Nov 17

The Register – VMware refuses to support its wares running in Azure

VMware has responded to Microsoft’s plan to run its stack in Azure, by saying customers who choose that option will have to forego support.

“This offering has been developed independent of VMware, and is neither certified nor supported by VMware,” wrote Virtzilla’s senior veep for product development and cloud services Ajay Patel.” Patel added that no VMware partners have collaborated with the company to build Microsoft’s offering.

VMware’s reason for denying support was explained on the basis that standing up a VMware-based cloud service needs a lot of careful work one does not simply walk into Mordor.

“Our experience has shown public cloud environments require significant joint engineering to run enterprise workloads,” Patel wrote, later charactering VMware-on-AWS as a “a jointly architected, and fully tested and validated cloud service”

More of The Register article from Simon Sharwood

Apr 17

ZDNet – VMware shifts away from public cloud hosting with sale of vCloud Air to OVH

VMware exits the public cloudinfrastructure game as it shifts focus onto hybrid and cross-cloud software.

VMware is selling its infrastructure-as-a-service offering vCloud Air to global hyperscale cloud provider OVH.

VMware launched vCloud Air Network in 2014 with the aim of providing greater flexibility to users of VMware technology. Three years on, its public cloud business is set to be bought by French cloud computing and web hosting company OVH.

In an interview with Fortune, VMware chief executive Pat Gelsinger said the sale will include vCloud operations and sales staff, datacenters, and customers. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and the buyout is expected to be completed during the second quarter of this year.

More of the ZDNet article from Danny Palmer

Apr 17

The Register – Researchers steal data from CPU cache shared by two VMs

A group of researchers say they can extract information from an Amazon Web Services virtual machine by probing the cache of a CPU it shares with other cloudy VMs.

A paper titled Hello from the Other Side: SSH over Robust Cache Covert Channels in the Cloud (PDF) explains the challenges of extracting data from CPU cache, a very contested resource in which the OS, the hypervisor and applications all conduct frequent operations. All that activity makes a lot of noise, defying attempts to create a persistent communications channel.

Until now, as the researchers claim they’ve built “a high-throughput covert channel [that] can sustain transmission rates of more than 45 KBps on Amazon EC2”. They’ve even encrypted it: the technique establishes a TCP network within the cache and transmits data using SSH.

The results sound scarily impressive: a Black Hat Asia session detailing their work promised to peer into a host’s cache and stream video from VM to VM.

The paper explains that this stuff is not entirely new, but has hitherto also not been entirely successful because it’s been assumed that “error-correcting code can be directly applied, and the assumption that noise effectively eliminates covert channels.”

More of The Register article from Simon Sharwood

Dec 16

Data Center Knowledge – TSO Logic: Cloud Migration Offers Instant Savings

Need help doing the math to see if your in-house virtual machines would be cheaper to operate in the cloud? If so, contact me.

Nearly half (45 percent) of on-premise virtualized operating system instances could run more economically in the cloud, for a 43 percent annual savings, according to research released this week by infrastructure optimization company TSO Logic. The research makes starkly clear the cost of legacy hardware, and the savings potential of cloud migration.

More than one in four OS instances are over-provisioned, the company says, and migrating them to an appropriate sized cloud instance would reduce their cost by 36 percent.

Drawn from an algorithmic analysis of anonymized data from TSO Logic’s North American customers, the research also showed that of 10,000 physical servers, 25 percent are at least 3-years-old. The same workload as done on Generation-5 servers could now be done on 30 percent less Generation-9 servers, based only on processor gains, the company says.

More of the Data Center Knowledge post from Chris Burt

Aug 16

ZDNet – Cloud computing pricing: Beware the bill shock

Cloud pricing models vary dramatically. Elastic utilization can mean wide variability in month to month. Make sure your financial goals like flat spending or opex versus capex match up with your cloud providers pricing model.

One of the benefits of cloud computing that’s often touted by providers is cutting costs: rather than having the hassle and expense of buying servers and equipping data centers, and paying for staff to maintain them, companies can offload their workloads to the cloud, where economies of scale around the infrastructure mean that costs are much lower.

In theory, cloud users simply pay for the resources they use, as and when they need them, without the burden of paying for hardware, or data center space. That means pricing should be straightforward, right?

Not quite: there isn’t just a single model of cloud pricing.

On-demand allows you to purchase services as and when you need them, while reserved instances work like many other types of bill, where the user forecasts what they’re probably going to need over a particular period — usually in quarterly or annual instances. The user then pays upfront, although their cloud provider may give discounts for buying services in bulk. Spot pricing is where cloud companies sell off unused processing power at a discount: companies can then bid for a certain amount of computing power at a certain price.

