Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Four Out of Five Folks Not Quite Sure What the Cloud Is

Well, maybe not that bad but in the wake of a couple of gatherings, I've been looking into overall cloud understanding in the market/industry.

We all know that there is still significant confusion surrounding cloud computing driven by vendor claims, lack of standards and it being a *relatively* new technology tool for business. I'll let the links do most of the talking but it is interesting to watch the videos and hear all the different opinions on what is cloud computing over the years. And it's not just trade show attendees – the Proofpoint & Osterman Research conducted in August of 2009 showed that, '40 percent of the IT professionals surveyed said they were still confused by the term.' From the 2009 Version One research, 'two-thirds of senior business executives and 41% of senior IT professionals admit that they "don't know" what cloud computing is.' And the Chadwick Martin Bailey survey from earlier this year indicates '24 percent of polled IT decision-makers were not able to define cloud computing.' At least the percentages are getting better as time passes but there's still a good chunk of uncertainty even amongst IT pros and decision makers.

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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Multi-Tenancy Not Required for SaaS, Cloud Computing

"Virtual Ark can manage dedicated instances of the application for specific customer needs as if they were "one" application instance," says Virtual Ark CEO Marty Gauvin in an exclusive interview with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan.

"In our view," he continues, "the security, integration and performance requirements of our target market, large enterprise customers, are ill-suited to multi-tenant solutions. We think this is a key reason why SaaS has not been taken up more strongly by this market segment, and why many ISVs have not modified their applications to be multi-tenant. Virtual Ark sees this as an important differentiator in its value proposition." Virtual Ark is the Platinum Sponsor of Cloud Expo, which will be held at the Javits Center in New York April 19-21.

Discussing the company's background, Gauvin says, "Virtual Ark commenced operation in July 2009. The company is backed by private shareholding and the investment bank, Baron Partners. The shareholders and management team (which has worked together for a decade), sold their previous company to the Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group for US$64m. Current partners include Grid Dynamics, Ingres, Technology One, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace. Others are being finalized over the coming weeks so stay tuned for more announcements!"

He does not lack confidence in his company's mission or prospects, as can be seen to his response to a question to name the top five Cloud vendors in the world: "Amazon, Rightscale, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure and Virtual Ark!"

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Smartphone users want better access to data

A new survey of U.S. smartphone users reveals a majority of them want to use mobile devices, including tablets like the upcoming Apple iPad, for work as well as personal activities. Yet the same users also see only limited productivity gains because they can access so little of the personal and business information they need.

The online survey polled 2,443 respondents, all adults with mobile phones. Of these, 770 were smartphone users. The study was commissioned by Sybase, which sells several mobile applications for enterprise customers, and conducted by Zogby International, which polled its online panel, a cross section of the U.S. adult population. (You can see the full set of slides here.)

The sample was asked how they would use a tablet device, which has video, office and e-mail applications, citing the iPad as an example. Not very surprisingly, entertainment-related uses were two of the top three picks. Forty-eight percent chose "watching movies, video, television programs" and 35% said they'd do "gaming and other entertainment."

What was surprising was the No.1 use: 52% said they'd use an iPad-like tablet for "conducting work on the device."

Smartphone users are more likely than standard cell phone users to do work-related activities with their phone. Of standard phone users, 46% say they use their phone for both work and personal tasks. But 79% of smartphone users say they do both tasks.

But regardless of the phone, users say they can access only a small fraction of the personal and business data they're interested in. The question asked was this: "How much of your data would you estimate you currently have access to on your mobile phone."

The question could be interpreted in different ways. For example, are users accessing data that only resides on, or has been transferred to, their mobile phone? Or is the phone a means for accessing data that may reside elsewhere on corporate or Web based servers?

However it was understood, users were clear that they want more access to more data. For "personal data" nearly 60% of the respondents say they access less than 10% of it on the phone. Nearly 70% say they access less than 10% of their "work data." Fewer than 1 in 10 respondents say they can access over 50% of both kinds of information.

The results were even worse when the question focused on enterprise-specific applications such as CRM.

The question was: "How much of your company's applications (such as spreadsheet applications, CRM applications and e-mail) would you estimate you currently have access to on your mobile phone?"

Seventy-two percent of the sample estimated less than 10% of these were accessible. Just over 8% estimated they access more than 51% of these applications.

The survey found very modest productivity gains, at least as self-assessed by the respondents. They were asked "Do you think devices such as the smartphone and the iPad make us more or less productive at work?"

Half of the sample selected "somewhat more productive." One quarter chose from several responses, with 9% saying "no difference" and almost the same percentage saying "somewhat less productive." Only 1 in 4 say these devices have us "much more productive."

Original Article - Here

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Monday, 29 March 2010

iPhone hacked at Pwn2Own contest

An iPhone got hacked in just 20 seconds at this week's Pwn2Own hacking contest at CanSecWest 2010, reports Ryan Naraine for ZDnet.

Hackers Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann demoed an exploit that allowed them to send a target iPhone to a web site that they'd set up online, and then copied off the entire SMS database on the iPhone (including deleted text messages) to their own server. The browser crashed during the hijack, but the hackers say that with a little tweaking, it would even be possible to nab the information without the user ever knowing that an attack had occurred. Halvar Flake also assisted with the hack, and he said that while Apple does have some protection in place for running malicious code on the iPhone, but it's not enough: "The way they implement code-signing is too lenient." You can see more technical information about the hack over on his blog.

The hackers aren't sharing exactly how they did the exploit -- as specified by the contest rules, knowledge of the hack is becoming property of the contest's sponsor, the Tipping Point Zero Day Initiative, who will pass on a report to Apple and only release details once the hole has been fixed. Safari and Internet Explorer 8 both got owned at the same conference, though details about those hacks are both forthcoming -- Tipping Point was offering up US$100,000 in prizes for exploits on these various programs, and it looks like the prize money has been well-earned.

to secure, control and manage iPhones in the enterprise, take a look at MobileIron.

Original Article - Here

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Dell Unveils Cloud Computing and Virtualization Solutions

Intelligent Data Management solutions will help customers facing unprecedented challenges storing and managing data

Dell on Wednesday unveiled Intelligent Data Management solutions to help customers facing unprecedented challenges storing and managing data transform that information into a strategic asset.

Applications for creating and consuming digital content, increased server virtualization, and computer-driven services are causing exponential data growth, particularly in unstructured data such as files, images and movies.

* According to IDC, at nearly 500 exabytes – or 500 billion gigabytes – the “Digital Universe,” if converted to pages of text and assembled into books, would stretch to Pluto and back 10 times. IDC estimates that the Digital Universe will double every 18 months.

* A University of California–Santa Cruz study shows 90 percent of data is never accessed after initial opening.

* According to an independent report from Forrester Research, Inc. published in February 2010, Controlling Storage Costs Amid High Growth, storage budgets have increased from 10 percent of the IT hardware budget in 2007 to 17 percent of the IT hardware budget in 2009.

* ESG’s 2010 IT Spending Intentions Survey shows the top five priorities for this year (in order) are: increase use of virtualization, information security initiatives, improve data backup and recovery, upgrade network infrastructure, and manage data growth.

This scenario creates three primary problems customers are struggling to manage: volume, access and protection. With this in mind, Dell’s Intelligent Data Management solutions, including comprehensive services and systems, will share fundamental principles based on:

* Integrated design: Common architecture and feature integration for predictable costs, almost limitless scalability and seamless management.
* Automated data management: Policy-based automation designed to seamlessly and transparently move and reduce data throughout the data tiers.
* Partnered ecosystem: Industry standards enable seamless integration with best-of-breed partners and technologies through Dell’s portfolio.

Dell designed its solutions to create new levels of access, availability and protection, while helping reduce and operating expenses. Dell’s initial data management solutions complement its EqualLogic, Dell|EMC and PowerVault offerings and address three critical storage technology areas: object storage, deduplication and unified storage.

Object Storage

Object storage allows the attachment of metadata, which is additional identifying information, to a file. The system then stores the object in an enormous, flat address space. Dell believes that the benefits of object storage will lead to widespread adoption of this technology for fixed digital content.

Today Dell announced its plans to deliver the Dell DX Object Storage Solution, designed to access, store and distribute billions of files or other digital content, from archiving to the cloud. The Dell DX Object Storage Solution uses a simple, self-managing, expandable and cost-effective peer-scaling architecture.

