Posts tagged ‘Microsoft’

Google and Why the New Standard for Modern Applications is a Non-Relational Database Deployed in the Cloud #CloudWF

Guest Blog with MongoDB

Google and Why the New Standard for Modern Applications is a Non-Relational Database Deployed in the Cloud

Author: Kelly Stirman, VP of strategy at MongoDB

It’s positively raining cloud stories. Sorry. Cloud puns are so over…cast. Regardless, recent months have seen some interesting developments in the high stakes game for control of the foundational layer of your application stack i.e. what database you use and where it’s deployed. In early May Google released Cloud BigTable as a managed NoSQL database. Two weeks later Gartner released its  Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (Cloud IaaS) report.

While unrelated, the two announcements both shine some light on our path to a new, cloud-rich future. While the aspiring cloud giant Google gave further validation, if it were needed, that  NoSQL databases deployed in the cloud are the new standard for modern applications.

You see, the workload from modern applications is quite different from what it’s been in the past. Building your own data centre and installing a relational database was fine when you could predict the size, speed and type of data. Applications in 2015 are a different breed. The growth of social, mobile and sensor data has dramatically altered the way we approach development. Developers can’t tell in advance what any of this will look like in the final production version of their application, let alone future iterations.

Many organisations are already overcoming this by deploying non-relational databases on commodity hardware in the cloud. This approach lets companies gear up for massive scale and gives them enough flexibility to incorporate new data types that will support business processes and provide operational insight.

Google’s BigTable and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

Google’s announcement highlighted two things. One: the big infrastructure players are looking to diversify and find new ways to wring revenue from the big data stack. Two: BigTable’s release illustrated that all major data innovation is happening away from relational data models.  Relational databases aren’t going anywhere fast, but they are challenged by the requirements of modern applications. In particular the trickiest of the three Vs of big data – variety of data types. BigTable is yet another database-as-a-service offering that is designed to be deployed on the vendor’s own cloud infrastructure, see also Amazon and Microsoft.

From one cloud provider’s announcement, we now look at a broader view of the industry from Gartner. This is from the introduction to the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide report[1]:

The market for cloud IaaS is in a state of upheaval, as many service providers are shifting their strategies after failing to gain enough market traction. Customers must exercise caution when choosing providers.

The report went on to explain that ‘all the providers evaluated are believed to be financially stable, with business plans that are adequately funded. However, many of the providers are undergoing significant re-evaluation of their cloud IaaS businesses’. In other words, some vendors may not be in it for the long haul.

What it means for you

As well as diversification into database services, the cloud competition is also sparking a healthy price war. Just a few days after the Magic Quadrant was released Google announced it was slashing prices by as much as 30%. Microsoft and Amazon are also fond of aggressive pricing as they try to eat as much market share as possible.

Which brings us back to Google’s launch of NoSQL database-as-a-service BigTable. The release came on the back of Microsoft’s recent Azure DocumentDB announcement and, of course Amazon’s own DynamoDB offering. As the competition for cloud infrastructure drives margins down, the big players are looking up the stack to drive revenue and it’s clear NoSQL technology is one of the most attractive areas.

Though it’s worth pointing out that these as-a-service database offerings generally come with a very narrow set of features. For example Cloud BigTable is a wide column store with a simple key-value query model. Like some other NoSQL databases, it is limited by:

  • A complex data model which presents a steep learning curve to developers, slowing the rate of new application development
  • Lack of features such as an expressive query language (key-value only), integrated text search, native secondary indexes, aggregations and more. Collectively, these enable organisations to build more functional applications faster

Ultimately the cloud providers can relieve users of some of the overhead of running a database but they still will have to deal with the complexity of mastering data models and working around key-value query limitations.

Out of the chaos it’s becoming clear that a non-relational database hosted in the cloud, is going to be the predominant way modern companies deploy applications. Each customer will have varying demands of control. Some will want everything ‘as-a-service’, others will want full control over how and where their database runs and security on each layer of the stack. In the modern world of cloud-ready, non-relational databases, you have more choice than ever. That choice can also bring a risk of vendor lock-in, if you select an offering that is tied to one specific platform, no matter how ‘web-scale’ that platform claims to be.

