Private and Hybrid Cloud in Education - CriKit II


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Using CriKIt II Desktop Private Cloud in education to foster innovation

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Private and Hybrid Cloud in Education - CriKit II

  1. 1. Paul Morse | Cloud Computing | July 15, 2014 Private and Hybrid Cloud in Education BRINGING CLOUD COMPUTING INTO THE CLASSROOM
  2. 2. Private and Hybrid Cloud in Education Paul Morse 7/16/2014 PAGE 1 Cloud Computing is Here It is no secret that the adoption of Cloud Computing in all its forms is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world of computing. It is also becoming obvious that there will soon be a shortage of trained people that understand cloud computing at a depth that is sufficient to innovate rapidly, and maintain the basic infrastructure required to fuel the continued growth in the use of Cloud Computing. Most educational organizations would like to be able to give their students direct access to cloud resources – not just remote cloud access, but cloud computing environments where students can use and configure the entire infrastructure, which is then consumed by others. The unfortunate reality has been that these types of infrastructure solutions have been very expensive to acquire and maintain, let alone turn over to students to misconfigure and “break” in their learning endeavors. Enter CriKit However, there is an emerging trend that started about two years ago with the introduction of a compact, energy- efficient and affordable Cloud Computing platform that was obviously – and unfortunately – ahead of its time. After much thought, I christened it “CriKit” for Cloud Resource and Infrastructure Kit and it was dubbed a “Desktop Private Cloud”. At the time of CriKit’s introduction, it was the only product of its kind on the market and was an interesting novelty because there was simply no market category that it could be put in. There wasn’t a single RFP or RFQ in the world in 2011 where the requested item was a “Desktop Private Cloud”. Not even the leading industry analyst firms had a category for a “Desktop Private Cloud” – literally a multi-node Private Cloud Platform that fits on just a portion of a standard desk and runs cloud software like OpenStack, Cloud Stack, Open Nebula and others. Little did I know that the exhilaration of creating a new product category in an esoteric field would elicit so many accolades and so few actual sales. The immense disparity between kudos and revenue is a perplexing phenomenon, but I digress. The main component that provides CriKit with an advantage is the use of low-wattage, but relatively high- performing Intel Server Xeon Processors. They are architected for server virtualization and easily run several to many virtual instances of operating systems PER COMPUTE NODE. A single 4 node CriKit appliance handily runs 12 virtualized servers and can run many more depending on the workloads and memory and CPU requirements per virtual machine. Plus, the 4 node compute complex can literally handle thousands of website users with ease – again, depending on a variety of factors. The realization of this capacity needs to sink in. A 4 node Private Cloud sitting on a desk running many servers and handling thousands of web users while consuming small amounts of electricity is something very few people have actually seen. Further, I can say with certainty there is a disbelief of what the observer is actually witnessing with their own eyes. The performance is quite impressive for its compact size and low energy consumption, but it simply can’t be true, but it is. At the time, my main lab demo was starting and running 32 CentOS virtual machines in less than 3 minutes across the 4 nodes with room to spare in memory and CPU. It was darned impressive if I do say so myself. And that was with CriKit I. With the recent release of CriKit II, the Intel Xeon Server CPU’s stayed at the same low wattage of 45 watts, but the performance increase over 30% and the SSD’s went from approximately 80,000 IOPS to around 120,000 IOPS(and they got less expensive too). For most people these are meaningless measurements, but if you are trying to run Virtual Machine workloads it means the Virtual Machine density can increase while increasing performance of the applications running in the Virtual Machines. For icing on the cake, Memory bus and DIMM speed increased as well so the exact same, multiple Virtual Machine workloads running on CriKit I are substantially faster and have higher user capacity with CriKit II.
  3. 3. Private and Hybrid Cloud in Education Paul Morse 7/16/2014 PAGE 2 And It All Got Cheaper Moore’s Law is a wonderful thing. The differences between CriKit I and CriKit II illustrates that Moore’s law is still doing just fine thank you very much. Yes, someday it will play itself out for a variety of projected reasons, but with CriKit II, the economics for Private Cloud adoption in the classroom are even more favorable than they were two years ago. By re-engineering some aspects of CriKit I and leveraging newer technology, the result for CriKit II is a smaller cubic footprint Desktop Private Cloud Appliance that is far more powerful than its predecessor. And, at a lower price for comparable configurations of the previous version. In two years, it got smaller, more powerful and cheaper to buy and operate. Plus, the cloud software has improved dramatically so there is significantly more functionality in any cloud software you choose to run on it. The Game Just Changed If you are a teacher in any of the computer sciences, what better way to teach students about Cloud Computing than to have a cloud platform in the class and show students how it works? Let them build their own Private and Hybrid Clouds and create a cloud business model and run the cloud themselves. Several Open Source cloud solutions are modified and implemented by major vendors for their own public cloud offerings, so students could build a nearly professional “Cloud” and “sell” time to “customers” and see first-hand how the business model and the technology work together. Further, Students, Teachers or other Faculty that need access to computing resources can create their own Cloud User Account and use and reuse the CriKit II system across multiple classes throughout the day, ensuring re- usability of a precious and valuable computing resource. In the future, there will be several billions of cloud consumers, but there is already a talent crunch of people that really understand all the moving parts of this complex new architecture and technology-set. Something like CriKit II gives students a head start. It helps create the cloud administrators and technology business people of the future. It also fosters innovation. If you don’t know how a watch works, how can you build a better watch? If you don’t know
  4. 4. Private and Hybrid Cloud in Education Paul Morse 7/16/2014 PAGE 3 how a cloud computing architecture works, how can you improve it? In the grand scheme, the investment in a CriKit II is small and the return could be huge. The largest tech companies in the world had, or have, founders that had access to technology at an early age – Microsoft and Apple probably wouldn’t exist today if their founders and early employees were not heavily influenced by having access to the latest technology when they were young. Giving young students direct access to the latest cloud technologies could very well have the same effect sometime in the future. I think we all understand that access to newer technology enhances learning and promotes innovative thinking. CALL TO ACTION From late in 2011, until this point in July, 2014, I have traveled and talked, written about and built websites on the CriKit concept and how it could benefit education in completely new ways. Plus, how CriKit can help the environment by replacing old energy-sucking servers with low-wattage MicroServers to do the same computing jobs. These last years have been a great learning experience on many levels and I appreciate all the assistance and kudos for my efforts. But it’s time to get serious and I need your help. My intent is to find ways to build and offer CriKit II Desktop Private Cloud systems to mostly high schools in the US and I want to donate systems to some number of them. Everyone should have a passion in life and, right now, this one seems to be mine. Students should have direct access to cloud infrastructure to learn about the technology and begin the process of cloud innovations of the future – period. So, if you want to help or have an idea on how we can work together to get a Private Cloud in every high school in the US, please go to and there will be an area to provide your suggestions or even request to have a CriKit II brought to your school. I can’t guarantee you can keep the CriKit if it isn’t purchased or donated, but what could your school do with its own cloud for a week? Or, a month? Could it be the cloud that hosts a personal website for every person graduating? Or, be a local cloud photo and video gallery for your school for the big game? Let people at the big game access it wirelessly and post their game pictures and videos on YOUR school’s cloud. Would you run a Hadoop cluster and crunch the probability of worm density in a cubic yard of dirt in the football field? What? There’s a ton of possibilities that people haven’t even thought of yet, but the key is having the cloud compute environment in the first place! The big question is; “ What could you do with a multi-thousand user mini-cloud-datacenter that sits on a desk?” Tell me an answer - Best wishes in all your endeavors, Paul Morse