The Dell DX Object Storage Solution helps customers:

* Identify and retrieve information quickly by using metadata and affordable disk storage in a nearline setting.
* Automatically manage data from creation through deletion with a goal of reducing management by 50 percent. The platform is designed to meet data management and governance needs with automated policy-based retention and deletion and selectable write-once-read-many, at an affordable price.
* Employ multiple options for scaling capacity that can extend to billions of files and petabytes of storage. To help reduce setup and management complexity, the DX Object Storage Solution is self-healing, uses wizard-based setup and does not require LUNs or RAID groups.
* Avoid the cost and complexity of forklift upgrades with scalable storage investments that have the ability to seamlessly incorporate new technology. The DX Object Storage Solution is built on a flexible, peer-scaling architecture using industry standards-based hardware and integrated software in one end-to-end solution.

Dell is actively building an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) to develop horizontal and vertical solutions around its object platform. As part of this effort, Dell is launching a solution development kit (SDK) for its partners. The solution uses an open HTTP interface that simplifies and minimizes the integration effort.

Original Article - Here

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Friday, 26 March 2010

Productivity Tools in the Cloud: Real World Best Practices

Moving applications to a cloud service is a disruption to any business, but in Ron Markezich's experience as Microsoft's VP of Online Services, a well executed cloud migration can redefine a company. Here are three best practices he's gleaned from Microsoft's largest BPOS customers, including Coca-Cola and GlaxoSmithKline.

If you're an enterprise deciding whether now is the time to migrate your e-mail or SharePoint environment into a cloud service, there is a method to all this cloud madness. And if done right, it could transform your company's identity.

Certainly, there are pros and cons to moving applications and data to a cloud service provided by a big vendor like Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), or Amazon. For every benefit of a cloud-based service such as cost savings, application accessibility and ease of use, there are understandable fears about security, privacy and data loss.

Moving to the cloud is a disruption to any organization and will change how IT works. But companies that do their due diligence will not only save money, but also see a boost in productivity and morale as a well timed and executed migration to cloud services can redefine a company, said Microsoft Online Services VP Ron Markezich in a recent interview with

Markezich highlighted large Microsoft BPOS (business productivity online suite) customers such as Coca-Cola and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that were able to get C-level support for cloud migrations that ultimately changed the companies' cultures. BPOS includes Exchange Online with Hosted Filtering, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

Here are three cloud deployment best practices that Markezich gleaned from the experiences of enterprise BPOS customers.

Companies should create a company portal in SharePoint (basically an Intranet) and launch SharePoint Online and the portal at the same time, and then drive employees to the portal, Markezich recommends.

What that allows a company to do is end the dependency on the old technology the company was using, and get people up to speed on the new portal quickly without a lot of one-on-one training. You can rebrand an entire company by using social networking features in SharePoint Online, says Markezich.

A good example of this approach, he says, is Aviva (AV), the largest insurance company in the U.K. Aviva went through a rebranding exercise a few months ago and the CEO kicked it off by starting his own blog using SharePoint Online. He also did a set of videos for the kickoff and created a wiki for the company so employees could post and share information.

The CEO still uses the blog today and employees use the wiki extensively across the various business units that Aviva has acquired.

Original Article - Here

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What IT Cares About: Key Technologies for 2010

A survey released today of where IT pros are actively engaged confirms strong business interest in analytics, cloud, and collaboration technologies, but it also shows that open source and ERP are falling off their radars as key concerns. (The PDF report is available for download.)

The top 10 areas of interest are:

* Cloud computing: 57 percent of the 405 respondents surveyed have analytics on their radars or are piloting the technology, although only 15 percent have deployed it.

* Business process management: 46 percent are actively following the technology and 26 percent have deployed it.

* Web 2.0/social networking technologies: 45 percent are actively following the technology and 32 percent have deployed it.

* Desktop/client virtualization: 45 percent are actively following the technology and 27 percent have deployed it.

* SOA: 45 percent are actively following the technology and 26 percent have deployed it.

* Analytics: 44 percent are actively following the technology and 47 percent have deployed it.

* Storage virtualization: 44 percent are actively following the technology and 35 percent have deployed it.

* Enterprise data management: 43 percent are actively following the technology and 35 percent have deployed it.

* Software as a service and Web services: 40 percent are actively following the technology and 35 percent have deployed it.

* Collaboration technologies: 40 percent are actively following the technology and 33 percent have deployed it.

Mobile technology is not on the "active investigation" list only because IT has already begun deploying the technology in significant percentages: 52 percent of respondents say they have already implemented mobile initiatives, and another 29 percent are actively following the technology.

The top five areas of what's not on IT's radars, often because the technology has become a normal part of IT operations, are as follows: 52 percent aren't actively interested in supply chain management, 34 percent in printing and output, 33 percent in open source, 32 percent in ERP, and 30 percent in SOA. Of the technologies IT pros were asked about, SOA had the greatest split between those actively following it and those not following it.

Original Article - Here

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Why Do We Need Green IT?

The problem is that too many "green" technology claims are just a bunch of hot CO2', according to Matthew McKenzie on the Enterprise Efficiency blog.

"Green" is a source of incredible marketing opportunities, and the chance to sell complex concepts and technology, wrapped up in easily accessible feel-good language. As Matthew goes on to say, It all looks great on paper, but it leaves CIOs hanging when it comes to one vital question: How will it really affect the bottom line?

That sounds heartless, but it's true. The sooner we face up to it, the sooner we can do the right things for the right reasons. The article goes on to dig at virtualization, a much touted savior of the world's climate from the evils of too many servers burning too much electricity.

The same could be said of almost any business change that switches off a bunch of unused computer equipment. Hey, why not persuade people to turn off their PCs and monitors at night before they go home? Wouldn't an office full of dozens of powered down, rather than swimming fish screensaver PCs have a big impact at very little cost? I can enforce it - just hear the silence and picture the darkness when I throw that big Frankenstein style power breaker off at 6pm on the dot.

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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wyse Strengthens EMEA Cloud Computing and Virtualization Team

Wyse Technology, thin computing and client virtualization company, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Karl-Heinz Warum as General Manager and Sales Director for Wyse Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia.

Warum has previously worked as General Manager and Senior Area VP Central and Eastern Europe at Citrix Systems GmbH for 12 years, growing Citrix in the region from a small organization to a major force in the fast growing desktop virtualization market.

The appointment supports Wyse’s aggressive cloud computing growth plans and ambitions for Germany and the extended Eastern European region where it is confident of replicating the success it has seen in other geographies around the world.

Speaking on his appointment, Warum said, “If one has watched the IT industry for the last years, it has become very clear that desktop virtualization will be the reigning topic of the next decade. With the further set-up and expansion of our region Central and Eastern Europe – also taking into consideration local customer needs – we will ensure Wyse a leading position in the areas of client virtualization and cloud computing while at the same time helping organizations utilize Green IT to meet the tough environmental targets we are already seeing from the European Union.”

Mark Jordan, Vice President EMEA for Wyse Technology, added, “Wyse is very pleased to have gained the talents and expertise of such a senior figure in the virtualization market. Karl-Heinz’s direct experience of driving and managing rapid growth will ensure a leadership position for Wyse in these important markets. Karl-Heinz takes over from Peter van Caspel who has achieved significant growth in this territory already and now takes on a new an exciting challenge within Wyse.”

Based in The Netherlands, Peter van Caspel will become Sales Director for a new Benelux and Nordic region for Wyse. Jordan adds, “Benelux has always been a strong market for Wyse as has Norway, but we have previously lacked the focus to really maximize our business across the whole of this region. Now with Peter’s leadership and strong track record, we have the right team in place to change this.”

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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

DEMO Start-Ups Go for the Cloud

Sixty-five companies will debut products at DEMO this week, with a heavy focus on cloud computing.

Sixty-five companies will debut new, innovative technologies at DEMO Spring 2010 in Palm Desert, Calif., this week, and not surprisingly there's a heavy focus on cloud computing.

"The cloud is big -- every part of the cloud is getting mined or exploited," says DEMO conference chief Matt Marshall.

While DEMO products are typically consumer-focused, there are numerous products that will be useful to business folk. For example, start-up FathomDB is unveiling a relational database that runs in the cloud, with pricing based on capacity. "The price point is going to be really low," Marshall says.

Another company called Gwabbit, which appeared at last year's DEMO with an e-mail contact management system for Outlook, is back at DEMO a second time to introduce a cloud service that automatically syncs contacts across multiple systems.

