Posts Tagged ‘Cloud Computing’

Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

For a couple of years now, Cisco CEO John Chambers has been proclaiming that Cisco will be the world’s No. 1 IT vendor. This proclamation has been met with mixed reactions as the IT community has many large, incumbent vendors already. Over the years, though, Cisco has proven to be the master of market transitions by moving into markets with large incumbents and quickly grabbing a leadership position. Voice and servers are two examples where many thought Cisco had no shot, and now the company stands as the dominant provider in both.

The Cloud! The Cloud! It’s hard to go anywhere and not hear about the cloud. I see cloud ads in airports, malls, and while driving down highways and listening to morning sports talk radio. And why not? The cloud solves all problems, right? Low cost, high availability – it’s great, right? Well, not if the cloud provider doesn’t have the right processes and in place to ensure the customers are protected. I’ll give you an example.

This week, my wife Christine went into her Comcast Xfinity email through the web client (she only uses the web client) and all of her email prior to July 10th of this year was gone. She’s had this account for over eight years and had thousands of messages between her inbox and sent mail folder. I called Comast’s customer support and explained the problem and, after getting a bunch of ridiculous questions, the “customer service” person explained to me that this happens from time to time. I asked the Comcast person why that happens, and she assured me that it happens to all hosted mail providers, citing Hotmail, MSN and, I believe, Gmail.

This morning Cisco announced the intention to purchase privately held Cloupia for approximately $125 million in cash, adding to its long list of cloud-related acquisitions.

For those who don’t know Cloupia, the company sells management software to orchestrate and manage cloud (physical and virtual) infrastructure through a single pane of glass. Cloud is driving the need for converged infrastructure and the vendor industry has responded nicely with Cisco, EMC, Network Appliance, Dell, HP and others having participated in building converged infrastructure. However, managing converged infrastructure is significantly different than managing legacy infrastructure. The CAs and HPs of the world do a great job of managing static, physical infrastructure, but a gap exists with virtual and even a bigger gaps exists in managing physical and virtual in a single plane of glass. This is the gap that Cloupia is trying to fill with its products.

This year’s VMWorld kicks off this week in San Francisco and I’m expecting the typical huge audience.  One of the reasons why VMWorld has become the premier show that is has is because virtualization itself is changing.  Virtualization used to be a tactical technology used to consolidate servers.  Have 10 servers?  Consolidate that down to one or two.  The architecture fundamentally stays the same, just fewer physical boxes. 

Virtualization today though is a much more strategic technology.  It powers the cloud, desktops are being virtualized, storage is being virtualized and data center operations are being automated.  However, being more aggressive with virtualization does bring some new risks to enterprise IT.  To understand what some of these are, ZK Research and Xangati, a cloud and management solutions provider, recently ran a survey looking at where companies were with cloud deployments, where they were going and what the challenges were for future deployments.

Brocade last week released its quarterly earnings and also announced that long time CEO Mike Klayko would be resigning his position at the company.  This ends a lengthy tenure for Klayko who joined Brocade in 2003, through the acquisition of Rhapsody, and then was named CEO in 2005.  

One of the questions I’ve been asked often is what kind of CEO should Brocade hire to replace the flamboyant Klayko?  I think the incoming CEO needs to be a nuts and bolts person with good operational strengths and also someone with a channel background to continue what Klayko put into motion.  Despite the flat stock price over the past several years, it’s hard to argue the company isn’t well positioned to take advantage of current trends such as cloud computing and virtualization. 

To understand why I feel that way, let’s look back at the Klayko tenure and the positives and negatives which put Brocade in the position it’s in now. 

Communities of interest have been all the rage over the past few years. Just this year alone we’ve seen Infoblox, Aruba and other tech vendors launch online communities to support their products. The concept behind the community is that users of the products can share ideas, use cases, scripts, architectures or anything else related to the product, and what better way to learn about what’s possible than by leveraging the power of the community.

Although there are many vendors trying to build this today, no one has executed on this better than F5 Networks. For those who aren’t familiar with F5, the company has a scripting language called iRules that administrators can use to enable custom features and do some cool things with the products. DevCentral was created to allow the community to share these ideas, scripts and use cases with one another, and over the past few years it’s become extremely popular and easily F5’s biggest competitive differentiator.

This week F5 made its biggest enhancement to DevCentral since its announcement that it’s moving DevCentral to the cloud. All cloud-enabled F5 solutions will now be running in multiple Bluelock virtual data centers, making the functionality ubiquitously available to the DevCentral community.

Yesterday, Google and Samsung announced a sequel to the original Chromebook launched last year. The idea behind the Chromebook is that it’s a device in a laptop form factor that is optimized for this cloud-driven, post-PC era that we now live in, and while it looks like a traditional laptop, there are several major differences.

First, the Chromebook does not run a heavy OS like Windows that can take what seems like half your work morning to boot. Windows machines are great when you first get them, but it seems like within months it’s the same old story with too many things being launched at start up, dragging the boot time on and on and on… Macs are better in this regard, but there’s still a lag between when you turn them on and when they’re fully ready to use. Google’s Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that allows for almost “instant on.”

Another major difference is that the Chromebook does not have a resident hard drive. Instead, they have 16 GB of flash memory, which is faster for sure but is a far cry from the terabyte hard drives found in laptops today. The device does have two USB ports for external drives or other devices to be plugged in.

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