Oracle Taps Unlikely Rivals To Boost Its Cloud Fortunes

Two of the most flamboyant CEOs in the IT industry -- who have each demonstrated mutual disdain for the other -- seem to have buried the hatchet. Or perhaps they just decided to form a marriage of convenience.

Actually, it's probably more like the two renewed their vows. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison got together on a webcast Tuesday to say they have formed a "strategic partnership." Salesforce.com will use Oracle's suite of software, ranging from its distribution of Linux, to its Exadata appliances, the Oracle database and its Java-based middleware platform.

Oracle also said it will tie its Fusion HCM and Financial Cloud with Salesforce.com's application suite, and will implement it internally, as well.

Despite the trash talk between the two CEOs over the years, Oracle has long provided the underlying database for Salesforce.com applications, so it's hardly a major shift in strategy for Salesforce.com to go deeper with the company.

Oracle's more surprising alliance took place Monday when it hitched its wagon to Microsoft. While the two rivals have always jointly supported Oracle's wares on Windows Server, this official partnership comes in the form of an agreement to work together to support Hyper-V and Windows Azure, including offering license mobility for Oracle software and the ability to acquire it from Microsoft via Windows Azure. It also means the two companies are working together to extend support for Java.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Server and Tools Group President Satya Nadella, along with Oracle President Mark Hurd, discussed the new partnership during a conference call Monday. The companies did not disclose terms of the partnership, which takes effect immediately. Curiously, Ellison sat that one out.

Ballmer acknowledged a formal partnership and cooperation was long overdue. "It's about time and we're really glad we have a chance to work in this much newer and more constructive way with Oracle," Ballmer said, adding that the companies' chilly relationship has "evolved" in recent years.

"I think both companies have always, at least [for] many, many years, have had respect for one another and has done the work our customers wanted us to do, maybe behind the scenes, to get Windows Server and the Oracle database, application server and the applications to run," Ballmer said. "In the world of cloud computing, I think that behind-the-scenes collaboration is not enough. Frankly, the relationships between the two companies have evolved. Despite the fact we continue to compete, they have evolved in a positive and constructive manner."

Word of the pact came down last Thursday night during Oracle's earnings call, when Ellison revealed plans to cooperate with Microsoft, Salesforce.com and NetSuite in the cloud. Ellison also alluded to a new database coming from Oracle, called Oracle 12c, with "c" standing for cloud. Ellison described Oracle 12c as "the most important technology we've ever developed for this new generation of cloud security."

There was no mention of Oracle 12c on the call Monday, but what is effective immediately is support for Oracle databases, middleware and apps on Hyper-V and Windows Azure. Also effective Monday is the ability for license mobility customers to run Oracle's software on Windows Azure.

Coming in the future, Microsoft will offer a variety of its software, including its databases, WebLogic Server and Java, in the Windows Azure image gallery. The companies didn't say when the software would be available or which specific configurations, other than to describe them as popular versions.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/27/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments


Windows Azure To Gain Auto-Scaling, Single Sign-On Improvements

Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud service is slated to support dynamic auto-scaling and other key enhancements, company officials said during the second day of the Microsoft Build conference taking place in San Francisco this week.

Windows Azure took center stage during the keynote, as Microsoft's top execs touted a number of deliverables -- some available now, others in the pipeline. In addition to the new auto-scaling capability, Microsoft is planning to upgrade its recently launched Windows Azure Active Directory with new single sign-on capabilities.

The company also announced the release of several features that were in preview, including Windows Azure Mobile Services and Windows Azure Web Sites.

While Windows Azure has always enabled customers to scale up and scale down their apps, it required them to write custom scripts in order to enable that capability, said Microsoft Corporate VP for Windows Azure Scott Guthrie. The test case for the new auto-scaling capability is Microsoft's own Skype service, which until now was hosted on its own servers. By moving to Windows Azure, Skype can scale to the capacity it requires as fluctuations in usage require, according to Guthrie.

"We're going to make this a lot easier by baking in auto-scale capability directly into Windows Azure," Guthrie said during the keynote presentation. "This is going to make it trivially easy for anyone to start taking advantage of this kind of dynamic scale environment and yield the same cost basis."

The auto-scaling feature is now available in preview for those using Windows Azure Web Sites, Cloud Services and Virtual Machines. A menu of other services, including availability, monitoring and alerting, are also available. Only alerts and monitoring are in preview for Windows Azure Mobile Services.

