Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Citrix Virtualization Offers Big Savings in Academic Computing

Citrix Systems announced that Montgomery Independent School District (ISD), located north of Houston, Texas, has implemented a multi-phased program to modernize and virtualize their academic computing systems using Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenServer. The first phase of Montgomery ISD's implementation utilized XenServer to virtualize and consolidate their servers in a central datacenter; phase two, now under way, expands that deployment to standardize on desktop virtualization district-wide with XenDesktop. The school district has already realized significant savings in time, energy, money and personnel resources, and expects to expand these savings further in the future.  

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Amazon invites bidding wars in the EC2 cloud

Amazon may have made a name for itself as an online retailer and pioneer in e-book sales, but the company has also attracted a following for the cloud computing services it offers. The company has to maintain a large server footprint to handle things like the holiday gift rush, and at least some of that undoubtedly goes idle during slower times, so the company uses its excess capacity to offer users access to virtual hardware and storage that's cheap and can be scaled rapidly. Now, the company is adding an additional degree of flexibility that should increase the appeal on the "cheap" side of that equation: spot pricing for compute capacity.

The idea behind the EC2 service is pretty simple: users can create a customized operating system image—the company supports Windows, Solaris, and various Linux distributions—and then pay to run virtually on hardware at one of three Amazon data centers. Users can pay more to get more memory, more cores, and the like. If demand increases suddenly, it's possible to simply throw more instances at the problem, which enables users to rapidly scale without maintaining idle hardware during the times it's not needed.

Monday, 28 December 2009

OpSource + Mezeo = Secure Cloud Storage

Mezeo Software today announced that OpSource Cloud will offer the Mezeo Cloud Storage Platform, enabling OpSource Cloud users to enjoy online sign-up and immediate provisioning of cloud storage service, speeding enterprises' cloud deployment and offering flexible, secure storage options to help ISVs differentiate themselves. The Mezeo Cloud Storage Platform will be available to OpSource Cloud users in the first quarter of 2010.
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What Lies Beneath – Technologies Critical to Successful Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing and its ability to process the needs of multiple users with shared resources in a dynamic and transparent fashion doesn't happen by chance. The underlying technologies and their ability to provide elasticity, scalability, and automation, while protecting data in motion, data at rest and data in process are critical to a successful Cloud Computing implementation.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

CloudShare Comes Out of Stealth

CloudShare, formerly IT Structures, has come out of stealth today with marquee customers and a proven cloud-based technology platform for sales engineers and trainers. CloudShare customers have already delivered over one million VM demo, PoC (proof of concept) and training hours to date, representing over six quarters of consecutive double-digit usage growth for CloudShare.

This early success demonstrates the practical, revenue-oriented, immediately useful nature of the CloudShare platform. CloudShare's platform gives solution providers and ISVs selling software or appliances a simple way to deploy multiple, independent copies of their existing fully built hands-on demo or training environment in the cloud, in minutes versus the days or weeks typically associated with on-site delivery of such enterprise-class systems.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Symantec Offers Cloud Computing Security

Symantec announced it is offering its next-generation security and enterprise-class storage management solutions through the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Symantec Endpoint Protection and Veritas Storage Foundation Basic are now available on Amazon EC2. Businesses can leverage the Symantec solutions to add additional protection to their Windows servers in the cloud with comprehensive threat prevention and manage their cloud storage online with a single toolset that delivers reliability, scalability and high performance.

Monday, 21 December 2009

BT & Cisco Cloud Mates

BT and Cisco said Wednesday that they are launching a global cloud-based IP telephony service as part of BT's Onevoice UCC portfolio, starting in the UK. BT is building out the underlying virtualized infrastructure. It will be the first global offering based on Cisco's Hosted UC services as the platform for collaborative voice communications. Cisco said that companies that are tightly managing their capital expenditure will be able to step into converged communications "by consuming their IP telephony, voicemail, conferencing and unified messaging technologies on a utility-based, per-user pricing model." BT will move into EMEA and the US next year followed by Asia-Pacific.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Cloud Computing Startup Lands $10M

A way for organizations to instantly deploy multiple, independent copies of their existing demo or training environments in the cloud. The company says its ability to raise a significant round of funding at a higher valuation than its previous round -- in a down economy -- reflects the stability of the company and the value it provides. "CloudShare has taken all the necessary steps to solidify its market position and prepare for future growth.

