Category Archives: Platform as a service

SAP to become a Genband reseller as Kandy improves relationship in the cloud

SAP1Texas-based comms software specialist Genband has signed SAP as a global reseller of its comms platform-as-a-service (PaaS) Kandy. Under the terms of the arrangement, Kandy will be repackaged as the SAP Real-Time Communicator Web application by Genband.

The system is designed to help any sized enterprise to improve its workflow by improving its communications processes, making them simpler to use and more effective. This is achieved by making it easier for sales, service and business professionals to adopt the chat, videoconference and collaboration systems that are often under-used in many companies. By improving real time communications between customers and co-workers SAP says its cloud offering will makes its enterprise clients far more effective sales organisations.

SAP claims its Real-Time Communicator creates personalized engagement and helps them stand out from competitors through a superior customer experience. In its capacity as a reseller SAP has integrated Real-Time Communicator into the rest of its portfolio and embedded communications within its business applications, giving them presence, instant messaging, voice and video chat and conferencing. The Real-Time Communicator is integrated natively into SAP Cloud for Customer, and can be integrated with the SAP Hybris Commerce system.

Genband’s executive VP of Strategy and Cloud Services Paul Pluschkell said SAP, as the world’s top cloud player, is the ideal reseller partner to collaborate with. “Integrating with SAP creates a powerful customer experience that empowers customers to work smarter and more efficiently,” said Pluschkell.

The combination creates dramatic improvements in productivity for clients said Nayaki Nayyar, senior VP of Cloud for Customer Engagement at SAP. Managing vital relationships helps make the experience richer, more contextual and highly efficient, said Nayyar. SAP is reselling Genband because it has created an advanced market offering and the only one that could help SAP launch new offerings across its applications. “Genband’s technology performance leadership, global presence and comprehensive product portfolio, all factored into our decision to select this platform,” said Nayyar.

AT&T, Ericsson and Apcera demonstrate NFV in a PaaS environment

Voice and video can work in the most complicated clouds, according to an integration breakthrough demonstrated at the OpenStack summit in Tokyo.

AT&T and Ericsson claim they’ve created an improvement to container technology that makes cloud telco platforms far more secure and yet easier to set up. They jointly presented their invention in proof of concept exercise, along with cloud service provider Apcera.

Container technology, previously used for creating secure environments for text based office and enterprise productivity applications, has been tweaked in order to overcome some of its security limitations, when telecoms is handled in the cloud.

Telco AT&T, equipment maker Ericsson and cloud service provider Apcera described how they came together in order to bring their own perspectives of the multiple levels of the OpenStack hierarchy. The joint problem they faced is that the virtualization of telecoms still has some teething problems that need to be resolved, such as the interaction of various web browsers and video and audio services.

The companies demonstrated how they have tweaked container technology to create a containerised policy driven PaaS that can use the telecoms related Virtualized Network Function (VNF). The resulting telecoms-charged ‘advanced container’ was able to house a Web Communication Gateway (vWCG) that fully integrated with OpenStack.

The proof of concept exercise showed audio and video communications actually worked between multiple Web browsers on the virtualized telephony system.

Never mind the complexity of what’s happening across the comms stack and the cloud, the main thing to take home is that this system works with a few clicks of a mouse, said Magnus Arildsson, Head of IaaS and PaaS at Ericsson. “This is an important step toward fast, secure and policy-integrated deployment of Telco VNFs on micro-services-based containers,” he said.

Ericsson and Apcera accelerated the development of the micro-services-based PaaS environment, said Derek Collison, CEO of Apcera. “This exercise paves the way for cost-effective, efficient deployments and further collaboration with telco operators to integrate carrier-grade requirements with our cloud platform.”

Tibco announces two new cloud integrators

Platform as a ServiceTibco has built two new systems for building cloud services and manage enterprise applications.

BusinessWorks Container Edition is a streamlined version of Tibco flagship product and designed to make installation, upgrades and other operational duties easier with the Pivotal Cloud Foundry. It’s aimed at companies where dealing with regulatory requirements or sensitive data is a major challenge and sets out to provide more flexible workload controls across the entire IT estate, from on-premise IT to hybrid clouds.

Tibco Cloud Integration is an integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) that will make it easier to create, govern and consuming cloud services, the vendor claims. A tool for managing application programming interfaces (APIs) is designed to make the rolling out of these services smoother, both internally and externally.

The rationale is to make it easier for enterprises to adopt cloud services, according to Tibco CTO Matt Quinn. “Integration is critical to connecting and engaging on multiple channels,” said Quinn,

Cloud Foundry environments are now so simple they can be built in a few minutes with a few commands, claims Tibco. Meanwhile they’ve been re-engineered to run on different systems irrespective of the infrastructure, without the administrators having to surrender any of their control over their IT estate. The simplification of management means that responsibility for cloud environments can be moved in-house, Tibco claims.

