What Does Maritz's Exit Mean for VMware, Its Competitors and the Cloud?

Last week came the news that Paul Maritz will step down from his position as VMware CEO on Sept. 1 to become chief strategist of parent company EMC.

The unexpected management shakeup at VMware leads to the question, "Is VMware succeeding in its effort to reshape its image as a supplier of datacenter virtualization technology to that of a cloud infrastructure and platform provider?"

Here's another one: Was the decision to remove Maritz from the CEO role and install him as chief strategist of EMC a reward for a job well-done or was he kicked upstairs for not moving fast enough?

More important, is the incoming VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who is currently president of EMC's Information Infrastructure and Products unit (effectively its bread and butter storage business), equipped to meet VMware's goal of "moving to the next phase of cloud computing with the software defined data center and solving the problems of the post PC era," as described by EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci in a conference call announcing the shakeup?

Tucci explained the changes by saying, "The time to make these kind of changes is from a position of strength when you are performing well and when you have customer permissions to play in these new markets and customers are giving us permission to play in these new markets."

Forrester VP and principal analyst James Staten isn't buying it. "That's good spin but I read it differently," Staten said. "If all was sunny, they wouldn't be unseating the VMware CEO. Our clients tell us they aren't moving up to vCloud (it and they aren't ready). We don't see evidence of success from VMware on the sales of their management tools and they haven't successfully linked CloudFoundry to the hypervisor forming the cloud OS Paul pitched."

Gartner research VP Chris Wolf agreed. "VMware still has its work cut out," Wolf said. "The cloud is extremely competitive and VMware is up against heavyweights such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. VMware needs to do a better job incentivizing providers to make VMware software a mainstay in the cloud."

According to a research note by Pund-IT principal analyst Charles King in wake of the news, VMware has an edge over its key virtualization infrastructure rivals Citrix and Microsoft.

"VMware has stayed ahead of the game by delivering superior management features and services but most industry watchers believe that the next stage of this market will be defined by increasingly sophisticated hardware/software integration," King noted. "If that's the case, it's difficult to think of a better person to lead VMware than Pat Gelsinger. Along with his deep knowledge of the x86 technologies that are core to VMware's solutions [he was Intel's CTO before arriving at EMC], Gelsinger's intimate understanding of how to get the most out of integrated hardware and software should serve him well in his new position."

Gartner's Wolf agreed but with a caveat. "Gelsinger has a proven track record and should do a good job filling Paul's shoes at VMware," he said. "Pat is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and talk tech, and that will win him favor with VMware's product groups. Still, the pressure will be on. Gelsinger is taking over a company where VMware is the dominant market leader. If Microsoft were to erode a significant part of VMware's market share, then the Gelsinger era would likely be perceived as a failure."

Clearly there's some succession planning going on here as well. Tucci said he plans to stay on at least through the end of next year but it remains to be seen what his plans are afterward, but it is believed he is nearing retirement. While many thought Gelsinger was in line to succeed him, Wolf said EMC may be considering Maritz for the top spot. "Paul is one of the top tech visionaries in the industry, and is well-qualified to lead EMC's strategy in emerging areas such as cloud, big data, and next generation application platforms," Wolf said.

Nevertheless, Forrester's Staten has his doubts. It's "not clear [Gelsinger] is the right guy to replace Paul or the guy VMware needs right now but he was next in line," he said. "Nothing in his background suggests he is better equipped. We'll see if he can prove there's more to this than pure succession and EMC tightening the reins on VMware."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 26, 20120 comments

WPC 2012: Microsoft Launches CTP of Windows Server for Hosting Providers

On the heels of its announcement last month that Windows Azure customers will be able to run virtual machine instances, Microsoft this week released the community technology preview (CTP) of Windows Server for Hosting Providers in a move that would enable third-party hosting providers to build cloud service offerings running on Windows Server.

Based on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Server 2012, the suite will allow hosting providers to provision and manage through System Center, Windows Azure Web Sites, virtual machines, the Service Management Portal and API.

The move should aid hosting providers that want to offer services that are compatible with Windows Azure. Microsoft announced the CTP release at its Worldwide Partner Conference, which took place this week in Toronto.