We are impressed by the team and track record CloudShare brings to the table, and are immensely pleased to be backing a company that we believe is not only capitalizing on cloud computing, but using it in the right way to benefit business users," said George Zachary, partner at Charles River Ventures. CloudShare customers, which include such industry leaders as VMware, Cisco, SAP and more, have already delivered over one million VM demo, PoC (proof of concept) and training hours to date, representing over six quarters of consecutive double-digit usage growth for CloudShare. This early success demonstrates the practical, revenue-oriented, immediately useful nature of the CloudShare platform.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

SAP To Compete with Salesforce

Reuters managed to run into SAP EVP John Wookey at a user meeting in Boston and get him to say that the German company means to take on by the middle of next year with some software it's built from the ground up. Wookey told the wire service the venture should be profitable by this time next year. SAP will host the multi-tenant SaaS software à la Saleforce. It will initially target its existing customer base.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Big News This Year Is Cloud Computing

The big news in IT this year has to be Cloud Computing. Like the result of a Gremlin fed after midnight, Cloud Computing turned into the Stripe of the IT world. As pundits and vendors raced to gain mindshare as a means of priming the economy-dulled sales pipeline, IT buyers were caught trying to figure out, "is this the next great frontier, or am I going to look like an ass for recommending yet another useless acquisition?" Interestingly, cost is not the major driver behind these offerings, but instead access to compute resources on demand that don't require up-front capital expenditure.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Salesforce CEO Writes Cloud Computing Book CEO Marc Benioff has written a book with Carlye Adler called Behind the Cloud that tells an insider's story of the company's step-by-story journey from the drawing board to billion-dollar concern. Just out a few weeks and on a few bestseller lists for business books it's also available on Amazon's Kindle e-book reader and as an audiobook. Benioff figures it can be a user's manual. His proceeds from the book are supposed to go toward the Foundation.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Why Microsoft Azure Should Matter To Businesses

I'll make a prediction that 2010 will be the most exciting year yet for cloud computing, and that's partly related to Microsoft's ramp-up of Azure. Anyone attending's Dreamforce conference last month understands the potential of cloud platforms for rapid application development. And this is all coming together at a time when IT shops need to quickly and cheaply turn out innovative new applications for the business.

To recap, Microsoft on Wednesday created a new commercial unit, the Server & Cloud division, as it prepares to launch the Windows Azure cloud services platform on Jan. 1. It also announced a three-year partnership with storage and virtualization vendor NetApp to help companies develop private clouds if they don't want their clouds hosted by Microsoft.

To understand Microsoft's potential in this area, look what's happening at The company drew more than 15,000 people to Dreamforce last month, largely due to growing interest in Starry-eyed entrepreneurs were there hoping to make money off of apps they've built on, which are hosted in's data centers. Demand for this type of thing is growing. I talked to several CIOs who were delighted—bordering on ecstatic—that their IT teams could so quickly develop apps on

So here's the deal: The cloud vendor ( hosts the servers, and already provides the core application logic. Using their programming tools, developers quickly write applications that run on the platform. Then they pay the vendor a monthly fee to use the app for as long as they want to. One example is RehabCare, which built an iPhone app for patient admissions on within several days.

Microsoft Azure appears to be very similar. The servers, the maintenance, and the core application logic are already there, hosted by Microsoft. If Microsoft does this right, it could be a great alternative to, say, spending months on .Net development of an app that has become obsolete to the business by the time it's finished. And Microsoft's partners, if they're wise, will understand the opportunity here.

