by Mark Ollig
Transitioning software files and application programs stored on our computer hard drives to data storage servers on the Internet cloud has been ongoing for the last few years.
Granted, there is debate whether we can trust our information will remain safe and secure when it is stored outside of our direct control. Nevertheless, we continue the progression to what I believe will be the day when we are using cloud-based computing – exclusively.
Many of our personal computers use either Microsoft Windows, a version of Apple’s Mac OS X, or an open-source operating system similar to Ubuntu.
The computer’s operating system (OS) is fundamentally, a software program.
The OS manages all of the computer’s basic tasks and operations. It controls the memory usage and the flow of the information between the hardware and the software.
It controls how information is presented to us.
Sending data to where we want it to go, whether it is to our display screen, or having it output to a printer, is determined, in part, by the operating system.
It essentially controls and oversees the operation of software code as it interacts with our computer’s internal components, program applications, and peripheral hardware.
My work computer here in Minnesota is a HP Compaq, using the Microsoft XP operating system.
This computer is connected to my company’s privately networked, cloud-based array of data servers. The computer’s profile attributes are copied onto these data servers.
The data servers are remotely located in Madison, WI.
My work computer’s Microsoft XP operating system has been interfaced to work under the control of the Remote Office Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (ROVDI) software, called VMware.
In the ROVDI world, rather than hosting and processing all of the applications, data, and other information on my physical computer, those duties are now being handled by a very powerful set of data servers located in the Wisconsin data center.
VMware now accesses all of the application programs I need to use via the high-speed, high-bandwidth connection from my Minnesota office to the remote servers in the data center.
My work computer is now considered a virtual machine on a private cloud computing network.
The ROVDI desktop screen looks just like a regular personal computer’s desktop. It has everything I need to do my job.
Although it appears to have all the applications installed and running inside my physical computer, it’s actually displaying what is installed and running on those data servers located in Madison.
The information I click on and type in is being handled by the remote data server, which processes it using virtual processing servers. The results are then shown on my display screen.
All my computing is taking place instantaneously; I notice no lag time.
I am able to print documents from my work computer to the printer physically located in my office, which is also networked to the remote servers.
The information I create is being copied and saved as I add or makes changes to it.
This information is duplicated over a variety of remote data servers in data centers located in separate buildings in Madison.
In the event one data center encounters an unforeseen outage, my information and application programs would have been saved onto another data server in another data center building, thus ensuring the preservation of my data, and my access to it.
If my work computer has a hardware failure, I can simply login to any ROVDI-converted computer from any of my company’s offices and have complete access to my virtual desktop – just as if I was seated at my regular work computer.
Looking ahead, the next progression of public/private cloud computing will be the introduction of some type of universal cloud-based operating system.
A cloud-based operating system will replace not only the need for an interfaced program to control the existing operating system in our personal computers; it will remove the necessity for our computing devices of needing an internal operating system when connected to the cloud.
One cloud based operating system currently being talked about at this time is a transparent operating system named, TransOS.
TransOS was developed by Yaoxue Zhang and Yuezhi Zhou of Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China.
The TransOS operating system code is stored on a cloud server, and will connect to a minimally-equipped basic computer, or simple user terminal device.
The computing device will have enough software code in it to perform a simple boot up (start-up), and connect to the Internet.
From the Internet cloud, TransOS will download specific pieces of client-like software to the user’s computing device.
The user is then presented with the familiar graphical user interface showing their software programs and applications – much the same as if the user was operating their regular personal computer with a built-in operating system.
The twist here is the operating system is now cloud-based.
TransOS will oversee all the resources needed to provide seamless, cloud-based services for any networked user.
TransOS will also work with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computing devices.
In addition to a basic computer, user terminal, or computing device, TransOS could also be used to communicate with properly modified household appliances or other apparatus connected to the Internet.
In order to be compatible with the considerable number of software applications being used, the researchers behind TransOS said the work needed to provide the appropriate cloud operating system architecture and interface standards – should begin now.