One of the most frequent questions I am asked when consulting on Cloud Computing is, “How much effort is required to migrate my application to the cloud ?” There never has been one straightforward answer to this question because of the different implementation platforms, programming languages, architectures, etc. that applications can have. An announcement last week by Numecent is about to change the answer I give to this question.
Numecent have announced a technology, named Cloudpaging that has the potential to revolutionise the way applications are deployed and delivered from the cloud. Key to this is that any application, including operating systems, can be deployed to the cloud – without any modification – and then delivered to devices for use by clients from anywhere that has network connectivity. Cloudpaging allows the delivery of any native application from the cloud and their delivery to the desktop is claimed to be between 20 and 100 times compared to traditional delivery methods.
So how does CloudPaging work ? Firstly, any native application that is going to be deployed to the cloud is virtualized using a tool named Jukebox Studio. What this tool does is not only virtualize the application, but in the process divides the application into small blocks known as pages. These pages are then encrypted. The virtualized application can then be published to the cloud – as long as the cloud is running JukeBox server. Any client device that wishes to run the application must have Jukebox player installed. With this in place the application, when requested by a client, is fetched to the client’s machine one page at a time. Once enough of the application’s pages have been fetched the application starts executing. It is claimed that often only 5% of the application is required to get to this state. There is no application installed on the client machine. The fetched cloud pages are stored locally on the client machine so that subsequent execution is as good as a natively installed application. This also then enables the application to be executed when there is no network connectivity. Numecent have also provided an innovative solution for streaming applications to tablets, whereby a local machine actually has the application pages and then pixel streams the view to the tablet.
In summary, Cloudpaging is most certainly a revolutionary approach to deploying existing software and applications to the cloud for delivery, enabling centralised access and license control as well as patch management. It may not be the solution for everybody but is certainly a welcome addition to the Cloud Computing world.
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