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Artificial Intelligence Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

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Internet 2.0 – Cloud and the X Internet

It’s always interesting how some concepts stick and become popular and some do not, like Cloud for example. Why this and not other similar ideas.

One that has always fascinated me to this effect is the “X Internet”, referring to the ‘Executable Internet’, because it addresses the core nature of the distributed technology world we now live in (mobile apps et al) and because, well it’s just such a cool term.

Building the Internet 2.0 Operating System

Although we tend to think of the Cloud in centralizing terms, where hosting an app ‘in the Cloud’ means moving it to a remote data-centre, in contrast it is actually part of an overall trend of technology becoming much more distributed. From entirely standalone mainframes through the first PC LANs to the n-tier web architecture computing has continued to explode outwards.

The ‘X Internet’ represents the next stage in this evolution. It’s been used to refer to the ’Executable Internet’ and also the ‘Extended Internet’, with both meaning the Internet expanding another order of magnitude to become an “Internet of things”.

As described in this white paper from Motorola (11 page PDF) it goes beyond people sharing content on PCs and laptops to software running on any and all devices, from your watch to RFID tags, to share real-time data like stock control information.

The convergence of virtualization, big data and open standards that creates the foundations for an overall virtual environment of increasingly smarter machine-to-machine communications.

Cloud OS Inside

In terms of how this relates to Cloud specifically, it’s a question of connecting the hype and apps of Cloud to the real-world realities where it must provide service.

As the Motorola white paper explains the principle function of X Internet systems is to “connect the physical to the virtual”, meaning that for Cloud apps to have practical value they must be interconnected with devices like cell phones and e-Health equipment.

New Cloud-based apps like electronic patient records will only be useful when they can update the doctors i-Pad, and that devices needs to be smart enough to operate in isolation too, there may be times it has no Internet access.

X Internet software platforms like Rebol are intended for these kinds of challenges, and is described as providing tools to create this ”Internet Operating System” level of code. It’s adept at running on all of these types of devices because it’s intended to create very small pieces of software that can run anywhere, and within a context of distributed data sharing.

The common design theme these scenarios share with Cloud Computing is the smartness of collections of technology, achieved through intelligent agents. The Motorola white paper explains these collections are emergent ’peer to peer’ systems, capable of self-organization and autonomous action.

This property is mirrored in Cloud platforms like Enomaly, for example in their Intel Cloud Builder white paper (18-page PDF) they describe:

Decentralization: ECP achieves high levels of reliability and reaches massive scale through an architecture patterned on that of the Internet itself, in which multiple redundant components interoperate without a single point of coordination. In order to build scalable Cloud platforms, capable of operating effectively at 1000-node and even 100,000-node and million-node scale, it is essential to leverage loosely-coupled and decentralized architectures. The cloud must run like a decentralized organism, without a single person or organization managing it. Like the Internet, it should allow 99-percent of its daily operations to be co-ordinated without a central authority.”

It then says that ‘applications deployed on a cloud managed in this fashion are more adaptive and fault-tolerant because single points of failure are reduced or eliminated.’

This means an enterprise can offer their software developers and users a much more simplified view of their IT estate, offering features like high-availability but without concerning them with the lower-level details. X Internet technologies then enable this same principle to be extended out across these challenging end-user device scenarios, so that RFID tags, cell phones and other micro technologies so that they too can become part of these smart enterprise clouds.


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