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Yahoo looking to unleash its cloud computing infrastructure

Yahoo CTO Ari Balogh says that much like Amazon's EC2 and Google's App Engine, Yahoo could offer infrastructure services.

As part of its latest reorganization, Yahoo created a Cloud Computing & Data Infrastructure Group, which is chartered with developing computing infrastructure that balances scalability with cost effectiveness, according to the press release. It could also lead to Yahoo getting into the business of selling pay-as-you-go cloud infrastructure to developers and companies.

Yahoo CTO Ari Balogh Dan Farber

Yahoo has been building massive scale infrastructure (now known as cloud computing) for years, but the intent of the new organization is to streamline development by bringing the various people and teams working on the core technologies into a single group, according to Yahoo CTO Ari Balogh, who reports to CEO Jerry Yang.

"The primary focus for the new group is internal," Balogh said. "But much like Amazon and Google, when you have something at scale and integrated, there are opportunities to offer services." Microsoft is also expected to go down a similar path.

Balogh thinks that Yahoo can leapfrog Google and Amazon with its cloud-based, infrastructure services for internal or external use. Poll

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"There are some more recent innovations around the cloud and grid. It's a hot topic in research," he said, maintaining that Yahoo is applying newer technology concepts from 2005 to 2007, than competitors.

Balogh mentioned open source, such as Hadoop (software for scalable, distributed computing), and new ways to implement data abstraction as differentiators, as well as "loosening ACID requirements (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability, which are a set of properties that guarantee reliable database transactions).

Balogh said that Yahoo's global fabric foundation will have self-healing capabilities that allow it to "operate at a higher level of availability with fewer people than we understand others have."

Besting Microsoft, Google and Amazon in optimizing cloud computing would be a major and unanticipated win. Raghu Ramakrishnan, one of Yahoo's chief scientists, is working on Yahoo's cloud computing research efforts. Below are the principles guiding Yahoo's platform from a presentation (PDF) Ramakrishnan gave earlier this year.

Yahoo Research