“The cloud first approach is really about offering new consumption models for our customers,” said Quinn.

The recent addition of Mashery’s API management system has helped speed up the process of extending the use of cloud, while the new Tibco tools will improve integration with in house system, according Quinn.

Rackspace ups AWS functionality and support, becomes authorised reseller

AWSManaged hosting provider Rackspace has announced a ramped up suite of products featuring enhanced support and functionality with Amazon Web Services.

The agreement with AWS, announced at re:Invent in Las Vegas this week, will see Rackspace launch managed service offerings including tools, expertise, application management and operational support for AWS Cloud. “Fanatical Support for AWS” is the core service offering featured as part of the agreement, with three beta offerings supplementing the managed service – Managed Security for AWS, Compliance Assistance for AWS and Managed Cloud for Adobe Experience Manager.

Through Fanatical Support, Rackspace tells its customers to “leave the heavy lifting to us” as it claims to take care of migration, architecture, security and operations for companies looking to adopt AWS for application hosting.

Rackspace has also become an authorised reseller at AWS, as well as a managed services partner, and has joined the AWS Partner Network. CEO Taylor Rhodes spoke about the announcement on the company’s blog page.

“Over the past year, more and more of them [customers] have told us that they love Rackspace expertise and Fanatical Support, and would like to get it for the workloads that they prefer to run on AWS,” he said. “We have spent the past several months working with those customers and with AWS, to create the best managed-service offering on that platform.”

Rhodes went on to say that AWS adds to Rackspace’s existing commitment to support a number of other platforms.

“We help businesses tap the power of the cloud without the pain and expense of managing it all themselves,” he said. “We have gone deep on support for platforms such as OpenStack, Microsoft and VMware. Our success in leading the managed cloud market for those technologies has been validated by industry experts such as Gartner, and most importantly, by our 300,000-plus business customers.”

Finally, Rhodes then highlighted how Fanatical Support has evolved with today’s announcements, and how it will benefit various customer segments.  He claims it will appeal to businesses that have desired AWS integration with existing Fanatical Support functionality; for rapidly growing businesses needing to outsource some IT functionality in order to reallocate technical resource to other areas; and for customers new to both AWS and Rackspace.

Meanwhile, AWS’s VP of worldwide partner ecosystem Terry Wise, welcomed Rackspace’s increased integration and functionality of AWS.

“We’re pleased to see Rackspace support AWS customers and achieve membership in the AWS Managed Service Program,” he said. “A growing number of businesses who want the benefit of the AWS Cloud will find value in working with AWS Managed Service Partners like Rackspace. We have been impressed with Rackspace’s commitment to include beta customers in their AWS managed services offerings, along with certifying a large number of their technical staff.”

Public cloud generating $22 billion a quarter for IT Companies

metalcloud_lowresPublic cloud computing generated over $22 billion in revenues for IT companies in the second financial quarter of 2015, according to a study by Synergy Research Group.

The revenue breaks down into $10 billion earned by companies supplying public cloud operators with hardware, software and data centre facilities and $12 billion being generated from selling infrastructure, platforms and software as a service.

In addition the public cloud supports ‘huge’ revenue streams from a variety of internet services such as search, social networking, email and e-commerce platforms, says the report. It identifies the supply side companies with the biggest share of revenues as Cisco, HP, Dell, IBM and Equinix. On the cloud services side the market leaders are AWS, Microsoft, Salesforce, Google and IBM.

As the public cloud makes inroads into the total IT market, the hardware and software used to build public clouds now account for 24 per cent of all data centre infrastructure spending. Public cloud operators and associated digital content companies account for 47 per cent of the data centre colocation market.

While the total IT market grew at less than five per cent per year, the growth of cloud revenues outpaced it. Infrastructure and platform as a service revenues (Iaas/Paas) grew by 49 per cent in the past year and software as a service (SaaS) grew by 29 per cent.

“Public cloud is now a market that is characterized by big numbers, high growth rates and a relatively small number of global IT players,” said Synergy Research Group’s chief analyst Jeremy Duke.

However, the report noted that there is still a place for regional small-medium sized public cloud players.

Software and platforms as a service driving our growth says Oracle

OracleOracle’s latest quarterly results show the increasing strategic of importance of revenue from cloud software and platforms as a service, according to the vendor. Chairman Larry Ellison also claimed the sales figures show Oracle will soon overtake Salesforce as the top selling cloud operator.

The official figures for Oracle’s fiscal 2016 Q1 period show that total revenues were $8.4 billion, which represent a two per cent fall in US dollars but a seven per cent rise in constant currency. Oracle attributed the fall to the current strength of the US dollar.

