VMWare this week announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Zimbra from Yahoo. Zimbra specializes in email and collaboration software.
"Over the coming years, we expect more organizations, especially small and medium size businesses, to increasingly buy core IT solutions that deliver cloud-like simplicity in end-user and operational experience," said Brian Byun, VP and GM, Cloud Services, VMWare. "Zimbra is a great example of the type of scalable 'cloud era' solutions that can span smaller, on-premise implementations to the cloud."
In short, VMWare's interest in Zimbra stems from wanting help in selling cloud-computing services to businesses. At the same time, VMWare stated it plans to support existing Zimbra products and open-source projects.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although it's believed VMWare paid far less than the $350 million Yahoo spent acquiring the company in September 2007.
Vint Cerf, former program manager for the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), co-designer of the Internet's TCP/IP protocols, and who many consider the father of the Internet, is now engrossed in cloud computing and wants to see data portability standards put into place.
"At some point, it makes sense for somebody to say, 'I want to move my data from cloud A to cloud B,' but the different clouds do not know each other," Cerf said during a session of the Churchill Club business and technology organization in Menlo Park, California. "We don't have any inter-cloud standards."
Cerf also talked about cloud security, noting that strong authentication will be a critical element in the securing of clouds. And in a nod towards Google, Ceft endorsed the idea of opening access to "white spaces" as a way to expand broadcast access, Networkworld.com reports.
Like most of the tech industry, Microsoft had its fair share of struggles in 2009. So what does the world's largest software vendor have to do kick off the decade on a positive note?
According to eWeek.com, the "disaster-free launches" of both Windows 7 and Bing could ultimately lead to greater fortunes in 2010. With regards to the recently launched OS, Microsoft (and its OEMs) are banking on companies with Windows-based IT infrastructures to use Windows 7 as an excuse to upgrade their systems, as well as upgrade to the next generation of Microsoft products.
"It looks like the Win7 inspired upgrade cycle can start in late 2010 and run through early 2013," Katherine Egbert, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in a report. "We expect new hardware purchases to precede the software upgrades by about 6 months."
Microsoft has also been positioning itself for the enterprise cloud market in 2010. The Redmond company's Azure cloud platform is now underway, and that could prove key in what research firm Gartner says is a potential $150 billion market opportunity.
Gizmo5 allows users to make VoIP calls over a data connection much like Skype. It seems clear that Google plans to beef up Google Voice with the technology from Gizmo5. “Gizmo5 gives us talent and talent technology. They have specific tech and skills in further integrating telephony with devices and desktop and Web-based computing,” said Horowitz. Skype already provides VoIP to 500 million users, but if any company can scale up to that level, it’s Google.
Google is already laying the groundwork for its cloud computing endeavors as well. They need users to feel secure storing data in Google’s cloud, and the creation of the Data Liberation Front goes a long way in gaining that trust. Similarly, the Google Dashboard increases data transparency at Google. According to Horowitz, Google is also aware people won’t use cloud services if that aren’t fast. So look forward to “blazing fast” cloud platforms with highly portable data in 2010… we can only hope.
Cloud computing has grown from an intriguing concept into serious business in 2009, and in 2010, it's going to be all out warfare, with IBM leading the offensive. According to an IBM exec, Big Blue will accelerate its cloud computing efforts in the coming year and invest in the cloud at a rate that is commensurate to a $120 billion cloud computing market, eWeek.com reports.
The cloud isn't new territory for IBM, who in 2009 rolled out several cloud-based initiatives covering servers and storage. But the real battle may be in collaboration, an area where Google is hot to trot with its Google Apps. IBM's counter is its LotusLive Connections, a SAAS (software as a service) version of its social networking suite.
"IBM is in earlier in the cloud than it has moved into the market in the last 10 years," said Sean Poulley, vice president of online collaboration for Lotus Software. "The reason is that we have a unique set of assets that no one else that is comparable to IBM has in that we have world-class delivery skills in our global services organization, we have world-class infrastructure software, and we have world-class experience of running other peoples' systems in a 24-by-7, 99.999 percent availability, way."
While Poulley didn't get into specifics, he did say you can expect IBM to use the cloud to create simple business processes across company firewalls, and that more information would be forthcoming next month during Lotusphere 2010.
