Archive for November, 2011

Swedish town set to become “Node pole” as Facebook builds massive data centre

27 November 2011 — Perched near the Arctic Circle, the Swedish town of Luleaa hopes that a massive data centre for US social networking giant Facebook will launch the vibrant industrial region into the digital age as a European data traffic hub.  In October, Facebook announced it had chosen the Swedish town for its first European data centre, and third globally, in large part because of its “suitable climate for environmental cooling (and) clean power resources.”  The icy region, located on the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska, was especially attractive due to its climate, “since cooling (computer) servers is a major issue for data centres,” Facebook said.

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Why Supercomputers Will Live Only in the Cloud

26 November 2011 — The new public beta of Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large is Amazon.com’s most powerful cloud service yet. Its launch indicates that Amazon Web Services (AWS) intends to attract more organizations into high-performance computing. “AWS’s cloud for high-performance computing applications offers the same benefits as it does for other applications: It eliminates the cost and complexity of buying, configuring, and operating in-house compute clusters, according to Amazon,” notes the IDG News Service story. The applications include physics simulations, seismic analysis, drug design, genome analysis, aircraft design, and similar CPU-intensive analytics applications.

This is a core advantage of cloud computing: the ability to access very expensive computing systems using a self-provisioned and time-shared model. Most organizations can’t afford supercomputers, so they choose a rental arrangement. This is not unlike how we had to consume supercomputing services back when I was in college. Certainly the college could not afford a Cray.

The question then arises: What happens these advanced computing services move away from the on-premise hardware and software model completely? What if they instead choose to provide multitenant … Read more

In Canada, businesses using cloud computing services unknowingly

25 November 2011 — Many Canadian businesses are using cloud computing services without knowing it, a survey has found, pointing to a knowledge gap amid widespread privacy and security concerns.   Just 29 per cent of 705 senior leaders at Canadian businesses and government organizations said they were using some cloud computing services, according to a survey released by Microsoft Canada Thursday.  However, among the rest, one in five indicated that they used services like Microsoft Web Apps, Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Azure, which are, in fact, cloud computing services.  “One of the things that really stuck out in our eyes was that 19 per cent of those respondents are using the cloud and didn’t realize it,” John Weigelt, national technology officer for Microsoft Canada, said while releasing the results at an event in Toronto.

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SaaS valuations: off the charts and staying that way

 

25 November 2011 – Legacy software companies get no respect — or market valuation — compared to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) players. New research shows that over the past year, SaaS company valuations grew twice as much as valuations of legacy software companies rooted in the client-server world. And that SaaS valuation trend will continue for the next 12 to 24 months, according to new research from Martin Wolf M&A Advisors.

For an old-line company it makes sense to freshen up with a SaaS purchase, even paying top dollar in anticipation that the target’s value will rise as more companies get comfortable offloading tasks from on-premises to a service model. At the same time, existing SaaS players want to broaden their services portfolio with more vertical SaaS options, said Martin Wolf, president and founder of the company.

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James Urquhart on what cloud boils down to for the enterprise

20 November 2011 — James Urquhart is a field technologist with almost 20 years of experience in distributed-systems development and deployment.  His focus has been on service-oriented architectures, cloud computing, and virtualization.  

He is one of cloud computing’s “gurus”  (we had the opportunity to meet him this year at the Enterprise Cloud Summit in New York) and up until a few weeks ago he was blogging about the cloud on the CNET Blog Network under a blog called “The Wisdom of Clouds”.  His blog posts were brilliant.  He covered the tenuous relationship between existing law and cloud computing in several posts (including an in-depth legal analysis of the impact of cloud on the Fourth Amendment), detailed analysis of cloud interoperability, a great post on why cloud computing is an operations model, not a technology, plus scores of others.

He has also spent the last three years helping develop Cisco’s cloud strategy.

But he had to bring the blog to a close because he was taking on a new job as vice president of product strategy for cloud management software provider … Read more

Cloud computing to come of age in Asia by 2015, says IDC

16 November 2011 — According to Simon Piff, associate vice president for enterprise infrastructure research at IDC Asia-Pacific, businesses today are still hesitant in utilizing cloud computing for much of their IT needs due to concerns over security, service reliability, data location and sovereignty, as well as vendor support.

