Tag Archives: VMware

Amazon and VMware: Strange Allies In The Game Of Clouds

Before cloud there was datacenter virtualization. The king of virtualization was VMware, who had ruled enterprise datacenters for decades uninterruptedly. Then a new force arose – Public Cloud – ruled by the reincarnated online retailer Amazon, which swiftly won the hearts of startups and web apps alike. As enterprises started exploring the cloud, VMware adapted its offering in the form of Private Cloud in attempt to keep the lucrative enterprises under its dominion, while Amazon has been fighting to convert them to its public cloud, with relentless price cuts and innovative services. War was fierce.

But in the Game of Clouds strange alliances are formed…

Now VMware is striking an alliance with Amazon. The new strategic partnership announced this month brings forth a hybrid child: VMware Cloud on AWS, which promises to let enterprises have their cake and eat it too – keeping them working in their good-old VMware vSphere environment while letting VMware operate it for them as a managed service on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) bare metal infrastructure. The new service is currently in Technology Preview, with general availability expected mid-2017.

vmware-aws

What could bring together these bitter rivals? In the land of private cloud VMware has been suffering fierce competition from OpenStack open source community, so fierce that ultimately VMware jumped on the OpenStack bandwagon. Flanked by OpenStack from private cloud and by Amazon from public cloud, VMware came to realize what HP, Verizon and others learned the hard way – that hybrid cloud can be the alternative. A similar strategy change brought the got Rackspace acquired a couple of months ago.

And what’s Amazon’s angle with WMware you ask? Amazon has been eyeing the lucrative enterprises for a long time, but has largely failed to convert them to the public cloud. Microsoft, Amazon’s public cloud competitor, identified that and launched Azure Stack (currently in Technical Preview 2), a flavor of its Azure public cloud that can extends to the enterprise’s datacenter. Amazon so far has been dogmatic in its public cloud vision, preaching full migration to the public cloud and refusing to provide variants for private cloud. But market forces are stronger, and Amazon’s way off the proverbial tree was found in the form of VMware. With Microsoft’s Azure Stack expected in general availability mid-2017, Amazon had to prepare its counter move towards the same mark.

In the Game of Clouds great forces are at play. With private and public clouds, open source communities and vendor-locked solutions, incumbents and startups all at play. And everyone’s eyeing the holy grail of enterprises.

Who will win the Cloud Throne?

iron-throne

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IBM, Microsoft Offer Blockchain In Their Cloud Services

Recently blockchain fans got major news, with two giants IBM and Microsoft announcing their support for Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) in their cloud services. Are we going to see some cloud-based blockchain developments soon? sounds like it.

Blockchain emerged from Bitcoin cryptocurrency hype as the innovative distributed ledger technology behind Bitcoin. But while cryptocurrencies are well past Gartner’s peak of inflated expectations, blockchain is gaining growing interest from startups and enterprises alike. The interest in blockchain isn’t limited to just cryptocurrencies but also extends into other financial use cases, and even transcends FinTech realm into non-financial use cases such as electronic voting, smart contracts and ownership verification for art and diamonds.

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The interest that blockchain drove the creation of different “flavors” of the distributed ledger notion, beyond the initial one used for Bitcoin. One interesting initiative recently launched is the hyperledger project, a community-backed open-source standard for distributed ledger. It was launched December 2015 under the Linux Foundation by big financial services names such as J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, London Stock Exchange Group and Deutsche Börse, as well as equally big IT players such as IBM, Intel, Cisco and VMware. As part of joining Hyperledger, IBM has open sourced a significant chunk of the blockchain code it has been working on.

blockchain

IBM launched its blockchain-as-a-service in production February. In order to encourage adoption of its new cloud service, IBM also opens garages for blockchain app design and implementation in London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

Microsoft was first to move in on blockchain. Last November ETH-BaaSMicrosoft launched a Blockchain-as-a-Service on its Azure cloud based on Ethereum in partnership with ConsenSys. But while IBM bet on hyperledger project, Microsoft took a different approach and spread its bet across multiple projects and partnerships. During last month Microsoft added to its blockchain partnerships Augur, Lisk, BitShares, Syscoin and Slock.it, and this month also added Storj.

I estimate IBM and Microsoft would not remain alone in this game. Other vendors will join in to offer platforms and cloud services to accelerate the development of blockchain-based applications. This will be a serious enabler for innovation around this fascinating technology, whether for young innovative startups bootstrapping on low budget, or for financial institutions (and other enterprises) lacking in-house skills in this cutting-edge technology.