Indeed, hosting providers are gunning to offer services that are compatible with Windows Azure and private clouds running Windows Server, said Sinclair Shuller, co-founder and CEO of Apprenda, which last month launched Apprenda Azure.

As the name implies, Apprenda's software will let organizations create private clouds that have the same characteristics as Windows Azure service except they run in a customer's datacenter. Nevertheless customers can also shift workloads or create hybrid clouds that split workloads, applications and data between Windows Azure and Apprenda Azure, Sinclair said.

In concert with Microsoft's announcement this week, Apprenda joined three other vendors -- Cloud Cruiser, Derdack and ServiceMesh -- to create the Private Cloud Solutions Suite (PCSS). All four are Microsoft ISV partners. Cloud Cruiser offers a billing and chargeback system, Derdack's Enterprise Alert provides alerting and notification and the ServiceMesh Agility Platform is used for provisioning, governance and management of hybrid cloud applications.

"Microsoft doesn't have all the moving parts to provide a full robust full blown private cloud deployment platform," Sinclair said. Maybe not now but what will Sinclair do if Microsoft decides to offer one in the future?

"They could do whatever they want but in the context of private cloud but we don't see Azure coming on premises," he said. "They've talked about it in the past but it hasn't materialized. We work very closely with the team and we don't have any personal fear that's going to happen. Microsoft wouldn't be telling 1,000 systems integrators worldwide they should be looking at Apprenda for private PaaS if they planned on jumping in."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 12, 20120 comments

Google Throws Hat into IaaS Ring

It's official: Google will offer an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud. The company launched Google Compute Engine at its annual Google I/O developer conference -- a move that was widely expected, though overshadowed by the announcement of the Nexus 7 tablet

By launching an IaaS, Google is taking on some large players like Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Verizon, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, which earlier this month launched its own long-anticipated IaaS service.

Like Microsoft, whose Windows Azure was just a platform as a service, Google's cloud portfolio other than its Google Apps service, was the Google App Engine PaaS. But in launching GCE, which is now in limited preview, Google is taking it slow. For now it's only offering Linux virtual machines (translate: no Windows) support. While there's plenty of demand for Linux, Google is still only reaching out to a limited segment of the enterprise market.

And will it play ball in supporting any of the other cloud vendors' platforms and APIs to enable portability with public, private and hybrid clouds? The IaaS market is fragmented with a variety of compute platforms such as OpenStack, CloudStack and of course Amazon. While these and other players such as Eucalyptus and Nimbula have services that let companies move instances from Amazon to other public and private clouds (as does Citrix CloudStack), we are a long way from removing true cloud lock-in as a barrier.

And vendor lock-in, according to a Rackspace-commissioned study released this week, is a key consideration by 86 percent of customers in choosing a cloud vendor. While Google has yet to make a strong public proclamation on where it stands with regard to IaaS portability (that is, will it join or support OpenStack or CloudStack efforts?) there are some aspects of GCE worth noting:

  • Google appears to be targeting compute-intensive workloads, particulary for compute-intensive applications requiring 100 virtual machines or more.

  • Customers can store their data locally, on a new persistent block storage device it is offering or via its existing Google Cloud Storage service.

  • GCE will offer networking capabilities to enable customers to create and manage their compute clusters.

  • Developers can either configure and control their VMs using a scriptable command-line tool or Web UI or use Google's APIs to build or link to a management system. Google has partnered with RightScale Puppet Labs, OpsCode, Numerate, Cligr and MapR, whose tools will integrate with GCE.

Craig McLuckie, the product manager for GCE said in a blog post that Google intends to use its vast infrastructure to power GCE. "This goes beyond just giving you greater flexibility and control," he noted. "Access to computing resources at this scale can fundamentally change the way you think about tackling a problem."

Do you think Google will emerge as a major IaaS player? What does it need to get there? Drop me a line at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on June 29, 20120 comments

Microsoft, Symantec Partner on Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service

Microsoft and Symantec have inked a co-development agreement to build a so-called Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), the companies announced at this week's Tech-Ed conference in Orlando, Fla.