Guthrie also provided a preview of how Microsoft will let SaaS providers and ISVs authenticate to their applications via Windows Azure Active Directory. In a demonstration he showed how they can integrate existing enterprise security credentials, having single sign-on within the application. "This makes it really, really easy for you now to build your own custom applications, host them in the cloud and enable enterprise security throughout," he said.

In addition, Guthrie previewed how Windows Azure Active Directory will also make it easier for enterprises to integrate existing SaaS-based apps and have the same type of single sign-on support with Active Directory.

The preview was just a demo. Microsoft didn't release a beta or preview for the Windows Azure Active Directory improvements. The company will disclose more details in the coming weeks, according to a company spokeswoman.

In other cloud developments at Build, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Azure Web Sites, which as the name implies is aimed at letting developers build and host Web sites. The company also released Windows Azure Mobile Services, designed to let developers build apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone that are cloud-enabled.

Related:

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/27/2013 at 12:49 PM1 comments


Stratus Planning Fault-Tolerant Software for OpenStack Clouds

Stratus, a provider of hardware and software for mission-critical, high-availability computing, will deliver a solution designed to enable fault-tolerant operations in OpenStack clouds.

The company has watched the evolution of cloud computing and has come to the conclusion that the open source OpenStack effort has the strongest support behind it, said Dave LeClair, Stratus' senior directory of strategy. "OpenStack is gaining a lot of momentum in the public and private cloud space," LeClair explained. "The OpenStack community is expanding rapidly."

Having placed its bets on OpenStack, Stratus will offer a proof-of-concept software that will enable high-availability, fault-tolerant applications to run in OpenStack clouds -- initially private ones, according to LeClair. Later in the year, Stratus will release a beta of its software. It will be essentially be an OpenStack implementation of its everRun high-availability platform, he said.

I asked if he had considered CloudStack, the open source cloud compute offering backed by Citrix. While LeClair noted Citrix is a Stratus partner, he believes CloudStack lacks the support that OpenStack has gained over the past two years. "I'm not sure they have the staying power," he said. "They don't seem to have the community around them that OpenStack has."

Stratus thinks the time is right to bring its fault-tolerant computing platform to the cloud. LeClair cited a survey by North Bridge Venture Partners that found while security is still the top inhibitor to cloud computing, a growing number are concerned about the uptime of their systems running in the cloud. "We are seeing things like availability, resilience and SLAs rise up to levels of concerns," he said.

That's true, and we'll see if Stratus can up the ante in high-availability computing in the cloud.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/27/2013 at 12:49 PM6 comments


Savvis Acquires AppFog To Offer Multi-Cloud PaaS

Savvis late last week said it has acquired AppFog, a startup focused on providing application orchestration on multiple Platform as a Service (PaaS) clouds. Terms were not disclosed.

The PaaS orchestration software from AppFog is based on VMware's Cloud Foundry platform and is designed to let organizations move applications among multiple cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft via Windows Azure.

Savvis' acquisition of AppFog comes on the heels of Dell snapping up Enstratius last month. While Enstratius and its key rival RightScale provide multi-cloud orchestration at the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) layer, AppFog does it for PaaS-based clouds. "Because it's PaaS, the ability to move an application from one cloud to another or one region to another is a whole lot easier from an infrastructure point of view," said Matt Leonard, Savvis' senior director of enterprise development services.

One of the company's first priorities, of course, is to add Savvis to the roster of cloud service providers AppFog can run on, Leonard said. While it's attractive in that it eases the movement of apps and workloads from other cloud providers to Savvis, I was wondering what incentive the company would have in making it easy to move workloads off its cloud and onto others such as Amazon's or Windows Azure?

Leonard said AppFog will make it more appealing to use the Savvis cloud to run applications and take advantage of managed security environments while having the flexibility to move between regions and cloud providers.

"If we can leverage the multi-cloud capability of AppFog and make it easier for developers to use not only IaaS but IaaS plus PaaS in different scenarios, that's good for us. It gets people using the AppFog software," Leonard said. "And then over time we may have certain features and capabilities that may only be available to customers that may be running their applications on the Savvis IaaS cloud on AppFog. It may not be a business decision. It may be a technical implementation decision. Over time, though, we may have differentiated service capabilities that offer incentives for customers to move off IaaS clouds and use Savvis on the AppFog platform because of those differentiated capabilities."

