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Is there sunshine ahead for cloud computing?  

The global cloud-computing market is expected to reach $241 billion in 2020, up from $41 billion in 2010, according to Forrester Research. That long-term potential is reflected in the highflying stocks of companies actively involved in the concept.

A stumbling block, however, is concern over the security of data when a client firm can no longer control it on its own premises. Hackers and crashed systems are, after all, among a company’s worst nightmares.

And while the cloud is a definite boon to smaller firms, more established companies have already made significant investments in equipment and staffing. There is also confusion over what cloud computing really is and who provides it.

The field’s successful pioneer is Salesforce.com Inc., a well-managed company that over the last decade effectively introduced this cost-saving business model. It offered a monthly subscription service that allowed firms to simply go to their Web browsers, point to salesforce.com and begin using it. That turned out to be a good financial deal for its clients as well as for its shareholders.

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July 31st, 2011 at 6:20 am

Microsoft Gives the Cloud to Scientists  

More in NYTimes

The software maker has started grafting popular scientific databases and analysis tools onto its Windows Azure cloud computing service. This basically means that researchers in various fields can get access to a fast supercomputer of their very own and pose queries to enormous data sets that Microsoft keeps up to date. For the time being, Microsoft will allow some research groups to perform their work free, while others will have to rent calculation time on Azure via a credit card.

These moves have turned Somsak Phattarasukol, a graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle, into a big fan of Microsoft.

Mr. Phattarasukol, like many researchers, is accustomed to waiting in line for access to large, public computers and to twiddling his thumbs – sometimes for days – as the machines work on his requests. It’s a frustrating process only made worse as the databases the researchers deal with swell alongside the time it takes to perform the analysis.

Microsoft officially opened access to the scientific bits of Azure this week, but Mr. Phattarasukol got early access to the system. He’s part of a team that’s trying to create a biofuel from bacteria that produce hydrogen gas. The work has required the research team to compare the makeup of various bacterium strains against an extensive protein database, as they try to figure out which bits of genetic code can prompt higher hydrogen gas production.

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November 18th, 2010 at 5:32 am

6 Security ‘Must Haves’ For Cloud Computing  

According to Gartner, to achieve effective and safe private cloud computing deployments, security, as it exists in virtualized data centers, needs to evolve and become independent of the physical infrastructure that includes servers, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, Media Access Control (MAC) address and a lot more.

However, it must not be bolted on as an afterthought once companies move from enterprise deployments, to virtualized centers, to private/public cloud.

While the basic components of security in information management remain the same — ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, access and audit of information and workloads — a new, integrated approach to security will be required.

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November 11th, 2010 at 7:30 am

Dominant Player in Cloud Computing?  

Read Write Web makes a study at Cloud Computing and analyzes the future leader in this area. Interesting Read.

In a way, this runs against the grain of existing technology landscape and our history with successful innovations. Maybe that is why we love the idea of the cloud itself?

It’s too big to own: One big reason to doubt a single dominant force in the cloud is that it feels like owning the Internet. Even Cisco with its strengths can’t make such a claim. Perhaps the cloud is the perfect market, where the barriers of entry are low enough that continual evolution will occur.
It’s a movement, not a layer: Another argument against the cloud having a dominant player is its fuzzy definition. There are many parts and pieces to it, and it’s not clear today what it would mean to “win” the cloud computing market.

Portability will keep vendors in check: If customers demand solutions where they can move from vendor to vendor freely, it will impact the landscape. Companies with cloud solutions in the marketplace could be required by these customers to remove barriers to moving data and services between different entities. Additionally, standards and best practices may emerge that allow companies and individuals to move freely between providers. In this world, it will become a fluid market that prevents vendor lock and promotes pricing and trust as brand differentiators.

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February 17th, 2010 at 2:18 am

Investing in the Cloud  

Satish Dharmaraj, former founder and CEO of Zimbra talks about the trends he is looking at in his role at Redpoint Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture firm.

There are two areas Redpoint is looking at for cloud computing and virtualization.

