KML_FLASHEMBED_PROCESS_SCRIPT_CALLS

Archive for October, 2008

 

Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by

Updated: 12:30 PM 10.27.08

azure_logo At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC), Microsoft unveiled their entrance into Cloud Computing with the launch of the Azure Services Platform. Billed as "an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers," Azure is designed to provide an "operating system" and a set of developer services that will enable a broadening of the Microsoft platform from on-premise to the Cloud.

Azure is designed to allow Microsoft developers "to quickly and easily create applications running in the cloud using their existing skills with Microsoft Visual Studio development environments and the .NET Framework." More information on the Azure Services Platform can be seen here.

Obviously with the information just being released hours ago, there is plenty of speculation around the features and functionality of this new Cloud. So I thought that I would quickly put down my thoughts as to how this plays in the current Cloud offerings as they exist. First, let’s take a look at the Cloud Pyramid:

image

Some quick notes:

  • From the naming (Cloud Service Platform), Azure is clearly positioned as a "Platform" play here.
  • This is the Ray Ozzie’s "Red Dog" project…probably why some of the presenters were wearing red shoes (?)
  • Cloud Platforms, traditionally, offer development environments, using technologies that are somewhat restrictive or proprietary
  • Azure introduces certain Services (e.g., .NET and SQL Services) as a means to Extend the functionality of the platform (e.g., Cloud Extender)
  • Most similar to the Azure Cloud would be Google’s App Engine (where Python and possibly soon other languages are required for usage)
  • With Azure, you do not get access to the root Operating System, as you would with an Infrastructure offering, which means you will be restricted to only what Microsoft enables within the Platform
  • Azure pricing is not immediately available, however: (more…) «Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This»

GoGrid Launches new PHP-enabled Windows 2008 Cloud Servers

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by

win2k8_robot_php_gogrid_sm GoGrid recently released 4 new Windows Server 2008 images unique to Cloud Computing that brings a new level of features for PHP and ASP.NET developers. In the past, there was heavy segmentation between developers who used .NET for development and those who used PHP. Traditionally, .NET developers used the Windows platform while PHP developers remained fairly closely tied to Linux distributions. Windows Server 2008 marks a new generation of platform for both types of developers in that now with 1 server platform both PHP and ASP.NET applications can be run simultaneously on the same machine under the same OS. This means that companies and corporations can realize new cost savings and IT efficiencies by now allowing development on a single Windows Server 2008 platform.

GoGrid has released 4 new 32-bit Windows Server 2008 GoGrid Cloud Servers with the following configurations (with more on the way soon):

  • Windows Server 2008 – IIS 7.0, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express, PHP5 (WISP stack)
  • Windows Server 2008 – IIS 7.0, ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express, PHP5 (WISP+.NET stack)
  • Windows Server 2008 – IIS 7.0, mySQL 5, PHP5 (WIMP stack)
  • Windows Server 2008 – Apache, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express, PHP5 (WASP stack)

The two WISP stacks were fully vetted and optimized with the help of senior engineers within Microsoft, employing best practices for not only base-lining these WISP images, but also with IIS optimization and security.

As mentioned within the recent press release, “default PHP installations run extremely well on Windows Server 2008 without any need for additional fine-tuning and Windows is a solid infrastructure solution for PHP development and deployment. The combination of PHP, ASP.NET and the .NET framework is a robust offering for any type of developer utilizing Microsoft and Open Source technologies.”

GoGrid released these new images specifically for the Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference 2008 (PDC) where GoGrid is exhibiting at booth #914. The PDC is Microsoft’s premier gathering of leading-edge developers and architects and is the event to learn about the future of the Microsoft platform, exchange ideas with fellow professionals and hear about upcoming Microsoft Server related products. Developers who utilize Microsoft technologies are encouraged to visit the GoGrid booth where they can receive a free trial of GoGrid Cloud Servers.

(more…) «GoGrid Launches new PHP-enabled Windows 2008 Cloud Servers»

Analysis of Recent Cloud Announcements (Rackspace & Amazon)

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 by

There have been a flurry of announcements in the Cloud Computing space in the past two days, most notably coming from Rackspace and Amazon. I have been trying to digest these quickly and wanted to post a recap and my analysis of this news. It’s pretty obvious to those of us within the Cloud Computing space that this is not a trend, but actually a logic progression of technology and services. The benefits of the Cloud are clear: pay for what you use, use only what you need, internet infrastructure provisioned using a web browser or API. But once again as the space becomes cluttered with new providers or features, the confusion starts bubbling up.

Rackspace Announcements

mosso_rackspace_logos So let’s take a look at what Rackspace announced on Oct 22nd. Billed as expansion of their “Cloud Hosting Portfolio”, Rackspace’s Cloud announcement provides some insight into their vision and roadmap. I listened to their “Cloud Event” which seemed to get a lot of hype, however, nothing truly jumped out at me as being earth shattering. A phrase comes to mind after all of the dust settled from the event “innovation through acquisition.” Don’t get me wrong, Rackspace’s achievements within the hosting business are definitely impressive and the company did manage to pull off one of the only IPO’s of 2008 within the Technology Sector. But this event seemed to be more of a requirement stemming from stockholders and their Board to “show something noteworthy.” They did do a great job at getting everyone’s attention though.