This can apply to private clouds, too. If the IT department can act as a cloud service provider, business divisions can react more quickly to apps they need right now. Think of all the potential customer apps with the enormous growth of consumer smart phones. Some of these apps will be experimental. The key is to quickly develop, test it out, and let go of things that don't work.

Fast, cheap, easy. It's exactly what businesses need as they pull out of this recession and fight for market share. Cloud computing as a development platform is mind-numbingly obvious.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Demand for IT Managed Cloud Services

Lower Cost Drives Cloud Services Growth

Business technology has gone through several major changes over the decades. Each transformation brought new ways to perform work -- it also allowed some organizations to leapfrog over their less-agile competition.

"Today's CEO concerns provide an advanced look at what will become CIO priorities in six to 18 months," said Jorge Lopez, vice president at Gartner, Inc. The focus for the IT agenda in the face of economic uncertainty and risk is flexibility, and renewed business agility.

According to Gartner's assessment, CIOs need to ensure that their IT operations are ready for the ongoing challenges and shifts that are sure to emerge.

Defined as the ability to achieve financial and strategic plans, effectiveness gives enterprises the flexibility to meet challenge with change. So, how will CIOs improve effectiveness to meet new economic and operational challenges?

Business Imperative for Cloud-based Services
IT leaders are increasingly being asked to move all non-strategic IT functions to the cloud; to develop IT core competencies and skills to manage virtual resources; and to embrace new applications that capitalize on cloud computing, collaboration, mobility and social media.

Worldwide cloud services revenue will reach $56.3 billion in 2009, a 21.3 percent increase from 2008, according to the latest study by Gartner. The market is expected to reach $150.1 billion in 2013.

Much of the cloud computing news centers on systems infrastructure as a service (IaaS). In 2008, these services accounted for only 5.5 percent of the overall cloud services market and are forecast to reach 6 percent in 2009.

"Cloud-based infrastructure services are expected to see significant adoption through 2013," said Ben Pring, vice president at Gartner. "This segment probably has the largest range of possible outcomes, depending on how aggressively cloud computing is embraced."

Cloud application services, evolving from software as a service (SaaS) offerings, were almost twice as large as the market for systems infrastructure and will continue to show strong growth.

Lower Cost Drives Cloud Services Growth
Over the next five years an increasing array of application functionality will become available as IT managed cloud services -- to supplement those current cloud applications.

"The IT market trends for the next couple of years remain highly uncertain. While short-term growth is expected to be inhibited, the potentially lower cost of cloud services is attractive to customers and will drive growth for these offerings," said Mr. Pring.

Given that backdrop, what new demand are you experiencing for cloud-based services? Are you reaching out to service providers, to learn more about their evolving on-demand service offerings?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Tesco sparks iPhone price war with £20 a month contract

An iPhone price war has been triggered with news Tesco is to sell the iconic device on a £20 a month contract. The entry of Tesco into the iPhone market means that the cheapest way of buying and running one amounts to £462 with a one year contract. This is made up of £222 for one of the original 3G models with an 8GB memory and 12 monthly payments of £20.

Over 18 months, the figure would be  £582, which is some £43 cheaper than the equivalent deals from current iPhone providers. The supermarket is taking on established mobile phone networks, Orange and O2, in the battle for sales in the crucial Christmas trading period. The pressure to cut prices will be turned up in the new year when Vodafone will also start offering the iPhone. Currently, both Orange and O2 insist on customers signing up for a minimum 18 months for those who buy the iPhone on a contract basis.

This means the cheapest way of buying and running an iPhone 3G works out at £624.98 with Orange. That is a handset price of £96.50 and a monthly charge of £29.36. The price with O2, which originally had exclusive rights to sell the iPhone when it was first launched in November 2007, works out at  £625.73 for a similar deal.

Mobile phone handset prices and tariffs are notoriously complex, which means making a like for like comparison is virtually impossible for consumers.

