Ravello Systems Extends Its Platform For Migrating Workloads To Public Clouds To Google Compute Engine

Ravello Systems today announced the general availability of its cloud hypervisor platform for Google Compute Engine. As a result of the announcement, Ravello customers can use its SaaS nested virtualization technology to migrate workloads to the Google Compute Engine (GCE) public cloud with a few clicks of the mouse and thereby take advantage of the agility of public cloud environments to accelerate their development and testing efforts. Ravello’s process for the migration of workloads to public cloud environments simplifies migrations by preserving network topologies as well as storage and computing configurations. Customers use Ravello’s user interface to upload their virtual machines into Ravello’s private library, drag and drop them onto an “application canvas,” specify the requisite network configuration, publish the configuration of VMs to the cloud and then create an “application blueprint” that serves as a snapshot of the application at the time of upload. Developers can use the blueprint to spin up the application for parallel testing and QA purposes or connect Ravello to a continuous integration server that synchronizes the blueprint with changes to the on-premise version of the application to ensure that development and testing efforts are performed on the latest version of the application.

Today’s announcement means that Ravello now supports four public clouds in the form of Amazon Web Services, HP Cloud, Rackspace and Google Compute Engine. Integration with Microsoft Azure remains on the product roadmap as told to Cloud Computing Today in a phone interview with Shruti Bhat, Ravello’s Director of Product Marketing. The general availability of Ravello’s nested virtualization technology on GCE represents a particularly special moment for Ravello insofar as its leadership team built the KVM hypervisor that constitutes the basis of virtualization within the Google Compute Engine platform. Ravello’s partnership with Google affirms the threat Google Compute Engine poses to the IaaS market supremacy enjoyed by Amazon Web Services and additionally promises to provide data about cloud deployments within the public clouds it supports by means of the Ravello Cloud Dashboard, which features data about VM provisioning time and VM provisioning-related error rates per cloud provider. From an industry perspective, Ravello’s integration with GCE continues to underscore the importance of public cloud environments for accelerating development and testing. Other use cases for the platform include disaster recovery, backup and replication, but the core use case will revolve around an embellishment of the platform’s capabilities for dev and test in ways that leverage the flexibility of the public cloud to disrupt contemporary protocols for software testing in favor of the massive, algorithmic parallel testing enabled by Ravello’s “blueprint” concept and cloud-based, nested virtualization platform.

Categories: Ravello Systems | Tags: , , , ,

PernixData Enhances Its Software Solution To Improve Storage Performance

Today, PernixData announces enhancements to PernixData FVP, its software-based storage solution for enabling dramatic improvements in the scale-out storage capability of IT infrastructures without the addition of hardware-based storage resources. In its initial rollout, PernixData FVP used hypervisor software to aggregate server side flash to create a “scale-out data tier for the acceleration of primary storage.” The aggregation of server side flash creates a clustered acceleration tier that enables improvements in application latency and storage performance. The clustered acceleration tier empowers application administrators to optimize application performance without changing the workflows or raw storage capacity of the infrastructure in which the application is deployed. Installed into the hypervisor kernel within minutes, PernixData FVP enables the scale-out of the storage capacity of a specific IT infrastructure without the hassle and expense of adding additional storage capacity to ameliorate storage performance issues.

As a result of today’s announcement, PernixData FVP can accelerate any virtualized application by aggregating both RAM and/or flash. The hypervisor’s ability to create an acceleration tier based on RAM and flash expands the number of use cases in which the PernixData solution can be deployed by extending the solution to a more diverse range of IT environments and budgets. Moreover, the solution can now be deployed with file, block or direct attached storage, thereby ensuring its ability to integrate into a wide range of storage environments and infrastructures. Satyam Vaghani, CTO and co-founder of PernixData, remarked on the significance of the product’s enhancements as follows:

Storage is at an amazing inflection point where performance is being extricated from capacity to optimize application behavior and cost effectively scale IOPS, without disrupting years of investment in shared storage infrastructure. By making FVP easy to deploy in any environment, and robust enough to accelerate any virtualized application using flash or RAM, PernixData is making decoupled storage architectures the de facto standard in virtual data centers.

