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The cloud goes 'cloudless'

Cloudless Computing is the next step in the computing journey. Workloads, computing, and data are free to roam and run where they need to, when they need to. Experts discuss what that might look like.

One of the ways we can trace the development of computing is by charting the movement from bare metal to the Internet, to the web, to virtual machines, and finally to containers. In other words, we have moved from individual machines to networks to virtualization. 

The next step in this journey: Cloudless Computing. 

Cloudless Computing is a new approach to how software is developed, delivered, and consumed. It radically simplifies and democratizes the way developers and users access the tools, services, and data that power enterprise applications. Cloudless workload endpoints mutually and atomically authenticate, attest, and operate unconstrained by traditional perimeter security discipline. 

Cloudless Computing dissolves the distinction between the private cloud and the public cloud, further deconstructing the wall that makes walled gardens possible. But just as serverless doesn’t dispense with servers but just makes the orchestration of them go away, Cloudless Computing doesn’t make clouds go away. It just dissolves the walls between them, resulting in no discernible distinction between public-ness and private-ness.

Cloud vs. Cloudless 

Among the limitations in a cloud environment are regulatory demands, the generic nature of public cloud offerings, and the expense of public customization, especially given the proliferation of data, according to Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group

"You’re starting to see companies repatriating workloads," says Newman. "But with on-premises private cloud, you either have all the problems in your own hands or, often if you’re leasing, you are not allowed to touch anything." 

In the end, Newman says, "choice could wind up being the end-all and be-all."

Cloudless Computing will provide a level playing field that doesn’t exist in the current cloud ecology, according to Dave Husak, chief technologist for cloud-native computing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. That means: 

  • For application developers, Cloudless Computing will provide the means to seamlessly consume and integrate best-in-class infrastructure, tools, and services into their processes and product.
  • For users, Cloudless Computing will deliver the maximum choice, agility, and minimum cost for applications incorporating state-of-the-art hardware, software, and data access.
  • For independent and open source software, hardware, service, and data providers, Cloudless Computing provides a level playing field and fair access to the Internet-scale marketplace of IT consumers.

"Cloudless Computing eliminates the distinction between public-ness and private-ness, allowing application workloads and data access the freedom to roam, to run where needed, when needed," says Husak. "In the mind of a modern software application developer, legacy stacks and Jenga-block architecture diagrams limit agility and technology choices and are no longer the preferred way of working."

He adds, "Cloud-native developers think in terms of interconnected meshes, and dynamic structures. So when you see modern application architectures, they are webs. And, analogous to a social network, the true nature of a cloud-native application is in its metadata, captured in its graph and the identities of its service endpoints. Cloudless Computing provides the substrate, the means for developers to realize their designs in a seamless and open way."

Cloudless computing: A radical new approach to how software is developed, delivered, and consumed. 

The constituent elements of a cloudless ecology

The substrate of Cloudless Computing consists of three "fabrics": trust, connectivity, and value. 

Trust fabric (security)

"This trust fabric leverages the fact that we are the leader in silicon root of trust from a server infrastructure perspective, with more than a million servers shipped to allow that anchor point in silicon to be leveraged to imbue stronger security to the whole application landscape," says Dave Larson, vice president and chief technologist, networking and security at HPE.

"A trust fabric automates privacy and data sovereignty compliance and delivers real security, real peace of mind, in a dangerous world," says Antonio Neri, CEO at HPE. "No data left unencrypted, no device unable to prove its integrity, so even the parts of your world that you don’t control can’t hurt you." 

Connectivity fabric (optimization)

Cloudless Computing’s connectivity fabric provides an abstraction that allows developers to not be concerned with the minutia of network policies and controls and simply utilize the namespace-oriented connection mechanisms that are emerging in the cloud-native tools and application landscape. "Cloudless Computing orchestrates custom network topologies designed to optimize application performance without the need for application developers to worry about the network," according to Neri. 

Value fabric (openness)

Finally, the value fabric offers "an economic framework that will allow the open source software community a truly open landing spot that will drive innovation not just for the public-cloud walled gardens but will open new vistas for innovation using similar services, tools, and methodologies wherever they are needed," says Neri. These include private data centers, distributed retail edges, and emerging service operators—anywhere the cloudless framework is enabled.

Nobody wants to buy a server. People just want their software to run.

When considering a new product or process like Cloudless Computing, it is important to recognize where the enduring trouble lies. Take security, for instance. As independent technologist and cloud writer David Strom points out, no technology can cure human error. 

"The biggest limitations to the cloud have nothing to do with the technology; it has to do with the person who is using the technology," says Strom. "They forget to put the right security on, or they put it on incorrectly, or they don't authenticate the right groups of users so people get locked out unintentionally of their data. These are things that are so well known, it's almost embarrassing that we are talking about them in 2019."

One thing human error experts hope to circumvent with a Cloudless Computing strategy is the drive to sacrifice long-term sustainability for short-term gains.

"We are not interested in creating a walled garden to compete with all the others that are locking up users’ data," says Husak. "We would not be the wardens of some new data prison. What Cloudless Computing would do is create an open playing field where everyone can meet and transact. We would be the broker in the middle of that, providing the underlying capabilities." 

Related links: 

For sale: Memory-Driven Computing

The era of real-time everything

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.