Under the terms of the pact, which appears to be in the early stages, Symantec will extend its Storage Foundation High Availability for Windows and Veritas Volume replicator disaster recovery (DR) software to Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud service. While the resulting deliverable will be a continuously available data protection service, Symantec officials said the new data replication software will use Windows Azure as a storage target sometime in 2013.

It is not likely that beta releases will be available before the first half of next year, said Jennifer Ellard, a senior manager of Symantec's storage and availability management group. This is Symantec's first entry into the Azure ecosystem, Ellard said.

Asked if Symantec intends to link its Backup Exec software to Windows Azure, Ellard said there are no such plans at this time. Symantec previously announced plans to offer Backup Exec, targeted at small and medium businesses, with its own cloud-based option. Backup Exec customers can now use the cloud services of Nirvanix. And the company in February announced plans to offer a DR option to Backup Exec with Doyenz. Furthermore, Symantec's NetBackup works with cloud services from Nirvanix, AT&T, Rackspace and Amazon Web Services.

Symantec is not the first vendor to tie its data protection software to Windows Azure. CA Technologies last year announced plans to offer Windows Azure as a backup target for its ARCserve backup and recovery software, and CommVault recently added Windows Azure as a target for its Simpana 9 Express backup and archiving software.

But Symantec officials explained that unlike traditional backup and recovery software, the replication solution is aimed at providing better recovery times and recovery points. The Storage Foundation software provides online storage management, multipathing, volume snapshot service (VSS)-integrated snapshots and volume replication.

The Cluster Server software provides high availability over LANs, metro and campus environments and wide-area networks. "It monitors apps for faults and failures, provides automated failover and drills down below the applications and its dependencies," Ellard said.

As far as cloud services go, Ellard said Symantec only plans to offer this solution with Windows Azure. "There's an actual affinity for us running on Windows, to align with Azure on the development side," she said. "We are very familiar with it programmatically and the implementation is easier. We have a lot of confidence in Microsoft and we see Azure growing and becoming more extensible."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on June 14, 20121 comments

Finally, Oracle's Public Cloud Launches

After billions of dollars in investment and seven years of development, the Oracle Public Cloud launched last Wednesday as expected

CEO Larry Ellison said at the launch event that all of his company's key infrastructure and applications are now available as cloud services.

The long-planned effort, known internally as "Fusion," will allow customers to procure Oracle's broad product line as elastic, consumption-based services. Despite trailing its rivals in offering a broad cloud portfolio, Ellison argued Oracle is now delivering a public cloud service that lets enterprise IT customers seamlessly move their premises apps to its cloud and vice versa. "You can move things gracefully back and forth. You're not making a forever commitment to keep it on our cloud," Ellison said.

Touting its security, Ellison said Oracle Public Cloud is not based on a multitenant architecture. "When you're using our database, your data is not commingled with other customers' data. It's secure and it's separate," he said. 

Among Oracle's core products available as a service are its flagship database, WebLogic (for developing, deploying and managing Java apps), developer tools and Web services components (for building  apps using PHP, Ruby and Python), mobile tools for building cross-platform native and HTML 5 apps, document collaboration, Web site services and analytics.

Also available is Oracle's broad portfolio of apps including ERP, human capital management, CRM, talent management and customer service. The company is also offering Oracle Cloud Social Services, which includes its own enterprise social network platform called the Oracle Social Network. It includes Oracle Social Data Services for aggregating data from public social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Oracle Social Marketing Engagement Services and Oracle Social Intelligence Services.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on June 13, 20120 comments

Behind Windows Azure's First Major Facelift

Whether or not Microsoft succeeds in making Windows Azure a viable alternative to Amazon Web Services, it won't be for lack of trying. Last week's major refresh of the 2-year old Windows Azure platform could make it a formidable infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider.

Microsoft corporate VP Scott Guthrie officially outlined the new Windows Azure at a webcast event in San Francisco on Thursday, as well as in a blog post. In addition to offering IaaS, Microsoft is adding support for Linux servers, Guthrie said.

Sporting his trademark red shirt, Guthrie described a boatload of new features to the Windows Azure platform, revealed numerous new partners -- companies typically associated with the likes of Amazon and cloud providers backing such efforts as the open source Cloud Foundry and OpenStack projects -- and demonstrated a cloud infrastructure that promises to lend itself to more portability between enterprise datacenters and other cloud providers.

"We are announcing the most significant release of Windows Azure yet. It elevates Azure to a new level [and] it opens it up for even more developers to use," Guthrie said. "Today's release of Windows Azure is more flexible than ever. We're supporting more operating systems, more languages, more open protocols and releasing all the Azure SDKs on GitHub under an open source license. You can now use the best of the Microsoft ecosystem and the open source ecosystem together and you can build better and more scalable solutions than ever before."

First, he demonstrated the new Windows Azure portal, which provides IT pros and developers a unified view of all of the services and applications that can run in the cloud environment. Customers can drill into different services, virtual machines and storage and view stats.

Guthrie explained that enterprise customers for the first time can shift workloads from their Windows and Linux environments to Azure, pointing out that all of the virtual machines in the new Microsoft cloud will support the VHD file format. "Because we're running the same file format, it's really easy for you to take a VM whether it started off in your own datacenter and upgrade it into Azure," he said. "You don't have to run an import-export process, you simply upload it and enable it within Azure and it works. There's no conversion tools or agent you need to install the VM, it just works."

Guthrie also talked about the new Virtual Private Networking solution, aimed at simplifying the connectivity between Azure, enterprise datacenters and other cloud providers. "What's nice about our virtual private networking solution is you can integrate it with pretty much any back-end network provider," Guthrie said. "We don't require you to install any custom software on your existing enterprise network or datacenter. Instead we integrate with existing VPN hardware and software and interoperate well with Azure."

Among some other features Guthrie outlined:

  • Identity Services: Customers can integrate their cloud applications with their enterprise identity infrastructures, notably Active Directory. Windows Azure Active Directory, or WAAD, is a REST-based service that provides access control to cloud apps. Customers can apply existing Active Directory policies to Azure.

  • Distributed Cache: A new in-memory, low-latency distributed cache that lets customers provision dynamic scaling of capacity based on the needs of an application. "What's nice is you don't have to modify any application code or redeploy your application in order to increase or decrease the cache side," Guthrie said. It implements the memcached, distributed memory caching protocol.

  • Service Bus: New secure messaging and relay capabilities are suited for integrating cloud-based solutions with enterprise apps in a secure but loosely coupled architecture. That is enabled through better tooling in Visual Studio and the introduction of cross-platform libraries, allowing the service bus to work from any operating system and various languages.

  • Media Service: This new managed service is aimed at distributing media in various formats including Flash, Silverlight, HTML 5, iOS and Android. Using REST calls, customers can upload media to Azure, describe how it should be encoded and in what format and the service will be streamed to devices. Users can implement DRM as well. "It's a real compelling way to use media," Guthrie said.

  • Web Sites: Will let developers build and deploy Web sites in the cloud that can scale based on ASP.NET, PHP and Node.js, as well as support for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Umbraco and DotNetNuke.

Some key established cloud partners joined the Azure ecosystem such as cloud management vendors RightScale, ScaleXtreme and Opscode; monitoring tool suppliers AppDynamics and New Relic; NoSQL database providers 10gen (MongoDB) and Cloudant (CouchDB) and various other cloud providers including Joyent, CloudShare and Appfog.

Microsoft is making some substantive upgrades to its Windows Azure cloud platform. Do you think its moves will appeal more broadly than its existing platform as a service (PaaS)? Drop me a line at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on June 11, 20120 comments

HP Welcomes Amazon into Hybrid Cloud Offerings

Hewlett-Packard this week said it is extending links to Amazon Web Services EC2 as well as its own forthcoming HP Cloud service in an effort to broaden connectivity from its private cloud portfolio of hardware and software.

HP made several noteworthy announcements at its Discover 2012 conference taking place in Las Vegas this week. The company also announced its first vertical market cloud service with solutions aimed at the commercial airline industry, a new version of its CloudSystem Matrix templates, Cloud Service Automation software and a cloud-based service that allows users to print from any mobile device without requiring print drivers. HP is also rolling out new cloud consulting services for enterprises seeking to build hybrid deployments.

Company officials emphasized its blend of public and private cloud offerings and focus on providing a hybrid delivery model. "You should be able to move that service or workload transparently and easily and support that with the converged cloud across all deployments across one simple consumption experience, a simple portal," said Steve Dietch, VP of Worldwide Cloud in HP Enterprise Group, speaking at a press conference Tuesday.

HP already offered connectivity from its CloudSystem to the public cloud service from Savvis, but adding Amazon Web Services to the mix was a tacit acknowledgement that its customers may prefer to use that company's services over HP's own forthcoming public cloud offering, said Forrester Research analyst James Staten. "That's an acknowledgement by HP of the power of Amazon," he said.

Despite the bevy of incremental announcements, Staten said the vertical solutions for the airline industry were most noteworthy. Struggling airlines are aggressively moving to build new apps that support mobile users for offerings such as loyalty programs and other amenities. Thanks to its acquisition of EDS and its own services business, HP has strong outsourcing relationships with the major airlines. "They've taken some of these things that were in traditional outsourcing modes and moved them to the cloud," Staten said.

The airline industry offerings consist of the HP Passenger Service Solution, which provides various passenger services and ties into reservations and travel management systems; the HP Airline Service Oriented Architecture Platform, a suite of industry-specific Web services designed to build apps that can help airlines generate added revenues; and HP Enterprise Cloud Services, a private cloud that ties server, storage and network functions that provides capacity on demand, allowing airlines to scale up and down as business needs dictate.

The new cloud-based printing service, called HP ePrint Enterprise 2.0, is a suite of downloadable apps for Android devices, iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys that allow users to print on any HP network printer without requiring drivers. Users can also securely print files from their devices by requiring the use of a password to actually retrieve the document from a printer.

Upgrades to CloudSystem Matrix, the company's software for building and provisioning IaaS private and hybrid clouds, includes an improved graphical user interface and tooling that enables IT administrators to build out virtualized environments in days, said Terence Ngai, HP's worldwide director for enterprise cloud solutions.

Similarly, the revised Cloud Service Automation software was upgraded to speed up the development of Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud apps, Ngai said. "The benefit is quicker time to market," he said.

The company also launched HP Application Performance Management 9.2 for Converged Cloud and updated versions of the HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and HP Performance Center suites. And HP is building on its cloud consulting offerings with new HP Cloud Planning Services, targeted at enterprises looking for needs-analysis assessments.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on June 07, 20120 comments

MongoDB Supplier 10gen Scoops $42M in Funding

10gen, the company backing the popular open-source NoSQL-based MongoDB database and a cloud-based monitoring service to support it, today said it has received a cash infusion of $42 million.

Leading the latest round of venture funding was New Enterprise Associates and backed by existing investors Sequoia Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners and Union Square Ventures. In total 10Gen has raised $73 million. The huge investment is the latest sign that MongoDB is gaining momentum as a repository for emerging big data applications.

Former DoubleClick founder and CTO Dwight Merriman and Eliot Horowitz, also an engineer coming from DoubleClick, which is now part of Google, led development of MongoDB and subsequently launched 10gen.

MongoDB is popular because it is better suited than traditional relational databases for handling documents and other unstructured data types. Unlike relational databases designed to store data in tables and rows, MongoDB stores JSON-type content with dynamic schemas. MongoDB aims to "bridge the gap between key-value stores (which are fast and scalable) and relational databases (which have rich functionality)," according to a FAQ on the 10gen site.

"We want to change the database market, to make MongoDB the best way for companies to build new applications," said Merriman, who is now10gen's CEO. "Our goal is to give tech teams not only a database that scales to any big data level required but also helps developers be productive and more nimble. That has been the vision of the MongoDB open source community and we want to continue to help make that happen."