This reluctance was reflected in a recent IDC survey on companies in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, which were quizzed on their cloud plans, Piff said during his presentation at IDC Asia-Pacific’s Cloud Conference 2011 held here Wednesday. The survey findings revealed that companies in developed markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong showed more reticence in using cloud services, compared with their counterparts in developing markets such as Indonesia and Thailand, the analyst noted.

However, the concerns enterprises have are currently being addressed, he said. In the case of service reliability and uptime, for instance, public cloud users are increasingly more aware of the implications associated with these services, he added.

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How The Web Became Just Another Interface to the Cloud

11 November 2011 — For years, everyone was talking about the convergence of interfaces. The Web, and as a result, the browser, were “clearly” about to take over as the major platforms and cloud computing emerged. Then, in March 2008, Steve Jobs unleashed the iOS followed by the mobile apps revolution. What seems to have happened next is maybe one of the most intriguing transitions in software history.

While many companies are still stuck with the idea that “the browser is the ultimate interface”, lately, there’s a growing number of leading cloud computing companies that actually don’t have a Web interface or that focus heavily on client software running on multiple devices.

Why does this happen?  Indeed, client software has been around for a while. It actually predates the Web. Why would Web companies return to leveraging client software now?  There are four underlying fundamental changes that are contributing to this renaissance.

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Software Pricing Starts to Catch Up to Cloud Computing

7 November 2011 — One of the more confounding aspects of cloud computing is that software pricing is frequently out of sync with the way hardware is acquired. IT organizations can easily pay for hardware on an hourly, monthly or yearly basis. Software pricing, on the other hand, has generally remained tied to the number of processors being used on a yearly basis.

OpSource, a unit of the IT services firm Dimension Data, is taking that issue on starting today with the release of OpSource Cloud Software, an offering that allows customers to consume Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint and eventually other database and middleware platforms on a pay-for-use basis that can be priced hourly or monthly.

According to Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer for OpSource, this shift to giving customers a usage software-pricing model for software consumed in the cloud is long overdue. As a unit of Dimension Data, OpSource is leveraging special pricing and payment options that Microsoft provides business partners to resell its software as a service.

Over time, OpSource expects to make available usage-based software … Read more

Best Buy Reorganizes in the Cloud, Acquiring 123Together.com

7 November 2011 — If you’ve ever investigated various sources for hosted Exchange e-mail or SharePoint sites, or virtual cloud servers, for a small business of under 100 employees or so, you’ve probably run into a service called 123Together.com. It’s titled like it wants to be listed first in the Yellow Pages, but in terms of service quality, it’s been limping along with a handful of others looking to gain par against GoDaddy.com.

But 123Together also has a stake in cloud services, with simple virtual servers in the cloud that compete on at least one level with Amazon. Meanwhile, retailer Best Buy is interested in competing with Amazon on any level it can. Last month, it decided it can’t compete with Amazon, announcing a plan to dump its Napster service’s existing customers onto Rhapsody. Best Buy had just acquired the Napster brand in September 2008.

Today, Best Buy announced a deal to acquire 123Together.com’s parent company, mindSHIFT Technologies, for $167 million, apparently in cash. This move will put Best Buy into the hosted services business, which includes floating Web sites … Read more

GoGrid to Offer Dedicated Connections

1 November 2011 —  GoGrid became the second cloud services vendor to offer dedicated intramural connections across its network today. Amazon has been offering a similar service called Direct Connect since August.  Called CloudLink, traffic is sent over a private line inside GoGrid’s network, making it useful for disaster recovery and fast data replication uses.

“Prior to using GoGrid’s CloudLink, we could not maintain a consistent and private database replication environment,’ said an early CloudLink customer Manicka Babu, vice president of Engineering at Martini Media, a leading digital media company. “GoGrid’s CloudLink allows us to transfer gigabits of data privately across the US in a cost-effective and easily implemented way.”

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