC.2008.19 284 12th International IEEE Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference 1541-7719/08 $25.00 2008 IEEE DOI 10.1109/EDOC.2008.19 284 12th International IEEE Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference 1541-7719/08 $25.00 2008 IEEE DOI 10.1109/EDOC.2008.19 286 Authorized licensed use limited to: XIDIAN UNIVERSITY. Downloaded on December 4, 2008 at 23:26 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply. Users are easily able to access and share a large variety of applications. By September of 2007 there were over 3,500 applications and as of April 2008 this number has increased to over 22,000. Consumers like choice of applications as it enables them to personalize their experience, without requir- ing application providers to do extra work. As an indication of the perceived value of an application development platform, other social networking sites, such as MySpace and hi5 [9], have followed suit. MySpace and hi5 use the OpenSocial API [8] being developed by Google. This is in contrast to the proprietary platform being used by Facebook. Applications developed using the OpenSocial API will be able to have more rapid and widespread deploy- ment on all of the sites that support the API. A major problem facing application developers for social networking platforms is that it is very difficult to predict the popularity and lifespan of applications. Figure 1 shows that most applications on Facebook are very unpopular; of the 15,036 applications that we had data for on April 21, 2008, 13,838 (92%) had less than one thousand active users, com- pared to the top 3 applications that had over one million ac- tive users. We expect a similar trend to exist for applications in an enterprise. A flexible IT infrastructure to support ap- plications in a cost effective and scalable manner is needed. Figure 1. Daily active users vs. rank of Face- book applications. 3. Requirements and Concerns of Enterprises We consider the requirements of enterprises from three different perspectives; CXOs (i.e., company executives), employees and IT organizations. CXOs have a variety of goals that directly affect the way their IT infrastructure is managed. These goals could include things such as “reduce costs”, “increase business flexibility” and/or “provide busi- ness continuity”. CXOs are concerned about security and risk. They regard data as a significant asset of the company and do not want that information shared with the world. At the opposite end of the spectrum, employees want an easily accessible and complete set of tools that enables them to more effectively do their jobs. Members of generation Y are the new enterprise employees. They grew up with the Internet and are quite familiar with social networking technologies. Use of these technologies in enterprise would therefore be very appealing to this new workforce. In the middle is the corporate IT organization, which must try to support this conflicting set of requirements. A com- mon approach today is to make the IT infrastructure (includ- ing applications) very static and controlled. This helps re- duce cost (the easiest goal to measure), but can limit flexi- bility and restrict the tools available to users. Much of IT infrastructure is underutilized much of the time. Methods to consolidate and make more efficient use of resources are always being sought. Enabling business continuity requires the maintenance of legacy applications which are typically not easily adapted to newer and more efficient IT manage- ment approaches. While many new technologies are emerg- ing, enterprises are more conservative than consumers. They need slower migration paths in the adoption of new technolo- gies. Enterprises also have many concerns when it comes to adopting general consumer social networking platforms. Adoption of such platforms has been limited in enterprise due to the lack of a professional feel, security concerns, and access to applications that so far, are typically more of a dis- traction than benefit to the workplace. The lifecycle of appli- cations is more dynamic and less predictable than enterprises are used to dealing with. Furthermore, applications can be developed and shared by anybody so concerns over who con- tinues to support and update applications becomes an issue. Enterprises have typically had a great deal of control over the application environment provided to employees. There are many social networking tools, such as Hud- dle [10], LinkedIn [13] and VisiblePath [21], that have been developed with enterprise users in mind. However, most focus on networking, collaborating and/or sharing informa- tion and not on providing a platform for accessing applica- tions. The recent release of the OpenSocial API based Intel- ligent Applications Platform [14] for LinkedIn could change this. There have also been some efforts to make some of the general purpose social networking tools more appropri- ate for enterprise. Huddle has a Facebook application called Workspaces [11] and WorkLight has a Facebook application called WorkBook [22], both aimed at enabling more secure use of Facebook in an enterprise setting. We argue that it is important to identify methods that make useful applications and services more accessible to employees (to improve productivity), enable more rapid de- ployment and dynamic configuration of these services (to in- crease flexibility), while allowing IT organizations to retain or increase control over the infrastructure they manage (to maintain cost accountability). Solving these issues could re- shape how computing is done within enterprises. 285285285287 Authorized licensed use limited to: XIDIAN UNIVERSITY. Downloaded on December 4, 2008 at 23:26 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply. 4. IT Model In this section we first explain in more detail our proposed IT model for accessing and hosting applications for enter- prises. We then discuss the benefits that this approach will have for enterprise employees, IT organizations and CXOs. Finally, we discuss some related efforts to our proposed ap- proach. 4.1. Proposed Approach Figure 2 shows a diagram of our proposed IT model. It is based on the use of a number of existing technologies, the combination of which provides the potential for a revolution- ary improvement in enterprise IT. A1 A2 An A1 A1 A2 A1 A2 A4 A7 An COS COS COS COSBOS BOS DOS AOS AOS hypervisor AOS hypervisor AOS hypervisor AOS hypervisorPhysical Appliances Nodes Virtual Applications Social Networking Platform Users Figure 2. Proposed IT model. On the user side we propose the use of a Facebook-like social networking platform that is more tailored to enterprise use. Employees would be able to search, access and use applications, share documents and other important informa- tion, and maintain/establish contact with other employees. Although some enterprises use portals that support some of these functionalities, the social networking aspects are largely lacking, as well as the simplified interface to (legacy) applications, the self/group help capabilities, etc. We realize that it may not be possible or appropriate to have all appli- cations accessible from the social networking platform ini- tially. The goal would be to first migrate simple, non-critical applications to this environment. Over time, additional and more critical applications could be added. On the IT management side, we propose that applica- tions be hosted with the aid of cloud computing technolo- gies. These technologies are aimed at scalable hosting of services in the Internet “cloud” transparent to the knowl- edge of the user. Example cloud computing offerings include Amazon Web Services (AWS) [1] and Sun Microsystems’ Network.com [20]. Both enable computing power to be pur- chased on an on-demand basis, with the ability to easily scale services up or down as needed. This enables applications to be supported without the need to have an existing infrastruc- ture and helps address the application popularity problem. The grand vision of cloud computing is that all applica- tions will be supported remotely, and accessed on demand from the Internet. However, for the foreseeable future, many enterprises will be reluctant to relinquish that degree of con- trol over their business. Instead, we propose that an “inter- nal cloud” model be followed, allowing enterprises to retain control, but at the same time place them on the path that would facilitate simple migration to selected Internet-based cloud services. The internal cloud would be maintained as a static and homogeneous set of physical resources. Applications would be packaged in Virtual Appliances that could be dynamically launched to scale appropriately to the demands of popular and not so popular applications. A Virtual Appliance is the combination of a virtual machine, custom operating system and application into a single image. Virtual machine technologies are employed in cloud com- puting solutions such as AWS. They make it possible for a single physical machine to be transformed into multiple vir- tual machines which can each be customized with their own specialized and streamlined operating system and applica- tion software. The use of virtual machine technologies pro- vides many advantages. They allow for more efficient use of resources aiding in resource consolidation. They also allow heterogeneous services to be supported in a single physical environment. Furthermore, checkpointing and migration ca- pabilities allow movement of virtual resources among the physical nodes of a data centre enabling the accommoda- tion of new service requests, system maintenance without disrupting services and balancing of workload among data centre nodes. Social networking platforms like Facebook allow any- body to develop and share applications. This is in con- trast to the current IT model where the IT organization is very restrictive in the applications that are made available to employees and who they are developed by. With the open model like Facebook a big concern for IT organizations would be how and by whom applications continue to be sup- ported and upgraded. We propose a model somewhere in be- tween these two that balances the need for increased choice by users and control by the IT organization. Ideally, developers of applications would provide pre- packaged Virtual Appliances with the applications and re- lated components, as well as the interface for accessing the application via the social networking platform. This may not be possible initially, or for legacy applications that no longer have development support. The IT organization or a third party could be responsible for creating and maintain- ing Virtual Appliances for these applications. With mini- mal effort these applications could be made accessible via the social networking platform as is (i.e., using existing user interfaces) by running a desktop sharing program such as VNC [18] in the Virtual Appliance. Users could be provided 286286286288 Authorized licensed use limited to: XIDIAN UNIVERSITY. Downloaded on December 4, 2008 at 23:26 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply. access to the VNC session and also provided with additional features to enable easier use of the application. 4.2. Benefits for Employees Management of applications and IT infrastructure as pro- posed in this paper could provide many benefits to employ- ees. First, the use of a social networking platform will en- able simpler use of applications. Employees will be pro- vided with a simple and intuitive interface for accessing ap- plications, including legacy applications. All applications will be accessible with a similar “look and feel” in a single integrated environment. The technical details of where the application is running and how it is accessed will be trans- parent to the employee. Not only should it reduce the time and effort for an employee to learn how to use an application, but it may enable employees to be comfortable in utilizing a much larger number of applications than they traditionally do. Employees will also be able to share experiences they have had with applications, rate them and learn from others. Second, exploiting social networking features will enable employees to leverage knowledge/expertise already in the enterprise, in as simple a way as possible. They will be able to more easily find and collaborate with other employees that have similar expertise, are working on similar problems, or that have the expertise they need to aid in the completion of a task. They will be able to more easily share documents, presentations, events and other information. This will pro- vide employees with extra sources of knowledge and allow them to build on what others have done. It will help them to be better aware of what is going on in the company and help improve their productivity. 4.3. Benefits for IT Organization IT organizations will also greatly benefit from adoption of the approach proposed in this paper. First, the approach aids in more efficient use of resources which could help to signifi- cantly reduce infrastructure costs. Instead of establishing the required infrastructure for each application separately, which can result in many underutilized resources, all applications can share the same infrastructure. The environment is dy- namic and flexible; it can quickly scale applications based on demand. Applications that are in high demand can be al- located a large number of resources and applications that are not popular can consume little or no resources. Second, the approach allows IT to maintain control of the infrastructure while avoiding the need to manage oper- ating systems. Instead, IT would be responsible for main- taining the underlying physical infrastructure and hypervi- sors on which the Virtual Appliances will run. This will be a relatively static, homogeneous environment, with dynam- ics and heterogeneity pushed up into the virtualized environ- ment. Virtual Appliances could automatically register with a management service, enabling IT to ensure the appliances are updated (i.e., patched) appropriately. This would differ substantially from patching of operating systems handled by IT today, as the developers of the applications, not IT, would be responsible for ensuring the patches worked before de- ploying them to the IT infrastructure. This could dramati- cally reduce support costs for IT. Testing would also be sim- plified, as the developers only need to test on the specific appliance platform that they use. 4.4. Benefits for CXOs Due to the numerous anticipated benefits to employees and the IT organization, we expect that CXOs would also see many benefits. With simplified access to a wider variety of applications productivity of employees could be increased (not decreased, as is commonly feared). The more efficient manner in which IT infrastructure is being managed will al- low costs to be reduced, business flexibility increased and business continuity supported all at the same time. As the infrastructure is kept in control by the IT organization, secu- rity and protection of valuable data is maintained. 4.5. Related Efforts In the general consumer and academic areas, there are several related efforts that combine a social networking plat- form with cloud computing infrastructures. As far as we know, there are no similar efforts being undertaken for en- terprise. Amazon

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