Author Archives: Glenn Blake

New Release from Ubuntu, Google Cloud Expands In Asia Pacific

New Release from Ubuntu, Google Cloud Expands In Asia Pacific

New Release from Ubuntu, Google Cloud Expands in Asia Pacific

image-cloud-ubuntu

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS To Be Released April 17th

On April 15th, Canonical, the United Kingdom-based company behind open source Linux operating system Ubuntu, announced that cloud platform Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will be released on Thursday, April 17th. Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth had this to say about his company’s new launch:

Ubuntu is the primary platform for cloud – public, private or hybrid. In this release, our third LTS with deep roots in cloud, we raise the bar for efficiency and orchestration at scale. That’s why companies are adopting Ubuntu as they move to the cloud computing era.”

It’s true: there are many big-name companies that elicit Ubuntu’s cloud services. AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Netflix, and Verizon are all building cloud infrastructure using Ubuntu. This new release should expand Ubuntu’s reach in the business community even further.

Google Cloud Platform Expands Support in Asia Pacific

Last month, Microsoft released Azure in China. Not to be outdone by their competitors in the Pacific Northwest, Google announced on Monday, April 14th, that they will activate two new Compute Engine zones in Asia-Pacific. This will allow people in these regions to begin using Google Cloud Platform. Cloud Storage and Cloud SQL were made available as well.

These new data centers will use the same Andromeda network virtualization stack that is used in the United States and Europe zones. Unlike the data centers in Europe, the Asia-Pacific data centers will give users the ability to use apps even while routine maintenance is being performed. The Asia-Pacific data centers will be run on Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors; the United States and Europe use older Sandy Bridge processors.

The Google Cloud Platform website is making an effort to welcome new users from Asia Pacific. The website and the developer console are now available in Japanese and Traditional Chinese. The Google Cloud Platform Global Roadshow will be making stops in Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, and Hong Kong to teach developers about the capabilities of Google Cloud Platform.

roadshow-google

Google and Microsoft are not the only cloud computing giants to have reared their heads in the Orient: Amazon has been active in the region as well. Over the last century, China has made a surprising rise from developing nation to global superpower. It should be no surprise that cloud computing companies are rushing to offer their services to this industrious region.

Bt Glenn Blake

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Continues Stellar Start With Windows Azure

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Continues Stellar Start With Windows Azure

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Continues Stellar Start With Windows Azure

Nadella

At last week’s BUILD developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced major changes to their cloud computing platform, Windows Azure. These changes included added support for foreign languages and third-party tools, and the introduction of the Azure Preview Portal, which allows developers to build and manage instances while they are running. These improvements will go a long way to helping Microsoft compete with other cloud computing giants like Google and Amazon.

When Satya Nadella was appointed CEO of Microsoft in February 2014, the company was stagnant in terms of product innovation. The man Nadella replaced, Steve Ballmer, does deserve credit for raking in enormous profits for the company. But under Ballmer’s tenure Microsoft lagged behind the technology developments of its competitors, especially in the realm of cloud computing.

Nadella is steering the company into a new direction. In an interview released just hours after he was named CEO, Nadella stated that his primary objective was to make Microsoft a “mobile first, cloud first” company. Then is not surprising when you look at Nadella’s experience and see he was previously the Head of the Cloud and Enterprise department at Microsoft.

In his few weeks as acting CEO, Nadella has taken many big steps towards his “cloud first” objective. He resurrected Microsoft Office for iPad, a program that was killed two years ago by Ballmer. Microsoft has also released OneNote on the Mac. His willingness to work with the competition for mutual benefit reflects Nadella’s pragmatic side, while the products being offered here over Apple systems highlight his devotion to the proliferation of cloud-based apps.

Before we get too carried away, it is important to remember that Nadella hasn’t even been CEO for 100 days yet. There is still plenty of time for him to make mistakes. But if the past few weeks are a true indicator of the decisions Nadella will make in the future, Microsoft is well on its way to being a top innovator and competitor in the cloud computing market.

By Glenn Blake

(Image Source: Bloomberg)

Cloud News: VMware Launches Public Desktop-as-a-Service

Cloud News: VMware Launches Public Desktop-as-a-Service

Launches Public Desktop-as-a-Service 

200px-Vmware

VMware has launched a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), VMware Horizon, hosted on VMware’s public cloud server. For rates as low at $35 a month, businesses can use this DaaS to load and operate Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 on desktop and laptop computers or mobile devices.

Businesses can manage and monitors all of their employees running an operating system through VMware Horizon. IT departments can create their own virtual desktops with gold pattern images provided by VMware. They can also ensure secure connectivity by integrating virtual desktops into their Active Directory environment.

Amazon Web Services also has plans to launch a DaaS with prices at $35 a month, but so far it is only available as a limited preview.

Computenext Raises $4 Million of Venture Capital in 2014

Computenext is the latest of many cloud related companies to recently attract attention from venture capitalists and secure funds of seven or more figures, raising $4 million so far in 2014. Investors are wise to put their money in cloud services startups; it is becoming more and more clear that cloud computing is the new standard for work communications and data storage.