AppFog customers will no doubt watch closely to see if they can move their applications and workloads between different cloud providers.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/20/2013 at 12:49 PM2 comments


Fidelity Is Investing in OpenStack for Private Clouds

The large brokerage firm Fidelity Investments is running private clouds based on the OpenStack open source environment with an eye toward eventually bursting to public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds.

Kevin Finn, group technology VP at Fidelity, on Wednesday gave the nod to the company's OpenStack initiative at the GigaOM Structure conference during an onstage interview with Rackspace CTO John Engates. Also on the panel was Jim O'Neill, CIO of HubSpot, a marketing services startup that is using OpenStack for private clouds.

While Finn didn't provide significant detail about Fidelity's OpenStack implementation, he indicated it was still early on. Finn did say Fidelity has participated in the open source collaboration efforts of the OpenStack Foundation and has attended its summits, the most recent one being held in Portland back in April.

"The OpenStack relationship is important because we like the community behind it and the broad support," Finn said during the panel discussion, which was webcast and is available on demand. "Right now it's geared more toward the public cloud space but we think there's an opportunity to possibly collaborate with other enterprises to deliver on these capabilities that we all need, like integration to back end common core systems."

For its part, HubSpot appears further along in its OpenStack deployment -- but then again, it doesn't have the vast legacy systems that Fidelity runs for its trading operations and online brokerage services. HubSpot is running hundreds of bare-metal OpenStack commodity servers and is getting every last bit of utilization out of its hardware, O'Neill said.

"We run hundreds of nodes, thousands of cores. It's approaching two petabytes of data. It's all API-driven," O'Neill said. "That's the beauty of OpenStack. If a developer needs to add 20 more nodes, they can go to a Web console or they run a Python script, and literally in five minutes in the network it's operational and doing its job."

Fidelity's work with OpenStack is also worth noting because the company has been an early adopter of various major technologies over the years. I recall meeting with the company's IT management 15 years ago at its Boston headquarters when then-CIO Donald Haile described an effort to use Web services technology to vastly reduce its server infrastructure.

While that might not sound noteworthy today, it was a big deal back in 1998. It was also notable because despite the fact that Fidelity is one of the largest mutual fund providers and runs one of the top online trading, 401k and pension plan operations, it's also one of the largest privately held companies.

How much Fidelity ultimately invests in OpenStack, and the cloud in general, remains to be seen. Also to be determined is the return Fidelity gets on whatever it puts into its cloud efforts. After all, as investment firms always warn investors, past performance doesn't guarantee future results.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/20/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments


Red Hat OpenShift Public PaaS Is Finally Available

After more than a year in beta, Red Hat this week used the annual Red Hat Summit in Boston to announce that its OpenShift-based public Platform as a Service (PaaS) is now available.

The new OpenShift Online Service, which starts at $20 per month, is geared toward developers looking to build and host applications in a PaaS-based cloud. Red Hat emphasized the fact that the service supports multiple languages, including Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, Node.js and Perl.

The service is built on the OpenShift Origin open source project and is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the SELinux subsystem, Red Hat said, noting it's built on a multi-tenant architecture. Enterprise developers and ISV partners can tap into partner extensions or build their own add-ons via the OpenShift pluggable cartridge framework.

Since its public preview in 2011, Red Hat said developers have created more than 1 million applications.

Also, Red Hat this week announced a partnership with Mirantis, which, as I reported last week, received a $10 million round in venture funding. The two will jointly optimize Mirantis Fuel, the set of configuration and deployment libraries for OpenStack, the open source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform.

The two companies said they will optimize Fuel to offer visual deployment and management of Red Hat OpenStack, as well as offer a shared reference architecture. The two companies' professional services and consulting organizations will jointly offer customer support.

Red Hat also said Thursday that it has extended its partnership with Hadoop distributor Hortonworks. The two companies, joined by Mirantis, in April said they were working together to contribute to Project Savanna, the effort to run Apache Hadoop file stores on OpenStack.

Now Red Hat and Hortonworks' respective engineering teams will work together to reduce the cost of a Hadoop cluster by 50 percent since users will be able to run Hadoop on a POSIX-compliant storage node.

