Monday, October 08, 2007

More on Google / IBM 'cloud computing' initiative: Tech journalism stinks

The New York Times has a near-verbatim repeat of the News.com story. Mention of IBM's open-source tools is added:
"The centers will run an open-source version of Google’s data center software, and I.B.M. is contributing open-source tools to help students write Internet programs and data center management software."

I particularly enjoyed this Palmasino quote, given my observation last night:
Mr. Palmisano noted that cooperation between the two companies was easier because Google is mainly a consumer company, while I.B.M. concentrates on the corporate market. “We’re more complementary than anything else,” Mr. Palmisano said. “We don’t really collide in the marketplace.”

The Wall Street Journal actually adds a little journalistic merit to its piece, mentioning Sun, HP, and Microsoft as other players in the massive datacenter business; and laid out Google and IBM's open-source rationale as an anti-Microsoft differentiator:
"Frank Gens, an analyst with market-research concern IDC in Framingham, Mass., said the companies also are united by a rivalry with Microsoft, and "they'd like to influence the future of online business before Microsoft extends its influence." IBM and Google stressed that much of the infrastructure will be open-source programs that are freely available, rather than proprietary software programs such as those sold by Microsoft."

There are a number of commentaries visible on Techmeme, none of which goes any deeper than the source articles; Donna Bogatin questions the neat "consumer/business split" but that's all the analysis I see. And none of the commentaries or source articles mention Amazon, who's done more in this area with EC2 and S3 than anyone.

Hopefully someone will start asking some useful questions soon.

UPDATE: The Google press release has key details:
"For this project, the two companies have dedicated a large cluster of several hundred computers (a combination of Google machines and IBM BladeCenter and System x servers) that is planned to grow to more than 1,600 processors. Students will access the cluster via the Internet to test their parallel programming course projects. The servers will run open source software including the Linux operating system, XEN systems virtualization and Apache's Hadoop project, an open source implementation of Google's published computing infrastructure, specifically MapReduce and the Google File System (GFS)."


Key questions answered:
* No Google code open-sourced
* No advanced functionality (BigTable) -- just MapReduce/GFS as implemented in Hadoop.
* Yes, Kevin was wrong (sorry, Kevin :-)

This all fits quite nicely -- IBM gets a great new Open Source Java/Eclipse program to promote (Hadoop is all written in Java), and Google gets to promote its world-view without going through the hassle of open-sourcing any of its own code.

No comments: