CA Picks Up Watchmouse

Looking to bolster its IT monitoring portfolio, CA Technologies has agreed to acquire Web site monitoring company Watchmouse. Terms were not disclosed.

The remote user monitoring service is a subscription-based offering that monitors the performance and availability of Web sites, services and transaction-level applications from 62 monitoring stations worldwide in over 40 countries.

Watchmouse, based in Utrecht, Netherlands, replicates real-time transactions and creates scripts that help identify issues that include slow response times and issues that could cause performance problems.

"The idea is as applications start to become more and more cloud-delivered, it's hard to instrument from inside," said Lokesh Jindal, senior VP of strategy and business development at Nimsoft, a division of CA that provides IT management solutions for midsized enterprises.

Watchmouse will be offered as an adjunct offering to the company's Nimsoft Monitor solution, allowing customers to ascertain how their Web sites and applications are performing from around the world. The service helps provide root causes of slow performing Web sites.

Watchmouse will also be sold as an add-on to CA's higher-end Application Performance Management (APM) solution, targeted at large enterprises. Watchnouse will offer greater visibility into application performance, whether the app is running in a datacenter, in the cloud or from a managed services provider, CA said.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 03, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Dell Delivers OpenStack Cloud Solution

Dell is delivering an Infrastructure as a Service cloud solution based on the open source OpenStack platform.

Called the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, it consists of a reference architecture that outlines how to integrate the OpenStack operating system, Dell PowerEdge C servers and a component to install the software on bare metal systems called Crowbar. Also available are services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders.

OpenStack appears to be emerging as a key open source option for deploying cloud services, and Dell's newest release is a notable milestone. The OpenStack Project, kicked off a year ago, is based on a cloud operating system developed by NASA and Rackspace that was contributed to the open source community under the Apache 2.0 license.

Dell was among 25 member companies that said they would contribute to the OpenStack project when it launched last year. Now there are more than 90 member companies which include Cisco, Citrix, Equinix, Intel, Opscode and RightScale. And Dell's largest rival, Hewlett-Packard, just became the latest member company to join the project.

"Since day one we investigated the code, started looking at reference architectures, figuring out how we can get a solution together to enable our customers to move on OpenStack," said Joseph George, director of marketing for Dell Cloud solutions.

While Dell engineers tweaked the code provided by NASA and Rackspace, getting an OpenStack instance up and running in a physical environment was problematic, George explained.

"It's not trivial to actually install a cloud, and it's not trivial to install an OpenStack cloud and so we decided we should automate that," he said, hence the development of Crowbar. "Crowbar is a software framework that allows users to deploy a multi-node OpenStack cloud on bare metal server technology in a matter of hours and even minutes, in some cases, as opposed to a couple of days that it would take if you were to do it manually."

Crowbar allows operators to set up BIOS, update RAID and it performs some level of network discovery and monitoring. "At the heart of it, it's a nice, simple automated way to be able to get an OpenStack cloud environment running on your servers very quickly," he said.

Dell is releasing the code for Crowbar to the open source community with the hope that it will become a key project within the OpenStack initiative.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Hewlett-Packard Jumps on OpenStack Bandwagon

Count Hewlett-Packard as the latest member company to join the OpenStack project, the open source cloud effort formed a year ago.

As the largest IT vendor in terms of revenues, it can be argued that HP's presence is a major boost for OpenStack. Or perhaps the vendor realized that some of its key rivals -- Cisco and Dell -- were already major contributors to an effort that appears to be gaining momentum.

NASA and Rackspace contributed the code for an open source cloud operating system that was contributed to the community under the Apache 2.0 license. Besides Cisco and Dell, the OpenStack Project boasts a laundry list of players including Citrix, Equinix, Intel, Opscode and RightScale.

"HP recognizes that open and interoperable cloud infrastructure and services are critical in delivering the next generation of cloud-based services to developers, businesses and consumers," said Emil Sayegh, HP's VP of Cloud Services, in a blog post. "HP is taking an active role in the OpenStack community and we see this as an opportunity to enable customers, partners and developers with unique infrastructure and development solutions across public, private and hybrid cloud environments."

Sayegh said HP will sponsor the OpenStack Design Summit and OpenStack Conference, slated for October in Boston.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Capgemini Bets on Microsoft's Azure

Capgemini, the global consulting and systems integration giant, is putting a major emphasis on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform.

The company last week said it has agreed to align its resources around Windows Azure, as well as marketing and delivering services around the platform. The two companies have a longstanding partnership, and this agreement is an extension of that. Capgemini's Microsoft-related business last year was $1.7 billion.

