Category Archives: Infrastructure as a Service

Alibaba Cloud launches ModelScope platform

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, started its recent annual Apsara Conference by announcing the launch of  ModelScope. This is an open-source Model-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform that comes with hundreds of AI models, including large pre-trained models for global developers and researchers. During its flagship conference, the cloud provider also introduced… Read more »

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93% of enterprise now using cloud services – survey

business cloud network worldThe vast majority of IT professionals are now using at least one cloud-based service, according to a survey recently published by IT portal Spiceworks.

While 93% of respondents confirmed that they are using at least one cloud based service within their operations, the survey also highlighted IT professionals are still hesitant when considering emerging technologies.

Opportunities such as email hosting and cloud storage are increasingly being viewed as the norm, though IaaS is still met with some scepticism with only 20% of respondents currently using it, and only 16% considering its use in the next 12 months. EMEA professionals demonstrated a higher appetite for IaaS, with use 11 percentage points higher in EMEA than in North America.

In terms of current cloud services, web and email hosting are by far and away the most utilized, with 76% and 56% usage respectively. Online back-up and recovery appears to be the biggest growth area, with 35% of respondents currently using the service and 23% planning to engage over the next 12 months.

When building the business case for cloud transition, cost still remains the top priority for the majority of IT professionals. 71% of respondents highlighted this would be considered the number one reason for the transition, though cloud enabled innovation was only a driver for 3%. While early adopters are moving away from CAPEX/OPEX reductions as the business case for cloud adoption, the rising cost of hardware implementation and maintenance still drives mainstream cloud implementation.

The survey also highlighted that Shadow IT remains a challenge for a large part of the industry, as services which remain un-sanctioned by the IT team are still demonstrating high usage from the rest of the business. 33% of respondents highlighted they have deployed Dropbox services officially, but 78% of companies have employees using the service without IT approval. Google Drive was also being used in 59% of companies surveyed without approval from the IT team.

Microsoft Azure emerged as the most commonly used IaaS provider, accounting for 16%, closely followed by rival AWS at 13%. However 21% of respondents are considering Azure over the next twelve months, compared to only 11% weighing up AWS. The Microsoft team can be encouraged by these statistics, though this is a category which currently does not seem to have a clear market leader. Other brands highlighted by the survey in this space include Rackspace, Google and VMWare.

Despite AWS’s dominant market position, industry insiders questioned by BCN perceive Azure as the more effective platform. With Microsoft bolstering its ranks through strategic company and talent acquisition over the last 18-24 months, Azure is viewed as the more productive offering, despite being more expensive.

The results show a number of positive trends within the cloud industry, though still a number of worrying factors. 20% of IT services are cloud based today, and 30% of the respondents expect that within three years, more than half of their IT services will be cloud based. Conversely the culture of trusting public cloud services with company data/content without approval from the IT function seems to be a trend which isn’t disappearing.

Skyhigh, Check Point claim cloud security simplification

Cloud securityCloud access security broker Skyhigh Networks and security vendor Check Point claim they’ve jointly made security, compliance and governance policies for cloud services a lot easier to manage.

The initial launch of their combined service is aimed at regulating software, platform and infrastructure (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS) as a service offerings.

The integration of their security offerings means that mutual customers can use Skyhigh’s cloud access security broker (CASB) and Check Point’s firewall more effectively while taking less time to set up and enforce internal policies. The idea is to alleviate the work of enterprise security managers as they try to comply with external regulations and protect corporate data.

Meanwhile Skyhigh is offering a free cloud audit as it claims that an all time high adoption of cloud has not been matched by cloud security standards. According to the Q4 2015 Skyhigh Cloud Adoption and Risk Report, the average company uses 1,154 cloud services and uploads over 5.6 TB to file sharing services each month. However, this vast migration of data to the cloud is creating a security gulf, it claims, because the rush to cut costs has seen companies lose visibility and control over their IT estate.

The combined Skyhigh Check Point service promises to shed more light on the state of the network, enforce data loss prevention (DLP) policies, protect company data, consolidate usage of cloud services, identify any risky data uploads or downloads from questionable service providers and protect against data exfiltration attempts. By applying threat intelligence to analyse cloud traffic patterns, detecting anomalous behaviour and remediating against users or cloud services the two partners claim they can restore the levels of security enterprises need, by making it easier to implement.

