When moving towards a cloud environment, organizations – both large and small – have a lot of choices to make. There are a lot of vendors out there who are “capable” of hosting information, websites or other workloads directly in the cloud. However, remember that not all cloud providers are created equally. Cloud providers are able to offer more and more services as they grow their own underlying infrastructure. As an organization, you have the option of selecting the right partner with the right set of tools to support your business and its growth.
It’s not hard to feel sorry for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) – the levels at which they need to operate change all the time… and depth and granularity of the dataflows that present themselves change all the time.
Just when we thought we had the whole client-server model worked out, along came the Internet and cloud and the data center.
Cloud and datacentre services provider Node4 acquired Premier IT Networks, a London-based datacentre and communications specialist, for an undisclosed sum this week.
Premier IT Networks offers cloud services to a number of government departments and is one of the few specialised suppliers certified by the UK government to host data classified as ‘Restricted’ (‘Secret’ under the new classification scheme).
“Like Node4, our sights are firmly set on future growth. The acquisition by Node4 will enable us to increase the quality and range of services that we can offer to our cloud customers, which will put us in an excellent position to fulfil our growth potential,” said Peter Bodley-Scott, sales and marketing director at Premier IT Networks. “We felt that Node4 was a perfect fit for us in every respect, sharing our ethical approach to business, cultural values and service ethos.”
Node4 said the move, which will see Premier IT Networks fully absorbed by Node4, would bolster its global reach and strengthen its ability to support security-sensitive industry verticals including government and the legal services sectors.
Andrew Gilbert, chief executive officer at Node4 said: “The Node4 management team is committed to expanding its presence across the UK, as well as its service portfolio, to support the company’s ambitious growth plans. This latest acquisition strengthens our London presence, as well as bringing valuable sector expertise, which will enable us to grow our presence in the legal, not-for-profit and public sectors. Equally importantly, we are gaining a team of IT experts who share our values and customer-centric approach to business.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become the next “be all to end all” in information technology. Touted as how cloud computing will connect everyday things together, it is also feared as the real- life instantiation of The Terminator’s Skynet, where sentient robot team with an omnipresent and all-knowing entity that uses technology to control, and ultimately destroy, all of humanity.
IoT platform provider Jasper has announced a new strategic partnership with software giant Microsoft designed to help businesses bring IoT services to market more easily, reports Telecoms.com.
The partnership will involve integrating Jasper’s platform with Microsoft’s Azure cloud suite, a preview of which will be available later this year. The combined platform will aim to cater for the full IoT journey, from sensors and devices, to wireless communication, to big data collection and analysis.
“Through this strategic partnership with Microsoft, we continue to increase the business value of IoT by making it easier and faster for enterprises to bring their IoT services to market, and to scale those services globally,” said Macario Namie, vice president of Strategy at Jasper.
“Our vision for the Azure IoT Suite is to help companies thrive in this era of IoT by delivering preconfigured solutions and world class services that any company, whether startup or the most established global enterprises, can use to create new value,” said Sam George, director of Azure IoT at Microsoft.
“Jasper’s IoT services platform is a critical component of delivering on this vision. By bringing together the Jasper Platform and the Azure IoT Suite, businesses of any size and in any industry can build cost effective IoT solutions for themselves or their customers.”
While it’s been around for over a decade, Jasper is currently accelerating its partnership activity with big tech companies in a sign that IoT itself is approaching critical mass. Earlier this week Jasper announced a similar partnership with Japanese telco SoftBank, to help it introduce IoT solutions to enterprise.
“The Japanese market is enthusiastically embracing the opportunity created by the Internet of Things to transform the way they operate, interact with customers and create revenue,” said Ken Laversin, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales at Jasper, “SoftBank’s partnership with Jasper demonstrates their commitment to bringing cutting edge IoT technology to Japan.”
Oracle said this week that it would bring Docker support to Solaris, becoming the latest legacy software vendor to add support for the open source Linux container technology.
While Solaris has had support for Linux containers in the form of ‘Solaris Zones’ (Oracle’s virtual machine technology) for nearly a decade, the move will see Oracle enable Docker to be deployed within those ‘Zones’ (VMs).
The company also said it plans to make some of its software – Oracle WebLogic Server was the only one specifically mentioned – available for deployment and testing as full Docker images on Solaris.
“Today’s announcement really gives developers the best of both worlds – access to Oracle Solaris’ enterprise class security, resource isolation and superior analytics with the ability to easily create containers in dev/test, production and cloud environments,” said Markus Flierl, vice president, Oracle Solaris Core Technology.
“Integrating Docker into Oracle Solaris will make that even easier and will help customers benefit from highly integrated compute on premises and in the cloud,” Flierl said.
Laurent Lachal, senior analyst, infrastructure solutions at Ovum said the move is a win-win for those planning to move to more cloud-native technologies like OpenStack and Linux containers but still depend heavily on different components of the Oracle stack.
Oracle is the latest legacy software vendor to open up to Docker.
Late last year Windows announced it would support the container technology in Windows Server 2016, around the same time IBM announced it would provide a Docker-based container service through Bluemix, the company’s platform as a service offering.