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The Largest Sale of Cloud Computing Company in 2009

Compuware’s $295 million cash acquisition of Gomez realized $93 million for Dolphin investors, a 770 percent return

Dolphin Equity Partners recorded one of the largest single returns for limited partners among venture capital investors in 2009 and the largest sale of a privately held Cloud Computing company with its fourth-quarter sale of longtime investment Gomez Inc. to Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ:CPWR), firm President Richard Brekka said at today’s annual limited partner meeting.

Compuware’s $295 million cash acquisition of Gomez realized $93 million for Dolphin investors, a 770 percent return. Dolphin was Gomez’s largest shareholder and first invested in the company in 2000, when it saw an opportunity to build on Gomez’s nascent Web-performance monitoring assets and its then-pioneering delivery via the Software as a Service model.

“Dolphin is committed to looking for long-term investment opportunities that have huge potential payoffs, especially among SaaS technology providers,” Brekka said. “With our hands-on approach to helping find and support the right management teams, we’ve been able to create some truly innovative companies that have delivered real returns for our investors.”

The Gomez acquisition is the latest in a series of increasingly high-quality exits for Dolphin portfolio companies over the past few years, including Enpocket (sold to Nokia in 2007) and MaxPreps (sold to CBS in 2007).

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Cloud Computing Risk Assessment Report

I've been traveling so there is a bit of a back log of news. In case you missed this, The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), working for the EU Institutions and Member States has released a Cloud Computing Risk Assessment report. ENISA is the EU's response to Information security issues of the European Union. As such, it is the 'pacemaker' for Information Security in Europe.

ENISA supported by a group of subject matter expert comprising representatives from Industries, Academia and Governmental Organizations, has conducted, in the context of the Emerging and Future Risk Framework project, an risks assessment on cloud computing business model and technologies. The result is an in-depth and independent analysis that outlines some of the information security benefits and key security risks of cloud computing. The report provide also a set of practical recommendations.

A few highlights of the report include:

- The Cloud's economies of scale and flexibility are both a friend and a foe from a security point of view. The massive concentrations of resources and data present a more attractive target to attackers, but cloud-based defences can be more robust, scalable and cost-effective. This paper allows an informed assessment of the security risks and benefits of using cloud computing - providing security guidance for potential and existing users of cloud computing.

- Scale: commoditisation and the drive towards economic efficiency have led to massive concentrations of the hardware resources required to provide services. This encourages economies of scale - for all the kinds of resources required to provide computing services.

- Architecture: optimal resource use demands computing resources that are abstracted from underlying hardware. Unrelated customers who share hardware and software resources rely on logical isolation mechanisms to protect their data. Computing, content storage and processing are massively distributed. Global markets for commodities demand edge distribution networks where content is delivered and received as close to customers as possible. This tendency towards global distribution and redundancy means resources are usually managed in bulk, both physically and logically.

STANDARDISED INTERFACES FOR MANAGED SECURITY SERVICES: large cloud providers can offer a standardised, open interface to managed security services providers. This creates a more open and readily available market for security services.

LOCK-IN: there is currently little on offer in the way of tools, procedures or standard data formats or services interfaces that could guarantee data, application and service portability. This can make it difficult for the customer to migrate from one provider to another or migrate data and services back to an in-house IT environment. This introduces a dependency on a particular CP for service provision, especially if data portability, as the most fundamental aspect, is not enabled..

ISOLATION FAILURE: multi-tenancy and shared resources are defining characteristics of cloud computing. This risk category covers the failure of mechanisms separating storage, memory, routing and even reputation between different tenants (e.g., so-called guest-hopping attacks). However it should be considered that attacks on resource isolation mechanisms (e.g.,. against hypervisors) are still less numerous and much more difficult for an attacker to put in practice compared to attacks on traditional OSs.

MANAGEMENT INTERFACE COMPROMISE: customer management interfaces of a public cloud provider are accessible through the Internet and mediate access to larger sets of resources (than traditional hosting providers) and therefore pose an increased risk, especially when combined with remote access and web browser vulnerabilities.