For the next three years, Microsoft and NetApp will collaborate to deliver technology solutions in virtualization, private cloud computing, and storage and data management, the two companies jointly announced on Tuesday.
"Microsoft is committed to driving highly scalable dynamic datacenter solutions with innovative partners like NetApp," said Bob Kelly, corporate vice president of infrastructure server marketing, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. "Through the deeper integration of server, virtualization, management and storage technologies, Microsoft and NetApp customers can expect datacenter solutions that help them reduce costs, increase performance, and reach new levels of efficiency."
The companies said that as part of the alliance, they will work together to expand product collaboration and technical integration activities in areas such as virtualized infrastructure solutions based on Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, Microsoft System Center, and NetApp storage systems; Sotrage and data management solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, and Microsoft SQL Server; and cloud computing and hosted services that provide integrated data protection.
During the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, Extreme Networks unveiled a blueprint for migrating datacenters from the physical world to virtualization, and eventually to cloud computing. What's interesting about Extreme Network's evolution strategy is that it tries to eliminate virtual switching at the server level, which is the exact opposite approach of Cisco.
According to Gordon Stitt, Extreme chairman and co-founder, the blueprint is intended to assist in evolving datacenters to cloud computing "without forcing certain technologies or operating methodologies," which can be taken as a knock against Cisco's Data Center 3.0 strategy, Froce10 Networks' Virtualization Framework, parts of Juniper's Stratus project, and architectures pitched by Brocade, HP, and other datacenter switching competitors, Infoworld.com reports.
Piqued your interested? Download the 24-page blueprint in PDF form here.
The paper, which is titled "Government ICT Strategy: New world, new challenges, new opportunities," notes that many new technologies are poised to become mainstream by 2015, but that the above three stand out from them all. It says that Web 2.0 will provide the foundation to improve public sector interaction between citizens and businesses, while cloud computing will lead to different business models for the use and reuse of applications. Service oriented architecture, it says, will enable the delivery of the G Cloud and ultimately lead to an online store of government apps.
Other technologies discussed in the leaked document include the potential of semantic advancements, which separate data and content files from application code and meanings, location aware services, human-computer interaction which removes the need for a keyboard, and technologies to improve energy efficiency.
While the Cabinet Office doesn't comment on leaked documents, a spokesman did say that the paper is aimed at steering the government's approach to IT over the next five years, and that a it hopes to publish a final draft in time for Christmas.
A rising number of data flubs has caused some to question whether the benefits of cloud computing truly outweigh the risks, but is that really a fair assessment? The eggheads at Kroll Ontrack don't think so, who point out that the recent spike in data losses with corporate enterprises is simply the result of human error.
"While advanced storage options such as virtualization and cloud computing offer corporations storage optimization, human processes are still at the root of these solutions, instructing the technology as to how to perform," said Phil Bridge, managing director at Kroll Ontrack UK. "The complextity of these systems often requires a steep learning curve. With reported IT spending at a low, human error is increasingly common."
According to Kroll Ontrack, some of the biggest mistakes attributed to the human element include pulling the wrong drive while trying to pull a failed disk in a RAID array, accidentally deleting a business-critical database and restoring it with a corrupt or incomplete backup, attempting to force failed drives back online when rebuilding a bad array, accidentally deleting files, volumes, virtual machines, or a SAN LUN with no backup in place, and reformatting the wrong SAN LUN during a server migration.
We have to hand it to keepgoing.biz, because if you're going to get your point across, you might as well go all out in a high powered YouTube video that ends in a bang (literally). The victim, in this case, is a server.
To demonstrate the benefit of disk-to-disk backups with multiple offsite backups at data centers in separate states, keepgoing.biz posted a video of company president Jon Klaus and others firing rounds at a computer server with shotguns and an assortment of other weapons. The video culminates with the server being blown to bits.
So what's the point?
"Businesses rely on their servers and data being protected and safe," a voice over narrates. "When a server fails, data is often lost, putting your business at risk. Keepgoing.biz backs up your data continuously and restores it completely in minutes, no matter what happens."
Because, you know, a good IT is always prepared for a Colt M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun firing rounds in slow motion at an exposed server that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
All joking aside, keepgoing.biz's 2 minute video is worth every second. Check it out here.