MongoDB databases are frequently stored on cloud-based infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services EC2 and Microsoft's Windows Azure, among other services. 10gen said it plans to invest the funding in further development of MongoDB and the cloud-based MongoDB Monitoring Service as well extending support for its customers and community of developers.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 29, 20120 comments

Google Apps Gets ISO Security Certification

Google's cloud-based productivity suite picked up another key security certification on Monday: the ISO 27001 standard.

ISO 27001 is recognized internationally. Like other cloud security certifications -- SAS 70, SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 and FISMA, for starters -- ISO 27001 is important to enterprise customers who are wary of the cloud because they don't know if their data is safe.

Gaining ISO 27001 certification requires an independent third-party audit. Google's auditor, Ernst & Young CertifyPoint, certified Google Apps.

"ISO 27001 is one of the most widely recognized, internationally accepted independent security standards and we have earned it for the systems, technology, processes and data centers serving Google Apps for Business," wrote Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google's enterprise business line.

Microsoft's Office 365 is also ISO 27001 certified, taking that argument off the table as both companies battle for enterprise customers. ISO 27001 is particularly important to multinational companies that are bound either by regulations or customer requirements that ISO 27001 audits have been conducted by validated third-party auditors, explained Dave Anders, CEO and managing partner at Phoenix-based SecuraStar Information Security, a consultancy focused solely on helping large enterprises prepare for ISO 27001 audits.

IS0 27001 certification is a complex process but in short it means an organization has an information security management system that outlines a company's risk assessment and controls in place to address that risk. The standard covers IT assets, personnel as well as physical security of datacenters. "One of the most important aspects is risk and how it's controlled," Anders said, in an interview.

Google said its ISO 27001 certification covers its systems, applications, people, technology processes and datacenters using Google Apps for Business. "What they are now telling the world is they have reasonable validation," Anders said. "It doesn't mean they won't have a break-in or loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability, which is the three-risk components in ISO 27001, but they're saying they have reasonable assurance that they've put a value on risk and they are addressing that value on risk to mitigate it with controls and that somebody has checked it, that's their reasonable assurance."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 29, 20121 comments

CloudGraph Monitors Cloud Apps Running on Azure, For Free

Bellevue, Wash.-based Opstera, which launched in January, is rolling out a free cloud app monitoring tool designed to measure the quality of service (QoS) of Microsoft's Windows Azure platform and, eventually, other platform as a service (PaaS) offerings.

CloudGraphs provides continual workload tests against Windows Azure and scans the various Windows Azure datacenters throughout the world roughly every 15 minutes. The online tool will determine latency and other service-level characteristics, drilling into specific datacenters and services offered as part of the Windows Azure platform like compute storage and content delivery network. The dashboard will provide real-time and historical information.

Paddy Srinivasan, Opstera's CEO, said the company is offering the service free hoping to build community support for its monitoring technology. "We have gotten great feedback from the Azure influencer community and the MVPs, and we feel that if we open it up to the community they can build around it and start contributing more sophisticated tests using our infrastructure," Srinivasan said. "We want to increase community contributions so we are opening it up so the tests become more sophisticated and meaningful."

By building such a community, Srinivasan is hopeful it will fuel its commercial offerings. Its initial service, AzureOps, monitors more than 100 million Windows Azure metrics per month, according to the company. AzureOps provides a detailed view of complete cloud solutions, including third party services running atop of Azure.

Asked why Windows Azure customers would prefer such a service to Microsoft's own management offerings including the recently released System Center 2012, Srinivasan said AzureOps is completely cloud-based, meaning it doesn't require an investment in the software. But more importantly, it's able to monitor Azure metrics that System Center can't at this point, he noted.

The company was formed by the founders of Cumulux, Microsoft's 2011 Cloud Partner of the Year. Onetime Microsoft Windows Azure team members, they launched Cumulex in 2008 and sold the consulting and app deployment part of the business to Aditi Technologies. After that deal closed late last year, the Cumulux founders launched Opstera, where they decided to focus on application performance management.

