Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Cloud Computing: It's like computers on the Internet innit!

It's the future of technology! A disruptive shift of computing stack to online services! Well what ever we think it is it'll all be clearer after this word from Simon Wardley from Canonical...

Loved it...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

What is a Cloud?

There's been a load of debate over Cloud and what it is... Thanks to Pete Peterson of Wells Fargo Bank for providing this useful extract and link to the NIST source

This NIST definition is the most concise and "share"able definition I've read. My favorite so far. Clip included:

"Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models."
- NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

Whilst virtualization technology is an obvious aid to 'Cloud' computing. It's probably worth saying that virtualization is not The Cloud - to the users I speak to it's clearly a way of describing computing as a utility or outsourced service delivery; which includes pretty much all the traditional managed services, some new ones and layered under SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Customer furore as Dell Disable non-Dell HDDs and SSDs

A short note on Dells recent moves to ensure that only Dell HDDs and SSDs are used in their Servers.

For a number of years Dell's systems have posted a warning that a HDD is non-approved, not that it's rubbish, or some unrecognised dodgy clone - just that it's not from Dell. Now in the latest 'generation' of the PowerEdge Server Range they have gone a step further and the PERC actually blocks the use of 3rd party drives.

This Register article has sparked a lively debate the general consensus of which is that
1) they should have told people before they did.
2) It's ok for a vendor to say what they're prepared to support but not stop people from using their product of choice.
3) They'll be looking at other server options

DELL has issued a white paper "Why Customers should insist on DELL Hard Drives" - clearly the real answer is "...we need your money and in order to get it we'll stop you having any choice!!" great customer service message.

It reminds me of the battle between IBM and Hitachi Data Systems & IBMs customers in the 80's. Which was over the use of 3rd party HDS disk packs in IBM Mainframes. IBMs insistance that only their peripherals (remember external disk packs weighed about a ton) would be allowed to work with their mainframes almost brought the company to it's knees as the US Gov' sued over anti-trust activities. But more importantly it pushed customers to consider alternative hardware vendors such as DEC, Compaq, and Sun. oh nearly forgot DELL...

NB: Dells RAID controllers are made by LSI and rebadged/BIOS'd their servers are designed and made by Hon Hai Precision Industries as are HPs and the Nintendo WII

Monday, 1 February 2010

Zimbra - Clouds gather in an Azure sky?

Interesting moves in January with the announcement that VMware would acquire Zimbra. For those who don;t know Zimbra they are a credible alternative to Exchange Server, in my opinion not as rich, but if you're a business a darn site better than GoogleApps.

By combining Zimbra with the SpringSource technology looks to be a lot more than an extension of the ongoing virtualization spat it, looks like a move against Microsoft. Take a look at the blog post by VMware CTO Steve Herrod it has zero to do with virtualization.

Bringing together all the components necessary to compete with Windows Azure and Micorsoft Hosted Services.

From an ego standpoint you could understand it if they launched a vCloud service themselves, but if they really want to challenge/irritate Microsoft it would make a lot more sense to make this competing technology cheaply available to Azures true cloud competitors: Amazon, IBM, Salesforce.Com who have the customers now. Let's watch and see, no doubt we'll return to this one again.