The companies will work together on the Apache Ambari project, an open source effort to manage Hadoop-based file systems such as GlusterFS. The goal is to provide a standard way to provision, deploy, monitor and manage Hadoop with different file systems.

Under the extended partnership, Red Hat and Hortonworks also said they will create generic test suites designed to validate interoperability between Hadoop and other file systems. The companies said they will contribute these test suites to the open source community.

Related:

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/13/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments


Hewlett-Packard Releases Its OpenStack Cloud OS

Hewlett-Packard this week used its annual Discover technology conference in Las Vegas to flesh out its cloud hardware, software and services portfolio.

The company released its new HP Cloud OS, an operating system designed to provide a common environment for public, private and hybrid cloud environments. Ironically, HP and Microsoft have chosen to use the "cloud OS" term to define their common approach to deploying cloud apps across public, private and public clouds.

That's where the similarities stop. Microsoft's cloud OS is based on a combination of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, while HP Cloud OS is based on the open source OpenStack platform, providing a common environment across its Converged Cloud Portfolio.

While much of the components of HP Cloud OS are already available, according to Saar Gillai, senior vice president and general manager for HP's Converged Cloud business, the OpenStack-compatible software is now available and consistent across all of HP's delivery models, including its servers and the HP public cloud, and will be available on its Cloud Service Automation Software by year's end.

"We have capabilities, where you can model once and deploy anywhere, where you can create a logical model for your resource pool and then you can choose a deployment," Gillai said. "You bind your application to this model, and you can choose your deployment later."

The company also said it will offer HP Cloud OS on the recently launched Moonshot servers, based on the low-power Intel Atom processors. Gillai said HP Cloud OS will be available on the Moonshot servers by the end of the year.

HP also added some new options for its public cloud service, including larger instances and virtual public cloud capabilities, and is implementing some if the software-defined networking technology developed from its network group.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/13/2013 at 12:49 PM1 comments


Salesforce.com Finds Its ExactTarget: CMOs

Salesforce.com this week made clear it wants to be a clear player in cloud marketing with its agreement to acquire ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. The acquisition will help extend the breadth of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, adding ExactTarget's marketing automation service called FUEL.

Marketing automation, of course, is a natural extension of customer relationship management (CRM), where Salesforce.com has its roots. Salesforce.com has made a number of acquisitions to bolster its marketing service, including social media intelligence provider Radian6, BuddyMedia and Social.com.

The push by Salesforce.com into marketing automation and the company's specific focus on enterprises comes as chief marketing officers (CMOs) are gaining more influence on IT spending. Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff in a statement cited an oft-referenced prediction by Gartner that in 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs.

"The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts Salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity," Benioff noted.

Salesforce.com also cited figures from Gartner that marketing automation was the fastest-growing part of the CRM segment. It grew 21 percent last year and Gartner forecasts marketing automation will sustain that growth rate through 2017. Salesforce.com should have little trouble integrating ExactTarget FUEL into its Marketing Cloud since it already has a strong presence in the Salesforce.com AppExchange partner marketplace, said Ovum analyst Gerry Brown in a commentary released by the consulting firm.

"Product integration is already strong and there is already a well-established joint customer base," according to Brown. In addition, ExactTarget's 2012 B2B sales lead management acquisition, Pardot, also provides seamless integrations with Salesforce.com. "ExactTarget has 6,000 customers, but its enterprise footprint is limited. SFDC will sell ExactTarget's product into their own considerable enterprise customer base. SFDC certainly adds credibility to ExactTarget's proposition for the enterprise."

Brown added that Salesforce.com will now find itself competing against the Adobe Marketing Cloud. As other large players eye the CMO to extend their CRM SaaS offerings, Brown said acquisition targets include Responsys, Silverpop, and Marketo.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/06/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments


Investors Fuel OpenStack Integrator Mirantis with $10 Million

OpenStack systems integrator Mirantis on Thursday said it has raised another $10 million in venture funding, doubling the amount raised since December. The move comes as Mirantis recently released its configuration and deployment libraries called Fuel to the open source community under the Apache 2 license. The latest round comes from Ericsson, Red Hat and SAP Ventures, along with existing investor WestSummit Capital.

Mirantis said it will use the funds to extend the capabilities of Fuel, a set of configuration and deployment libraries, which are scripts that let enterprises and service providers implement various OpenStack configuration scenarios ranging from basic dev and test to highly available infrastructure for mission-critical apps.