“Companies want to embrace cloud services, but they can’t leave behind security controls as corporate data moves off-premises,” said Chris Cesio, business development VP at Skyhigh Networks.

Microsoft maps out 2016 BizTalk Server, Azure Stack and cloud integration plans

AzureMicrosoft has unveiled its plans to integrate its cast of cloud services and servers in the coming year. Cloud users can now download a roadmap for the direction of its integration products such as the BizTalk application-integration server, Azure Stack and the Logic Apps included in the Azure App Service offering.

The initiative is the idea of new Azure CTO Mark Russinovich in a bid to keep customers aware of the changes that are being made now that many integration processes are out of their domain. Traditionally, integration has been conducted on the customer’s premises or through a business to business arrangement, but in the cloud era the systems they want integrated are typically outside of their control, Russinovich said in the company blog. “Everything from sales leads to invoicing, email and social media, is going to be well beyond the corporate firewall,” he said.

As modern integration goes from corporate computer systems to an increasingly mobile world, there needs to be a change of approach on both ends. On a technical level, this change is unpinned by application programming interfaces (APIs) within lightweight, modern, HTTP/REST-based protocols using JSON, Russinovich said. On a cultural level, Microsoft is to open more channels of communication with its cloud users through updates such as this.

Before the tenth release of BizTalk Server, in Q4 2016, it will release a Community Technology Preview and a beta of the product in Q3. BizTalk Server 2016 is to align with Windows Server 2016, SQL 2016, Office 2016 and the latest Visual Studio. The latest BizTalk release will straddle both the on-premise and cloud worlds, supporting SQL 2016’s AlwaysOn Availability Groups whether they are hosted on Azure or in house.

BizTalk Server will also have better interfaces with Salesforce.com and Office 365, as Microsoft bids to improve the hybrid experience. New, improved BizTalk adapters for Informix, MQ and DB2 have also been promised, along with better PowerShell integration.

Halfway through 2016 Microsoft will host another integration summit, Integrate 2016, as the vendor signals its intent to take its Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) responsibilities seriously too.

According to the roadmap Microsoft should imminently release a preview of a planned Logic Apps Update with Logic Apps becoming generally available in Q2. Azure Stack will be available in Q4.

ESI installs HPC data centre to support virtual prototyping

Cloud computingManufacturing service provider ESI Group has announced that a new high performance computing (HPC) system is powering its cloud-based virtual prototyping service to a range of industries across Europe.

The new European HPC-driven data centre is based on the Teratec Campus in Paris, close to Europe’s biggest HPC centre, the Très Grand Centre de Calcul, the data centre of The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). The location was chosen in order to make collaborative HPC projects possible, according to ESI. The 13,000 square metre CEA campus has a supercomputer with a peak performance of 200 Teraflops and a CURIE supercomputer capable of running a 2 Petaflops per second.

ESI’s virtual prototyping, a product development process run on computer-aided design (CAD), computer-automated design (CAutoD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software in order to validate designs, is increasingly run on the cloud, it reports. Before manufacturers commit to making a physical prototype they create a 3D computer-generated model and simulate different test environments.

The launch of the new HPC data centre gives ESI a cloud computing point of delivery (PoD) to serve all 40 of ESI’s offices across Europe and the world. The HPC cloud PoD will also act as a platform for ESI’s new software development and engineering services.

The HPC facility was built by data centre specialist Legrande. The new HPC is needed to meet the change in workloads driven by virtualization and cloud computing with the annual growth in data is expected to rise from 50% in 2010 to reach 4400% in 2020, according to Pascal Perrin, Datacenter Business Development Manager at Legrand.

Legrand subsidiary Minkels supplied and installed the supporting data centre hardware, including housing, UPS, cooling, monitoring and power distribution systems. The main challenge with supporting a super computer that can ramp up CPU activity by the petaflop and with petabytes of data moving in and out of memory is securing the supporting resources, said Perrin. “Our solutions ensure the electrical and digital supply of the data centre at all times,” he said.

Cloud28+ promises to clear up the cloudy issues of compliance

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) claims its new Cloud28+ cloud service catalogue will simplify the search for compliant cloud services for European enterprises.

