Dell tells VMworld how it simplified the cloud

Dell serversDell claims it will demystify the cloud for enterprise buyers with a raft of new products and services, which it unveiled at VMworld in San Francisco.

A new release of Dell’s Active System Manager will deepen integration with the product portfolio of virtualisation vendor VMware, it claimed, making it easier to automate the management of public and private cloud computing, and hybrids of the two.

“Dell’s portfolio helps customers to design, deploy and manage hybrid clouds from the device to the data centre to meet each customer’s unique journey to a hybrid cloud,” said Jim Ganthier, VP and GM of Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell.

Converting public cloud deployments to hybrid cloud environments brings financial returns that have been verified by several independent studies, according to Dell. “Dell’s innovations and our VMware partnership can deliver the business results and outcomes,” said Ganthier.

Meanwhile, an updated version of its Engineered Solutions for VMware EVO:RAIL Horizon Edition will shrink workloads on virtual desktops and applications by up to 80 per cent, Dell claimed. This would cut the price of management and hosting. A new thin client operating system, Wyse ThinOS 8.1, will tighten security and make support easier, it claimed. Another improvement comes from the new version of Wyse Cloud Client Manager (CCM), which extends management to bring millions of Windows Embedded Standard (WES) and SUSE Linux thin clients under the umbrella of its management platforms.

Dell is working with VMware to make virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) easy to create and run, claimed Steve Lalla, Dell’s VP of commercial client software. “Collaboration enables us to deliver these solutions to our customers within VMware Horizon environments,” said Lalla.

One of the productivity shortcuts created by active system manager (ASM) is that any business analyst or IT architect can use templates and automation methods to speed up processes such as requests, approvals, help desk and self-service. The saving of time and manual effort and improved responsiveness and consistency will create rapid payback, claimed Dell.

Dell also claimed it has been ‘deeply involved’ in the joint development – with VMware – of EVO SDDC, which aims to ‘dramatically’ simplify the building of large scale software defined data centres. Dell’s EVO SDDC offerings will align closely with VMware’s general availability in the first half of 2016, said Dell.

VMware opens up at VMworld San Francisco

VMWare campus logoVirtualisation pioneer VMware has unveiled a raft of new services tailored for hybrid cloud services and open systems at its annual VMworld conference in San Francisco.

VMware announced the launch of VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0, the company’s second release of its distribution of the OpenStack open-source cloud software. The new release, based on OpenStack Kilo, will be available on September 30.

“Customers can now upgrade from version one to version two in a more operationally efficient manner and even roll back if anything goes wrong,” said VMware product line manager Arvind Soni.

The move could be seen as a U-turn by VMware, whose revenue streams come from sales of its vSphere virtualization software. The most recent annual VMware report warned that “open source technologies for virtualization, containerization, and cloud platforms such as Xen, KVM, Docker, Rocket, and OpenStack provide significant pricing competition and let competing vendors [use] OpenStack to compete directly with our SDDC initiative.”

However, with OpenStack distributions available from Canonical, HP, Huawei and Oracle – and investment in OpenStack companies from Intel, IBM and other major players, VMware has announced continued support. In October 2014 parent company EMC bought three OpenStack start ups – Cloudscaling, Maginatics and Spanning – to provide a variety of cloud services which adhere to the increasingly popular open standard.

Meanwhile, testing and running disaster recovery plans will be quicker, promises VMWare, now its vCloud Air service has a new cloud-based Site Recovery Manager. The service is now offered on a pay-per-use basis, replacing the more expensive annual subscriptions.

In the event of a disaster recovery event or test, fees will be charged for each virtual machine protected and the storage they consume, said VMware.

Storage could get cheaper as VMware has introduced vCloud Air Object Storage on the Google Cloud Platform. The debut product from VMware’s new Google reseller relationship will be available from September 30th, which will also see an alternative offering launched: vCloud Air Object Storage service, powered by EMC.

The start of the fourth financial quarter should also see VMware release its new vCloud Air SQL database as a service, as the virtualisation vendor looking to match the breadth of features offered the cloud industry’s top service providers.

With a new Hybrid Cloud Manager, VMware aims to help clients to migrate workloads, extend the range of their data centres and fine tune the process of juggling resources between private and public clouds. The management takes place through the interface of VMware’s vSphere Web Client, and will support the migration of virtual machines.

IBM signs cloud development agreement with ANZ bank

ANZ has signed a five-year, A$450 million (£208 million) strategic agreement with IBM, the centrepiece of which is the establishment of a cloud-based Innovation Lab based on IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform-as-a-service, reports Banking Technology.

The lab will allow the Bank’s developers to build, test and deploy new applications and services at “a fraction of the time and cost previously taken”.

As well as the Innovation Lab and cloud capabilities, the agreement includes access to IBM’s software portfolio and core systems infrastructure. The IBM agreement will provide common platforms across ANZ’s network as it continues to grow as a super-regional bank and will allow the bank to deliver a “more integrated and innovative banking experience for digital customers”.

IBM will deploy its newest z13 mainframe and Power8 infrastructure as part of ANZ’s private cloud environment. The infrastructure will provide the bank with the reliability, security and resiliency needed to service the needs of mobile customers across the bank’s network. IBM integration, content management, data, analytics and cloud software will support ANZ’s core banking and infrastructure needs.

“Understanding our customers’ needs and preferences around mobile and digital banking is critical to our business and to providing a superior customer experience,” said Scott Collary, ANZ’s chief information officer. “We therefore need to ensure we’re meeting these needs in an innovative, consistent and seamless way and with this partnership with IBM, we’re working to achieve this goal.”

IBM has been a strategic partner of ANZ for more than 40 years said Scott Barlow, IBM client director for ANZ Bank: “This new agreement continues to build on this by enabling ANZ access to an arsenal of leading edge technology to provide the agility, speed and innovation essential in the rapidly changing financial services marketplace.”

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FAA moves to the cloud through CSC, Microsoft and Amazon in potential $1bn contract


CSC has announced the procurement of a contract with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worth $108 million (£70.4m) alongside Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other business partners.

The contract, potentially worth $1 billion over 10 years, will see the FAA move to a hybrid cloud environment, with CSC consolidating data centres and migrating data and systems across using the CSC Agility Platform cloud management tool.

The news was initially broken by Washington Technology, with the report noting that other companies involved in the team include EMC and Equinix. The FAA posted an official announcement noting the contract was awarded on August 26.

Regular readers of this publication will be aware of the importance of such contracts to cloud providers. The CIA’s cloud computing contract, awarded in 2013 and reportedly worth $600m, went to Amazon Web Services despite an appeal from IBM amid complaints that AWS’ bid was $50m more expensive, and that the procedures used to rank Amazon’s proposal as technically superior were wide of the mark. In February 2015, the AWS CIA cloud had achieved ‘final operational capability’.

Winning lucrative public sector contracts are also seen as vindication of a cloud provider’s security accreditation –in particular the stringent FedRAMP certification. AWS got its FedRAMP wings in June 2013, while Microsoft followed suit in October that year.

CSC president and chief executive Mike Lawrie said: “CSC and our alliance partners are demonstrating the unique value that we as a team can bring to deliver an innovative, next-gen IT cloud solution that drives the FAA’s mission forward.” He added: “We are in a unique position to help meet the agency’s operational and budgetary challenges over the life of the program.”

In statements, Amazon noted the acceleration of government cloud adoption while advocating its own compliance standards including FedRAMP, ITAR and SRG, while Microsoft argued the contract win ‘builds nicely’ on additionally moving the FAA to Office 365 for greater productivity.