Virtualization and Cloud Markets Virtually the Same Size

On Oct. 6, I got a market-sized notice from the Market Intel Group arguing that in five years, the cloud market will exceed $300 billion. Thirteen days later, I got a market-sized notice from the Market Intel Group arguing that in five years, the virtualization market will exceed $250 billion. I know these markets are intertwined but had no idea they were so similar.

Here's the logic: On the cloud side, the company argues that lower costs due to economies of scale will drive market growth. The virt market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6 percent over the next five years. The company argues that much of this expansion will come from desktop virtualization, which is in its infancy. It also believes that the further preponderance of server virtualization will shrink demand for physical servers.

The markets, based on these predictions, are remarkably similar. But virtualization is fairly mature, which is why it will only grow less than 9 percent per year. The cloud is expected to rain fire, with average growth of 23.4 percent.

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/25/2011 at 12:47 PM0 comments

Piston To Fire Up OpenStack

Piston Cloud Computing, a brand-new company founded in part by Joshua McKenty, who served as chief technical architect for Nebula at NASA, is designed to help IT adopt the OpenStack cloud operating system. Nebula is a NASA-backed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform, while OpenStack is a full OS aimed at massive scalability. Other founders were involved with OpenStack as former Rackspace employees.

Before I get into the technology, I want to talk about the company itself. The executive team is not only highly accomplished, but the exec photos are, um, unusual to say the least. Their bios talk about eclectic interests such as juggling, making handmade instruments, reading 16th- and 17th-century philosophy, and engaging "in any recreational and/or social activity that doesn't involve direct exposure to sunlight."

The company offers an OpenStack-based OS called pentOS, which it claims can be set up and running in 10 minutes. Like Windows, software updates are delivered automatically. Perhaps the biggest part of the business is enterprise support, which is offered every day, 24 hours a day.

Do you have a favorite cloud startup? If so, sing their praises by writing [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/11/2011 at 12:47 PM3 comments

iCloud Imminent

Overlooked in all the hype surrounding the new iPhone 4S is the announcement that the Apple iCloud service will debut tomorrow. Much of the service is aimed at consumers who want to share and store music, photos, video and so on. More interesting to the masses could be Documents in the Cloud, which, as the name implies, lets you store documents in the cloud.

Enterprise workers who spend their days stuck to a seat and then go home, watch TV and drink beer tend to have backup at work. But most of us these days work in various places -- airports, offices, home offices, back porches and sometimes beaches. And when it comes to home and remote offices, IT is not always able to offer enterprise-class backup. Some, like me, use a service such as Carbonite. At $55 a year, it is about the same price as an external drive, but Carbonite is automatic so you really can't forget to back up.

Free services such as SkyDrive and now iCloud could be a nice solution for those who are often remote, maybe use multiple machines and don't have a half-terabyte they just have to back up. 

One cool iCloud feature? The storage comes with access to Apple iWorks so you can edit and create remotely. It can also be set up, through iCloud Backup, to back up files you specify. At an entry-level basis, iCloud is free. If you need more than 5 gigs -- and who doesn't -- you'll pay $20 a year for 10 gigs and double that for 40.

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/11/2011 at 12:47 PM2 comments

Hyper-V Embracing Open Source

Microsoft loves to flirt with open source -- it just won't commit. Its latest move solidifies an agreement to port Hyper-V to OpenNebula, an open source cloud project aimed at service providers.

This may not be entirely altruistic: Citrix and VMware are already firmly in the OpenNebula camp. At any rate, expect some early code this month.

How would you advise Microsoft on open source? You tell me and I'll share as long as you write me at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/11/2011 at 12:47 PM5 comments

VMware's Cloud Leadership

A lot of companies have tried to compete with Microsoft and failed -- Lotus, WordPerfect, Netscape and Novell all come to mind.

When Microsoft announced Hyper-V, I expected VMware to suffer the same fate. The opposite has happened -- VMware keeps getting stronger and stronger.

Already the dominant force in server virtualization, the company is now aiming for the cloud. This is a natural move as cloud services tend to run on virtualized infrastructures.

The company is nearing the billion-dollar mark and is growing fast -- sales in the second quarter increased by 37 percent over the same quarter a year ago. And the number of cloud service providers working with VMware is now more than 2,500. Not too shabby.

VMware officials see a strong movement of IT shops taking their virtual infrastructures and transforming them into private clouds using vCloud Director. Once in place, IT can connect with external public clouds for additional capacity.

VMware is also edging its way into software development with its Cloud Foundry open source tool.

What are your thoughts on VMware as a cloud player? Let me know at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/04/2011 at 12:47 PM11 comments

Windows To Use Cloud for Single Sign-On

When Windows 8 ships in the next year or two, you'll be able use Windows Live for single sign-on roaming.

Windows Live is already in use to connect to SkyDrive and Office Web Apps. It also gives MSDN and TechNet subscribers a master password that offers access to an array of Microsoft sites.

Windows Live can store your Windows settings, allowing you to log on with a variety of devices and have the same user experience and data.

One scenario is where you have a work computer and a home machine. You can stop what you are doing at work, and when you get home finish your work -- Windows Live essentially saves your place for you.


Posted by Doug Barney on 10/04/2011 at 12:47 PM0 comments

Net Neutrality Gets in Gear Nov. 20

Good news for cloud customers and regular, old Web surfers: New Net neutrality rules have been approved and kick into gear in less than two months. Under the rules, network providers have to disclose how their networks operate, and can't discriminate against users or block legal traffic.