A key component of this agreement is a commitment to train 1,500 of its architects on Windows Azure, SQL Azure and the Azure AppFabric.

"It is our intent to cross-train roughly half of our .NET development staff because it's our belief that Azure and the Azure development environment and the apps specifically are going to be how next-generation applications are built," said Don Jones, Capgemini's Group VP for global channels and partners. "So Azure will be our default development environment for cloud-based applications going forward."

While Capgemini also has partnerships with Google, IBM and Amazon Web Services, it appears the SI is putting its emphasis on bringing full cloud solutions to customers via Windows Azure.

"What we think for the vast majority of our clients, Azure is going to be the right application development environment from a Platform as a Service perspective," Jones said. "If you look at the ISV community who are developing applications for Azure, it's our intent to become an orchestration service for that."

One such ISV is Geneva-based Temenos, which offers systems software for banks. Temenos announced last week that it has deployed its T24 system on Windows Azure for a network of six Mexican microfinance institutions (MFIs) back in May.

"It is our intent to go industry by industry and identify the top three to five Azure-based solutions and take those to market and draft Azure behind those," Jones said. "A core competency of Capgemini is working with these ISVs and bringing those solutions to market."

Capgemini intends to offer the Windows Azure service across 22 countries, with an initial emphasis on the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Brazil.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


OpenStack Official Talks Up Diablo

The OpenStack consortium is readying the next release of its open-source cloud operating platform with a target date of late September.

OpenStack, a project launched a year ago this week by Rackspace Hosting and NASA, now is 80 member companies strong. The last release of the OpenStack operating system, Cactus, came out in April. The group is now moving to a six-month release cycle, said Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack Project Policy Board and a founder of the Rackspace Cloud.

The next release is called Diablo. I chatted about Diablo with Bryce, who believes it will further broaden the appeal of OpenStack to both emerging service providers and large enterprises.

"The Diablo release is going to be a really good release for the traditional and average IT shop that's out there," Bryce said.

While there are a number of new features that will embody Diablo, Bryce emphasized three of them: improved networking, identity management and new service provider capabilities.

The networking in the first few versions of OpenStack Compute has been built around how you take network traffic and get it to and from virtual machines. "It's IP assignment and some basic routing. It's not a full networking stack by any means," he said.

With contributions from a number of players including notably Cisco, Diablo will step up the networking capabilities of OpenStack by dealing with the switching and routing side of things, "and even concepts of moving from having a network card and a virtual machine that you need to get traffic to, to actually dealing with ports on both sides of the line and coming up with a real model for virtualizing all of that so you can control all of the aspects of the networking of your datacenter," he explained.

The approach is to set up an interface, an API, where you can configure and create new ports, establish new connections between ports, create new routes and manage it all, he added.

"This is why Cisco has gotten involved, so you get to the point where you can really create some powerful automation at all layers of the network, and virtualize pieces of it, use physical hardware for pieces of it, but you control it all through one interface that is tied into this whole OpenStack cloud operating system."

Next is identity. A new feature called Keystone provides an identity and authentication management service. Keystone can tap into existing authentication systems like Active Directory and LDAP but it presents multitenant concepts that the compute service and the object storage need to keep users' data and virtual machines separate and secure and gives a single source of truth on the identity side, Bryce explained.

Finally, Diablo will gain new service provider features. One that Bryce pointed out includes usage tracking for billing and chargeback and monitoring the health of a service. The way the system keeps track of that data now is you can pull the data out but it's not all that clean and separated to the point where you could put it into a billing system or an accounting system, he said.

Some of the OpenStack developers are working on an interface that is meant to pull data out of all of these systems. It can be usage data for billing and monitoring data for health checks, Bryce said. "It's basically a system to subscribe to these feeds of data that you need so there's a unified framework for how that data is being published and exported."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


IBM's Cloud Business Rises

It was a stellar quarter for IBM as the company's reported second quarter revenues of $26.7 billion were up 12 percent, and net income of $3.7 billion was up 8 percent. That's certainly not a bad way to cap off a quarter in which the company turned 100 years old.

Buoyed by strong services, software and hardware revenues, Big Blue also talked up its cloud business, which is on track to double this year. Within its Integrated Technology Services business, cloud-based services revenue grew 200 percent. Since IBM did not break out those revenues, it's hard to get too excited about that figure for the moment.

However, IBM said it has won 2,000 cloud deals so far this year, and the average private cloud transaction has tripled, said IBM's senior VP and CFO Mark Loughridge in his prepared remarks during the company's earnings call. "In the first half of 2011, cloud revenue has already exceeded our full year 2010 results, keeping us on track to double our cloud revenue for the year," Loughridge said.

