The name Fluid comes from the ability of resources (CPU, Memory, Storage) to flow between Functionalities (router, firewall, servers, and clients). This is done by using virtual servers, virtual appliances (routers, etc) and virtual desktops. Fluid Computing is built on a specific configuration of commodity servers, 10Gb networking, and 100% SAN based storage as is Hybrid RAID Cloud.
The Primary use case of Fluid Computing is Enterprise IT, 24×7 Windows networks supporting Exchange, SQL Server database apps, SharePoint, Active Directory, ERP, etc. While it can support QA and development itself it might be best to support these activities with Public Cloud services through a Hybrid Cloud model
Fluid Computing is designed to be the most Cost Effective, Reliable, Scalable, Efficient IT Architecture possible. The goal is not an incremental improvement but radical improvement. A 2-3x cost improvement and infinite 100% availability.
Cost Effectiveness is improved by only using commodity hardware to provide compute resources; CPU, memory, and storage and virtual appliances to define functionality.
Reliability is improved by using hypervisor redundancy to provide functional redundancy. If hypervisor redundancy is used only one virtual appliance is needed and the complexity and configuration of device redundancy is eliminated as a cause of downtime. Reliability is also improved through the reduction of physical device points of failure. Fluid Computing is built on top of a RAID Cloud Architecture to supply the architecture benefits of RAID Cloud as described in earlier posts.
Scalability is also improved by use of virtual appliances because they can be quickly increased (or decreased) in capacity by simply and quickly changing the virtual appliance configuration.
Efficiency is improved because virtual appliances can be tuned to match the resource requirements and resources freed to be applied to other functionality as needed
This is more then just a theoretical idea. I started to run a partial version of this architecture at a previous company successfully using Citrix Netscaler virtual appliances. Just today 12/12/11 the company Embrain was launched to offer virtual firewall, load balancer, and VPN services in addition to existing Vyatta and Big Switch virtual router appliances.
Stay tuned, next post on Fluid Cloud tablet / remote desktop client design