Given how embedded Oracle is in large organisations the move could see Docker gain more traction in the traditional large enterprise, potentially a big win for the young open source container project.
BT is bolstering its partnership with Ark Data Centres to expand its ‘cloud of clouds’ initiative and its reach in the public sector, healthcare and financial services.
Launched in April this year, the ‘cloud of clouds’ service is much like Equinix’s cloud interconnection service, linking its own datacentres and cloud services with its own and others through its own fibre network.
The companies said BT will leverage two of Ark’s new UK datacentres to offer its infrastructure as a service platform, BT Compute, as well as its financial services and healthcare-focused managed cloud platforms.
Ark said the datacentres are amongst the most energy efficient out there, with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.2 compared to an industry average of 1.7 according to the Uptime Institute.
Neil Lock, vice president, BT Compute, BT Global Services said: “Organisations in all industries are embracing the need for greater innovation through digital strategies that rely on cloud services. This is especially true for public sector bodies faced with the complex challenge of transforming services sustainably with increasingly tight budgets.”
“By adding two new data centres to our BT Compute portfolio that comply with the latest government security guidelines, we believe that we have the ideal platform on which to innovate. We already deliver some great cloud services to our government, finance and pharma sector customers. Our latest investment builds on this strength to help us realise our cloud of clouds vision for large organisations.”
The datacentres additions will help bolster the company’s cloud scale in its home market. BT claims its ‘cloud of clouds’ is already being deployed form about 20 facilities globally and a further 30 third-party datacentres operated by other cloud providers.
Shoe retailer Office is using a private cloud and managed virtualisation services to handle spikes in online ordering ahead of one of its busiest periods.
Office has over 150 stores across Europe and the US and began rolling out its international e-commerce site earlier this year in a bid to expand its presence globally.
The company enlisted e-commerce specialist Envoy Digital to help with its broader digitisation efforts. It is using Rackspace’s private cloud platform to host the e-commerce site, which is built using the hybris platform, and VMware-based managed virtualisation in combination with load balancers to manage and distribute workloads and traffic.
“When working with any cloud provider, it’s critical that they can ensure only a minimal amount of our time is spent overseeing the IT infrastructure so that it operates smoothly,” said Robin Worthington, multichannel director, Office. “This allows us to focus on what we’re best at – helping customers find the right shoes.”
The company said it wanted to migrate its international platform to the cloud and improve the reliability of its multichannel infrastructure in advance of the summer season, which is one of the busiest for the shoe retailer.
Skyscape Cloud Services Limited, an easy to adopt and utilize cloud service provider has begun an aggressive recruiting venture to aid the company’s delivery of cloud services in it’s UK sector. Skyscape has grown by 85 employees in the time frame of three years and this growth is expected to continue in the near future.
“This company has grown quickly in a short period of time becoming a successful enterprise that creates jobs and is focused on continually innovating, in order to surpass customer expectations,” said Simon Hansford, CEO at Skyscape Cloud Services. “We are at the start of a very exciting journey, and potential employees have the opportunity to be part of that and join a young, rapidly growing company. They will play a key role in supporting exciting fast-track projects that will support a revolution in public sector ICT and the delivery of public services online.”
In order to accommodate the rapidly going digital transformation in the UK, Skyscape is looking for both experienced and passionate individuals to aid in the adoption of the cloud. They currently have thirty new jobs throughout the company including cloud technical leads, web developers and pre-sale cloud architects. Skyscape is also actively working to close the skills ago with the creation of a work placement program for individuals who wish to gain experience with the cloud. The program will both develop cloud skills while allowing undergraduates to gain experience in operations. In the month of July nine undergraduates have joined Skyscape, and the company is hoping the more will join in the near future.
E-commerce giant Alibaba has announced an additional $1 billion (£641,000) investment in Aliyun to expand the international presence of its cloud computing arm.
The money will also be used to develop new cloud and big data solutions for its customers, as well as support an “alliance-based global cloud computing ecosystem.”
Aliyun currently provides public cloud services in five data centres across China and Hong Kong, while earlier this year their first overseas data centre, in Silicon Valley, was launched. Aliyun expects part of the investment to contribute towards more data centre expansion, moving towards the Middle East, Singapore, Japan, and Europe.
“Aliyun has become a world-class cloud computing service platform that is the market leader in China, bearing the fruits of our investment over the past six years,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang in a statement. “As the physical and digital are becoming increasingly integrated, Aliyun will serve as an essential engine in this new economy.”
The Chinese cloud computing market is expected to ignite. A recent article from Bain & Company argues that, by 2020, China’s cloud computing is set to break the $20bn barrier, compared to just $1.5bn two years ago. Currently, cloud computing represents less than 2% of Alibaba’s overall revenues – but the company hopes for that to change soon.
This publication has assessed the Chinese cloud computing ecosystem as far back as 2013, where a report from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCESRC) argued “systematic weaknesses”, such as lack of innovation and core technology in integrated circuit industries, was holding China back. In December, it was revealed cloud computing providers in China were to be assessed “to ensure that the government has total control of the entire ecosystem.”
Aliyun has competition in the public cloud arena in the form of Huawei. According to reports, Huawei is planning a launch event at the end of July 2015 to officially release its own cloud services.