This week in the cloud has been dominated by Oracle World and the legendary Larry Ellison.
Elsewhere there was discussion about what runs on Amazon with "Cloud Computing: The Truth About What Runs on Amazon"
"From our experience, Amazon and its fellow on-demand cloud providers like Rackspace are being used by large organizations quite a bit, for important applications, and certainly the use is increasing. Former Red Hat sales exec Billy Marshall was well known for commenting that "CIOs are the last to know," meaning, IT organizational decisions are actually made bottom up (i.e., by developers), and that senior management perception lags reality by a significant margin.
The cloud is having an impact in enterprises that are both large and regulated.
Hearing from "Accidental Cloud Leaders" at the Cloud Leadership Summit" RehabCare has had to overcome the challenges of making the cloud work in a highly regulated environment. Dick argues "There are a lot of myths out there-- people think you can't work with Google, can't work with Apple. They think 'you can't be HIPAA compliant in the cloud.' That's not true. You can-- you just have to have your act together. We're super-focused on security and compliance."
Elsewhere in Government in "Heads in the Cloud" Chief technology officers from more than a dozen leading software firms and the White House’s top technology gurus kicked off a two-day conference yesterday aimed at making better use of cloud computing across the federal government.
The forum was to touch on three major issues, according to Information Week. They include: a fair procurement policy, the creation of cloud-technology standards and privacy concerns.
Cloud computing trends were discussed in "10 Disruptive Cloud Computing Trends"
This is a very interesting article and reflects the experiences I have had talking to users of the cloud. Point (7) discusses the fact that collaboration is driving adoption and in point (6) it discusses don't outsource your identities. To back these points up, when you talk about the public cloud there are always questions about security, compliance and performance. The reality is enterprises want to best-of-both worlds - the benefits of the cloud while maintaining existing security and performance. End-users want to keep using the applications they know and love such as SharePoint and Exchange, while IT departments want to maintain their management processes for compliance. For this reason, very often, a quick win strategy is cloud storage optimised for a specifc application such as SharePoint. This uses internal identity management and encrypts storage in the cloud. Tiered storage maintains internal performance levels.
The451 in Cloud Outlook 2010 show Platform-as-a-Service at 13%, Infrastructure-as-a-Service at 30%, Automation at 4%, Management at 10% and Cloud Storage at 43% market share by 2013.
The cloud market is booming. In "The Bright Future for Cloud Computing is Becoming Much Clearer"
Global sales of cloud services will rise 17% this year, to $68.3 billion from $58.6 billion in 2009, according to the research firm Gartner. And sales are poised nearly to double by 2012, to $102.1 billion.
Cloud computing now represents 10 percent of external IT spend
"One-third of the spending on cloud computing is a continuation from the previous budget year, a further third is incremental spending that is new to the budget, and 14 percent is spending that was diverted from a different budget category in the previous year," said Bob Igou, research director at Gartner. Meanwhile, the survey found that 46 percent of respondents with a cloud computing budget planned to increase the use of cloud services from external providers."
The cloud has taken off.
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Customers considering use of a cloud storage gateway or cloud-integrated storage device such as StorSimple may be misled to believe that all devices are the same. Truth be told, there are a number of fundamental differences in the architecture used by these devices that may not be evident upon first glance, but manifest themselves as either undesirable behavior or unwanted complexity in configuration or ongoing management.
One such difference is whether the device performs purely "caching" or true "tiered storage". On the surface, many people think "aren't these the same thing?". While they seem to perform a similar function, they are in fact quite different technologies.
Caching is the function of retaining a copy of information in a smaller yet faster repository than its terminal storage. Caching is everywhere - from your processor to the controller of your traditional storage system - and it's not necessarily a bad thing. However, in the context of cloud storage, it may not be the appropriate architecture.
Caches operate fundamentally in one of two modes of operation: write-through, or write-back.
Write-through operation allows the cache to retain a copy of information, but forces the information to be stored persistently in its terminal storage prior to acknowledging the operation. In the case of a cloud storage gateway, this means that the data must be written to the cloud storage service provider before the IO is considered complete, and that IO suffers the penalty of limited bandwidth, packet loss, latency, and other performance-impacting factors. The benefit of write-through operation is that you are guaranteed that your data is coherent - meaning that the data stored in the cache is the same as the data stored in the cloud.