Vaghani comments on the PernixData FVP’s ease of deployment in almost any environment and ability to decouple storage capacity from hardware-based storage capacity. As such, the solution represents a non-disruptive approach to scale-out storage via a disruptive technology that stands to transform the economics and operationalization of storage and application lifecycle management. Today’s announcement also extends the solution’s ability to support existing replication and disaster recovery processes by allowing administrators to define which host machines take part in replication groups. Customers can designate sets of host machines for replication, thereby enabling fault tolerance amongst the machines within the replication group. Overall, today’s announcement points to a significant advancement in FVP’s ability to integrate with more diverse set of storage environments and position the technology strongly for greater adoption in the industry. PernixData has signed over 100 customers since its general availability announcement in August 2013 and appears poised to rapidly expand further given FVP’s newly released ability to support almost any server and storage configuration.

Categories: PernixData | Tags: ,

Concurrent And Hortonworks Partner To Integrate Cascading With the Hortonworks Data Platform

Concurrent and Hortonworks recently revealed a deepening of their strategic relationship whereby Cascading SDK will now be integrated into the Hortonworks Data Platform. Moreover, Hortonworks will certify, deliver and support Cascading, the application framework for developing Hadoop-based applications. A Java-based, open source alternative to MapReduce, Cascading provides developers with a framework for constructing complex, repeatable data processing tasks within a Hadoop cluster. Cascading features an abstraction platform which uses plumbing metaphors such as taps, pipes, data flows, cascades and sinks to allow developers to design, visualize and execute jobs and processes on Hadoop-based data without having to master the intricacies of MapReduce. Forthcoming releases of Cascading will support Apache Tez, an initiative that represents the next step after the addition of YARN to Hadoop that allows for Hadoop-based data to “meet demands for fast response times and extreme throughput at petabyte scale.” The partnership between Concurrent, the developer of Cascading, and Hortonworks, represents a huge coup for Concurrent given that the collaboration stands to rapidly accelerate Cascading’s adoption in enterprise environments. Hortonworks, meanwhile, benefits from packaging its Hadoop distribution with Cascading, one of the industry’s most well respected frameworks for Big data management and application development that boasts enterprise users such as Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay and Nokia. The obvious question now is whether Concurrent will finalize similar partnerships with other Hadoop vendors such as Cloudera and MapR or whether Concurrent’s partnership with Hortonworks enables the latter to improve its positioning in the battle for Hadoop market share, particularly in light of Cloudera’s remarkable $900 capital raise and partnership with Intel.

Categories: Big Data, Concurrent, Hadoop, Hortonworks

Microsoft Partners With Equinix To Render Azure’s ExpressRoute Available In 16 Global Markets

Equinix today announces a partnership with Microsoft Azure whereby Equinix will render Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute available to 16 global markets by means of Equinix’s data centers. Equinix represents the first datacenter provider to facilitate such a significant global expansion of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, a service that allows Azure customers to connect datacenters to the Azure cloud by means of a private, non public-internet based, low latency connection that claims benefits such as improved connection reliability, performance and security. Currently, Equinix boasts over 100 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers all over the world that are home to the infrastructure of more than 450 cloud service providers. Equinix is no stranger to facilitating connections between enterprise infrastructures and the cloud services of public cloud vendors as exemplified by a recent case study featuring Foursquare, which used Equinix to create a hybrid cloud environment marked by the addition of a private cloud to its Amazon Web Services-hosted public cloud infrastructure. Foursquare’s creation of a hybrid cloud environment to accommodate its growth was simplified because of the availability of Amazon Web Services Direct Connect within the Equinix data center that housed Foursquare’s private cloud. Similarly, in the case of Microsoft Azure, because the “physical infrastructure for Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute resides in Equinix’s data centers,” existing Equinix customers can reap the benefits of low latency, high throughput connections that are enabled by the connection to Azure through a data center within the Equinix ecosystem. In addition to rendering Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute available in data centers in Ashburn, VA and San Jose, Ca, Equinix plans to make the service available in data centers in London, Hong Kong and Singapore in 2014 as told to Cloud Computing Today in a phone interview with Chris Sharp, Equinix’s VP of Cloud Innovation. Equinix’s support of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute stands to intensify the cloud wars between Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services even further by bolstering the direct connection capabilities of Azure and thereby rendering the Azure platform more appealing to enterprise customers that are interested in a private, low latency, secure connection that avoids use of the public internet.