"Not only is it grabbing your contacts, but it's handshaking from the cloud to the various services you have as a user," such as LinkedIn and Facebook, Marshall says. "It's handshaking with each one of these to keep the cloud live and synced with all your contacts and changes."

A DEMO company called Teneros also focuses on social networks, but with an enterprise angle. Its software, called Social Sentry, lets businesses monitor employee activity on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The service tracks only public posts, with the idea being to make sure employees aren't releasing sensitive information.

Teneros is likely the most advanced company at DEMO, having raised almost $100 million from investors, Marshall says. Marshall, who is in his first year as the head of DEMO, is naturally bullish on the lineup of companies he's chosen. "I was getting excited as I was going through the list," he says. "There are just so many damn awesome companies."

But this is a tough time for start-ups looking to raise venture capital, notes Jeff Crown, president of DEMO presenter VenueGen. The start-up has built a 3D virtual meeting platform with $2 million from angel investors, and is trying to raise a $5 million round to expand the company.

"It's never really easy to launch a company," Crown says. "At the end of the day, anybody who invests in a company is going to invest in the team, people who have there and done that."

Venture capitalists are looking for companies that are both targeting a rich market, and have already demonstrated progress in winning over customers, Crown says. "The venture capitalists want to see customers, revenue and traction, and that's a little bit different than in the past when they were willing to fund prototype and research ideas," he says.

original article -

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Monday, 22 March 2010

Top 5 SaaS Cloud Directory Websites – 1000’s of Web Services (REVISED LINKS)

Here are 5 leading sites that offer 1000’s of SaaS (Software As a Service) related solutions as well as a large number of cloud related businesses. Nice resource for those looking for web based services.

SaaS Showplace






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Cloud Computing and "Identity 2.0"

It's OK, the Use of 2.0 Seems Very Legit in This Context

"Enterprises continue to expand the use of cloud computing, and particularly software-as-a-service applications (SaaS), to achieve operational performance enhancements and efficiencies. Implementation of these technologies introduces several challenges related to identity management, such as administration and delegation of account authentication and authorization. A new approach to identity is required to ensure the continued growth and success of cloud computing: we call this Identity 2.0."

So it seems to me there's a legitimate use of the "2.0" thingie with this description, which comes from Cloud Expo session abstract on the topic of identity management within Cloud Computing architectures. The session will be presented by Fran Rosch, Senior VP of Authentication Product Management at Verisign.

He elaborates as follows: "One of the most critical challenges is the need to accurately identify and manage users of these services. Yet at the same time, users are demanding greater control, convenience, and security."

"The challenges faced by a greater emphasis on the cloud are ones of both centralization and de-centralization: the centralization of computing resources combined with the decentralization of identity, authentication and authorization. Identity 2.0's challenge is how to cope with these two competing forces while avoiding the pitfalls of the past. Is Identity 2.0, therefore, prepared for an explosion of cloud computing, or do we need some other model?"

This is the kind of serious hashing out of issues that is ongoing with Enterprise Cloud Computing.

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Friday, 19 March 2010

Google's Strategy in Cloud Computing - Chrome as Your Next OS

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Clouded by Chrome: Googles Strategy in Cloud Computing - Chrome as Your Next OS" report to their offering.

Google is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy with the aim of redefining how consumers access online services and applications including mobile applications.

This report analyzes the dynamics of Googles disruptive moves in the world of communication services with a focus on cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to virtualized set of information services offered on-demand and dynamically in a scalable fashion over the Internet. Cloud computing offers an organization the ability to run applications, increase capacity, and add capabilities to its existing IT infrastructure without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, and incurring fees for licensing new software. The revenue generation model in cloud computing is primarily based on subscription and pay-per-use. Changes to IT and provisioning of resources are conducted real time in a dynamic and scalable way as a service over the Internet.

Google raises barriers to entry for potential competitors. For example, processing search queries at very high speeds has been possible with the companys billion-dollar investments in data processing centers. It is clear that Googles ambitions are big and disruptive. The company announced its biggest yet investment in data center in mid-2008, with $842 million representing its biggest capital expenditure for a single quarter. The proceeding sections of this report explore and analyze Googles move in cloud computing, online search and advertisement, and news media in more detail.

There are different views of what constitutes cloud computing. While some view cloud computing as an infrastructure others view it simply as a new business model. There are also those who view cloud computing as an evolution of existing services. In this report we look at Googles role in different segments of cloud ecosystem. As people and businesses around the world generate their consuming and business behavior through search queries, a massive global library of data is built on the Internet cloud with great value for many organizations.

According to Googles CEO, Eric Schmidt, the network is so pervasive that anything about anyone can be found out at anytime. Schmidt further emphasizes that if you dont use the cloud you will fail, adding that his companys goal is to put a cloud in the hands of a user. Googles strategy is to put its presence in as many clouds as possible. Hence the companys launch of products such as Living Stories project in the news media, promotion of Google Apps in the enterprise market and recently the launch of Google Groups, a product that is integrated with the existing Google Apps such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail, Google Sites and Google Video.

As part of its cloud strategy Google wants to use Google Groups to make the product more attractive to the enterprise sector since one of the products main features is project collaboration among employees located in diverse sites. This report also looks at Google Trends and Insights and how they are tied to Googles strategy in building an established presence on the Internet cloud. It also analyzes Googles future online strategy and demonstrates its relation to the cloud.

for further information on the report click

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Thursday, 18 March 2010

40% of Blackberry users willing to trade in for an iPhone

BlackBerry users may be ready to move on to other smartphone platforms, suggesting that RIM isn't keeping up with consumer demand in its efforts to combat growing encroachment from the likes of iPhone and Android.

In fact, two in five BlackBerry owners plan to swap their current device for an iPhone when it's time to upgrade, according to market researcher firm Crowd Science.

The iPhone has had a lasting effect on the smartphone market, changing the conception of what a smartphone should be almost overnight after the launch of the original iPhone in 2007. Despite RIM's entrenchment among business users, however, the iPhone platform has grown at a faster rate than the BlackBerry over the last year.

Perhaps the trend can be explained by Crowd Science's findings that many are using their smartphones for both personal and business use. Nearly a third of iPhone owners use their device for strictly personal use, versus just 16 percent for BlackBerry users. Just one percent of iPhone owners use their device for business only—no surprise there—so two-thirds are using an iPhone for business and personal use. And, while the BlackBerry has a reputation as the best enterprise mobile device, a scant seven percent of BlackBerrys users dedicate the device to business use only. That leaves over three-quarters of BlackBerry owners using their device for dual purposes.

The iPhone isn't the only platform attracting the attention of BlackBerry users, though. Interest in Android-based devices has grown since the introduction of Google's Nexus One, with 32 percent of BlackBerry users surveyed saying they would swap their current device for a Nexus One.

"These results show that the restlessness of BlackBerry users with their current brand hasn't just been driven by the allure of iPhone," John Martin, CEO of Crowd Science, said in a statement. "Rather, BlackBerry as a brand just isn't garnering the loyalty seen with other mobile operating systems."

About 90 percent of current iPhone and Android users plan to stick with their current platform for their next phone upgrade.

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Easyspace Hosting Services Offers Free Online Storage Partnering With

Easyspace, one of the UKs leading providers of domain name and web hosting services, has announced the launch of a partnership with Humyo, Europe's largest independent online storage and desktop backup provider.

As part of this new venture, Easyspace customers will be given 30 days free access to a Premium Level Humyo account, with a 10% discount on the full price if they decide to upgrade their trial.

Humyo is a multi-award winning mass market online storage service which enables users to backup and sync their data over multiple devices, access it from anywhere and share it with friends and co-workers. Using intuitive Desktop software, Humyo can continuously backup your selected files and folders by instantly replicating any change on your local machine to the Humyo online storage platform. This technology, in turn, provides a variety of additional benefits for users of the service including easy data recovery, synchronisation, speed and efficiency, security and more.

"We're always looking at ways in which we can make our customers lives that little bit easier, whether it's in direct relation to a product we already sell or a service loosely related to what we sell. Given that a large portion of our customer base are website owners and business owners, and as such will have files and documents they wish to backup, it makes complete sense to introduce them to this innovative backup solution from Humyo." Comments Errol Vanderhorst, Managing Director at Easyspace.

"We know ourselves the importance of backing up, but historically it has relied on buying additional hardware or a vast collection of CDs. Now, even those not so technically minded can easily backup their most important files quickly and easily - and at low cost!"

"We are delighted to be working alongside Easyspace to deliver our cloud data storage solution to their users. This partnership offers both Humyo and Easyspace a mutually beneficial exchange of product and 'to market' expertise." Added Dan Conlon, Founder and Managing Director at Humyo.