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[1] Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide, Lydia Leong et al, May 18, 2015

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MongoDB will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th & 25th June 2015.

Kelly Stirman is Vice President of Strategy at MongoDB, speaking at the Cloud World Forum on the 25th June at 10.35 in Theatre A: Keynote – Building Business in the Cloud on ‘Escaping Cloud Cuckoo Land: 5 Tips for Making Success a Reality in the Cloud.’

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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ISO 27018 and protecting personal information in the cloud: a first year scorecard #CloudWF

ISO 27018 has been around for a year – but is it effective?

Source: Business Cloud NewsData-protection

A year after it was published,  – the first international standard focusing on the protection of personal data in the public cloud – continues, unobtrusively and out of the spotlight, to move centre stage as the battle for cloud pre-eminence heats up.

At the highest level, this is a competitive field for those with the longest investment horizons and the deepest pockets – think million square foot data centres with 100,000+ servers using enough energy to power a city.  According to research firm Synergy, the cloud infrastructure services market – Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Services (PaaS) and private and hybrid cloud – was worth $16bn in 2014, up 50 per cent on 2013, and is predicted to grow 30 per cent to over $21bn in 2015. Synergy estimated that the four largest players accounted for 50 per cent of this market, with Amazon at 28 per cent, Microsoft at 11 per cent, IBM at 7 per cent and Google at 5 per cent.  Of these, Microsoft’s 2014 revenues almost doubled over 2013, whilst Amazon’s and IBM’s were each up by around half.

Significantly, the proportion of computing sourced from the cloud compared to on-premise is set to rise steeply: enterprise applications in the cloud accounted for one fifth of the total in 2014 and this is predicted to increase to one third by 2018.

This growth represents a huge increase year on year in the amount of personal data (PII or personally identifiable information) going into the cloud and the number of cloud customers contracting for the various and growing types of cloud services on offer. but as the cloud continues to grow at these startling rates, the biggest inhibitor to cloud services growth – trust about security of personal data in the cloud – continues to hog the headlines.

Under data protection law, the Cloud Service Customer (CSC) retains responsibility for ensuring that its PII processing complies with the applicable rules.  In the language of the EU Data Protection Directive, the CSC is the data controller.  In the language of ISO 27018, the CSC is either a PII principal (processing her own data) or a PII controller (processing other PII principals’ data).

Where a CSC contracts with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP), Article 17 the EU Data Protection Directive sets out how the relationship is to be governed. The CSC must have a written agreement with the CSP; must select a CSP providing ‘sufficient guarantees’ over the technical security measures and organizational measures governing PII in the Cloud service concerned; must ensure compliance with those measures; and must ensure that the CSP acts only on the CSC’s instructions.

As the pace of migration to the cloud quickens, the world of data protection law continues both to be fragmented – 100 countries have their own laws – and to move at a pace driven by the need to mediate all competing interests rather than the pace of market developments.

In this world of burgeoning cloud uptake, ISO 27018 is proving effective at bridging the gap between the dizzying pace of Cloud market development and the slow and uncertain rate of legislative change by providing CSCs with a workable degree of assurance in meeting their data protection law responsibilities.  Almost a year on from publication of the standard, Microsoft has become the first major CSP (in February 2015) to achieve ISO 27018 certification for its Microsoft Azure (IaaS/PaaS), Office 365 (PaaS/Saas) and Dynamics CRM Online (SaaS) services (verified by BSI, the British Standards Institution) and its Microsoft Intune SaaS services (verified by Bureau Veritas).

In the context of privacy and cloud services, ISO 27018 builds on other information security standards within the IS 27000 family. This layered, interlocking approach is proving supple enough in practice to deal with the increasingly wide array of cloud services. For example, it is not tied to any particular kind of cloud service and, as Microsoft’s certifications show, applies to IaaS (Azure), PaaS (Azure and Office 365) and SaaS (Office 365 and Intune). If, as shown in the graphic below, you consider computing services as a stack of layered elements ranging from networking (at the bottom of the stack) up through equipment and software to data (at the top), and that each of these elements can be carried out on premise or from the cloud (from left to right), then ISO 27018 is flexible enough to cater for all situations across the continuum.