Categories: Equinix, Windows Azure

OpenStack Icehouse Supports Rolling Upgrades and Tighter Overall Integration

On April 17, the OpenStack Foundation announced the availability of the ninth release of OpenStack, the open source, Infrastructure as a Service collaboration. Codenamed Icehouse, the release boasts 350 new features, 2,902 bug fixes and contributions from over 1200 contributors. Icehouse focuses on maturity and stability as illustrated by its attention to continuous integration (CI) systems, which featured the testing of 53 third party hardware and software systems on OpenStack Icehouse. The hallmark of the Icehouse release consists of its support for rolling upgrades in OpenStack Compute Nova. With Icehouse’s support for rolling upgrades, VMs need not be shut down in order to install upgrades. Icehouse “enables deployers to upgrade controller infrastructure first, and subsequently upgrade individual compute nodes without requiring downtime of the entire cloud to complete.” As a result, upgrades can be completed with decreased system downtime, thereby rendering OpenStack significantly more appealing to enterprise customers that can afford little to no downtime for mission-critical applications and services. Icehouse also features a “discoverability” enhancement to OpenStack Swift that allows admins to obtain data about which features are supported in a specific cluster by means of an API call. On the networking front, OpenStack now contains new drivers and support for the IBM SDN-VE, Nuage, OneConvergence and OpenDaylight software defined networking protocols. Meanwhile, OpenStack Keystone identity management allows users to leverage federated authentication for “multiple identity providers” such that customers can now use the same authentication credentials for public and private OpenStack clouds.

In total, Icehouse constitutes an impressive release that focuses on improving existing functionality as opposed to deploying a slew of Beta-level functionalities. OpenStack’s press release claims “the voice of the user” is reflected in Icehouse but the real defining feature of this release is a tighter integration of OpenStack’s computing, storage, networking, identity and orchestration functionality. Just when Google Compute Engine, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure looked set to turn the battle for IaaS market share into a three horse race with some impressive functionality announcements and price cuts, the release of OpenStack Icehouse serves as a staunch reminder that OpenStack continues to innovate aggressively and systematically in its bid to assert feature parity with respect to proprietary IaaS platforms. This release, for example, announced three incubator projects in the form of OpenStack Sahara, OpenStack Ironic and OpenStack Marconi. OpenStack Sahara enables the provisioning of Hadoop clusters within an OpenStack environment, OpenStack Ironic provisions bare metal physical servers as opposed to virtual machines and OpenStack Marconi aims to deliver “highly-available messaging to web applications that run on OpenStack” in ways analogous to the Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS). The bottom line here is that OpenStack is rapidly catching up to its competitors while making a compelling case for inter-operability given the volume of contributions from Red Hat, IBM, HP, Rackspace, Mirantis, SUSE, OpenStack Foundation, eNovance, VMware and Intel in the Icehouse release. The key thing OpenStack needs now is more production-grade deployments and case studies of customer success that compel even more innovation and credibility within the IaaS space.

