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The era of the cloud Operating System

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With cloud, the 'unit' of hardware abstraction that a server operating system manages has gone beyond a single machine and has reached the level of a 'data centre'

BANGALORE, INDIA: For decades, those of us in the realm of IT have been aspiring for ever more economical and agile means of running of our businesses. Lately, the 'cloud' has emerged as a prime solution to those needs, and as we move more and more of our infrastructure into clouds, it is important to reflect on what benefits the cloud really provides.

I find it valuable to do so in the context of the cloud operating system.

At its most basic level, any operating system has two primary responsibilities. It needs to manage the underlying hardware of the system, and it needs to provide a platform for applications to run on that system.

These fundamentals have not changed over the years, however, what has changed is the scale of the hardware being managed. Historically, this has manifested as 'scaling up', with an operating system managing ever more resources in a single box.

However, with the cloud, the 'unit' of hardware abstraction that a server operating system manages has gone beyond a single machine and has reached the level of a 'data centre', from a small cluster of servers all the way up to massive global deployments of thousands upon thousands of machines that are geographically distributed.

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