Cloud-licenses-1024x528Indeed, the standard specifically states at Paragraph 5.1.1:

“Contractual agreements should clearly allocate responsibilities between the public cloud PII processor [i.e. the CSP], its sub-contractors and the cloud service customer, taking into account the type of cloud service in question (e.g. a service of an IaaS, PaaS or SaaS category of the cloud computing reference architecture).  For example, the allocation of responsibility for application layer controls may differ depending on whether the public cloud PII processor is providing a SaaS service or rather is providing a PaaS or IaaS service upon which the cloud service customer can build or layer its own applications.”

Equally, CSPs will generally not know whether their CSCs are sending PII to the cloud and, even if they do, they are unlikely to know whether or not particular data is PII. Here, another strength of ISO 27018 is that it applies regardless of whether particular data is, or is not, PII: certification simply assures the CSC that the service the CSP is providing is suitable for processing PII in relation to the performance by the CSP of its PII legal obligations.

Perhaps the biggest practical boon to the CSC however is the contractual certainty that ISO 27018 certification provides.  As more work migrates to the cloud, particularly in the enterprise space, the IT procurement functions of large customers will be following structured processes in order to meet the requirements of their business and, in certain cases, their regulators. In their requests for information, proposals and quotations from prospective CSPs, CSCs now have a range of interlocking standards including ISO 27018 to choose from in their statements of requirements for a particular Cloud procurement.  As well as short-circuiting the need for CSCs to spend time in writing up detailed specifications of their own requirements, verified compliance with these standards for the first time provides meaningful assurance and protection from risk around most aspects of cloud service provision. Organisations running competitive tenders can benchmark bidding CSPs against each other on their responses to these requirements, and then include as binding commitments the obligations to meet the requirements of the standards concerned in the contract when it is let.

In the cloud contract lifecycle, the flexibility provided by ISO 27018 certification, along with the contract and the CSP’s policy statements, goes beyond this to provide the CSC with a framework to discuss with the CSP on an ongoing basis the cloud PII measures taken and their adequacy.

In its first year, it is emerging that complying, and being seen to comply, with ISO 27018 is providing genuine assurance for CSCs in managing their data protection legal obligations.  This reassurance operates across the continuum of cloud services and through the procurement and contract lifecycle, regardless of whether or not any particular data is PII.  In customarily unobtrusive style, ISO 27018 is likely to go on being a ‘win’ for the standards world, cloud providers and their customers, and data protection regulators and policy makers around the world.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Visit the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register you free exhibition pass here.

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Ford deploys connected car platform on Microsoft’s cloud

Source: Business Cloud News

Ford-connected-car-platform-300x204Ford plans to roll out the Azure-based service later this year

Ford Motor Company and Microsoft have teamed up to create the Ford Service Delivery Network, a cloud-based connected car platform for Ford vehicles the companies said would make it easier and faster to add more in-car digital services.

Microsoft said the service will provide Ford a global platform to enable over-the-air software updates and expand availability of MyFord and MyLincoln Mobile connected services, which ships with features like scheduled remote start, vehicle finder, and vehicle status (fuel or charge level, tire pressure).

The connected car platform will be hosted on Azure-based technology in a combination of Azure and Ford datacentres.

“As consumers shift toward more cloud-based services, the Ford Service Delivery Network architecture is a strategic approach to keep vehicles up-to-date and relevant throughout the vehicle ownership period by making it easy to add or evolve services. Microsoft Azure provides a global common cloud platform that allows Ford to deliver services worldwide and scale quickly to reach its broad customer base,” explained Sanjay Ravi, senior director of worldwide manufacturing at Microsoft.

“This means that Ford can send updates as they become available, ensuring customers will have the latest technology as it becomes available,” Ravi said.

Customer deployment will begin later this year, the companies said.

Microsoft is among a growing fleet of technology firms looking to capitalise on growth of the connected car market. According to global telecoms association the GSMA, the size of the market will nearly triple over the next four years to $53bn.

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Join the Cloud World Forum, taking place on 24th – 25th June at Olympia Grand in London!

The connected car topic will be explored by multiple speakers at the show, including Dieter May, Senior Vice President for Digital Business Models, BMW Group speaking at the IoT & Analytics theatre. Truly not one to be missed!