Categories: IaaS, OpenStack | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mirantis Partners With Parallels To Integrate OpenStack Into Parallels Automation

Mirantis recently announced a partnership Parallels whereby the Mirantis OpenStack distribution will be integrated into Parallels Automation, a hosting and cloud automation platform for cloud service providers. As a result of the partnership, cloud service providers can deliver IaaS solutions based on OpenStack to customers all over the world. The partnership stands to further accelerate OpenStack adoption by providing prospective customers with streamlined access to OpenStack provisioning and monitoring technologies. Moreover, the integration of Parallels Automation with OpenStack enables the use of parallels container technology as an additional container technology used in OpenStack deployments alongside Docker. Existing Parallels Automation customers can also enjoy the benefits of a unified billing experience for their OpenStack-based deployment that converges with billing for other hosting and cloud services they may have purchased. In conjunction with its $30M deal with Ericsson to license Mirantis OpenStack for a five year period, the Mirantis partnership with Parallels represents an aggressive move to assert the primacy of its OpenStack distribution in a climate that has seen less in the way of major announcements about OpenStack deals than might be expected given the tech industry’s overwhelming support for the open source IaaS collaboration.

Categories: Mirantis, OpenStack | Tags:

Marketing Automation Vendor Act-On Raises $42M Just Days After IBM’s Agreement To Acquire Silverpop

Marketing automation vendor Act-On Software today announced the finalization of $42 million in venture financing in a round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) with additional participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, US Venture Partners, and Voyager Capital. As a result of the funding raise, David Yuan, general partner at TCV, joins Act-On’s board of directors. Act-On intends to use the funding for all aspects of its business operations, including product development, sales, marketing and operations. The announcement of Act-On’s funding raise comes in the wake of IBM’s announcement of its agreement to acquire marketing automation firm Silverop on April 10.

IBM’s acquisition of Silverpop for an undisclosed sum builds upon Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua and Responsys, Salesforce.com’s acquisition of ExactTarget and Marketo’s IPO in May 2013. Silverpop specializes in the personalization of marketing content based on the creation of customized audience profiles derived from email, social media and web and mobile activity and boasts 8000 customers in over 50 countries including the likes of Mazda, Stonyfield Farm and Advanced Micro Devices. Atri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On, commented on the significance of IBM’s acquisition of Silverpop as follows:

The marketing automation industry has been heating up and Act-On is playing in one of the hottest markets right now…IBM acquiring Silverpop further validates the rapidly growing market and substantiates the industry as a whole. We are seeing an increasingly growing demand for marketing automation as companies are doing more online multi-channel marketing and moving beyond email. Corporate Darwinism is at work here in a fast evolving market. The companies that remain standing are the hyper-growth ones with leading edge technology, or the behemoths that are scrambling to enter the market.

Here, Chatterjee notes that the marketing automation landscape is rapidly bifurcating into two spaces marked by “behemoths” like IBM and Oracle that elected to scoop up attractive platforms such as Silverpop, and a selection of standalone vendors that differentiate themselves by consistently demonstrating their ability to innovate and respond nimbly to customer needs and the changing technology horizon in which all marketing vendors operate. Act-On definitively stands in the category of the “hyper-growth” vendors “with leading edge technology” as evinced by its growth to over 2000 customers and accolades such as the designation of leader in the Forrester Wave report on lead-to-revenue management platform vendors for Q1 of 2014. Today’s funding raise brings the total capital raised by Act-On to $74 million since it was founded in 2008. Act-On now has the luxury of innovating upon its integrated marketing platform to develop more accurate analytics and predictive modeling algorithms to drive the personalization of marketing content at both a population and individual customer level. Key challenges for the Beaverton, Oregon-based company will involve the platform’s ability to incorporate real-time analytics into its prescriptive marketing campaigns, the refinement of customer profiles as they evolve in the specific context of the customer’s relationship with specific brands and the ability to generate effective outbound content such as text messages that match the needs and predispositions of targeted consumers. With an extra $42 million in cash in hand, however, Act-On may well end up becoming one of the vendors scooped up by the “behemoths which are scrambling to enter the market,” particularly if it can consolidate its impressive traction to date and enhance its platform to the point where it becomes the undisputed leader in the marketing automation space.

Categories: Act-On, IBM, Venture Capital | Tags: , ,

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