Write-back operation also allows the cache to retain a copy of information, but also allows the cache to acknowledge the operation, i.e. once the information is written to cache, the operation is acknowledged and written back to the terminal storage (the cloud) at a later point in time. With a write-back cache, the WAN isn't in the path of every host IO, meaning performance doesn't suffer nearly as much. However, you are not guaranteed coherency, meaning you may have a dirty cache, because it contains data that is not in the cloud.
Most cloud storage gateways put the complexity in your lap - which one do you use? Would you prefer to lack on performance or coherency?
A tiered storage architecture is different than caching. With a caching architecture, the cloud storage repository is considered your terminal storage. With a tiered cloud storage architecture, the cloud storage service is nothing more than another layer or tier, and the cloud-integrated storage appliance is your primary storage. Each piece of data is committed to a local tier of storage, and the system itself manages the re-layout of that data according to principles that we all know and love from information lifecycle management or hierarchical storage management. This includes transparently moving data from a faster tier to a slower tier, or vice versa. The beauty of tiering is that you don't compromise on either performance or on coherency, like you would with a caching-centric device. This is the type of architecture provided by StorSimple, and our customers are enjoying the benefits of coherent data and the performance experience of primary and nearline storage for the applications we are focusing on. This is implemented through an algorithm that we've patented called "Weighted Storage Layout" which optimizes storage for the most important data - the working set - utilizing integrated storage tiers within our appliance.
It has been a busy time for the cloud, cloud storage and the applications that generate the content for the cloud. Interesting articles on the cloud, Amazon, Windows Azure, 3PAR, Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010.
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Amazon S3 raises the bar on storage security
"Amazon has already achieved SAS70 Type II certification for its Elastic Compute Cloud and other cloud services, and is hoping to comply with the ISO 27001 information security standard before the end of the year". Amazon offers the Virtual Private Cloud service, which lets customers cordon off a piece of the cloud network for its own use, eliminating some of the risks inherent in multi-tenant services.
Amazon Kicks Up Cloud Price Competition With Micro Instances
Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) Web Services (AWS) on Thursday launched a new instance type dubbed Micro Instances which whittle down the price to run low throughput applications to pennies
3PAR Acquisition: The Future For The Storage Industry
The ongoing battle for 3Par by HP & Dell tells us much more about the state of the IT Industry than just the desires of two companies to acquire some interesting storage tech. It signals an acceptance that storage is a key feature in the future direction of the IT industry – more important than networking and almost as important as the virtualisation platform itself.
Exchange 2010 SP1 - Understanding Personal Archives
In Exchange 2010 SP1, you can provision a user's personal archive on the same mailbox database as the user's primary mailbox, another mailbox database on the same Mailbox server, or a mailbox database on another Mailbox server in the same Active Directory site. This allows you the flexibility to use tiered storage architectures and locate archive mailboxes on a different storage subsystem such as near-line storage. In cross-premises Exchange 2010 deployments, you can also provision a cloud-based archive for mailboxes located on your on-premises Mailbox servers.
Ferris Research - Key Features of Exchange 2010
The most important elements are improvements to Exchange 2010 archiving:
Archive emails for a user can be in a different mailbox than the primary mailbox. This improves performance and allows for multi-tiered storage
Overview of Remote BLOB Storage (SharePoint Foundation 2010)
RBS is a library API set that is incorporated as an add-on feature pack for Microsoft SQL Server.
Before RBS was supported in SQL Server, expensive storage such as RAID 10 was required for the whole SQL database including BLOB data. By using RBS, you can move 80 to 90 percent of the data (that is, BLOBs) onto less expensive storage such as RAID 5 or external storage solutions.
RBS uses a provider to connect to any dedicated BLOB store that uses the RBS APIs. Storage solution vendors can implement providers that work with RBS APIs. SharePoint Foundation 2010 supports a BLOB storage implementation that accesses BLOB data by using the RBS APIs through such a provider. You can implement RBS for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products by using a supported provider that you obtain from a third-party vendor.
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Howells’ Appointment Follows $13 Million Series B Funding to Accelerate Expansion Plans
StorSimple announced today that it has appointed Ian Howells as chief marketing officer. An industry veteran with 25 years of experience at leading companies such as Ingres, Documentum, SeeBeyond and Alfresco, Howells will be responsible for the StorSimple marketing strategy and operational activities globally.
