OpenStack Foundation Launches Training Marketplace

While a growing number of organizations are building or considering clouds based on the open source OpenStack platform, many shops are having a hard time finding developers and IT pros with adequate skills to build, configure and manage them. The shortage is due to the fact that there are few places for IT professionals to pick up these skills.

The OpenStack Foundation this week moved to alleviate that by making more training available. The foundation on Monday launched its Training Marketplace, aimed at letting those who provide OpenStack training make their courses available to admins and developers. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/19/2013 at 1:07 PM2 comments

Amazon Lets Customers Modify Reserved Instances

When Amazon Web Services (AWS) made EC2 available at reduced rates back in 2009 for those who sign long-term commitments, it helped kick start the lowering of cloud pricing. The idea behind its Reserved Instances was customers could lock in usage of capacity in one- and three-year terms.

Now Amazon is letting customers modify their Reserved Instances -- at least somewhat. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/12/2013 at 2:57 PM0 comments

Workday Extends SaaS Portfolio with Big Data Analytics Module

Workday, one of the fastest-growing Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, this week launched a big data analytics module to add to its portfolio of human resources and financial applications.

Delivered at the company's seventh annual Workday Rising conference in San Francisco, the new Workday Big Data Analytics is a key component of the company's latest update to its SaaS offerings called Workday 20. Workday Big Data Analytics gathers data from its portfolio as well as other data sources to help individuals develop specialized reports and benchmarks. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/12/2013 at 2:48 PM0 comments

VMware Veterans Aim To Reinvent Systems Management with Startup

A startup led by some key VMware veterans and backed by the virtualization vendor's founder, Diane Greene, officially opened for business this week with the release of its cloud-based datacenter operations management service.

CloudPhysics, which describes itself as the Google of IT operations management, launched its namesake service aimed at simplifying the administration of virtual machines by using a vast real-time analytics engine that aggregates and analyzes billions of data points.  More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/16/2013 at 2:12 PM0 comments

Cloud Panel Calls for Transparency While Warning Against Over-Reaction

Well before Edward Snowden leaked classified information that disclosed, among other things, the PRISM surveillance operation led by the U.S. government's National Security Agency (NSA), the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) had established mechanisms for service providers to disclose their data-protection practices.

A key initiative was the Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR) Registry, launched by the CSA two years ago, which is where cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft have provided audited security controls. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/15/2013 at 10:49 AM0 comments

OpenStack Success Disputed as Backers Challenge Technical Direction

Last week marked the third anniversary of the OpenStack project, an effort led by Rackspace and NASA to create an open source cloud operating environment. OpenStack quickly gained momentum and has evolved as a huge force in cloud computing, with 235 member companies that include AT&T, IBM, Red Hat, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Rightscale, Internap and Mirantis.

Attendance at the semi-annual OpenStack Summit continues to increase exponentially, and the OpenStack Foundation claims enterprise adoption is growing, citing examples such as PayPal, Cisco WebEx, Best Buy, Bloomberg, the Gap and HubSpot, as well as the recently reported deployment by Fidelity Investments. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/25/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments

IBM Teams with Pivotal To Back Cloud Foundry for Open PaaS

In a major boost for the VMware-launched Cloud Foundry initiative, IBM this week said it is backing the open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) project. IBM said it will collaborate with Pivotal, the company spun out of VMware, the sponsor of Cloud Foundry.

IBM's decision to join the Cloud Foundry bandwagon gives a major boost to the open source project, and the two said they will work toward establishing a governance model aimed at making Cloud Foundry independent. IBM said Cloud Foundry will provide an open cloud platform for building agile applications that are independent of application development, cloud programming and infrastructures models. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/25/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments

Rackspace CTO Blasts Amazon's Dedicated Instance Price Cuts

While Amazon Web Services (AWS) routinely reduces the pricing of its cloud services portfolio, last week's 80 percent slashing of its EC2 Dedicated Instances raised the ire of Rackspace CTO John Engates, who all but said, "You get what you pay for."

Amazon reduced the hourly price of EC2 Dedicated Instances from $10 to $2 per region. In a blog post Tuesday, Engates said not to underestimate the fact that the reductions apply to each region. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/18/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments

Cloud Bottlenecks: What's Worse, Lost Revenue or Poor User Experience?

Cloud bottlenecks can have numerous consequences but the most concerning one is their impact on user experience, according to a global survey of 468 IT decision makers published this week.

Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of those surveyed said the impact on the end user experience was the top management concern, compared with 44 percent, who were worried about the effect poor performance can have on revenue. Fifty-one percent pointed to brand reputation as the biggest concern. The study was conducted by Research in Action and commissioned by application performance management vendor Compuware. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/18/2013 at 12:49 PM1 comments

Amazon Cuts Pricing on EC2 Dedicated Instances

In its latest round of price cuts, Amazon Web Services this week has reduced the cost of its EC2 Dedicated Instances by up to 80 percent.

Amazon introduced EC2 Dedicated Instances over two years ago. As the name implies, they run on hardware dedicated to a specific customer. The service is designed to let organizations create their own virtual private clouds. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/11/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments

IBM Goes with Flow as It Closes SoftLayer Deal

IBM earlier this week said it has closed its acquisition of cloud provider SoftLayer. While IBM hasn't officially disclosed terms, numerous reports have pegged the deal at around $2 billion.

When Big Blue announced the agreement to acquire SoftLayer last month, the company said it would combine the large public cloud provider with its IBM SmartCloud global network, all of which would become part of the company's new cloud services division. IBM has tapped James Comfort to lead the new unit. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/11/2013 at 12:49 PM0 comments

Live Migrations Get Livelier in Hyper-V Update

One of the highlights of latest version of Hyper-V, which arrived with the release of Windows Server 2012 late last year, is its virtual machine live migration capability. Microsoft claims that Hyper-V 3.0 offers faster migrations at speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second, while allowing IT pros to conduct simultaneous live migrations. IT pros can also now perform live migrations outside a clustered environment.

So how is Microsoft upping the ante on live migration in Windows Server 2012 R2? Following up on a demo at TechEd last month, Microsoft Principal Program Manager Jeff Woolsey showed attendees at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston Monday just how much faster IT pros can perform live migrations with the new release. In the demo, Woolsey showed an 8 GB virtual machine running SQL Server, which he described as a worst-case scenario for live migration.

In the demo scenario, migrating Windows Server 2012 to a like system takes just under 1 minute 26 seconds, while the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview performed the same migration in just over 32 seconds. Then using remote direct memory access (RDMA) during the live migration process combined with SMB Direct, it took just under 11 seconds, without utilizing added CPU resources.

"With compression we're taking advantage of the fact that we know the servers ship with an abundance of compute resources, and we're taking advantage of the fact that we know that most Hyper-V servers are never compute bound," Woolsey said during the WPC demo. "So we're using a little bit of that compute resource to actually compress the virtual machine inline during the live migration. This allows us to compress it and it's actually done a lot faster and much more efficiently. All of this is built into Windows Server 2012 R2."

For those testing Windows Server 2012 R2, are you impressed with the improvements to Live Migration in Hyper-V as well as other new capabilities Microsoft is bringing to its hypervisor? Feel free to comment here or write me at [email protected]

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/10/2013 at 12:49 PM1 comments