Cloud 28+ is a community of commercial and public sector organisations aimed at expanding cloud service adoption across Europe. The Cloud28+ catalogue, on the other hand, is a centralized enterprise app store which now lists 680 cloud services from 150 members across the range of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings. To date 1000 end user organisations have pre-registered to use the catalogue.

The matchmaking Cloud28+ service online catalogue, now on general availability, promises a broad range of benefits for European customers. It allows customers to specify data centre locations and providers, in accordance with local laws and business requirements. It will helps users to find cloud-native independent software vendors with whom they can partner and it will help companies market themselves more expansively by letting them publishing their own services in the catalogue. This could allow end user organisations to turn their IT teams into ‘revenue-generating engines’, claims HPE.

The main benefit of the Cloud28+ service catalogue, HPE claims, is that it gives open access to huge numbers of enterprise cloud services. This will help cloud buyers to compare the cloud market, on functional and non-functional criteria, including price, service level agreements and certification levels.

One of the main selling points of the system is that is makes it easier to comply with increasingly strict data protections laws in the EU, according to James Kinsella, founder of Zettabox a cloud storage and team sharing system and the latest addition to the Cloud28+ catalogue. “It’s a logical community for Zettabox to join, as its mission is to build a cohesive and collaborative cloud environment, for Europeans by Europeans,” said Kinsella.

The Cloud28+ technology framework is based on HPE Helion OpenStack. This will give it the portability of cloud services and eliminate vendor lock-in, said Xavier Poisson, Hybrid IT VP at HPE. “This is an important milestone on the journey to a European Digital Single Market,” said Poisson.

The overturning of the Safe Harbour agreement in European courts had tremendous implications for cloud service providers, according to one analyst. “It certainly makes services that comply with European data privacy requirements more attractive,” said William Fellows, analyst at 451 Research.

Deutsche Telekom launches pan-European public cloud on Cisco platform

T-Mobile Computing cloudDeutsche Telekom has announced the start of a new pan-European public cloud service aimed at businesses of all sizes. The debut offering will be DSI Intercloud, run by T-Systems, which will offer Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to businesses across Europe. In the first half of 2016, software and platforms as a service deals (SaaS and PaaS) will be launched.

The service, built on a Cisco platform by T-Systems, the business division of Deutsche Telekom, will run from German data centres and be subject to Germany’s data sovereignty regulations.

The pay-as-you-go cloud services can be ordered through Telekom’s new cloud portal, with no minimum purchase requirements and contract periods. Prices start at €0.05 per hour for computing resources and storage at €0.02 per gigabyte. Deutsche Telekom said it hopes to create the foundation for a secure European Internet of Things with high availability and scalability for real time analytics.

Data security company Covata test piloted the platform and will be the first customer to use the DSI Intercloud infrastructure service. Another beta tester was communications company Unify, which used it to investigate the viability of open source cloud platforms running from German data centres.

The new DSI Intercloud marks the latest chapter in the Cisco Intercloud initiative. In June BCN reported how Cisco had bolstered the Intercloud, which it launched in 2014, with 35 partnerships as it aimed to simplify hybrid clouds. Cisco and Deutsche Telekom say they will focus on delivering high availability and scalability for real-time analytics at the edge of the networks, in order to cater for IoT experiences. Edge of networking big data analytics is to become a key a concept in the IoT, BCN reported in December. Last week Hewlett Packard enterprises (HPE) revealed how it is helping IoT system users to decentralised all their processing jobs and devolve decision making to local areas. The rationale is to keep masses of data off the networks and deal with it locally.

Deutsche Telekom said the Cisco partnership is an important building block in expanding its cloud business and aims to at least double its cloud revenue by the end of 2018. In fiscal year 2014, net sales of cloud solutions at T-Systems increased by double figures, mainly in secure private clouds.

Lenovo and Nutanix combo to run private cloud over hyperconverged datacentres

datacentreDatacentre hardware maker Lenovo is to install Nutanix Software in a bid to speed up the process of building the infrastructures that support private clouds.

The new family of hyperconverged appliances will be sold by Lenovo’s sales teams and its global network of partners.