“The recent bidding war for 3PAR shows how hot thin provisioning and the cloud storage market are,” said Ursheet Parikh, founder and CEO of StorSimple. “We are poised for very rapid growth and our recent Series B funding will help us execute on the massive potential we are seeing in the market today. Ian is recognized as a world-class CMO and has a proven track record with our investors. His application experience at Documentum and Alfresco will help us focus on delivering application-optimized cloud storage appliances that solve immediate customer challenges.”
Most recently, Howells was at Alfresco, where he was core part of the team that built it from a startup to the largest private open source company in the world and the clear leader in open source Enterprise Content Management. Prior to Alfresco, Howells was responsible for worldwide marketing at SeeBeyond before its acquisition by Sun. Howells was the first employee of Documentum in Europe, where he had both European marketing and global marketing roles.
“The cloud offers tremendous benefits with instant, elastic provisioning across multiple data centers and low-cost utility billing,” said Dr. Ian Howells, CMO of StorSimple. “Customers want the ability to instantly and securely integrate the cloud into their enterprise applications without being forced to migrate those applications into the cloud, or switch their users to new unfamiliar applications. StorSimple securely integrates cloud storage with the same security and at least the same performance as primary storage. It is exciting to be in such as high-growth market and be part of forming a great company that will change the way people use the cloud.”
StorSimple to Accelerate Expansion Plans in High-Growth Cloud Storage Market
StorSimple announced today that it has raised $13 million in Series B funding round led by Mayfield Fund, bringing the company’s total funding to $21 million. Participation in this round included new investor Ignition Partners and both existing investors: Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures. Funds from Series B will be used to expand sales, support and product operations while keeping focus on optimizing secure, high-performance, high-availability hybrid cloud storage for Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange 2010, File Services, and Virtual Machine environments.
“Mayfield, as the original investor in 3PAR, knows the cloud storage market is a once-in-a-decade disruption,” stated Navin Chaddha, managing director at Mayfield Fund. “Enterprises want the best-of-both worlds: the instant, elastic provisioning of the cloud that is available from anywhere with low-cost utility billing while still being able to give users familiar applications such as Exchange and SharePoint with the same security and at least the same performance. The StorSimple application-optimized cloud storage appliance securely integrates the cloud into familiar enterprise applications without forcing companies to move their applications into the cloud.”
“We understand the Microsoft ecosystem very well,” said Richard Fade, partner at Ignition Partners. “SharePoint is the fastest-growing Microsoft server product ever. Companies want to expand its usage from small collaboration databases to multi-terabyte databases that were previously the domain of multi-million dollar content management systems. StorSimple with its SharePoint Optimizer is able to do this, reducing database size by up to 95 percent and storage requirements by up to 80 percent. This dramatically improves high-scale SharePoint performance and has out-of-the-box integration with Azure. Users can also get the familiarity of Outlook/Exchange and the ‘unlimited storage’ of hosted email, as StorSimple enables PST files to move to Exchange 2010 Personal Archives that can be securely stored in the cloud.”
“The last decade created great virtualization companies based on the fact that typical CPU utilization was at 5 percent,” said Mike Volpi, partner at Index Ventures. “Today, storage utilization is often at 10 percent to 25 percent. This decade will create great companies that will combine the instant provisioning of the cloud with the security and performance of enterprise storage. We believe StorSimple will be the leaders in this hybrid cloud storage category.”
“We have been an early investor in StorSimple and saw the market potential from day one,” said Satish Dharmaraj, partner with Redpoint Ventures. “We see 20 percent to 40 percent of storage moving to the cloud, and StorSimple will drive massive enterprise revenue to leading cloud providers such as Amazon, AT&T, EMC and Microsoft, putting it at the forefront of the cloud integration into the enterprise.”
“Feedback from our customers and partners confirmed that we are in the right part of this high-growth market,” said Ursheet Parikh, founder and CEO of StorSimple. “Their feedback convinced us that we had to accelerate growth plans and establish our leadership position in hybrid cloud storage.”
StorSimple is a next-generation hybrid cloud storage appliance that securely integrates the cloud into enterprise applications without forcing users to put their enterprise applications into the cloud. Customers get the instant thin provisioning, elastic expansion, and utility billing of the public cloud with the speed and security of primary storage. The unique tiered storage and weighted storage layout combined with encryption and real-time de-duplication mean that the StorSimple solution can be used securely for primary application content and backup or archival over a WAN. More information about the StorSimple solution and its benefits in today’s environments is available at http://www.storsimple.com/wp-overview.