Sundar Kannan, founder and CEO of Computenext, describes the services his business provides this way: “It’s what we call an end-to-end marketplace. You can access our site with a single sign-on, buy resources from any provider, procure it, provision it, pay for it and bill it as well.” It is a marketplace: businesses selling cloud server space connect with businesses searching for a cloud hosting provider. Computenext collects its revenue by taking a low percentage cut out of every transaction.

The $4 million raised so far in 2014 is part of a recent round of fundraising with the goal of reaching $10 million. Computenext received an addition $4 million last year from investors. With this money, Kannan plans to double his staff and further expand and reinforce infrastructure.

By Glenn Blake

Where DigitalOcean Meets The Cloud

Where DigitalOcean Meets The Cloud

Venture Capital Firm Andreessen Horowitz Secures $37 Million for DigitalOcean   

digital-ocean

DigitalOcean is a fast-growing startup that provides cloud hosting services to small developers at a cheaper rate than major cloud computing providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure.  In August 2013, DigitalOcean raised $3.2 million. Already that $3.2 million investment has run dry and more employees and data centers are needed to keep up with growth. They contracted the services of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz for another round of financing, this time bringing in $37 million.

DigitalOcean was founded in June 2011; they created their millionth cloud server in January 2014. The company found success attracting smaller, independent developers to rent out their digital servers at rates as low as $0.007 an hour.

Before we came along, there was really no one else that occupied that space and was focused on the experience that a user would get,” DigitalOcean co-founder and CEO Ben Uretsky said in a recent interview with Forbes, remarking on how targeting lower-end users allowed the company to compete with Amazon and Microsoft and eventually turn a profit.

Although they focus on lesser known customers, DigitalOcean works with some big names as well. They run Beyoncé’s website and they have completed projects for Nike.

Andreessen Horowitz does not often work with companies outside the Valley, but they made an exception for the New York City-based DigitalOcean. Looking at the rate of growth the company has shown recently, it’s easy to see why Andreessen Horowitz was willing to make this exception. At the start of 2013 DigitalOcean has only 2,000 customers, now they have more than 150,000. DigitalOcean became profitable in the latter half of 2013.

DigitalOcean is not the only cloud computing startup to receive funding from venture capitalists. Dropbox, a cloud storage service, has raised more than $350 million in venture capital. Another company, Notion Capital, is a venture capital firm that focuses on internet services. Notion Capital solicited funds to expand BCSocial, a company that uses to cloud to help businesses collaborate, and Star, a UK-based cloud hosting provider with over 5,000 customers and $60 million in annual revenue.

Money doesn’t lie. Cloud computing has many useful features, such as being able to instantly increase bandwidth to meet business needs, simple and painless disaster recovery, and the ability to work and collaborate from anywhere with internet access. These features will continue to attract customers and draw investment. This is not just another passing tech fad; cloud computing is here to stay.

By Glenn Blake

Smartphones, Tablets Spurring Cloud Innovations

Smartphones, Tablets Spurring Cloud Innovations

Smartphones, Tablets Spurring Cloud Innovations

Experts predict that the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices will continue to drive innovations in cloud computing, paving the path for new applications geared toward the retail consumer.

mobile-cloud

Mobile devices offer people the chance to use readily available tools for a wide variety of data and communications purposes. While most Americans have become accustomed to using cell phones over the last 15 to 20 years, the expanded capabilities of hand-held devices increase the functionality of these gadgets exponentially. With suitable applications and providers, cloud computing options available for mobile devices will garner considerable appeal from users who have traditionally avoided high technology.

A growing number of cloud providers and developers will shift their focus to consumer markets as more people in the United States purchase tablets, smartphones, and other handhelds. Websites and web pages load and appear differently on smartphones and tablets than they do on laptop or desktop monitors; nonetheless, the fact that these devices are almost constantly within reach of their owners and have incredibly fast download speeds makes them as agile as most desktop or laptop devices.

Moreover, manufacturers of handheld devices will likely persist in improving the functionality of these tools, increasing their capabilities for an expanded variety of purposes. Many experts believe that cloud providers will rise to the occasion when it comes to the consumer market, allowing users to perform more complicated functions more easily. Shifting applications to the cloud significantly increases the processing capacity of any device even in during high traffic situations.

Both Apple and Google recently pushed an increased number of storage and computation functions to cloud platforms. Google’s transfer of such services as document editing to cloud-based Quickoffice as well as Apple’s development of iCloud for data sync purposes reduce the storage requirements for handhelds while at the same time increasing their utility.

By Glenn Blake

(Image Source: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com )

Maryland Lawmakers Considering Limitations On School Cloud Providers

Maryland Lawmakers Considering Limitations On School Cloud Providers

Maryland Lawmakers Considering Limitations on School Cloud Providers

The House Ways and Means Committee of the Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to hear today a measure that would prevent cloud providers from using student data for most commercial purposes.