So far, the company claims it has 150 paying customers for its service, which costs between $50 and $800 per month. The company is backed by bootstrap funding from the Cumulux buyout and $650,000 from some undisclosed angel investors.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 17, 20120 comments

HP Lines Up Partners for Its Public Cloud Service

As promised, Hewlett-Packard today released an open beta of its public cloud service and disclosed more than three dozen partners that are supporting it.

The company's HP Cloud Services, as reported, is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering targeted at enterprises, developers and ISVs looking for an off-premises alternative for compute and storage capacity. Available for testing immediately is HP Cloud Compute, HP Cloud Object Storage (announced earlier this week) and the HP Content Delivery Network, all of which will be made available on a usage basis.

HP's public cloud services clearly aim to compete against the IaaS portfolio offered by industry leader Amazon Web Services. The HP public cloud offerings are based on the open source platform OpenStack, designed to allow interoperability among public cloud providers that support the platform, such as Rackspace, and compatible private cloud infrastructure.

The 37 vendors that announced support for HP Cloud Services include application vendors Otopy, PXL and SendGrid; database suppliers CloudOpt, EnerpriseDB and Xeround; development and testing companies SOASTA and Spirent; management vendors BitNami, CloudSoft, enStratus, Kaavo, RightScale, ScaleXtreme, Smartscale Systems and Standing Cloud; mobile providers FeedHendy and Kinvey; New Relic, which offers a monitoring solution; PaaS platform providers ActiveState, CloudBees, Corent Technology, CumuLogic, Engine Yard and GigaSpaces; security vendors Dome9 and SecludIT; and storage suppliers CloudBerry Lab, Gladinet, Panzura, Riverbed Technology, SME Storage, StorSimple, TwinStrata and Zmanda.

Rounding off the list is infrastructure management vendor Opscode and billing provider Zuora. For its part Opscode, which supplies the popular Chef cloud infrastructure management portfolio, said it's offering complete integration with HP Cloud Services to provide infrastructure automation via its Open Source Chef, Hosted Chef and Private Chef solutions. Using Opscode's plug-in for HP Cloud services, Opscode said customers can build and manage HP Cloud Compute instances.

Riverbed said its Whitewater cloud storage gateways will work with HP Cloud Object Storage, aimed at those who want to provide disaster recovery alternatives to traditional tape-based backup. And RightScale is adding HP Cloud Services to the portfolio of services and cloud infrastructure its solution can manage. With HP's new cloud service, RightScale now manages six public cloud providers and three private IaaS platforms, including OpenStack, Citrix CloudStack and the Amazon-compatible Eucalyptus.

Another management supplier, Standing Cloud, said HP Cloud Services is another alternative for hosting its marketplace for developers, IT pros and ISVs. The Standing Cloud Marketplace provides on-demand application hosting, installation and management. With security vendors such as Dome9 announcing support for HP Cloud Services, customers will have options for ensuring protection, a key concern among enterprise customers. The Dome9 cloud security service will integrate with HP Cloud Services, via an API key that enables the cloud server security and policy-based automation.

There are many other examples but the point is HP is trying to come out of the gate showing that it has lined up a broad partner ecosystem. Do you think HP is going to give Amazon a run for its money? Leave a comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 10, 20121 comments

Amazon Launches Its First Partner-Customer Conference

On the heels of its move to expand its partner ecosystem, Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Wednesday said it will hold its first conference aimed at bringing partners, customers and the AWS team together.

Amazon will hold "AWS re: Invent 2012" on Nov. 27 to 29 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Targeted at developers, enterprise IT and startups, the conference will consist of over 100 sessions, though the company has not announced specific content. According to the preliminary conference Web site, AWS is looking to bring together its product and development teams and its systems integration and ISV partners with customers, venture capitalists and press.

Among the topics AWS plans to cover are big data, high-performance computing, Web apps, development of mobile apps games and enterprise IT applications, the company said.

"AWS re: Invent is an opportunity for our current and future customers to learn proven strategies for taking advantage of the AWS cloud and take home new ideas that will help them invent within their own businesses and deliver more value to their customers," said AWS worldwide marketing head Ariel Kelman in a statement.

The company is recruiting potential speakers to give presentations. The deadline to propose a presentation is May 31.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 09, 20120 comments