Original Article -

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Apple App Store and Its Influence on Hosted Business Applications

How is Apple’s success influencing the future of computing? and Google Apps now have marketplaces similar to the Apple App store whose target is businesses not consumers.

You will get very few of these free or something that costs just a couple of bucks. These apps usually these have monthly maintenance fees associated with these and a lot of them have a “freemium” model, free for limited functions with a cost for value-added functionality. This is probably going to change the way business applications are delivered.

Going from an in-premise model to a hosted, cloud model gives business an unprecedented opportunity for start-ups to build and market applications with a very small investment. This will truly make the world “flat” for enterprise applications. For example, it will it give companies based in emerging markets access to western markets outside of BPO and application development. My opinion is that there will not be a sudden change but this will seriously change the balance in the enterprise software market in the longer run. Integrating cloud applications will be key to this success.

Original Article -

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Nine Steps To an Enterprise Cloud Service Utility

This Enterprise Cloud Virtual Oriented Utility Blueprint help organizations to become more flexible and responsive

Virtualization is the topic du jour in IT today. The technology is cool, the attributes are slick and now the stock market even is tracking it. The adoption problem that is facing virtualization strategies stems from a bottom up IT driven approach versus a top down business aligned approach. Furthermore, the technology is limitingin value unless it is implemented as a “virtual enterprise cloud service oriented platform architecture” with a dynamic operational model.

The playbook for exploiting virtualizaiton AND other key enabling technology components is outlined in nine steps below. Fundamentally, an enterprise cloud vs a public cloud is specifically business aligned to the enteprise. The program creates a virtual oriented cloud utility platform that incorporates the needs of the business, the control over execution and the leverage of everything virtual.

This Enterprise Cloud Virtual Oriented Utility Blueprint help organizations to become more flexible and responsive to the dynamic needs of the business; simplify & reduce the complexity of the IT environment; get more value out of project & operational IT spend – both systems & people; reduce costs while delivering improved service; eliminate dedicated silos of data, systems and infrastructure as they exist today; reduce the time it takes to build and deploy new business services; implement and sustain predictable qualities of service

The 9-step blueprint for successfully creating a Enterprise Cloud Service Utility…

1. Economic Model - define the Business & IT linkage of demand and supply. Orient the analysis and model creation around the interactive dynamics of: consumptionof IT resources by the business and the fulfillment behavior of processing by IT.

2. Demand Mapping - in natural language terms (no geek speak) define and capture the day in the life of the business, what they expect, where there are problems today, and understand sensitivities to cost, bottlenecks, and timing constraints.

3. Consumption Management - instrument and capture “objective” factual data of which users, using what applications, consume what app, server, network and storage resources for how long. Ensure you trend this over a period of time to accurately identify peaks, valleys and nominal growth.

4. Virtual Runtime Management - runtime control and execution enforcement of ensuring the right work gets done at the right time with the right resources. Business operates dynamically in real time, your infrastructure needs too also!

5. Virtual Resource Management
- infrastructure and information resources should be exposed as services that are made available (provisioned, re-purposed,etc…) to virtual runtime management in an abstracted, on-demand nature as required.

6. Implement Virtual Resources - once runtime management, resource management and instrumentation is in place, then and only then do you implement “everything virtual”. This is a critical lesson that traps most organizations where they start bottom up without any ability to manage and ensure business alignment.

7. Standardize & Optimize the Plumbing - agility comes from a consistent foundation and optimal resources. All applications , information and infrastructure services should be built on top of standardized plumbing (client, server, mediation and data). Self contained pods of resources (compute, storage, network and specialized processing appliances) should be utilized in concert with virtual runtime management to provide “more with less” processing capabilities.

8. Product & Portfolio Management - coalescing business and technical priorities in aligned continuous capability adoption – will ensure sustainment and differentiation of your business thru IT.

9. Service & Change Management - dynamic models of operation require processes and procedures of service delivery and change management to be able to accommodate “on the fly” and “as needed – when needed” operation of IT.

This playbook comes from proven experience building private cloud utilities for one of the largest banks in the work. The cloud utility operated over 16 datacenters globally executing 300 application services on demand, 150 information as services subscription models; 50,000 dynamically provisioned service nodes (compute, network and storage) and 14 platform framework provisoned as on demand services.

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White House CIO Vivek Kundra Touts Cloud Computing

You see, this is the problem with the MSM and why they've lost their influence and credibility.

Written by:

That is, if one counts Business Week as part of the mainstream media. I do.

What's my beef, you may ask?

Well, it's the notion that Vivek Kundra, appointed U.S. Chief Information Officer by President Obama, has "$79 billion to spend on technology," in the words of a recent BW article.

Whoa. Dude. Slow this down for me, please. The $79 billion figure is taken from Obama's proposed 2011 budget, and covers all Federal IT spending, 70 percent of which is spent "just to keep the lights on" according to one report. In fact, that number is probably closer to 90 percent.

The position of US CIO is new with the Obama Administration, and I can't imagine this new kid on the block having the authority to dictate all Federal IT spending. This amount of money, the $79 billion I mean, is 2.5 times the entire federal budget of the Philippines (where I'm based right now), and is in the same ballpark as the entire budget for the State of California (which often touts itself as the "world's eighth largest economy.")

To be sure, Kundra is being aggressive in pushing through the various "dashboard" programs and striving for transparency in Federal government initiatives. He didn't specifically mention Cloud Computing in a recent blog post about his travels to San Francisco and Seatlle, but he did mention his love of entrepreneurs and was quoted by BW as touting the Cloud.

Maybe his efforts will make a dent into a security-conscious, risk-averse, ingrained Federal IT infrastructural mindset. Certainly, a number of major software vendors have been quoted, er, ah, let's say smooching up to Kundra and his ideas about Cloud Computing. But I'm sure they know they ain't chasin' no $79 billion.

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Monday, 15 March 2010

What is Cloud Computing?

The cloud is a virtualization of resources that maintains and manages itself

Cloud computing is becoming one of the next industry buzz words. It joins the ranks of terms including: grid computing, utility computing, virtualization, clustering, etc.

Cloud computing overlaps some of the concepts of distributed, grid and utility computing, however it does have its own meaning if contextually used correctly. The conceptual overlap is partly due to technology changes, usages and implementations over the years.

Trends in usage of the terms from Google searches shows Cloud Computing is a relatively new term introduced in the past year. There has also been a decline in general interest of Grid, Utility and Distributed computing.

Likely they will be around in usage for quit a while to come. But Cloud computing has become the new buzz word driven largely by marketing and service offerings from big corporate players like Google, IBM and Amazon.

* distributed computing
* grid computing
* utility computing
* cloud computing

The term cloud computing probably comes from (at least partly) the use of a cloud image to represent the Internet or some large networked environment. We don’t care much what’s in the cloud or what goes on there except that we depend on reliably sending data to and receiving data from it. Cloud computing is now associated with a higher level abstraction of the cloud. Instead of there being data pipes, routers and servers, there are now services. The underlying hardware and software of networking is of course still there but there are now higher level service capabilities available used to build applications. Behind the services are data and compute resources. A user of the service doesn’t necessarily care about how it is implemented, what technologies are used or how it’s managed. Only that there is access to it and has a level of reliability necessary to meet the application requirements.

In essence this is distributed computing. An application is built using the resource from multiple services potentially from multiple locations. At this point, typically you still need to know the endpoint to access the services rather than having the cloud provide you available resources. This is also know as Software as a Service. Behind the service interface is usually a grid of computers to provide the resources. The grid is typically hosted by one company and consists of a homogeneous environment of hardware and software making it easier to support and maintain. (note: my definition of a grid is different from the wikipedia definition, but homogeneous environments in data centers is typically what I have run across). Once you start paying for the services and the resources utilized, well that’s utility computing.

Cloud computing really is accessing resources and services needed to perform functions with dynamically changing needs. An application or service developer requests access from the cloud rather than a specific endpoint or named resource. What goes on in the cloud manages multiple infrastructures across multiple organizations and consists of one or more frameworks overlaid on top of the infrastructures tying them together. Frameworks provide mechanisms for:

* self-healing
* self monitoring
* resource registration and discovery
* service level agreement definitions
* automatic reconfiguration

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Cloud Computing for Small Business

Had Orchestra Team started business even five years ago, there is no way that it could operate with dozens of clients managing hundreds of IT systems without significant investment in its own IT infrastructure. The vast majority of everything we do involves working with computers and the people that use our computer systems.