Read the Complete Report Here

Monday, 7 December 2009

Big Data on Grids or on Clouds?

Now that we have a new computing paradigm, Cloud Computing, how can Clouds help our data? Replace our internal data vaults as we hoped Grids would? Are Grids dead now that we have Clouds? Despite all the promising developments in the Grid and Cloud computing space, and the avalanche of publications and talks on this subject, many people still seem to be confused about internal data and compute resources, versus Grids versus Clouds, and they are hesitant to take the next step. I think there are a number of issues driving this uncertainty.

Grids didn't keep all their promises
Grids did not evolve (as some of us originally thought) into the next fundamental IT infrastructure for everything and everybody. Because of the diversity of computing and data environments, we had to develop different middleware (department, enterprise, global, compute, data, sensors, scientific instruments, etc.), and had to face different usage models with different benefits. Enterprise Grids were (and are) providing better resource utilization and business flexibility, while global Grids are best suited to complex R&D collaboration with resource sharing. For enterprise usage, setting up and operating Grids was often complicated and did not remove all the (data) bottlenecks. For researchers this characteristic was seen to be a necessary evil. Implementing complex applications on supercomputers has never been easy. So what.

Grid: the way station to the Cloud
After 40 years of dealing with data processing, Grid computing was indeed the next big thing for the grand challenge R&D expert, while for the enterprise CIO, the Grid was a way station on its way to the Cloud model. For the enterprise today, Clouds are providing all the missing pieces: easy to use, economies of scale, business elasticity up and down, and pay-as you go (thus getting rid of some capital expenditure). And in cases where security matters, there is the private Cloud, within the enterprise's firewall. In more complex enterprise environments, with applications running under different policies, private Clouds can easily connect via the Internet to (external) public Clouds -- and vice versa -- forming a hybrid Cloud infrastructure that balances security with efficiency.

Different policies, what does that mean?
No data processing job is alike. Jobs differ by priority, strategic importance, deadline, budget, IP and licenses. In addition, the nature of the code often necessitates a specific computer architecture, operating system, memory, storage, and other resources. These important differentiating factors strongly influence where and when a data processing job is run. For any job, a set of specific requirements decide on the set of specific policies that have to be defined and programmed, such that any of these jobs will run just according to these policies. Ideally, this is guaranteed by a dynamic resource broker that controls submission to Grid or Cloud resources, be they local or global, private or public.

Friday, 4 December 2009

CSC Signs Record Cloud Deal with Royal Mail

Britain's hidebound state-owned Royal Mail is getting a cloud. Yup, CSC is supposed to provide 30,000 of its employees with access to newfangled web-based services using Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), part of Microsoft Online Services. CSC will also provide first line helpdesk support. The new contract is described as an industry first: CSC is the first Microsoft service provider to win a cloud deal of this size.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Secure Access to SaaS Applications

Static passwords replaced by two-factor authentication for applications in the cloud 

25 November 2009: With the growing demand for web-based SaaS applications, UK-based Signify has extended its two-factor authentication (2FA) hosted services to provide secure access to cloud-based applications such as and Google Apps. While 2FA is becoming the de-facto standard for remote access to server-based business applications, most SaaS solutions including and Google Apps still only provide authentication with static passwords that can be easily compromised.

In addition, the new Signify SaaS Login component of the service allows users to identify and authenticate themselves just once for access to all their network or cloud-based applications using a single set of two-factor authentication credentials. This increases the level of protection for corporate applications and data in the cloud by providing fast and convenient token or tokenless authentication.

"With the growing popularity of corporate SaaS applications such as and Google Apps that present access to potentially sensitive data in the cloud, it is an anomaly that most enterprises still rely on just a user name and password for authentication," said Dave Abraham, CEO at Signify. "SaaS Login is designed to fill in this security blind spot with strong two-factor authentication and comply with industry policies and guidelines that increasingly specify 2FA for remote access. Many organisations do not realise that this includes access to SaaS applications."