IBM beefed up its cloud offerings earlier this year, when it launched SmartCloud, a product designed to enhance the company's public cloud infrastructure services, and Workload Deployer, a private cloud solution.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Dell To Acquire Force10 Networks

Looking to add networking punch to its datacenter and cloud solutions portfolio, Dell on Wednesday said it has agreed to acquire Force10 Networks.

Terms of the deal, set to close later this summer, were not disclosed, though the San Jose, Calif.-based company posted $200 million in revenues over the past 12 months.

Dell said Force10 lets customers "transform their network infrastructures into an open, reliable and scalable datacenter and cloud computing fabric" via its Open Networking framework, which Dell said is based on open standards, automation and virtualization.

Though it doesn't have the installed base of some of its larger networking rivals, Force10 counts as its customers Web 2.0 and Fortune 100 companies, telecommunications carriers, research laboratories and government organizations. The company sells its networking gear in 60 countries but 80 percent of its business comes from North America.

Dell said it intends to maintain and expand Force10's existing channel partner program just as it did with its acquisitions of Compellent and EqualLogic.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Cloud Bubble Ready To Pop?

This week marked the debut of the first cloud-focused ETF, a fund comprising of cloud companies.

The release of the First Trust ISE Cloud Computing Index Fund (Ticker: SKYY) begged the question: Are cloud stocks going the way of dotcom holdings more than a decade ago?

In a short segment Thursday, CNBC asked two analysts to weigh in on the matter: Brad Whitt, enterprise software analyst at Gleacher and Co. and James Staten, vice president principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Whitt is bullish on cloud stocks, pointing to the fact that cloud companies have executed well since the end of 2009 and he doesn't believe that their market valuations are overheated.

"We've seen the metrics continue to accelerate in the past six or seven quarters," Whitt said. "We are also seeing tremendous end user demand. We attend a lot of user conferences and trade shows and we continue to see a lot of demand. Systems integrators are definitely getting behind the cloud computing initiative, and lastly I think the expectations in valuations are reasonable. We are nowhere near the dotcom valuation levels, so if the companies continue to execute, which we think they will, the end user demand is still there."

Forrester's Staten was more bearish, arguing the hype might be outstripping demand for cloud services.

"The hype around how much cloud demand is out there is beyond what really we're seeing," Staten said. "We're definitely seeing enterprises that are interested in using the cloud and we see them actually putting things in there, but they're not getting ready to shut down their datacenters and move it all in there, and that's a lot of what is behind all the hype."

Whitt countered that stocks that he considers cloud companies are all seeing anywhere from 20 to 40 percent revenue growth.

"That's not what I consider hype growth-type expectations," Whitt said. "I'd agree with James that companies are going to move slow. They're going to start with private clouds, they're going to adopt Software as a Service, which we've seen from companies like Salesforce."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 08, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


CloudShare Gains $10 Million in Funding

CloudShare this week said it has bagged $10 million in new funding led by Globespan Capital Partners, joined by existing backers Sequoia Capital, Charles River Ventures and Gemini Israel Funds.

The company has raised a total of $26 million in three rounds since its founding in 2005. CloudShare said it will use the funding to expand its sales and market presence.

CloudShare lets developers and IT admins build, share, test, demo and train on business applications on its cloud-based infrastructure using a browser. Among its customers are Cisco, SAP, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, McAfee and Adobe. Overall, CloudShare says it has 50,000 customers.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 07, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


BPOS Customers Can't Upgrade to Office 365 Yet

One week after the official launch of Office 365, partners and customers of its predecessor are realizing that they will have to wait three or four months before they can upgrade.

That's the estimate in a document (DOC) posted to the Microsoft Office 365 Transition Center, which states that transition availability for existing Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) customers will be available "roughly" four months after the Office 365 launch.

"This date represents the period when Microsoft will be able to transition most BPOS customers," the document states. "Microsoft will contact you 60 to 90 days prior to a proposed transition date. You can accept the date or request a new one."

A Microsoft spokeswoman acknowledged that BPOS customers will have to wait, but it will more likely be September that the bulk of migrations will begin.

"Microsoft is currently piloting the transition process with a select number of customers to ensure they have the best migration experience for all existing BPOS customers," the spokeswoman said in a prepared statement. "In September 2011, Microsoft will expect to begin broad transitions. There are two main factors in determining migration transition timing -- customers' response to the readiness survey and their technical eligibility."