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom partner on cloud services #telcocloud

Source: Business Cloud News 

Deutsche Telekom is partnering with Microsoft in a move that will see the German telco expand its device-focused activities with the firm and market Office 365 among other Microsoft cloud services to business customers.

The partnership includes a joint international marketing campaign spanning advertising, sales support and training, custom application development, and experiential activities tailored to each market where DT operates. The effort will also focus on driving demand for Lumia devices, and when it launches, Windows 10.

Niek Jan van Damme, managing director, Telekom Deutschland GmbH and member of the board of Deutsche Telekom put a BYOD spin on the revamped partnership with Microsoft: “Our successful cooperation with Microsoft which we continue to develop for years now, strengthens the position of Deutsche Telekom as the leading provider for connected life.”

“Together with Microsoft’s broad portfolio of devices, services and platforms, we reach customers who wish to switch their phone quickly and easily between professional and private use. Thus, we are able to provide a seamless user experience with benefits for both our private and our business customers,” he said.

lorian Seiche, vice president, Europe Region, Mobile Device Sales, Microsoft said: “Its trusted brand and network excellence in Germany and across key European markets will be a strong force to jointly deliver Microsoft devices and services to more consumers and businesses throughout Europe.”


Microsoft are Visionary Sponsors of the Telco Cloud Forum taking place in London on 27-29 April 2015. Join them and Speaker Miles McWilliamsHead of Global Sales IPT & CDN at Deutsche Telekom ICSS.

Registration is free of charge for telecom operators and enterprises.
Free exhibition open to all!

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Telco Cloud: IT News, Trends and Predictions for 2015 #telcocloud

Telco Cloud. 
28-29 April 2015
Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London

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Ovum reveals telcos must invest in the flexibility and agility of their IT estates in 2015

The telecoms industry is showing signs of recovery due to the positive economic scenario, and telecoms will be one of the top industries for IT spending in the next 12–18 months, according to global analyst firm Ovum.

Based on Ovum’s latest Telco IT Trends to Watch report*, telco IT budgets are on the rise, with a lot of investment directed at either optimizing network assets and infrastructure or improving service quality and the customer experience.

Trends to watch for telco IT in 2015:

A brighter economic outlook and voracious demand for high-quality content and services on smart devices has renewed telco interest in the value they provide from a customer perspective and the quality of the customer experience.
Omni-channel engagements will inform investment in CRM strategies for sales, marketing, and operations. Relevance and content of services, packages, and customer care will be a differentiator.
Outsourcing engagements between telcos and IT service providers will intensify.

Read more

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Telco Cloud 2015 Outlook

Analyst Opinion By DIMITRIS MAVRAKIS

WHAT ARE THE KEY DRIVERS/OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS THAT ARE CONSIDERING NFV? CONVERSELY, WHAT ARE THE KEY CHALLENGES?

The biggest opportunity driving CSPs to adopt NFV or SDN is the ability to operate a more efficient and cost-effective network. Also, NFV and SDN make it much easier and faster to create and deliver services. The biggest argument for NFV is that it enables network components to make the transition from hardware to software. In other words, components now run on commoditized hardware platforms that might even be in the data center (standard computing platforms or COTS equipment).

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL Q+A

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CompTIAs 5th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing

In the five years that CompTIA has been studying cloud computing, the topic has shifted from a potential game-changer to an essential ingredient of modern IT. IDC estimates the public cloud market to have reached $45.7 billion in 2013, and they expect it to grow at 23% CAGR through 2018. On the private cloud side, IDC estimates that worldwide spending on hosted private cloud services will surpass $24 billion by 2016…

READ MORE .
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Cisco throws its hat back into the enterprise collaboration ring

CISCO, Telco Cloud Forum’s Principal Sponsor is working on a new offering for the enterprise collaboration market: Project Squared – a mobile-first, virtual meeting room for teams. Project Squared is still an early work in progress, but the vendor is hoping that customers will like what they see and not defect to the likes of Microsoft, Google, or Citrix, all of whom have competing offerings in the realtime communication and collaboration market. The offering is delivered by the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.

READ MORE.

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Industry News

Verizon has promised rolling upgrades to its cloud platform that don’t impose downtime or require customer intervention following the latest update period, which lasted nearly two days.

