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Monday, June 27, 2011

Watching the Intercloud drift by

I really like this new graphic from DuraCloud
The term Intercloud doesn't get used as often as the term Internet does today, but they may change in a few more years.

Just as the Internet was a "network of networks" the Intercloud is supposed to be a "cloud of clouds."  But is that supposed to mean?

One possible "cloud of clouds" is what DuraSpace is doing with their DuraCloud service.  ICPSR was a pilot tester of DuraCloud, and we will soon sign up as a customer for the newly available DuraCloud production service.

As the nice graphic from DuraCloud makes clear, moving a document into the DuraCloud "cloud" really places it into a collection of other "clouds" as well, making DuraCloud a "cloud of clouds."  From the point of view of a customer like ICPSR, we view DuraCloud as a single location for content with a single interface, a single bill, and a single help desk.  But behind the scenes DuraCloud makes use of other clouds for its storage, such as Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) and Rackspace.

And, it is also easy to imagine future "cloud providers" sitting behind DuraCloud where the cloud provider is itself a "cloud of clouds."  For example, the folks behind Chronopolis, a "cloud of clouds" itself with storage locations at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the University of Maryland's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, have announced their intention to be one of the storage providers behind DuraCloud.  And so by putting our content into DuraCloud, we may one day also be putting it into Chronopolis, which in turn means putting a copy into the storage clouds at SDSC, NCAR, and UMIACS.

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