Fuel made its debut in March when Mirantis released an open source distribution of the libraries. When I talked with Mirantis Co-Founder and Executive VP Boris Renski back in March, he said the reason the company decided to offer Fuel as a free open source distribution was to follow the tried and true model of offering fee-based support to enterprise customers. Mirantis said it plans to release a commercial-grade distribution called Fuel Enterprise to those customers later this year.

A upgraded Fuel with an improved user interface and a single dashboard to manage OpenStack clusters is also now available, the company said. An improved interface supports automated hardware discovery and network verification. The new release of Fuel supports the new Grizzly OpenStack build, released back in April.

Mirantis has built some of the largest known enterprise deployments of OpenStack for the likes of eBay's PayPal subsidiary, Cisco's WebEx division, The Gap and NASA, which wrote and stood up the first OpenStack cloud based on its Nebula platform.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/06/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments


IBM Bags Cloud Service Provider SoftLayer

In a move that will substantially extend its public cloud network, IBM on Tuesday said it is acquiring SoftLayer, believed to be the largest privately-held Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider.

Though IBM said it is not disclosing terms of the deal, numerous reports state the deal is valued at $2 billion. SoftLayer has 13 datacenters spread across North America, Europe and Asia, which complements IBM's 10. IBM also said its SmartCloud platform runs 100 Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud networks.

The deal is the largest to date for IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who has stepped up IBM's cloud efforts since taking the reins a year-and-a-half ago. Rumors surfaced back in March that IBM was circling the wagons of Rackspace as well as SoftLayer. While Rackspace is larger than SoftLayer, some viewed the former as a more logical choice because its compute and storage infrastructure were based on OpenStack. Rackspace was also the founding corporate sponsor of OpenStack, the rapidly expanding open source cloud computing operating environment.

Just weeks earlier, IBM used its Pulse conference in Las Vegas to announce all of its cloud computing efforts would use OpenStack infrastructure. IBM went so far as to say it wanted to leapfrog Rackspace as the leading provider of code to the OpenStack Foundation.

With Rackspace's market cap of $5 billion, IBM apparently was able to get a better deal out of SoftLayer, itself a cloud pioneer. Founded in 2006, SoftLayer launched its cloud network around the same time Amazon Web Services started offering EC2. SoftLayer today says it has 21,000 customers. Though it's known to serve mostly companies that conduct business over the Internet, such as social networking, mobile and gaming companies, SoftLayer in recent years also started catering to large enterprises and has said its annual revenues are $400 million.

I met up with SoftLayer CTO Duke Skarda and we talked about the battle between proponents of OpenStack and CloudStack, the Citrix-backed open source effort that hit fever pitch around this time last year. While at the time Skarda said SoftLayer decided to use CloudStack as its operating environment for compute, CEO Lance Crosby said on a conference call Tuesday announcing the deal with IBM that SoftLayer uses OpenStack for its object storage tier and plans to support it at the compute level, as well.

On Tuesday's conference call, Ric Telford, IBM vice president of SmartCloud services, said SoftLayer will give its clients an "onramp" to the public cloud, and talked up SoftLayer's ability to let customers move their apps to dedicated cloud servers rather than multi-tenant virtual servers.

"By using these dedicated servers, software that was built for on-premise use can be more easily ported to the cloud," Telford said. "It doesn't have to go through as much heavy configuration as it does with a virtual server, which it was not developed to work with. This really is an onramp for the Fortune 500 as well as small organizations who have been waiting for an enterprise-grade cloud. It's important because clients need cloud to be a foundation of their social, mobile and big data transformations. As such, IBM sees this acquisition as a milestone and changing the cloud discussion from one of only reducing IT costs, which is where a lot of the conversation was originally around cloud, to impacting the business strategy."

Does that mean it isn't suited for lower-cost multi-tenant clouds? Not at all, SoftLayer's Crosby said.

"We have a multi-tenant public cloud, a single-tenant private cloud and a single-tenant bare metal for dedicated server. They each have their own advantages. We want our customers to buy the best technology that fits their needs," he said. "What we have found is our most sophisticated users end up utilizing all three flavors of it. It's all driven by a single pane of glass and a single API."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/04/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments


LogMeIn Jumps into Cloud Identity Management with AppGuru

Perhaps the biggest buzzword in IT these days is BYOD, which of course stands for "bring your own device." The trend has emerged as more employees find they can be more productive using their own tablets or PCs than what is provided by their organizations.