From the Cloud Event, I wrote down some points that they mentioned:

  • They broke down the Cloud into only 2 segments: Cloud Hosting & Cloud Applications
  • Their Cloud Hosting Division now consists of 3 products: Cloud Sites, Cloud Files & Cloud Servers
    • Cloud Sites – this is the current Mosso offering, rebranded. I view this to fall under the Cloud Platform part of my Cloud Pyramid. You are free to do what you want within it, but with some limitations (predefined application frameworks, no SSH or RDC access currently, no API access, month-to-month billing). This is a good option for people who want slightly more than what Google App Engine offers Python users for free.
    • Cloud Files – one can view this as a CDN meets an online storage solution (e.g., an Enterprise DropBox). For this solution, Rackspace acquired JungleDisk (which interestingly uses Amazon’s S3 service for their cloud storage solution – this is expected to change to CloudFS, Rackspace’s own product, at a later date). I think of this offering as falling within the Cloud Extender’s portion of the Cloud Pyramid, detailed within this presentation.
    • Cloud Servers – with the acquisition of Slicehost, an innovator within the Xen virtualization, low-cost VPS hosting arena, Rackspace adds to their product line “cloud servers.” Similar features here compared to EC2 and GoGrid with some feature omissions and I view this to be Rackspace’s Cloud Infrastructure entrance.

    (more…) «Analysis of Recent Cloud Announcements (Rackspace & Amazon)»

Cloud Computing Product Announcement Bingo Game

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 by

gogrid_cloud_product_bingo_2_thumb Whenever a Cloud provider makes a press release or schedules a press event, there is always plenty of speculation about the details being announced. I thought I would offer a different way to analyze what is being said, put it all in perspective and have a little fun in the process. I have put together a list of GoGrid Cloud Computing phrases, features and services in the form of a GoGrid Cloud Product Bingo card. As you read or listen to an announcement, listen for the keywords and try to complete a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally. For those of you who are truly ambitious, try playing Bingo Blackout and fill all of the squares on the card.

You can download the GoGrid Cloud Product Bingo card here.

All fun and games aside, we at GoGrid are firmly committed to providing the most robust and complete Cloud Infrastructure around.

Analysis of Gartner’s “Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009″

Thursday, October 16th, 2008 by

gartner_logo This week, Gartner, Inc released their list of the top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009. This information stems from research performed within the Technology sector and factors in their client and research feedback. This list, released at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo, is considered to be potentially “disruptive to your environment or market in some way,” says Gartner analyst David Cearley.

While I sometimes find some of Gartner’s commentary on trends in technology a bit conservative and missing other critical data, this 2009 list does represent current trends that I have seen and mirrors many of my own expectations. Just last week, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington declared that Web 2.0 was dead. I think that many of us have already moved well beyond Web 2.0. My view, for some time, has been that Web 3.0 (for lack of a better term) will be a combination of Integration and Standards and the coupling of the two, with other enabling technologies such as Cloud Computing providing the necessary lubrication. We saw the term “mashup” become prevalent during the past year or so, where companies sought to integrate similar services (or even disparate ones) in a new service delivered via the Web. A could of quick examples of this is evident with the numerous Twitter services that use Twitter data and either present this data in different ways or full integration into other services, or the advent of Yahoo!’s Pipes.

Key to Integration is making the connections easier through the use of public APIs. As more companies expose their API’s to developers, the wheels for integration become even more greased. This is all fine and good provided that these API are carefully documented, but more critical is that APIs must adhere to some sort of standard. Unfortunately, the “standards” requirement is a lot harder to require and maintain. At a recent Cloud Computing Interoperability meeting that I participated in, most attendees agreed that Standards are a huge priority, however, defining these standards would be a daunting task to undertake. But this interop was a clear step forward by the leaders in the industry towards defining these standards. If you step back a few years, you could view Web Services as a precursor to the API movement we see now (API’s are a subset of Web Services), and XML standards helped to propel the acceptance of Web Services and Integrations in general.

I feel that those companies who are currently working to aggregate (or integrate) various API’s into their business model are well positioned to be the ones who can help drive these standards. Case in point, GoGrid has a public API and recently signed up various Cloud Aggregators (such as RightScale, Appistry and GigaSpaces). These companies use a variety of other Cloud Infrastructure providers within their management services. The more that I thought about it, the more I realized how important these Cloud Aggregators’ roles are in driving some Cloud standards. They have views into all of their partner API’s and can easily find similarities and differences between these API’s. Any API’s that these aggregators come up with themselves are one step closer to a standards-based API that could potentially be generic enough for use by many if not all providers.

What is also interesting, is that this concept of Integration and Standards actually does apply to our current World Financial Crisis as well. We have a bank and financial institution pandemonium with mergers seemingly occurring daily. These institutions will need to integrate diverse systems in order to succeed and the government will be forced to derive some standards to govern their vested interest in these institutions. Sure, this is a fairly broad application of these terms in this comparison between Web 3.0 and Finance, but the ideas are similar.

But back to the Gartner predictions for 2009. First, we need to take off our rose colored glasses here. Any time you make a prediction, the odds are that you could be wrong in the long run. I realize that this is a bit pessimistic, but just look at our Economy right now. There were plenty of naysayers who told us that we were going down the wrong path, but we still proceeded ahead, ignoring these predictions. Technology trends are no different than Economic ones; you can make an attempt to predict based on the past however, the difference here is that technology seem to be a lit less volatile compared to the economy.

(more…) «Analysis of Gartner’s “Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009″»