Using the SAML (Security Assertion Mark-up Language) authentication protocol, the new SaaS Login component integrates Signfy's 2FA hosted services with SaaS applications. This enables users to log in using their existing two-factor token-based or tokenless credentials. Once logged in securely, Signify then allows easy 'one click' sign-on to each cloud or SaaS application, without requiring further authentication.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Are you thinking about investing time and money in the Cloud ?

We hear the buzz words echoing around the industry on a regular basis, Social Networking, Twitter, Facebook, iPhone and most interesting (to me anyhow) Cloud Computing. I've been in communications for almost 20 years and have embraced and sold many different technologies. Does anyone recall ICL DRS6000's or IBM AIX platforms ? Mainframes serving terminals ? Wyse 50's in Green, Amber or even White (that was the back colour of the screen itself, not a colour screen god forbid!). 
Technologies evolve and find their own niche or become the norm in a very short space of time if the time is right. Wyse (as an example) evolved from a green screen manufacturer into a provider and innovator of thin client solutions forging partnerships with Citrix and microsoft to become one of the major players in a new paradigm Server Based Computing. Cloud based Computing is simply one rung up the ladder from the server by putting the server in the Internet. It's simply yet another evolution in the world of communications and IT.

I read an article today stating that Cloud Computing will bring forth a 'Sea Change' in IT in the coming months and years. I believe we're already travelling through this change and the problem is we're all not getting it quick enough ! Technology changes, it does not wait for us to understand it and adopt, it forges ahead and expects us to take notice or pass it by... Everyone, from the one man start up to the latgest Enterprise needs to understand what Cloud Computing can do for their business because it will save everyone a vast amount of time, energy and money. Let's not lose out to our competitors as they sell Cloud solutions to our clients, let's embrace the space and innovate alongside the 'sea change' which is in play. 

Cloud Distribution are about helping partners jump on the bus, build a portfolio of solutions for their clients and start making money out of this next buzz word. The futures bright, the futures cloudy :-)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Cloud Distribution - OpSource Cloud

Cloud Distribution partners with OpSourceCloud - The Global Enterprise IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) leader

Kudos to Amazon for kick-starting the move to Cloud computing. But now you want to get serious about adopting the Cloud and you need a grown up enterprise-class solution. You need OpSource Cloud. As a reseller with clients asking "what is this cloud stuff all about?" you need to respond with a coherent, effective story. Cloud Distribution and OpSource are the story to tell.

What Amazon EC2 want's to be when it grows up

OpSource Cloud combines the best of Amazon like features with the security, performance and control your development projects and production applications require. You need professional features like private networks, dedicated configurable firewalls, configurable servers with burstable CPU and passwords for multiple users with role based permissions. And OpSource delivers these grown up features and more - all standard and all available on a no commit basis.
OpSource Cloud, the first Cloud to bring together the flexibility, availability and community of the public Cloud with the security, performance and controls the enterprise demands. Emphasizing security, OpSource Cloud provides every user with a Virtual Private Cloud within the public Cloud, allowing them to determine their own degree of public Internet connectivity.

Promotion - 25% off OpSource Cloud IaaS

Provision, deploy and manage Enterprise-Class Cloud operations from anywhere, anytime. Sign up for an OpSource Cloud account with Cloud Distribution and save 25% on retail pricing. Use promotion code CDT01.

Visit the OpSource Web Site

Cloud Distribution - OpSource Cloud

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Real-World Cloud Computing Applications

In this article, we will see some examples of real-world Cloud Computing applications: Coca-Cola Enterprises uses a Cloud-based system to streamline operations with merchandisers in the field; Nasdaq uses Amazon's S3 Cloud Service to deliver historical stock and mutual fund information, rather than add the load to its own database and computing infrastructure; Animoto, a small start-up which decided to use Amazon's Cloud Services, was able to keep up with soaring demand for its service and scale up from 50 instances to 3,500 instances over a three day period.