"Bring your own cloud," a term not floated as much as BYOD, is also a popular step many employees use when they want an application or infrastructure faster than IT can approve or deliver it. That's fueled the success of Software as a Service (SaaS) providers such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Workday, while also embraced by entrenched app software vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

To help IT pros manage and take control of the influx of these various cloud apps, a number of providers help centralize access to them. Among them are CA, Centrify, Intel and its McAfee division, Okta, Ping Identity, SailPoint, Simplified, Symantec and VMware. The latest to jump into the so-called Identity Management as a Service pool is LogMeIn, supplier of popular namesake online meeting and collaboration service, the scaled-down join.me and the Cubby cloud file sharing and synchronization service.

LogMeIn last week launched the preview of AppGuru. The service, which includes an Identity as a Service component, lets IT centralize management of employees using cloud services, aimed at reducing the risk of data loss and coming up against compliance violations.

Citing a recent study by Edge Strategies, LogMeIn said 70 percent of companies report active use of cloud apps introduced by employees, while only 22 percent are equipped to manage them, and 43 percent acknowledge they have no control over those apps. LogMeIn said AppGuru uses identity management to centralize control of these various services.

"Today's IT pro isn't looking to impede the use of employee-introduced technology, and they fully appreciate the benefits of the cloud," said LogMeIn CEO Michael Simon in a statement. "AppGuru is designed to help these IT professionals embrace the new app centric world, and redefine their role as business partner in a cloud-enabled workplace."

AppGuru's console provides a centralized interface to manage multiple cloud apps, while creating letting IT pros establish policies and have a simple way of onboarding and cutting off employees. It also lets them manage cloud licenses and can leverage Microsoft's Active Directory to provision users.

LogMeIn said it will offer AppGuru later this year either as a standalone service or integrated with the rest of its portfolio. Testers can request an invite to preview it at the AppGuru side. The company has not disclosed pricing.  

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/30/2013 at 12:49 PM2 comments


IaaS Field Widens with Google Compute Engine Release

Google announced its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering nearly a year ago, and at the time I asked: Will it sink or swim? Soon enough, it'll be apparent whether Google Compute Engine gives Amazon Web Services EC2, Microsoft's Windows Azure and Rackspace Cloud Servers a run for their money.

The company announced the general availability of Google Compute Engine at its annual Google I/O developer conference earlier this month. Google Compute Engine is a component of the Google Cloud Platform, which includes the Google App Engine Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL and BigQuery. Overall, Google said 300,000 unique developers use the Google Cloud platform with 3 million apps. With Google Compute Engine, now it can let customers spin up servers on demand.

"Google Compute Engine provides a fast, consistently high-performance environment for running virtual machines," wrote Urs Holzle, a Google senior vice president, in a blog post. Of course, that's what every IaaS provider says, and many analysts believe Google Compute Engine will be a major contender.

In addition to the above-mentioned providers, Google will compete for enterprise mindshare from other key providers, including AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, the Terremark division of Verizon, and VMware's forthcoming vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service, an IaaS the company made available to testers last week.

With the commercial release of Google Compute Engine, the company has added new features such as sub-hour billing for instances used in one-minute increments. A 10-minute minimum applies. Also new is shared-core instances for small workloads consisting of smaller instances, advanced routing to create gateways and VPN servers to extend on-premise systems to the Google cloud. At the other extreme, Google Compute Engine also supports large persistent disks up to 10 terabytes per volume. The company also said Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud SQL, Google Cloud Storage and Google App Engine have achieved ISO 27001-2005 international security certification.

Google also said it is bringing PHP to Google App Engine with the 1.8.0, which it released to testers. "We're bringing one of the most popular Web programming languages to App Engine so that you can run open source apps like Wordpress," Holzle noted. "It also offers deep integration with other parts of Cloud Platform including Google Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage."

Holzle added Google is also letting developers build more modular apps on App Engine by letting them partition the applications into components, enabling separate scaling, deployments, version control and performance settings.

The company also introduced the new Google Cloud Datastore, targeted at storing non-relational data. It's built on the Google App Engine High replication Datastore but is a separate service that automatically scales and offers high availability while also supporting ACID transactions and relational queries.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/30/2013 at 12:49 PM2 comments


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