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Telstra Selects AppDirect to Power its Business Apps Marketplace #cloudasia

Collaboration with Australia’s Largest Telco Enables One-Stop Shop for Millions of Small Businesses to Find, Buy and Manage Apps

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 28, 2014 – AppDirect, the cloud commerce service company, announced today a major collaboration with Telstra — the largest telecommunications and information services company in Australia with a global presence that spans 230 countries — to power the new Telstra Apps Marketplace. The Telstra Apps Marketplace provides a one-stop shop and management portal for customers to find, buy, and use today’s best business apps. The new marketplace is live today and features two applications from Box and DocuSign.

“We’re very proud to work with Telstra to continue to push the boundaries of innovation in cloud services. Telstra was the first in its market to drive cloud services for its customer base and is continuing this leadership across its large global service footprint and among its well-established network of resellers. Working with Telstra, we’ve had the opportunity to not only power its new marketplace but provide a full scope of monetization and management services that make it incredibly easy to engage and benefit from cloud services,” said Daniel Saks, co-CEO of AppDirect. “AppDirect’s vision has always been to create a world where businesses have easy access to the technology tools they need to thrive. By collaborating with Telstra, we’ve been able to bring this ideal to life for millions of Australian small and medium businesses.”

New features for customers

The AppDirect-powered Telstra Apps Marketplace will deliver new features and capabilities, including faster on-boarding and go-to-market availability for new applications, as well as real-time updates so customers have access to the most up-to-date products. By logging into the Telstra Apps Marketplace, customers can use it as a central hub to manage their apps, including Box and DocuSign, and can also easily access and browse a catalog of specifically curated business apps and related services. Box is a cloud file sharing and collaboration app that lets businesses securely share and access important business files and documents, whether it’s the latest invoice for a customer, project proposal or pitch presentation. With access to DocuSign, businesses can quickly, easily and securely collect and transact business information and sign documents anytime, right from the marketplace. Telstra will continue to onboard more business applications over the coming months and migrate apps from Telstra’s previous platform in 2015.

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director said, “Telstra wants to help businesses be the best that they can be, moving to cloud based business and mobile apps gives them greater flexibility, enhancing the ability to work on the move and reducing administration, leaving them more time to work on what matters most – their core business. Working with innovative providers such as AppDirect, we can deliver a simple online experience for our customers that will make it easy to find and use the right apps for their business.”

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Cloud Asia 2014 | Speakers & Sessions Announced | Full Brochure Launch #CloudAsia

15045-Cloud-Asia-LogoWe are pleased to bring you the updated event brochure for Cloud Asia, including the current agenda and speaker line-up!

Why attend Cloud Asia?

•    1 trip + 500 Delegates = efficient use of your personal & business time
•    100 +  Speakers = fast lessons with the minimum effort
•    50 x (Sponsors + Exhibitors) = Quick updates + LIVE software building demos & deployments
•    Visit the stands you want & only see the newest solutions you need= No tiresome product pitches at Cloud Asia!
•    Enterprise Apps + Advanced Data Analytics + Cross Device Software Knowledge = Bundles of facts to take back to the office.
•    Best in class SME, enterprise & government organisation IT experts dominating the agenda = Bundles of business cards!
•    Telco and OTT cloud providers – they’re coming along so you can tell them how they can improve the services and deliver what you want!
•    Application developers who have that je ne sais quoi when it comes to supporting the cross device software needs of today’s enterprises and SMEs!
•   Forms part of the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) China – Hong Kong.

Still need convincing? Download the event brochure today and see why Cloud Asia is the leading content led conference and exhibition for the Enterprise IT & Telco Cloud Market in Hong Kong!

We guarantee you will be networking, learning, and contributing to the development of industry actions alongside pioneering technology developers such as AWS, Google, EMC, Microsoft, AppDirect, Vision Solutions, Orange Business Services, PCCW, and crucial enterprise & SME IT decision makers!

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Boosting Conversions in the Cloud @AppDirect #telcocloud

By Richard Dufty, VP of Worldwide Sales and Strategic Partnerships

AppDirect

Today’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are driving a software revolution. Just a few years ago, these companies went to retail locations to buy software, install it, and configure their systems to run it—or hire someone to do all of this for them. Now SMBs can simply go online to purchase and use powerful cloud-based software solutions.