However, a clearer pattern emerged in the nature of software sales, when benchmarking all sales in US dollars. While revenues for on premise software were down two per cent (in US dollars) at $6.5 billion, the total cloud revenues were up by 29 per cent at $611 million. The revenue from Cloud software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) was $451 million, which represents a 34 per cent increase in sales. Cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) revenues, at $160 million, rose 16 per cent in the same period.

Meanwhile, Oracle’s total hardware revenue figure for the period, $1.1 billion, also indicated a decline, of three per cent. Using the same US dollar benchmark, Oracle’s services revenues for the period more or less stagnated, at $862 million, a rise of one per cent.

Growth is being driven by SaaS and PaaS, according to Oracle CEO Safra Catz. “Cloud subscription contracts almost tripled in the quarter,” said Catz, “as our cloud business scales-up, we plan to double our SaaS and PaaS cloud margins over the next two years. Rapidly growing cloud revenue combined with a doubling of cloud margins will have a huge impact on growth going forward.”

Oracle’s cloud revenue growth rate is being driven by a year-over-year bookings rise of over 150 per cent in Q1, reported Oracle’s other joint CEO Mark Hurd. “Our increasing revenue growth rate is in sharp contrast to our primary cloud competitor’s revenue growth rates, which are on their way down.”

Oracle is still on target to book up to $2.0 billion of new SaaS and PaaS business this fiscal year, claimed executive chairman Larry Ellison. “That means Oracle would sell between 50 per cent more and double the amount of new cloud business that Salesforce plans to sell in their current fiscal year. Oracle is the world’s second largest SaaS and PaaS company, but we are rapidly closing in on number one.”

Google’s new autoscaling aims to offer instants gratification

Google cloud platformGoogle is to give users more detailed and tightly controlled management of their virtual machines through a new autoscaling feature.

Announced on Google’s own blog, the Google Compute Engine Autoscaler aims to help managers exert tighter control over all the billable components of their virtual machine infrastructure, such as processing power, memory and storage. The rationale is to give its customers tighter control of the costs of all the ‘instances’ (virtual machines) running on Google’s infrastructure and to ramp up resources more effectively when demand for computing power soars.

The new Google Compute Engine allows users to specify the machine properties of their instances, such as the amounts of CPUs and RAM, on the virtual machines running on its Linux and Windows Servers. Cloud computing systems that are subject to volatile workload variations will no longer be subject to escalating costs and performance ceilings as the platform brings greater scalability, Google promised.

“Our customers have a wide range of compute needs, from temporary batch processing to high-scale web workloads. Google Cloud Platform provides a resilient compute platform for workloads of all sizes enabling our customers with both scale out and scale up capabilities,” said a joint statement from Google Compute Engine Product Managers Jerzy Foryciarz and Scott Van Woudenberg.

Spiky traffic, caused by sudden popularity, flash sales or unexpected mood swings among customers, can overwhelm some managers with millions of requests per second. Autoscaler makes this complex process simpler, according to Google’s engineers.

Autoscaler will dynamically adjust the number of instances in response to load conditions and remove virtual machines from the cloud portfolio when they are a needless expense. Autoscaler will rise from nought to millions of requests per second in minutes without the need to pre-warm, Google said.

In another related announcement, Google is to make 32-core virtual machines (VMs) available. This offering is aimed at customers with industrial scale computing loads and storage-intensive projects, such as graphics rendering. Three variations of 32-core VMs are now on offer. The Standard offering has 32 virtual CPUs and 120 GB of memory. The High Memory option providers 32 virtual CPUs and 208 GB of memory, while the High-CPU offering provides 32 virtual CPUs and 28.8 GB of memory.

“During our beta trials, 32-core VMs have proven very popular with customers running many different workloads, including visual effects rendering, video transcoding, large MySQL and Postgres instances,” said the blog.

IBM doubles down on developers and open source

IBM is launching a cloud-based open source platform and putting its own tech at the core of it

IBM is launching a cloud-based open source platform and putting its own tech at the core of it

IBM launched developerWorks Open this week, a platform being aimed at developers looking to develop open source solutions in collaboration with IBM using the company’s technology as a foundation.

The cloud-based platform will provide access to emerging IBM tech and expertise in the form of blogs, informational videos and other multimedia, and the opportunity to collaborate with specialists.

The company said it plans to contribute upwards of 50 projects to the initiative spanning various applications in cloud, analytics and mobile, and will also make the contributed services available on Bluemix.

“IBM firmly believes that open source is the foundation of innovative application development in the cloud,” said IBM vice president of cloud architecture and technology Angel Diaz. “With developerWorks Open, we are open sourcing additional IBM innovations that we feel have the potential to grow the community and ecosystem and eventually become established technologies.”

The company is also launching a set of open source projects specifically targeting applications and workflows in a number of industry verticals including healthcare, mobile, retail, insurance and banking. It said much of the open source development today, while promising, “lacks a strategic focus” on business requirements.