Would you believe that Orchestra does not even own a single server? Would you believe that we have less than $1000 in licensed software for our company? Did you know that Orchestra's employees can operate effectively from nearly any computer in the world with an internet connection?

These questions are rhetorical, but the short answer is that Orchestra has been able to leverage cloud computing to manage nearly every aspect of it's services and technology offering. Here are some of the ways we did it:

Google Apps - Connecting the Disconnected

When Orchestra began in 2008, we had a serious decision to make: do we use Google apps (then in it's infancy) to manage our documents, or do we buy Microsoft Office. Closely tied to this was the decision to use mail provided by Google rather than run our own mail servers. It came down to what we could afford. In the early days, we were looking at thousands of dollars in licensing for Microsoft applications compared to a minimal monthly fee for Google. Google Apps also provided us a level of unprecedented real-time collaboration between the team members. Being spread across three states, we needed to ensure that we could easily share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations between team members. This had the added benefit of having those tools accessible while on-site with clients. Need to look up a quotation or a spreadsheet where you were doing some math for a client? No problem, just jump on your laptop or smart phone and you were viewing what you needed to see in minutes.

Now, as this product suite has matured, it's become the de-facto standard for most of the work I do on a daily basis. I share documents with clients, prospects, and others in the business community. I collaborate freely with those in my industry and the people I'm working with. I still get questions from my clients about "how does it work?" and "why is this free?" because they also realize the power of tools that let you work together regardless of distance or time. I find it funny that I'm now frustrated whenever someone sends me an attachment in an email.

Remote Support Platforms

We use several cloud-based remote support services. First, we use Mikogo and GoToMeeting to connect to our clients. From work as simple as a quick client support call, to things as complicated as trying to hire from an applicant pool of 40 clients, these tools enable us to make decisions quickly, and share real-time information in new more interactive ways. Shared solutions like this enable a richness in communication that isn't commonly seen from professional service organizations that operate remotely, and they are a cornerstone to our business and customer satisfaction.

In addition, we use many cloud-based storage systems to manage the backups and off-site data for our clients. Programs like Jungle Disk that are associated with Rackspacke's Mosso offering, Amazon's S3 offering allow us to put our clients vital assets in the cloud. This gives them access anywhere, and a level of security and reliability that wasn't able to be offered by many firms our size.

Cloud Based Servers - Why Buy?

Most of our major applications we run virtualized in a cloud computing environment. Our Drupal development lives in an Amazon EC2 node. Our SAP Business One system resides on a Rackspace cloud server. All of these systems provide us with exceptional access and support for our key business applications. This provides us with unprecedented accessibility without having to worry about the high costs of server upkeep, maintenance, or IT costs. We have never spent a single dollar on IT support in the history of our business.

The Summary

Investment in the cloud is a great way to save your business money. Fundamentally, we run our entire IT infrastructure for less than $1,000 per month including hardware, software, and support. The best part is, as we grow, this infrastructure grows with us, and the sky is the limit.

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Friday, 12 March 2010

Google App Marketplace Could Revolutionize Cloud Computing

You must have noticed that Google has been slowly inching towards a culture of Online cloud computing, and most companies, individuals and businesses have adapted to the culture of cloud computing because of its obvious advantages.

Cloud computing allows users to manage data, applications and information in a way that traditional software or hardware don’t allow and the most important advantage is that you could access your data, application and software from any computer in the world, provided you have the ID and password.

However, cloud computing itself is not without disadvantages, and the most unpleasant one is the lack of applications directly integrated into Google. Hence, users copy and paste data, use different applications time and again in order to get everything into the cloud. Google itself has admitted that it does not have the expertise to integrate the hundreds of business applications out there into the cloud.

Thus Google has now announced that Google Apps Marketplace is now open for business. Developers and software providers can now join the new Online store for integrated business applications. These cloud applications will allow Google Apps customers to discover newer applications without having to manage each one of them separately.

How Does It work ?

It works similar to the Apple App Store, but is only cheaper. Google is asking the developers and businesses a onetime fee of $100 and 20% of the revenue in exchange to the access to 25 million Google users. Apps would be authenticated using OpenID and would be secured through oAuth. The applications would be accessible through a universal Google Apps navigation system.

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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Microsoft Sets its Eyes Firmly on First Cloud, Then Mobile

Microsoft seeks reinvention through cloud, revamps several product lines

Microsoft has sold 90 million copies of Windows 7 to date and no doubt makes the most popular operating system in history. But the past few years the media buzz has been all about radical innovators like Google and Apple who have made exciting headways in terms of fresh new product lines especially in mobile segments. Microsoft has seemed content so far to basically follow their leads and merely capitalize on its past laurels and patents.

Microsoft has decided to change all that and seems determined to break fresh ground in the future. It has set its eyes firmly on first cloud and then mobile to achieve this purpose. No big surprise there.

Microsoft's chief financial officer, Peter Klein while speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference last week highlighted several new moves that signify a clear departure from the past and a reprioritization of product directions .He indicated that Windows XP may finally be phased out as Microsoft is encouraging more businesses to switch to Windows 7.

The software giant also finally took the steps to bring its lackluster Windows mobile to be on par with other richer, more popular mobile platforms like iPhone and Android and tightly integrating it with its X-box gaming, Zune music and other web products. Some would say long overdue. But the point is Microsoft is embarking on a new journey with gusto. Apart from Windows Phone 7, other new products that are slated for release this year are Natal for Xbox 360, and Microsoft Office 2010.

It is also quite significant that this software company historically known as a market leader in Operating systems and business apps, is now positioning itself as a challenger to the internet giant Google on many fronts. Not only are they going toe to toe on the mobile scene with Window 7 and Android, Microsoft’s strategic partnership with Yahoo brings a new lease of hope for its slow moving internet search technology Bing that competes with Google search .

The cloud market may triple to more than $150 billion by 2013, according to research firm Gartner. And Microsoft has entered the public cloud game without its characteristic delay .Azure has been a shrewd venture for Microsoft and it seems only natural for it to capitalize on its cloud platform as it seeks to reinvent itself to a new market reality away from the traditional desktop scene.

It already has the bandwidth in place in terms of infrastructure and clientele to present integrated Internet services that includes an established consumer email service, hosted enterprise products, live services in addition to its Azure cloud operating system.

When talking cloud, virtualization cannot be too far behind. Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualized server computing tools is surprisingly emerging as a strong, cheaper alternative to the much hyped VMware technology especially as Microsoft has been making serious efforts to close the gap in technology.

Microsoft also announced Feb. 24 that it is creating a dedicated government cloud computing and plans to spend $9.5 billion on research and development this year, $3 billion more than the next closest technology company and most of it centered on online computing. In fact 70 percent of Microsoft employees have been put to work on some kind of cloud-related project. Seattle based Cray Inc. has been enlisted by Microsoft Research to come up with a supercomputing architecture to dramatically lower the total cost of operating cloud computing data centers through power delivery efficiency, high-density packaging and innovative cooling technologies.

Steve Ballmer was recently quoted during a speech at the University of Washington, in Seattle as saying that Microsoft is "betting the company" on cloud computing:

"This is the most mainstream thing for Microsoft."

Considering that it is ahead of its enterprise cloud competitors like IBM or Oracle at this point of time, Azure holds promise as a game changer for the industry especially with Microsoft pushing it with all its might.

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Cloud V In-House... Where to Run That App?

One of the biggest decisions IT managers have to make is how and where to run data center applications. Fortunately, there are multiple choices that lower costs and increase business agility, including server virtualization, internal clouds, public clouds and external private clouds.

Many IT organizations are taking advantage of these options. Server virtualization is currently being used by more than 70% of enterprises to reduce costs, and cloud computing is being used or planned for use by more than 10% of corporations, according to Antonio Piraino, research director at Tier1 Research.

Rolling your own cloud

Today, customers are leaning toward the use of internal clouds over external clouds because of the various risks associated with external clouds, including security, data privacy and SLAs. The significant downside, though, is that IT has to build this environment and no single vendor provides all the pieces.

"The data center staff will have to create the automation layer for their internal cloud because today no vendor provides a complete software layer," Swan says. "The staff will essentially have to buy the pieces and put them together." A large enterprise could spend millions of dollars over several years creating a full-blown internal cloud that produces the cost savings and exhibits the automation desired.