Taking applications that used to run behind firewall and moving them to the cloud. This as a big trend for SMB and emerging for enterprise-class applications. SMBs are enjoying this trend now because they don’t have large IT departments already in place. In some cases, Redpoint also thinks that large enterprises will adopt these. It gives them more freedom of choice.

The second thing Redpoint is looking at is where large enterprises have data centers that are becoming a private cloud, and running vendor software on your own infrastructure that has been packaged for virtualization footprint. The new data center is an on-demand set of services that supports elastic computing. In the future, there will be similar advantages the public cloud offers, but for internal departments. They will be able to order computing services with a Web form and expect their delivery in hours, rather than weeks or months. With this will come applications for billing, provisioning and configuration management. Redpoint ahs invested in one company already in this space, VMOps, which is considered a IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) company.

Additionally, there is a big trend in service providers with Web hosting operations (like 1&1 and Savvis). They are finding that they can cut costs by 1/10th by moving dedicated server business to virtual server business. Most of dedicated servers are running at 10% of the time and it makes sense for them – and for their customers – to reduce the data center footprint and cost infrastructure.

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February 17th, 2010 at 12:11 am

2010, Year of the Cloud  

Whether you like it or not, if you consume tech juice on a regular basis, this year or even through this decade get ready to be swamped with news of the cloud. Yes, the cloud is the king and we are its citizens.

So this blog will go out of way to mention some juicy juice of Cloud Computing. There have been previous sightings of cloud here but lets start with one more common man’s primer, What is cloud computing and how do I use it?.

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February 11th, 2010 at 9:16 am

Is IBM’s Blue Insight a model for your private BI cloud?  

There’s been a general outcry lately about how vendor marketing organizations are abusing the cloud by force-fitting many new and existing products into the cloud computing mold.

Still, some cloud-like things actually do fit without the aid of a crow bar. A case in point is IBM’s Smart Analytics Cloud.

The Smart Analytics Cloud is a solution set and reference model based on an IBM-internal Business Intelligence (BI) project code-named Blue Insight, which IBM claims to be the largest private cloud built to date. Blue insight has allowed IBM to eliminate multiple BI systems that were all performing essentially the same extract-transform-load (ETL) processes for different user groups.

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November 18th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Myths of Cloud Computing, Busted.  

Myth: The cloud reduces your workload In the long run, maybe. But to get started, you have to figure out which model of cloud computing is right for you; which applications or services are best suited to it; and how to ensure the proper levels of security, compliance, and uptime. And remember, monitoring the performance of any vendor takes extra time.

“When you’re running production applications, there’s a lot of thinking that goes on in terms of redundancy, in terms of reliability, in terms of performance and latencies,” says Thorsten von Eicken, CTO and founder of RightScale. Before moving applications to the cloud, customers need to ensure those requirements are met, he says, calling it “wishful thinking” that cloud-based systems automatically manage themselves.

Some basis myths of Cloud Computing ripped apart in Computer World.

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June 22nd, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing!  

From New York Times BITS Blog, a post on McKinsey’s recent study on Cloud Computing.

The McKinsey study, “Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing,” concludes that outsourcing a typical corporate data center to a cloud service would more than double the cost. Its study uses Amazon.com’s Web service offering as the price of outsourced cloud computing, since its service is the best-known and it publishes its costs. On that basis, according to McKinsey, the total cost of the data center functions would be $366 a month per unit of computing output, compared with $150 a month for the conventional data center.

“The industry has assumed the financial benefits of cloud computing and, in our view, that’s a faulty assumption,” said Will Forrest, a principal at McKinsey, who led the study.

Owning the hardware, McKinsey states, is actually cost-effective for most corporations when the depreciation write-offs for tax purposes are included. And the labor savings from moving to the cloud model has been greatly exaggerated, Mr. Forrest says. The care and feeding of a company’s software, regardless of where it’s hosted, and providing help to users both remain labor-intensive endeavors.

Clouds, Mr. Forrest notes, can make a lot of sense for small and medium-sized companies, typically with revenue of $500 million or less.

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April 16th, 2009 at 12:33 am