IBM has in recent years looked to bolster its open source strategy, in part by creating and owning its own communities. In 2013 for instance it launched the OpenPower Foundation, a group of technology companies innovating with and on top of its Power8 microarchitecture.

The company has also thrown its weight behind a number of large cloud-centric open source projects including OpenStack, Cloud Foundry (on which Bluemix is based), Docker and more recently, Apache Spark.

Cloud Foundry heads to Azure

Microsoft has announced a public preview of Cloud Foundry running on Azure

Microsoft has announced a public preview of Cloud Foundry running on Azure

Microsoft has announced a long awaited public preview of Cloud Foundry for Azure which the company said will help enable its customers with multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments.

Microsoft has been talking about adding Cloud Foundry support to Azure for the better part of a year, and earlier this month the company drew one step closer to a beta release by demoing a Cloud Foundry deployment on its public cloud service.

In a blog post explaining the move Ning Kuang, senior program manager for Microsoft Azure said Cloud Foundry can be deployed quickly using an Azure Resource Manager template, or the through open source workload lifecycle manager BOSH.

“Hybrid and Multi-cloud support is one of the key strengths of Cloud Foundry and the Azure [Cloud Provider Interface] enables you to extend your private data to Azure for running Cloud Foundry based applications. In addition, we are working to ensure that Azure CPI will in work in a private cloud environment running on Azure Stack and we will have more on that to come in the near future,” Kuang explained.

“We’re hoping to release the public Beta in a few weeks and will then upstream the code back to the community source tree in a few months prior to GA,” she added.

Cloud Foundry is one of the most popular PaaSs around today so the move to support it may help on-board more devops-types to Microsoft Azure, which is currently one of the fastest growing infrastructure as a service platforms around (at least in terms of revenue).

Five key enterprise PaaS trends to look out for this year

PaaS will see a big shakeup this year according to Rene Hermes, general manager EMEA, Apprenda

PaaS will see a big shakeup this year according to Rene Hermes, general manager EMEA, Apprenda

The last year has shown that a growing number of enterprises are now choosing Platform as a Service (PaaS) ahead of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as the cornerstone of their private/hybrid cloud strategy. While the enterprise cloud market has obviously experienced a substantial amount of change over the last year, the one thing that’s certain is that this will keep on accelerating over the coming months.

Here are five specific enterprise cloud trends that we believe will prove significant throughout the rest of 2015 and beyond.

The PaaS standard will increasingly be to containerise – While we’ve always committed to the concept of a container-based PaaS, we’re now seeing Docker popularise the concept. The broader enterprise world is now successfully vetting the viability of a container-based architecture, and we’re seeing enterprises move from just asking about containers as a roadmap item to now asking for implementation details. This year won’t necessarily see broad-based customer adoption, but we’re anticipating a major shift as PaaS becomes synonymous with the use of containers.

Practical microservices capabilities will win out over empty posturing – It’s probably fair to say that most of the microservices ‘advice’ offered by enterprise PaaS vendors to date has been questionable at best. Too many vendors have simply repackaged the Service-Oriented Architecture conversation and represented it as their microservices positioning. That’s fine, but it hasn’t helped customers at all as vendors have avoided being held accountable to microservices at both a feature and execution level. This isn’t sustainable, and PaaS and cloud vendors will need to deliver practical guidance driven by core enterprise PaaS features if they are to be taken seriously.

Internet of Things will be a key driver for PaaS implementations – For PaaS to be successful they need to support core business use cases. However too many PaaS implementations are deployed just to simplify the IT model so that developers can quickly build cloud-enabled applications. That approach simply isn’t going to withstand the pressure caused by the increased take-up of innovations such as The Internet of Things that will require web-service back-ends that are easy to manage, highly available and massively scalable.

Containerising OpenStack services set to create confusion – The move towards OpenStack being deployed within containers is interesting, but we believe adoption will prove slow. With many now expecting container control and management to sit within the PaaS layer, moves such as containerised OpenStack are likely just to cause confusion. Given that PaaS is becoming the dominant form of cloud assembly, containerised IaaS will stall as it conflicts directly with the continued growth in enterprises deploying private/hybrid PaaS – regardless of whether they’ve built IaaS already.

PaaS buyers to dismiss infrastructure prescriptive solutions – Many PaaS vendors do a lot of marketing around being portable, but in reality many organisations find that this can increase IT risk and drive lock-in by deliberately creating stack dependencies. We’re finding PaaS buyers much keener to challenge vendors on their infrastructure portability as early as the proof of concept phase. That’s because customers want an enterprise PaaS that doesn’t favour one infrastructure over another. To ensure this outcome, customers are now using their RFPs and proofs of concept to insist that PaaS vendors demonstrate that their solutions are portable across multiple infrastructure solutions.

By Rene Hermes, general manager EMEA, Apprenda