All in all, "decisions about the use of clouds versus server virtualization depends a lot on how heavily you have invested in your data center and whether you have sufficient capacity in your data center," says Verizon Business's Deacon. Most companies do not rip and replace; that is, they do not shut down their data centers and move everything to clouds, he says. Likewise, companies that have been outsourcing are not going to immediately start creating an internal cloud in their data centers.

"Clouds provide automation and orchestration not found with server virtualization," says Jeff Deacon, cloud computing principal for Verizon Business's internal applications.

What they do depends on what they have been doing and what they are most comfortable with, Deacon says. "Over time, enterprises that have traditional outsourcing contracts and managed hosting will convert to clouds, because it makes sense, is cost-effective and offers more flexibility."

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

EMC, Intel, VMware Team to Secure Private Clouds

EMC, Intel and VMware are teaming up to improve security and regulatory compliance in cloud computing with a proof of concept to be demonstrated at this week's RSA Conference in San Francisco.

EMC (EMC), Intel (INTC) and VMware (VMW) are joining forces to improve security and regulatory compliance in cloud computing with a proof of concept to be demonstrated at this week's RSA Conference in San Francisco.

The goal is to establish a "hardware root of trust for a cloud environment," creating resource pools within private clouds that share common physical characteristics and the same security policies, says Sam Curry, CTO for global marketing in EMC's RSA security division. Cloud computing platforms typically place multiple applications on the same pool of hardware, but Curry notes that certain types of data cannot be mingled with other types because of government and industry regulations.

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Citrix Acquires Paglo, Launches GoToManage Cloud Computing Platform

In a move to enter the burgeoning SaaS-based IT management market, Citrix Online announced its acquisition of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Paglo Labs on Wednesday.

The first fruits of the acquisition is an integrated web-based platform for monitoring, controlling and supporting IT infrastructure.

Dubbed GoToManage, the new service lets Citrix Online tap into the growing demand for software-as-a-service (Saas)-based IT management, a market Forrester Research predicts will reach $4 billion in 2013. Citrix Online is positioning the latest addition to its online services portfolio as an affordable alternative to premise-based software. [Disclosure: Paglo is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts. Learn more about Paglo's offerings and value.]

I expect that as more enterprises experiment and adopt more mixed-hosted services -- including cloud, SaaS, IaaS, and outsourced ecosystems solutions -- that web-based management capabilities will become a requirement. In order to manage across boundaries, you need management reach that has mastered those boundaries. On-premises and traditional IT management is clearly not there yet.

Elizabeth Cholawsky, vice president of Products and Services at Citrix Online, explains the reasoning behind the acquisition:

“Our customers increasingly tell us they are interested in adding IT management services to our remote support capabilities. With the growing acceptance of SaaS and the increasing use of IT services in small- and medium-sized businesses, we decided IT management reinforced our remote support strategy.”

The Paglo puzzle piece
According to IDC, Citrix Online was the remote support market leader in 2008 with a 34.7 percent global share via its GoToAssist services. IDC also pegs Citrix Online as the third largest SaaS vendor in the world based on 2007 revenue, but Citrix Online needed Paglo-like log analysis technology in order to offer its customers the next puzzle piece in its full SaaS picture.

Paglo has made a name for itself providing SaaS-based IT search and management services. In short, Paglo helps companies harness and analyze the information explosion coming from all their computer, server, network and log data. Paglo helps companies improve operating efficiencies, gain a clearer understanding of true IT costs and meet compliance requirements.

Now, Paglo serves as the foundation for GoToManage. GoToManage creates an IT "system of record" to give businesses with the ability to discover and identify all network devices, monitor critical servers and applications in real-time, manage network usage, and track configuration changes. Like other Citrix Online products, GoToManage can be accessed from anywhere, and doesn’t require costly server infrastructure.

A seamless transition?

With GoToManage, Citrix Online is once again disrupting the traditional IT model. Brian de Haff, CEO of Paglo, expects a seamless integration for Paglo customers and GoToAssist customers that tap into the new service. With behind-the-scenes integration completed, customers can click on a link and instantly access GoToManage. De Haff also expects Paglo customers to adopt GoToAssist and use the two services in tandem.

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

O2 announces new Apple iPhone tariffs

O2, Apple’s original mobile partner in the UK, is to overhaul its iPhone tariffs.

Mobile News reports O2 will launch a two-year Apple iPhone tariff for £25 per month. The tariff will include 100 minutes and unlimited texts.

According to Mobile News, Apple’s smartphone is also expected to be made available with O2’s Simplicity SIM-only tariffs for the first time, with the iPhone available at full price.

Free ‘unlimited’ bolt-on deals, available to high-value customers, will controversially be dropped, which may put O2 at a disadvantage with rivals Orange and Vodafone.

The Website notes O2 has also removed inclusive picture messaging as part of its text bundles, as well as international texting. The company will now charge customers 10p per minute to call their voicemail if outside of their minute bundle.

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Explore Cloud Computing today for a couple of quid!

The premise of the cloud is that there is almost no penalty for trying something and failing. Move some applications and try them out. You didn’t get the SLA or characteristics you were looking for? You’re only out a pound or two.

Of course the premise I’m making is that you don’t have to change anything in your services, applications, networking, or infrastructure to give this a try. I make the further premise that the cloud enablement software doesn’t require a services engagement to acquire, install, set up and configure, and manage operationally over time. This week, we made OpSource Cloud available. Give it a try. You can acquire, install, configure, move and run your applications today. No services required. You point us to your virtual machines, our software will automatically show you if they fit in the cloud, and after we’ve transferred them to the cloud, they will look and feel just like they do now, running in your on premise virtualized infrastructure. No engineering. No changes. No agents. No “additions” to your servers. No funny installers.

All this said, there are physics involved. I recommend a simple process that will result in immediate positive results in selecting candidate applications to move and run in the cloud, as well as in the confidence that comes from a “real test” involving complex multi-tier applications which are tied to both premise-naming services and other network services that cannot be moved out of your data center.

For a first application, I suggest finding something that has servers with relatively small disks. Moving disks over the internet can take time. Some ideas include an internal project server running a program management application, Wiki, or SharePoint. Or perhaps a development environment for a JBOSS application, or anything else based on an open source stack. Move and run this, and run the same load testing or characterization/acceptance tests you use today, and see how they perform.

For a second application, I suggest taking the web and application tiers of the three-tier application and moving them, leaving the data tier on-premise. Leave your management agents on those servers, and leave them joined to the same domain if they are Windows servers, or using the same naming services. Don’t be concerned if the servers have NFS or CIFS mounts to on-premise NAS storage.

For a more in-depth test, go ahead and move development environments for applications such as PeopleSoft, Siebel, or SAP into the cloud and develop your applications there. Extra desktops for developers make a good initial application to move, as do development support servers such as continuous build, defect tracking, and source code repositories.

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Monday, 8 March 2010

MobileIron announces Managed Service Provider for Smartphone DM

As you may have heard, Enterprise Mobile announced the availability of a Hosted Device Management solution for iPhone and other mobile platforms.

It is powered by technology from MobileIron, a partner that we have been working with very closely for a while now. I am personally excited about this for several reasons:

* Hosted DM is faster to implement – no design reviews, no security committees for our customers to deal with.
* It can be scaled up and down very quickly – if you are hiring 1333 merchandisers for a holiday season, no problem – you only get charged for the 2 months they are employed.
* No ramp up for a company’s IT staff is required.
* Coupled with our other services, it enables a full mobile deployment instantly.

I could go on to say why this is sexy. I could call it cloud computing, SaaS, the ASP model, hosting, outsourcing or any of the other labels that trendy now. The descriptors aren’t as important as the capabilities that hosted device management provides. Of course, we all know that beyond the benefits I mentioned there are challenges with a hosted model that should be considered. User/authentication can be more complex as the identity of users either has to be replicated or re-created with the hosting provider, and some services may be limited in terms of integrating into an existing on-premise infrastructure.

However, I do believe that when you combine our services and capabilities you get more benefits than pitfalls with the hosted model. Of course, if you don’t share that view, you can take advantage of the installation and services on premise. That way you can enjoy looking at the silver appliance in your data center and Enterprise Mobile takes care of all the support, ongoing management, provisioning or even end user support for you. Give us a call…
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Cloud Computing Services Are the Next Generation of IT

It's one of the major issues that keeps cloud computing from working its way deeper and more quickly into the enterprise IT mainstream.

But what are the potential threats around using cloud services? How can companies make sure business processes and data remain secured in the cloud? And how can CIOs accurately assess the risks and benefits of cloud adoption strategies?

