Can Help Consolidate Your Web Tier?


At Dreamforce today, here in San Francisco, announced a significant, and seemingly long overdue, enhancement to its SaaS offering. They announced Facebook and for Amazon Web Services that are pre-integrations between their platform and these two other platforms. This new capability lets enterprise customers of their CRM solution (or any other AppExchange or provide a public front-end to their instance of these services, directly from these services.  The big deal with these additions is that they let you tie third party applications directly into your applications. In the case of the AWS integration, if you have applications or services built in Java, the LAMP stack or native C code, you can integrate them with your apps.

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Enterprise Readiness Of Cloud Ratcheting Up

It may just be time for enterprise customers to take a serious look at cloud computing. Major announcements in the past few days from Microsoft and Amazon have certainly signaled that the on-demand Internet computing model has staying power. And with a long recession looming there may be no better time to start getting familiar with something that could dramatically lower infrastructure costs.

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Cloud Courting: Round 1

James VMware and Citrix want to be your cloud infrastructure provider. The competing virtual infrastructure makers announced dueling cloud initiatives this week aimed at providing xSPs with simple to deploy and buy cloud computing platforms that come from very different angles and may serve to bifurcate the mid to small market service provider space.

Citrix Cloud Center (abbreviated as C3, a nice homage to cloud pioneer Amazon Web Services' S3 cloud service) gives xSPs a portfolio of tools for automating virtual machine deployment, movement, and SLA management. It bundles together their XenServer Virtual Infrastructure, Netscaler application switch, WANScaler access gateway and bandwidth optimizer, and the forthcoming Workflow Studio for application self-provisioning and admin orchestration.

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Goldman: CIOs Don’t Want Cloud – Well, Duh.

Sachs & Co. recently released the results of their latest survey of CIOs

which showed that enterprise IT is contracting spending a bit and that cloud
computing is at the very bottom of their priority list. This shouldn’t come as
a surprise to anyone, nor should it be seen as a needle inserted into the cloud
computing hype balloon because CIOs
aren’t the target market for clouds
. Like other disruptive innovations in
the technology space, such as cloud
, software
as a service (SaaS
) and the
, cloud computing targets the tech savvy business developer, startup
and interactive marketer. These business innovators don’t take their technology
cues from the corporate standards set by infrastructure & operations

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VMware Levels The Playing Field: ESX Now Free

As predicted
by Forrester
, New
CEO Paul Maritz
announced this week that VMware will drop the price of ESXi (their base server
hypervisor) to $0 (from $495).
This obviously comes in response to Microsoft Hyper-V
pricing ($28 per server) and as competition to the free open source Xen

Support is not included with the free ESXi; if you want that
it starts at $495/server
per year

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IBM's Play In Cloud Computing? Listening Carefully

James IBM's PR engine has been ratcheting up the volume about its efforts in cloud computing lately and if you are like me, I found their press releases confusing, so I got them on the phone to try and get past the hype to better understand what they are really doing in this space. Turns out they have turned on a powerful listening and learning engine.

IBM’s BlueCloud initiative isn't (at least not initially) an attempt to become a cloud services provider or to become a cloud computing platform, but rather to help their customers experiment with, try out, and custom design cloud solutions to fit their needs. Building off the IBM Innovation Center concept, IBM is providing Cloud centers that are places customers from enterprise and government accounts, as well as non-IBM customers can test out cloud computing concepts, mostly for deployment internal to their own data centers. Gerrit Huizenga, the technical solutions architect for BlueCloud for IBM's Systems & Technology Group (STG) said these efforts are helping them build out a series of cloud blueprints, or proven/standardized cloud infrastructures. "Our goal is to deliver solutions that make it much easier to deploy and manage these things," Huizenga said.

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Cloud Maturity Is Accelerating: More Than Just Reaction To The Hype?

James Over the past few months a flurry of announcements have begun swirling around the cloud computing space, which remains a nascent market in the overall IT realm. Do these announcements portend a fast maturity for the concept or just the typical "me too" that comes with a hyped market?

In June, RightScale, a cloud management software and consulting company that has become a bit of a poster child as a cloud integrator, announced a partnership with GigaSpaces that integrates their eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) clustering and cache solution with the RightScale automated cloud management platform for Amazon EC2 clients. The value of this partnership comes from the fact that EC2 simply provides you with a VM you can populate but no availability or scalability services. XAP is a cluster architecture that delivers these values and can be quickly and easily deployed via the RightScale tool.

Next came Elastra, a San Francisco startup building a Cloud Server, a middleware layer that turns a commodity infrastructure into a cloud (similar value to what 3Tera provides today). The first iteration deploys similarly to XAP -- as a software layer you load into EC2 VMs, that enables scale and availability to the apps you lay on top of it.

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Is Your ISP Jumping On The 100 Gigabit Ethernet Bandwagon?

We've established that 10 GbE is now ready for the enterprise, which means it is time to start worrying about whether your Internet service provider (ISP) is adopting 100 gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE). ISPs aggregate enterprise traffic and connect you to the Internet over high speed optical networks that must ensure the adequate bandwidth and quality of service (QoS) you require.

While the majority of customers won’t fill their 10 GbE pipes this year or next, many will; advanced applications such as high definition video streaming, video conferencing, data replication, and wide area clustering for business continuity will tax bandwidth. Moreover, corporate networks will take advantage of the better bandwidth of 10 GbE to shift to IP-based Unified Communications (UC.) Forrester Research found that 36% of enterprises in North America and Europe have deployed or are rolling out UC this year with another 36% evaluating it. All these high-bandwidth services require strong QoS to meet enterprise needs and drive adoption.

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IBM Gets Into The Data Center-In-A-Box Business -- Better Late Than Never!

James_2IBM announced Wednesday
that like Sun and Rackable before them, they will now be offering a Portable
Modular Data Center (PMDC) similar to Verari’s FOREST,
Blackbox, and Rackable’s ICE Cube and Concentro.
IBM also rolled out their
new Enterprise
Modular Data Center (EMDC) and Modular High Density Zone (MHDZ).

This data center-in-a-box is portable, stackable, and can be
deployed in as little at 12 to 14 weeks, says IBM. It supports an open architecture and
equipment from non-IBM vendors. IBM states that if you need to expand your data
center fast, but don’t have the space, the PMDC is worth considering.

Huh? A data center in the trailer of an 18-wheeler? What do
you do, park it outside next to your data center? How does this make sense? And
for whom?

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Help Set Energy Star Standards?

James_2Everyone wants to make their data centers more efficient and
gain recognition for their efforts but we’re lacking the benchmarks to shoot
for. Well, here’s your chance to help change that. On March 20th the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) kicked off a data collection process to help create Energy
Star™ ratings for data centers. Energy Star, the best known energy efficiency
identifier, is respected as a mark of credibility for products and services
that deliver superior energy efficiency. While mainly a consumer mark, the EPA
recently published a draft standard for servers ,
its first serious foray into providing enterprise product and service guidance.
While extending Energy Star to your corporate data center, consumed only by
your own company, may not have customer impact, it has corporate brand value that
matters to the C-level executives. It will also have differentiating value when
choosing outsourced service providers.

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