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Cloud and Docker Grow Closer To Bring Hybrid IT To Enterprises

Cloud computing and Linux containers (ala Docker and LXC) are two hot trends in the modern software delivery paradigm. They are both backed by strong and active global open communities, have rich tools, and new start up companies and projects are building their solutions with them. But enterprises, while acknowledging the new paradigms, are still struggling with implementing them. One of the biggest concerns of enterprises is the vast infrastructure, which spans multiple systems, technologies, vendors, data centers, and even (private/public) clouds. Enterprises therefore require support for hybrid IT, with adequate automation to manage it. Gartner research shows that 75% of clients will have some type of hybrid strategy in place by the end of the year. Puppet, the popular DevOps tool used for automating complex deployment environments, identified the need for provisioning and managing such mesh of cloud, containers and even bare-metal. This week on its latest Puppet Enterprise release it added support for AWS, Docker and bare metal. IBM on its InterConnect 2015 conference this week announced an update to the container service beta on Bluemix, to provide capabilities such as push and pull containers from on-premises to off-premises service to support private & public clouds uniformly, and hosted private registry for container images for enterprise security and privacy. The OpenStack community has been making efforts in the past few releases on integrating containers, initially as if they were virtual machine instances and later with full support so you can deploy containers through Heat orchestration just like you deploy applications and services. The Docker driver for Nova (OpenStack Compute), which has been developed out of tree so far, is expected to return to mainline in the upcoming ‘Kilo’ release next month. Public cloud vendors staying behind either. Google adopted the technology internally, saying that “everything at Google runs in a container”, as well as developing Kubernetes open source project for orchestrating pods of Docker containers, and actively pushing it also into OpenStack via its recently announced partnership with Mirantis. Amazon on its last re:invent conference announced its EC2 Container Service which lets you start, stop, query and manage container-enabled applications via API and using the rich AWS set of services. VMware, which rules the traditional enterprise virtualization domain, made moves to adopt both open cloud and containers. First, it started getting actively involved in the communities and contributing code. Also, in the cloud front VMware launched an OpenStack-compatible version of its private cloud. On the containers front VMware partnered with Docker, Google and Pivotal to offer enterprises simplified path for containers over hybrid cloud model. There are others exploring this field, such as RedHat, Cisco and even Microsoft, offering container integration in all levels from hardware through operating systems, hypervisors, cloud management systems, to orchestration and monitoring tools. We shall be seeing a growing number of such offerings of converged solutions for hybrid IT, more targeted at the complex environments of enterprises, and with enterprise-grade tooling and maturity levels.

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Update: Microsoft officially announced adding support for Docker containers to its Windows Server and Azure cloud. You can read the full details in this post.

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OpenStack is getting a hug from VMware and Eucalyptus

What’s OpenStack position in the market?

OpenStack traditionally had competition from both well-established closed-source vendors and other open-source initiatives. Time has passed, and the cloud world has matured. So how is OpenStack doing now?

Want to know how a certain company is positioned in the market? Check what its competitors are saying (and doing) about it. Business analysis 101. So let’s examine a couple of competitors from the closed-source and the open-source fronts, including some very recent announcements.

The closed-source enterprise front: VMware

One of OpenStack’s fierce rivals on the enterprise virtualization domain is VMware. VMware has established its reputation in server virtualization and gained foothold in all major enterprises, which gave it clear leverage when offering private cloud for the data center.

Nonetheless, VMware could not afford to ignore the OpenStack wave and has been keeping presence in the foundation, including active code contributions to the main OpenStack projects and a community page around their integration.
Then they decided to hug OpenStack even closer.
A couple of days ago, during VMWorld 2014 conference, VMware announced its own OpenStack distribution, dubbed “VMware Integrated OpenStack”. VMware says it is

a solution that will enable IT organizations to quickly and cost-effectively provide developers with open, cloud-style APIs to access VMware infrastructure.

VMware even launched a new blog dedicated for OpenStack where VMware appeals for developers based on its reputation with developer tools and frameworks, as well as enterprise experience, promising to be the agile way to develop OpenStack in enterprise grade.

Team+OpenStack+@+VMware[1]

The open-source community front: Eucalyptus

VMware is not the only player to recognize OpenStack’s lead position. Eucalyptus is another open-source initiative that competed with OpenStack in its early days on the hearts of the OSS community. One of its strategic moves was to partner with Amazon to provide AWS-compatible API, to enable hybrid cloud deployments.

A couple of weeks ago Eucalyptus CTO Marten Mickos, the guy who compared OpenStack to the Soviet Union, surprised everyone by stating in his blog that he wants nothing short of to be an OpenStack contributor. Yes, you heard me right, Eucalyptus wants to help the enemy. In his post he explains the rationale:

I want OpenStack to succeed. When that happens, Eucalyptus can also succeed. OpenStack is (in my humble opinion) the name of a phenomenon of enormous proportions. Eucalyptus is the name of a tightly focused piece of software that serves a unique use case. I am intent on finding and pursuing a mutual benefit.

Seems like Eucalyptus bets on the complexity of OpenStack and tries to position itself as a less broad but simpler solution. If you ever tried installing and configuring OpenStack on your environment you’d know that this approach can make a lot of sense. The system integrators sure monetize on that. It would be interesting to see the reactions to Marten’s message in the OpenStack Silicon Valley event next month.

If you can’t beat them, join them

Things look good for OpenStack. Prominent closed-source competitors as well as open-source competitors are coming to the realization that OpenStack is becoming the de-facto standard for private clouds, and are now embracing OpenStack and are trying to position themselves as complementary. The game is not yet over. There are still vendors, both closed-source enterprise shops such as Microsoft Azure, and open-source, primarily CloudStack (some would argue also OpenNebula), still giving a fight. Things also differ in different regions. But in my view the recent announcements of past weeks are a good evidence in favor of OpenStack.
Who’s next in line to hug OpenStack?

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