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) answer these and other questions in a new research report entitled, "Top Threats to Cloud Computing Report."

The report, which was highlighted during the Cloud Security Summit at the RSA conference this week, taps the knowledge of information security experts at 29 enterprises, solutions providers and consulting firms that deal with demanding and complex cloud environments. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Mastering next-gen IT
As Cloud Security Alliance Founder Jim Reavis sees it, cloud services are the next generation of IT that enterprises must master – and it's imperative that companies understand and mitigate security threats that accompany the cloud.

"The objective of this report was to not only identify those threats which are most germane to IT organizations but also help organizations understand how to proactively protect themselves," Reavis said. "This is the first deliverable in our cloud threat research initiative, which will feature regular updates to reflect participation from a greater number of experts and to keep pace with the dynamic nature of new threats."

Cloud computing abuse
The Top Threats to Cloud Computing Report shines a light on vulnerabilities that threaten to hinder cloud service offerings from reaching their full potential. HP and the Cloud Security Alliance warn companies to be aware of the abuse and nefarious use of cloud computing. The report specifically points to the Zeus botnet and InfoStealing Trojan horses as a prime examples of malicious software that has compromised sensitive private resources in cloud environments.

Cloud services are the next generation of IT that enterprises must master – and it's imperative that companies understand and mitigate security threats that accompany the cloud.

Beyond malicious software, the report pegs sites that rely on multiple application programming interfaces (APIs) as typically representing the weakest security link. That's because one insecure API can impact a larger set of members using the evolving social Web, which presents data from disparate sources.

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Friday, 5 March 2010

Cloud Computing Start-Up Creates Secure Tunnel Between Data Center and Amazon Cloud

A start-up that moves VMware-based applications to the Amazon cloud and creates a secure tunnel between a customer's data center and the cloud service is launching a public beta trial Monday.

The concept is not a new one. Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud and the vendor CohesiveFT both tackle the goal of bridging the internal data center with public cloud services in a secure manner.

But CloudSwitch is unique in offering a service that takes care of all the networking, isolation, management, security and storage concerns related to moving an existing application to a cloud, says The 451 Group analyst William Fellows. Still, CloudSwitch has yet to demonstrate a real-world example of its technology in action, so there are still questions about the mechanism of deployment and user experience, he says.

"There are still some question marks around the operation of a CloudSwitch environment," Fellows says. "A lot of details are still quite closely held."

That's not unusual for a start-up just out of stealth mode, Fellows notes. But the goal of building hybrid clouds, in which computing resources are managed as one entity yet span internal data centers and public cloud services, is a difficult one to tackle, involving many different concerns such as IP addressing and routing, network latency and bandwidth availability, he says.

"It's not for the technology faint-hearted," Fellows says.

CloudSwitch's software, which installs as a virtual appliance into a VMware (VMW) environment, turns the process of moving Windows and Linux applications to Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service into a simple drag-and-drop operation, says Ellen Rubin, the company's founder and vice president of products. Applications moved to the cloud "remain tightly integrated with enterprise data center tools and policies, and are managed as if they were running locally," the company says.

Data is encrypted in flight and at rest, and CloudSwitch's migration technology is compatible with pretty much any type of storage and network connection, she says.

"When you drag and drop your application, we're launching an encrypted tunnel between the data center and cloud," Rubin says.

CloudSwitch has raised $15 million in venture funding from Matrix Partners, Atlas Venture and Commonwealth Venture Partners.

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The Cloud: What It Is and How to Use It

If you listen to the IBM advertisements on television "The Cloud" is described as a "workload optimized service management platform" but what does that mean? Basically, in the most simplistic form, the Cloud is a virtual data center. That is it! People often ask me to explain what it is, how it is used and why is it so popular? Usually, to avoid the deer in the headlights look by trying to explain what an optimized workload is, I will usually explain that it is a virtual data center. However, there are unique characteristics that allow it to be referred to as the Cloud. First, it is usually fully virtualized and accessed via the internet (or cloud), whether it is a virtual private or public network. The technical concept actually isn't new.

Companies have been implementing their own virtual private data centers for years. However, now companies are looking to adopt cloud computing as a service to help reduce costs as well as time to implement new infrastructure, service platform or software application. One of the fastest growing areas of cloud services is utilizing it for disaster recovery and or improving recovery time objectives for storage backup processes.

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Thursday, 4 March 2010

More than 130 million Enterprise Users in the Mobile Cloud by 2014, Juniper Report finds

Juniper research, a Media Partner of the Cloud Computing Congress, reports on new mobile cloud computing findings.

As collaborative applications become ever more important for enterprise, a new report from Juniper Research has found that the number of enterprise customers using mobile cloud-based applications will rise to more than 130 million by 2014, facilitated by platform as a service (PaaS) deployments from key players such as Google and Microsoft.

The report found that the market for connected enterprise apps had benefitted from the success of Apple's iPhone and App Store. It said that this was reflected both by a marked increase in both the number of enterprise apps available to end-users and also in the fact that such apps were themselves becoming far more attractive given the wide-ranging enhancements to smartphone user interfaces in the wake of the iPhone launch.

Furthermore, Juniper's Mobile Cloud Applications research found that as cloud providers were increasingly opening up their APIs for application providers seeking to develop browser-based or thin client applications, this provided greater opportunity and incentive for developers seeking to reduce the costs associated by porting apps across multiple platforms.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, "A cloud-based ecosystem for enterprise apps will be attractive both for developers and enterprises alike. For developers, cloud opens up a far wider potential audience for their products; for enterprise customers, outsourcing application management to a remote third-party, costed on a scalable, pay-per-use basis, offers far more flexibility combined with a significant reduction in capital expenditure."

Other findings from the Mobile Cloud Applications report include:

•         A cloud-based ecosystem offers storage and infrastructure suppliers the opportunity to enter the mobile arena by leverage their strengths in these areas to develop mobile-oriented cloud services

•         While enterprise applications will comprise the majority of cloud-based application revenues over the next five years, consumer applications including games, social networks and music services will together generate more than 25% of such revenues by 2014.

Juniper Research assesses the current and future status of mobile cloud based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in this bleeding edge industry.

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Forget the "Crackberry": Stanford students are addicted to their iPhones

Years ago, when the Blackberry started gaining traction among business users, people found themselves using the device so much that the nickname "Crackberry" was invented to describe how addicting the device was. According to a recent survey of 200 Stanford University students, the iPhone is just as addictive as the Blackberry, if not more so. Nearly a third of Stanford students surveyed worried about becoming addicted to their iPhones, while more than a third had heard complaints they were using the devices too much.

The survey gives some insight into why students found their iPhones so addicting: 74 percent of students surveyed said they 'felt cool" when they got an iPhone, but more importantly, a quarter of surveyed students said their iPhones felt like "an extension of their brain or their being."

I can definitely vouch for the addictive nature of the iPhone. I use my iPhone for almost everything these days, and it's fundamentally changed the way I do a lot of things. When I'm out and about and have a question about some bit of trivia, Wikipedia is only a few taps away. When I'm comparison shopping in a store, Amazon's product reviews can tell me in a few seconds whether what I'm looking at is a worthwhile purchase. And I've definitely gotten complaints that I use my iPhone too much from both my wife and a couple of my friends.

Funnily enough, though, the friend who was most apt to complain about my iPhone usage stopped complaining about it altogether once she got an iPhone of her own -- within a few days of using her iPhone, she admitted that she finally understood why I used mine so much.

How about you? Do you find the iPhone as addicting as the Stanford students? Let us know in the poll below or in the comments.

[Via Ars Technica]

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

VMware's New Cloud Mission - The Bottom up

Ok, I admit it. At first I didn't have a clue what the point of VMware's new "Get it off the Board Agenda" site had to do with promoting cloud adoption.

In a nutshell VMware has created a new viral marketing campaign geared toward the idea of keeping executives out of the decision process for buying cloud related services. But why? Doesn't this seem somewhat counter productive, or does it?

First I suppose you need to get into the head of who's buying cloud products and services today. For service providers and telco's this probably means an SVP of some sort has been given the job of defining a revenue generating cloud strategy and service offering, so I'm not sure if this person would be the target for the campaign.