In some cases, it could be longer, said Pete Zarras, president and CEO of New York-based Cloud Strategies LLC. For example, "anyone with BlackBerry [is] moved to the back of the line," Zarras said, noting Microsoft is waiting for Research In Motion to launch the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Office 365.

Several partners said they believe it will be more than three months before broad migrations occur. Regardless, some BPOS customers are not pleased. "So for new customers this service available now," one customer posted in a thread on Microsoft's Online Services TechCenter. "For existing no -- we have to wait four months. Thanks Microsoft, it's really clever way to appreciate your long term clients."

Some are threatening more drastic action: "Wow, so I guess the [solution] is to terminate service and sign back up, or maybe just terminate service and go elsewhere," another customer posted.

Indeed, that is what Zarras is considering for one of his customers. "We're contemplating a pretty ugly roll-back of their partially completed BPOS migration to their on-prem Exchange Server, so we can then move them to Office 365 without waiting on the Microsoft migration queue," Zarras said.

Yet for most BPOS customers, the date for migrations shouldn't come as much of a surprise, noted Dave Cutler, general manager of Chicago-based Slalom Consulting. "I've worked with many customers and none have expressed any real concerns about this," Cutler said. "I think it's likely because Microsoft has been pretty open about this with their BPOS customers so it wasn't really a surprise."

Derek Major, CEO of ElegioIT in Calgary says he hasn't heard from Microsoft as to how long it will take before BPOS customers could upgrade, but that customers would be contacted directly by Microsoft individually regarding their specific transitions.

"I have to admit I'm anxious to go live with 365," Major said. But his clients seem OK with the delay; in fact, some are welcoming it. That's because they don't want to have to upgrade their existing Office 2003 desktops to support Office 365, he said.

Chad Mosman, principal consultant at MessageOps said many of his customers are in no rush to go through the migration and are fine waiting.

"Overall, the reaction hasn't been too bad. A fair number of organizations feel like they just migrated and don't want to go through it again. Others don't meet the [minimum] requirements, and still others would rather wait to see how the service performs," Mosman said.  "We do have a couple that want to go right away, but that number is small.  So overall it hasn't been an issue."

Is it an issue for you? Drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com or leave a comment below.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 05, 2011 at 11:58 AM3 comments


LiveOffice Offers Archiving for Office 365

Microsoft's Office 365 provides users with 25 GB of capacity per mailbox but what if you need advanced archiving capabilities?

One option is from LiveOffice, which said it is offering advanced archiving, e-discovery and compliance services for users of Office 365. The LiveOffice service automatically synchronizes Exchange and SharePoint data, enabling end users to access messages and data in the archive from Outlook. Support for content from Lync will come in the fourth quarter.

Users get unlimited storage capacity, said Steve Buccola, the company's director of product management. "As all your data is being archived. It's being sent by 365 to us," Buccola said. "We're real-time indexing that data so it's accessible to the end users inside of Outlook. It appears as a folder and users can click on it and run searches very quickly to access their archived items in real time."

Many of the company's customers are finding its service as a means of providing continuity, so if there's an outage users can still access the folder, which lets the user retrieve all the messages they've sent and received. "It's essentially their backup in the cloud," he said.

In the event of an Office 365 outage, users can access their archives from Outlook and send and receive messages from the archive folders. "Within our hosted archive, the users can continue working as if they were working in [Office 365]," he added.

The company also is promoting its service as a way to ease Office 365 setup by importing data from on-premises Exchange systems into LiveOffice and then synchronizing the mailbox with Office 365. It will synchronize messages, e-mail addresses and distribution lists.

LiveOffice provides native access from Windows Phone 7 devices and other mobile clients.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 05, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Dimension Data Acquires OpSource

Dimension Data last week said it has acquired OpSource, a provider of cloud hosting and managed services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in Johannesburg, Dimension Data is a huge $4.7 billion global systems integrator and reseller. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT Holdings. Santa Clara-based OpSource provides cloud hosting and management services to more than 600 enterprises, service providers and SaaS-based ISVs.

OpSource will be moved into Dimension Data's Cloud Solutions Business unit, which reports directly to company CEO Brett Dawson.

"Our decision to accelerate our focus on cloud services aligns to our long-standing strategy to become a services-led business," Dawson said in a statement. "OpSource brings a rich set of services, a sound cloud architecture, and extensive experience in cloud services that will meet immediate client needs -- in addition to a cloud infrastructure which supports development and growth in this space. We believe OpSource provides us with an accelerated time-to-market as their infrastructure and services are well-established and tested."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 05, 2011 at 11:58 AM0 comments


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