Nutanix makes its own units that converge storage, server and virtualisation services into an integrated ‘scale-out’ appliance, but in this partnership Lenovo will use its own hardware devices to run the Nutanix software. The objective is to simplify data centre building, by pre-engineering most of the integration tasks and make data centre management easier. This, say the manufacturers, will cut down both the building costs and construction time for creating the foundation for a private cloud. It also, claims Nutanix, lowers the cost of ownership by creating modules in which moves and changes are easier to conduct and management is simpler.

By running the jointly created convergence appliances on Lenovo hardware, they can take full advantage of Lenovo’s close ties with Intel and run its latest processor inventions. Lenovo said it is making ‘sizeable investments in a dedicated global sales team to support the new converged appliances for datacentre builders. Lenovo and Nutanix say they are jointly planning more co-development in platform engineering and coding, as well as joint marketing initiatives.

“Lenovo can bring a new perspective to the global enterprise space,” said Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing, “Nutanix’s well recognised technology leadership can dramatically reduce complexity in data centres of all sizes.”

The Lenovo OEM partnership with Nutanix goes well beyond typical alliances, said analyst Matt Eastwood, Senior VP for IDC’s Enterprise Infrastructure and Datacenter Group. “This partnership will accelerate the reach of hyperconverged infrastructure,” he said.

IZO Private Cloud will snatch back IT assets from the public cloud, says Tata

Money cloudTata Communications claims its new IZO Private Cloud service will help CIOs wrestle back control of their IT from the public cloud. It could reunite CIOs with their IT and give them unprecedented access to their public and private clouds after half a decade of having their entire data centre estate wrenched from their grasp in a painful breakup.

The new service, unveiled at Cloud Expo Asia, is described as a ‘game-changing’ cloud enablement platform that, by seamlessly integrating hybrids with public clouds, extends the control of the CIO over all the IT assets affecting their employer. Tata claims it will empower enterprises to connect to the world’s biggest clouds and build high-performance IT infrastructures. It will achieve this by creating a union of different cloud, colocation and managed hosting environments and making this hybrid work together as one unit.

The new service will eventually be available in 12 locations worldwide but is currently installed in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, the US and UK. The multi platform integration will be tempered with enterprise-grade security, says Tata, and offers its CIO administrators ‘unparalleled visibility’ and control via a single-pane-of-glass management, claims Tata.

Tata Communications’ ecosystem comprises 20 service providers and includes Microsoft Azure, Office365, Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform and Salesforce, with over 50 data centres across the globe. Currently 24% of the world’s Internet routes travel over Tata’s network, which is the largest wholly-owned subsea cable network in the world. Its Tier 1 IP network provides backbone connectivity to over 240 countries and territories across 400 points-of-presence.

The IZO Private Cloud breaks down the final barriers blocking enterprise cloud adoption, claimed Tata Communications’ president Genius Wong. “This is the next step on our mission to harness our partners and data centre infrastructure so CIOs can be put back in control of their cloud and data centre estate.”

DigitalOcean simplifies IP addressing of services with new cloud building invention

CloudCloud infrastructure platform maker DigitalOcean has launched new tools for developing building large-scale applications. The tools, Floating IPs and Team Account Management, aim to speed up the process by removing common blockages reported by cloud application writers.

The Floating IPs platform aims to make it easier for developers to quickly associate an IP address with a different cloud server (AKA Droplet). The system caters for quick allocation through one of two routes, using either the system control panel or application programming interface (API). “This eliminates single points of failure and empowers developers to build production applications at any scale,” said Brooke McKim, director of product at DigitalOcean.

The company has also released Team Accounts, a system to improve support for teams of developers working together to power established applications. The system allows developers to invite multiple users to access and manage the account’s resources, such as Droplets, without having to share their own login credentials or billing information.

DigitalOcean says that since its formation, in 2012, 700,000 developers have used its cloud building system to create eight million cloud servers. The release of Floating IPs will make it a lot easier to tag servers to apps and create highly available applications, according to Moisey Uretsky, co-founder and chief product officer at DigitalOcean.

“Simplicity is difficult to achieve,” said Uretsky, “There’s a lot of benefit in taking the time to get it right and making complex technology easy to use. We wanted this networking solution to have the same qualities developers love about The Droplet: simplicity, elegance and incredible user experience.”

Development of the new products was financed by an $83 million funding round in July 2015, with funds from Series B round of financing led by Access Industries. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz, which led the company’s $37 million Series A round last year. Container pioneer Docker hosts its applications on DigitalOcean.