In fact, more SMBs than ever before are turning to these cloud solutions; recent research indicates that 60 percent of SMBs currently use cloud services, a number that is set to grow rapidly within the next few years. Sparked by this growth, the worldwide market for SMB cloud computing is predicted to reach $40 billion by the end of this year.

Software providers are already starting to see real evidence of these trends. In late May 2013, Microsoft announced that the cloud-based version of its flagship productivity suite, called Office 365, reached one million subscribers in 100 days, faster than Dropbox and Facebook. Microsoft’s numbers translate to an average of more than one Office 365 subscription sold every second in the last three and a half months.

Demand for Cloud Services Rises, but Success Isn’t Guaranteed

As SMBs increase demand for cloud-based apps, cloud service marketplaces are increasingly common. According to Gartner, 50 percent of the top 100 service providers will offer cloud services to their customers by 2015.

“Service providers really do not have a choice,” the analyst firm adds, “but must offer cloud services to protect their current market and to stay connected to their customers.”

Despite the surge of marketplaces, SMBs still face challenges purchasing and managing cloud-based applications. Almost 60 percent of SMBs say they lack the resources to implement new technologies, while 57 percent say they simply don’t have the time to do so.

For these reasons, service providers are ideally positioned to become SMBs’ cloud partner of choice. These providers already serve an important role for SMBs, offering essential business services—including Internet, voice, and mobile—that companies rely on. For busy SMBs, the option of turning to a trusted provider for cloud solutions can not only save time, but also make cloud adoption less intimidating.

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HP Cloud Survey on IT challenges

You are invited to take part in the HP Cloud Survey on IT challenges. We’d love to hear about the risks you face and benefits you expect.

We’d be very grateful if you could take the 2 minutes required to answer our survey.

HP SurveyTAKE THE SURVEY NOW >>

As a thank you for your time & opinion we’ll send you a piece of Forrester Research on Private Cloud Solutions.

The Forrester Wave™: Private Cloud Solutions
“Three Vendors Rise To The Top Of The Private Cloud Market”
 
Why Read This Report?

In Forrester’s 61-criteria evaluation of private cloud solution vendors, we identified the 10 most significant software providers — ASG Software Solutions, BMC Software, CA Technologies, Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware — in the category and researched, analyzed, and scored them.

This report details our findings about how well each vendor fulfills the breadth and depth of our criteria and where each stands out to help infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals select the most full-featured private cloud solution. I&O pros can also customize criteria weightings to align with their own private cloud initiative. This report focuses on commercial-softwareonly private infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud solutions.

Thank you

The Cloud World Series and HP Teams

Microsoft’s Most Clever Critic Is Now Building Its New Empire #cloudwf

mark_russinovich_MKANE_03edit-660x440Before joining Microsoft and becoming one of its most important software engineers, Mark Russinovich was in the business of pissing the company off.

This was the late 1990s, when Microsoft dominated the tech world, its Windows operating systems running so many of the world’s computers, from desktops and laptops to corporate workstations and servers. During the day, Russinovich built software for a tiny New Hampshire software company, but he spent his evenings and weekends looking for bugs, flaws, and secrets buried inside Microsoft’s newest and most important operating system, Windows NT. Sharing his findings with the press or posting them to the web, he frequently pissed off Microsoft, but never so completely as the time he exposed Windows NT as a fraud.

Windows NT represented Microsoft’s future–its core code would underpin the company’s operating systems for years to come–and at the time, it was sold in two flavors. One was for corporate workstations used by engineers, graphic designers, and the like, and the other was for servers. NT Workstation was much cheaper, but, unlike NT Server, it barred you from running web serving software, the software that delivers websites to people across the internet. Microsoft said that NT Workstation just wasn’t suited to the task. But then Russinovich reverse-engineered the two OSes and showed that the truth was something very different. NT Workstation, he revealed, was practically identical to NT Server. It wasn’t that the OS couldn’t run web serving software. Microsoft just didn’t want it to.

“The story shows that Microsoft is capable of change–however long that change might take”.