It's probably more likely geared toward the end customers, the customers of my customers if you will. The Google's, Amazons, Salesforce and Microsoft's style clouds and how they're being adopted. The random developer or business unit with a problem to solve. The classic "New York Times" cloud story comes to mind. The story goes something like this, Derek Gottfrid, random NYT programmer had to solve a very hard problem with no time or money. So without prior permission he goes to Amazon Web Services where he leverages the power of EC2 and the free open source Hadoop project. With in a few hours he is able build a cloud application to utilize hundreds of machines concurrently and process a 150 years worth of data in less than 36 hours at next to no cost. Yup, it's called bottom up adoption.

So what is VMware promoting you ask? Bottom up user innovation and frictionless IT procurement policies. Instead of putting up road blocks to innovation VMware is saying empower your employees by giving them self service tools that allow them to do things never possible before. Personally, I think the board room angle may be a little off, but generally I think they are on the right track.

Original Article, Roven Cohen, Cloud Computing Journal -

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How Much of the Security "Challenge" for Cloud Computing is Actually Fear?

Fear is irrational, or at least our reactions to it often are. Such fear is routinely manifesting itself when it comes to the topic of the Cloud Computing security "challenge."

Bill Trussell, managing director of security research at TheInfoPro, a New York-based IT market research and consultancy firm, was quoted along these lines in a recent article, originally published by Network World: "When asked whether organizations would extend functions such as user access and provisioning, or two-factor authentication, to cloud providers, it wasn't too popular."

Well, there's no quantification there, but I'm sure TheInfoPro could provide it. Certainly, this fear will be a boon to anyone who is providing consultancy services to enteprise IT these days, as well as to marketers of security solutions, and to conference producers as well!

But to throw up the security red flag instinctively would be wrong. Cloud Computing has a momentum behind it, due to the inherent logic of IT power as a commodity, a utility, a service. Let the providers take on the capex. And no, this won't kill off the IT hardware industry. If anything, it will make the companies smarter, as they deal with increasingly demanding customers.

Let's check our fear at the door, and move toward addressing the issues one by one, steadily and tediously, just as they've been addressed by enterprise IT managers for decades. Cloud Computing changes everything by changing nothing; on-site management must still create and enforce policies, capacities must still be planned and managed, and RAS will be with us forever.

Original Article, Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Computing Journal -

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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Nokia Admits That The N97 Sucked, Working to Improve Their Phones [Nokia]

So the Nokia N97 was a bit of a disaster. Normally, companies pretend that all of their products are great, even when they aren't. But one Nokia VP is willing to admit that the N97 was a steamer.

Nokia's VP of Markets Anssi Vanjoki recently said in an interview that the N97 was a "tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers and something [they] did not anticipate." How refreshingly candid!

Of course, he's using such candidness as an excuse to claim that they've learned their lesson and are working to make the N97 a real contender via firmware updates. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it might be a little late for firmware to save the N97, but if Nokia really is learning from its mistakes, bring on the next gen devices. If Microsoft can retool its mobile division after the abortion that was WinMo 6.5, there's no reason Nokia can't do the same.

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Report: iPhone is number three smartphone platform worldwide

A new Gartner report puts the iPhone at number three on the list of smartphone platforms in use worldwide, right behind Nokia's Symbian OS and the RIM software used in Blackberry devices. More importantly, the report has Apple's device gaining market share -- its unit share has more than doubled in the last year, from 11.4 million units in 2008 to more than 24 million in 2009.

Android is also on the list, and while it's not quite competing with iPhone yet, that brand experienced even greater growth, from less than a million phones in 2008 up to almost 7 million in 2009. And perhaps the most interesting takeaway is that while Symbian experienced a nearly 10% drop in market share, both its and RIM's totals actually rose. While cellphone sales at large are down, smartphone sales are up across the board. I don't know how much you can thank Apple for this, but clearly more people are doing more things with their cell phones than just the usual calling.

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Monday, 1 March 2010

Why Multitenancy Matters In The Cloud

There’s a debate in the software industry over whether multitenancy is a prerequisite for cloud computing. Those considering using cloud apps might question if they should care about this debate. But they should care, and here’s why: multitenancy is the most direct path to spending less and getting more from a cloud application.

I sit firmly in the multitenancy camp. A multitenant architecture is when customers share an app in the cloud, while a single-tenant cloud app is similar, if not identical, to the old hosted model. But compare two subscription-based cloud apps side by side--with the only difference being that one is multitenant and the other is single-tenant--and the multitenant option will lower a customer’s costs and offer significantly more value over time. In fact, the higher the degree of multitenancy (meaning the more a cloud provider’s infrastructure and resources are shared), the lower the costs for customers.

It’s a matter of simple revenue and cost economics of cloud services. Most cloud app providers' revenues come from selling monthly or annual per-seat subscriptions, which bring in just a fraction of the annual revenue that an on-premise software license with comparable functionality would provide a vendor. The challenge for selling software subscriptions, then, is to reduce operating costs in order to manage with less; otherwise the provider may end up doing much more than an on-premise vendor does, such as maintain multiple versions, run multiple infrastructures, maintain customer-specific code, and perform upgrades, but with fewer dollars. Multitenancy provides the answer, because it spreads the cost of the infrastructure and labor across the customer base; in fact, customers sharing resources right down to the database schema is ideal for scaling.

The economies of scale get even better as the provider adds customers, and customers benefit from this scaling up. As the cloud app provider’s costs decrease, it has more room to innovate and grow, thus delivering more value. Even if customers' costs don't drop, over time they should expect to see more value, such as increased functionality.

So, what's the debate about? Those who say multitenancy isn't necessary to making the cloud model work are typically companies that have long made money from on-premise software and don’t want to cannibalize their existing revenues. They might offer a subscription for their single-tenant application, but this could simply be the software license, maintenance, and hosting fees divided into monthly payments which almost certainly would be much higher than a comparable multitenant application.

What's even more interesting is the "unsure" camp in this debate. These are typically the traditional on-premise vendors that decided to give the cloud a try. They often try to save money by using all or some of their existing on-premise infrastructure and practice for their cloud apps, by avoiding the investment in a new technology infrastructure that supports multitenancy. However, the high cost of replicating and maintaining instances for each single tenant (or customer) eventually catches up with them. They are forced to try approaches where they can share some of the infrastructure, but their fundamental affinity to the old on-premise model usually proves to be a stubborn barrier to changing their software, infrastructure and culture to fully support a shared model. And if they keep on this single-tenant path as they scale up customers, their margins get lower as each new customer sucks up more resources.

For a customer, there can be trade-offs in sharing an application. Think of it like living in a condo versus a house; one management company serves all the tenants, and you may not be any more special than any other tenant. Everyone gets upgraded with a new version at the same time, for example. But for many types of apps, the cost/value formula of multitenancy is the best answer.

Alok Misra is a co founder of Navatar Group, which provides Cloud apps for the financial services industry and helps software companies launch and support SaaS.

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The economics of cloud computing

What will the next big technology be? This column argues that “cloud computing” will have a dramatic effect on how we live our lives and how we do business. The economic impact of the diffusion of this technology could match that of telecommunication infrastructures in the ’70s and ’80s or the introduction of the internet in the ’90s. Once diffusion gathers apace, cloud computing could significantly boost GDP growth and could create around a million EU jobs within five years.

The new big thing of the IT world is “cloud computing”, a general purpose technology that could provide a fundamental contribution to promote efficiency in the private and public sectors and promote growth, competition, and business creation.

Cloud computing is an Internet-based technology (hence “cloud”) which stores information in servers and provides it as an on-demand service. The economic impact of cloud computing will be substantial on both households and companies.

* On one side, consumers will be able to access all of their documents and data from any device (the home or work PC, the mobile phone, an internet point), as they already do for email services or social networks.
* On the other side, firms will be able to rent computing power (both hardware and software in their latest versions) and storage from a service provider, while paying on demand, as they already do for other inputs such as energy and electricity.

The former application will affect our lifestyles, but the latter will have a profound impact on the cost structure of all the industries. For instance, it can provide huge cost savings and greater efficiency in large areas of the public sector including hospitals and healthcare (especially to provide information and technologies in remote or poorer locations), education (especially for e-learning) and the activity of government agencies with periodic spikes in usage. Moreover, substantial positive externalities are expected because of energy savings: the improvement of energy efficiency may contribute to the reduction of total carbon emissions in a substantial way.

If we look at the private sector, again the introduction of cloud computing can provide cost savings. It can create multilateral network effects between businesses, and it can promote entry and innovation in all the sectors where IT costs are restrictive and are drastically reduced by the adoption of cloud computing. This last effect can have a large effect on the wider economy. Continue Reading…Full Source

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