This is great news. If service providers were given free reign to slow down or block traffic, or change prices based on network use, the whole cloud industry is put in jeopardy.

What is your take on Net neutrality? You tell me at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/27/2011 at 12:47 PM5 comments

Azure Tweaked, Promoted at Build

Microsoft has said it's "all in" with the cloud, and that means being all in with Azure. At the recent Build show, Microsoft spoke in a lot of generalities, but also laid out a fair share of specifics. On the general side, Server & Tools Business President Satya Nadella talked about the need for "a rich portfolio of storage across blobs, tables and full relational capabilities to handle the complexity of data [with] Windows Azure."

I've been reading the views of many cloud gurus and it seems that storage is perhaps the biggest impediment to cloud success. Let's hope the software and hardware together can build inexpensive, fast and reliable storage solutions for the cloud.

Microsoft also has a model for selling applications or places to store your data. The Windows Azure Marketplace already has hundreds of apps and services and will soon be available in 25 more countries.

Microsoft may want to dominate the cloud, but it also recognizes it must play nice if it is to have any chance at all. That means interfacing with services such as Yahoo, Facebook and (gasp!) even Google. Windows 8 will play a role because it's designed to access these services all with a single sign-on.

And Windows 8 developers can get started right away with the new Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8. Yup, that's that actual name, with Windows repeated twice! There's also a more generalized kit: the Windows Azure SDK 1.5 with an enhanced certificate upload process.

Have you played with Azure? Share your thoughts and experiences at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/27/2011 at 12:47 PM2 comments

Open to OpenStack

OpenStack, an open source cloud operating system, has one major commercial backer: Rackspace. Rackspace, through its Rackspace Cloud Builders initiative, wants you to embrace the open side of the cloud.

Bruce Hoard, the top editor at Virtualization Review, talked to Rackspace's Jim Curry about the company's support of OpenStack and where the project stands.

OpenStack was started by NASA and Rackspace and is now being adopted by an array of people and organizations that build new functions on top of the OpenStack core. OpenStack is now on its fourth major iteration, dubbed "Diablo."

Curry is understandably bullish on OpenStack. Of course, he's paid to be. Curry believes that Rackspace, as well as Amazon, has the scale to support large cloud projects today. That's where Cloud Builders comes in. This is a RackSpace group specifically aimed at helping enterprises build or buy and support OpenStack-based apps. One of the key initiatives is Storage as a Service, which has been working for about a year and a half.

Right now, most Cloud Builders customers are in beta, and the company is still working out pricing details for its services, primarily support.

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/27/2011 at 12:47 PM4 comments

Windows Server 8 Reporting for Cloud Duty

It is still probably a year or two away, but that didn't stop Microsoft from promoting Windows Server 8 at the recent Build show.

While details were not as forthcoming as they were with the Windows 8 client, Microsoft did whet our server whistle just a bit. It seems every Microsoft presentation has to be peppered liberally with the word "cloud" these days, and Windows Server 8 was no exception. The company claims the new server OS is thoroughly "cloud-optimized" and, through the support of large clusters, can support large and scalable cloud services. And to improve uptime, Microsoft is enhancing Live Migration so there is no interruption when a virtual hard drive is moved from one machine to another.

Microsoft is also looking to lower the cost of storage by turning Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD) into a unified cloudy storage pool.

Are you jonesin' for Windows Server 8? If so, what would like to see in it? Advice welcome at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/27/2011 at 12:47 PM6 comments

Outage Outrage

It seems that every other day, there is another major Web services outage. The latest victim is Microsoft, which recently saw a bunch of e-mail services go down, including Hotmail, Office365, SkyDrive and more. Most of the problems were in Europe or Asia, but they spilled over to North America, as well.

It only took hours to get most services back up, but it took a number of days for Microsoft to explain itself. It turns out a DNS error was the culprit. Most of the downed services were not enterprise-class and clearly not mission-critical.

Nonetheless, outages like this put the scare in IT. While most users were down for a few hours, I heard from one customer who claims he was down for five days. That could be out-of-business time. One IT pro, a [email protected] customer, had two outages just days apart. Still, it is nice to see that Microsoft explained what happened, just as Amazon did with its two more recent outages.

Do you trust the cloud? What steps can you take to make sure you don't suffer when it goes down? Best advice welcome at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/13/2011 at 12:47 PM9 comments

VMware: The PC Is Dead, Long Live the Cloud

Many high-profile execs have called for the death of the PC, most notably Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy. More recently, Google has been pushing Web-based devices as PC replacements. Meanwhile, the vast majority of computer users still pound away on PCs or Macs.

Now, though, VMware CEO Paul Maritz, once a Microsoft bigwig, says the days of the PC are numbered. Maritz also made a bold prediction: that in five years, less than a fifth of users will be on Windows.

VMware hopes to help fulfill that prophecy by supplying software that moves data and apps to the cloud, allowing for a range on non-Windows devices to handle the client duties. In a speech at the recent VMworld show, Maritz argued that much of the groundwork has already been laid. Virtualization drives half of today's computing infrastructure, which makes it that much easier to take the next step to the cloud.

Is Maritz blowing smoke, or is he really onto something? Your answers welcome at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/13/2011 at 12:47 PM9 comments