The ruse was typical of the software giant, a way of artificially shifting a market in its own favor. It could force all web serving onto a more expensive OS while still selling a cheaper version for other tasks. And after Russinovich exposed the practice, releasing a tool that let anyone transform NT Workstation into NT Server, the company responded in typical fashion. Days later, when employees from his New Hampshire company flew across the country to participate in a Microsoft event, Microsoft barred them from the building. But at the same time, the incident managed to bring Russinovich closer to the software giant. Even as his colleagues were shut out of the company, the head of Windows offered him a job.

Told by the six-foot, five-and-a-half-inch Russinovich in his wonderfully straightforward way, it’s a tale that lays bare the unapologetically ruthless attitude that pervaded Microsoft in the ’90s and on into the aughts, an attitude that brought it enormous success but also landed the company in hot water with regulators and ultimately hampered its ability to compete in the more open and collaborative world of the modern internet. But the postscript to the tale–where Jim Alchin, the head of Windows, tries to hire Russinovich–also shows that Microsoft is more complicated than you might expect, that the company is capable of change, however long that change might take.

When Alchin offered him the job, Russinovich didn’t take it. But after several more years spent running his Sysinternals site–where he published a steady stream of exposés that, in his words, “pissed off” Microsoft and other tech outfits–he did join the software giant. The company made him a Microsoft Technical Fellow–one of the highest honors it can bestow–and today, he’s one of the principal architects of Microsoft Azure, the cloud computing service that’s leading the company’s push into the modern world.

Russinovich is a symbol for a new Microsoft, a Microsoft that’s systematically changing its old ways. Mirroring the company’s technical evolution, he began his career in computer operating systems and has now moved into the cloud. But, more than that, he embodies a new Microsoft attitude. Russinovich has a long history with Microsoft–so he understands the old attitudes and how some of them can still help the company—but, like recently appointed CEO Satya Nadella, he also sees where the company has gone wrong and where it must now travel in order to compete in a world shaped by the Googles, the Facebooks, and the Amazons.

‘I feel that, more and more, Microsoft is embodying the values I’ve always had.’

Today’s Microsoft, he says, is closer to what he wants it to be. “I feel that, more and more, Microsoft is embodying the values I’ve always had,” Russinovich told us last month at Microsoft’s annual Build conference in San Francisco, a conference where the company open sourced its most important software development tools, freely sharing them with the world at large–the sort of thing it never would have done in years past.

Even in small ways, Russinovich belies the Microsoft stereotype. As those inside the company will tell you, he’s unafraid to speak his own mind–something you see not only when he tells the story of his Windows NT exposé, but when he looks back on the NSA spying scandal and its effect on Microsoft. “He’s an independent thinker,” says Rich Neves, who has worked with Russinovich both inside IBM’s research operation and at Microsoft. “He has what you call intellectual honesty.” And as science fiction fans will tell you, he’s more than just a corporate software engineer. He’s the author of three techno-thrillersZero Day, Trojan Horse, and Rogue Code–Michael Crichton-esque novels recently optioned by an independent film producer. But he’s also someone who’s actively pushing Microsoft’s into new places, most notably with Azure.

Azure didn’t begin with Russinovich. But, along with Nadella, he’s one of the primary thinkers who pulled the cloud service out of the old Microsoft mindset and turned it into something that can compete for the future. “He has real vision,” says HP cloud chief Bill Hilf, who once worked alongside Russinovich at Microsoft. “And he knows how to listen to customers.”

Click here to read the full article.

By WIRED

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Cloud World Forum 2014
Speaker: Mark Russinovich

 

1392026391-speakerFirestarer: Cloud Scale: Insights into building a cloud future

This session will highlight the importance of hybrid clouds whereby we need to use some elements of cloud-based technologies; say a paas for a particular application, maybe Salesforce as alongside existing in-house managed applications and services.  This is because this is reality for most and we spend little time talking about the realities of managing such environments.  Most cloud conversations tend to focus on how wonderful life will be once all our databases and apps are in the cloud; back on planet earth we have to deal with a much more complex environment; we may be benefitting from virtualisation within our own data centres but the challenge is extending the boundary to encompass applications on similar technologies in someone else’s data centres.

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