More of the ZDNet article from Danny Palmer

Jul 16

ZDNet – Cloud computing pushes enterprise vendors closer to their customers

Cloud computing may help make running enterprises a little bit easier (allegedly), but it has not made running an enterprise software business any easier. If anything, things have gotten more difficult for vendors lately.

The most challenging piece of the rapidly accelerating migration to cloud for enterprise software providers is delivering a superior customer experience.

That’s the gist of a recent analysis produced by Bain and Company, which points out that in the era of cloud connectivity, the era of shoddy releases and so-so customer service is coming to an end. “For many years, enterprise technology companies got along fine with pretty low customer experience ratings–just about the lowest, in fact, of the industries we measured,” the report’s authors, Chris Brahm, James Dixon and Rob Markey, state. But it never seemed to matter, they continue: “Once software or hardware was installed and running, companies were reluctant to go through the expense and hassle of changing vendors, even if the technology wasn’t delivering a superior experience.”

More of the ZDNet article from Joe McKendrick

Mar 16

SearchCloudComputing – Verizon Cloud joins casualty list amid public IaaS exodus

Why do YOU think the big guys are shutting down their cloud operations?

Verizon is the latest large-scale IT vendor to quietly shutter its public cloud after its splashy entry to the market several years ago.

Customers this week received a letter informing them that Verizon’s public cloud, reserved performance and marketplace services will be closed on April 12. Any virtual machines running on the public Verizon Cloud will be shut down and no content on those servers will be retained.

The move isn’t particularly surprising. Despite once-lofty ambitions, Verizon acknowledges its public cloud offering is not a big part of its cloud portfolio and, a year ago, the firm began to emphasize its private cloud services even before its public cloud became generally available. Other large vendors such as Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise similarly have been shutting down their public clouds.

More of the SearchCloudComputing article from Trevor Jones

Mar 16

Baseline – Hybrid Clouds: The Long Road Ahead

The challenge facing IT leaders is that there are so many forms of hybrid clouds that they don’t realize how extended a journey their organization may be on.

When it comes to enterprise IT these days, just about everything involves some form of hybrid cloud computing. The challenge is that there are so many forms of hybrid clouds that many IT leaders don’t realize just how extended a journey their organization may be on.

The typical IT organization usually embraces cloud computing first with a few software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. In that regard, the hybrid cloud scenario that emerges is relatively simple: IT leaders need to find ways to share data between existing on-premise applications and SaaS applications that are most often servicing the needs of a specific department or line of business.

IT leaders also find themselves trying to manage infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environments. IT usually starts out with a few developers taking advantage of platforms such as Amazon Web Services to build and test applications.

More of the Baseline article from Mike Vizard

Mar 16

CloudExpo – Hybrid Cloud Versus Hybrid IT: What’s the Hype?

Once again, the boardroom is in a bitter battle over what edict its members will now levy on their hapless IT organization. On one hand, hybrid cloud is all the rage. Adopting this option promises all the cost savings of public cloud with the security and comfort of private cloud. This environment would not only check the box for meeting the cloud computing mandate, but also position the organization as innovative and industry-leading. Why wouldn’t a forward-leaning management team go all in with cloud?

On the other hand, hybrid IT appears to be the sensible choice for leveraging traditional data center investments. Data center investment business models always promise significant ROI within a fairly short time frame; if not, they wouldn’t have been approved. Shutting down such an expensive initiative early would be an untenable decision. Is this a better option than the hybrid cloud?

Hybrid Cloud Versus Hybrid IT
The difference between hybrid cloud and hybrid IT is more than just semantics. The hybrid cloud model is embraced by those entities and startups that don’t need to worry about past capital investments. These newer companies have more flexibility in exploring newer operational options.

More of the CloudExpo blog post from Kevin Jackson

Feb 16

Baseline – What Worries IT Organizations the Most?

IT employees and leaders have a lot to worry about these days, according to a recent survey from NetEnrich. For starters, they’re spending too much money on technology that either doesn’t get used or fails to deliver on its promises, findings show. They devote too many hours to “keeping the lights on” rather than innovating. And the increase of tech acquisition decisions being made outside of the IT department (shadow IT) elevates existing risks about cyber-security and business app performance. Meanwhile, tech departments are still struggling with a lack of available talent to support agility and business advances. “Corporate IT departments are in a real bind,” said Raju Chekuri, CEO at NetEnrich.

More of the Baseline slideshow from Dennis McCafferty