The measure, which is similar to recently approved legislation in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Arizona would prohibit cloud providers from using student information from school records, digital documentation, emails, and files for marketing and other commercial functions. Moreover, the bill would ban cloud providers from selling or forwarding any student data to third parties. Supporters of the measure maintain that the bill protects the privacy of students who attend school in Maryland.

education

According to supporters of the bill, many Maryland schools accepted free or very low-cost services from cloud providers without restricting the way these vendors use the information made available to them from student records. They claim that some of these providers mine the data to determine such information as student age, race, and religion. In addition, supporters of the measure worry that cloud providers gain access to sensitive information such as test scores, health, attendance, family background, disciplinary problems, and grades.

State legislatures in other states are also investigating the possibility of enacting laws that would prevent cloud providers and other technology vendors from using student information for commercial purposes. In many cases, lawmakers are considering bills based on a model proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The template encompasses the establishment of an education chief privacy officer who would be charged with creating and overseeing an inventory of all student information available to cloud providers as well as enforcing state and federal security and privacy rules.

The Oklahoma Legislature recently enacted a law that precludes the use of student information for any commercial, non-educational purposes. The measure requires transparency from cloud vendors about where data is stored and who has access to it. Similar measures are being considered by lawmakers in New York, and Massachusetts.

By Glenn Blake

Investment In Chinese Cloud Continues To Grow

Investment In Chinese Cloud Continues To Grow

Investment In Chinese Cloud Continues To Grow

chinese-cloud

With the Chinese government focused on enhancing the country’s capabilities in cloud computing, United States-based organizations including Intel have opted to invest in several promising cloud providers.

Intel’s venture capital arm this week announced plans to invest funds in Wuxi China Cloud Technology Service, a cloud infrastructure provider; Tianjin Zhongke BlueWhale Information Technology, a network storage provider; and Shanghai Yeapoo Information Technology, which provides such business tools as mobile-adapted website construction, online marketing tools, and customer data analysis solutions. The decision to devote resources to these organizations comes in the wake of increased demand for cloud services in China, where the chip maker’s server business continues to grow at double digit rates. Moreover, Chinese officials have stated their intent to move as much corporate and government data and functions as possible to the cloud in coming years. To optimize this progress, Intel also anticipates dedicating investment capital in Chinese companies that manufacture components for wearable devices.

BusinessWire recently reported that Chinese officials hope the cloud will allow them to garner significant advantages in the delivery of such services as education and health care. The government set aside $1 billion for cloud development, anticipating that the accessibility and scalability of cloud-based solutions will enable its employees to deliver improved services to a larger number of people. In addition, China designated Wuxi, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing as cloud computing cities, offering funding and infrastructure that will allow municipal governments to migrate many of their city services to the cloud.

The Chinese technology market offers investors numerous opportunities to realize strong financial returns. The nation’s large population, huge markets, and vast manufacturing operations benefit from utilization of cloud capabilities. Moreover, the cloud affords Chinese business and government agencies flexibility while limiting redundancy of effort and storage capacity. According to Gartner, the cloud industry in China will reach $163 billion over the next year.

By Glenn Blake

(Image Source: claudio zaccherini / Shutterstock.com)

Steps For Migrating Data, Applications To The Cloud

Steps For Migrating Data, Applications To The Cloud

Steps for Migrating Data, Applications to the Cloud

As more companies move additional data and business applications to the cloud, chief information officers continue to develop recommendations to simplify the migration process.

CIOs, especially those who manage enterprise-class operations, note that project management is key to a successful migration of applications and data to the cloud. Despite the likelihood of cost savings over time, initial migration expenses for enterprises can be high. Moreover, moving functions to the cloud carries as much risk as implementing traditional hardware solutions because of pushback from employees who must learn new systems, integration issues with existing software and systems, and cost surprises.

data-migration

According to InfoWorld, chief information officers endorse establishing a plan that carries their organization through the entire migration process. In addition, one member of the information technology staff should be appointed as the lead for the project. That person should drive the migration process, including overseeing the strategy development, identifying needs, and writing a business case for the shift. The project manager can also serve as the point person in products, vendors, and providers and scheduling all facets of the migration.

Planning Cloud Migration

Selection of a project manager for a cloud migration should focus on a team member who either has experience with cloud-based solutions or one who is open to the idea of embracing a new technology. This is especially true for organizations that are new to the cloud or which currently use a minimum of cloud services. Nonetheless, the person in charge of the project should also have a keen understanding of existing hardware and software solutions as well as the business functions that will be addressed by the migration.

Although many vendors recommend migration to the cloud for cost efficiencies, the fact is that implementation of any new technology solution requires an initial outlay. Chief information officers increasingly suggest that companies earmark the funds needed to finance the entire migration at the outset of the project and expect savings to occur over subsequent business cycles. This measure enables organizations to complete their migrations in the shortest period possible without slowdowns due to budget red tape.

By Glenn Blake

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