10gen Raises $42 Million For MongoDB, Open Source NoSQL Database

10gen, creators of the NoSQL database product MongoDB, today announced the finalization of Series E funding totaling $42 million. The capital raise was led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners and Union Square Ventures. The capital will be used to enhance product development as well as to support “its rapidly growing community and user base worldwide.” Today’s announcement brings 10gen’s net funding to $73 million over the course of five rounds.

10gen’s funding raise means that the battle for NoSQL market share is likely to heat up as MongoDB attempts to consolidate its position as the leading distributor of a NoSQL database product. 10gen claims that “MongoDB is the dominant NoSQL database, with top enterprises in Telecommunications, Financial Services, Media, Government and Technology standardizing on MongoDB.” Moreover, the company boasts growth of 50% every quarter for the last five quarters. Meanwhile, the 10gen team has grown 400% since January 2011 with a majority of its 130 employees still housed within the technology and product development departments.

10gen’s CEO Dwight Merriman remarked that one of the company’s goals was to disrupt the database landscape with MongoDB:

“We want to change the database market, to make MongoDB the best way for companies to build new applications. Our goal is to give tech teams not only a database that scales to any big data level required but also helps developers be productive and more nimble. That has been the vision of the MongoDB open source community and we want to continue to help make that happen.”

As Merrimen points out, scalability represents one of the key selling points of 10gen although, ironically, scalability constitutes one of the attributes along which MongoDB intends to improve with its most recent capital raise, as reported by GigaOm. Enterprise customers of 10gen that use MongoDB include Craigslist, Disney, Foursquare and The New York Times. Craigslist uses MongoDB to archive records that number in the billions.

MongoDB is an open source NoSQL database product with commercial support and licensing options. The free version of the product is available through a GNU Affero General Public License. MongoDB competes with the likes of Amazon Web Services’s DynamoDB, CouchBase, Redis, Riak and Neo4j in addition to DataStax’s commercialized variant of Apache Cassandra NoSQL. 10gen’s recent capital raise may strongly position the company for acquisition by HP, IBM or Dell, all of which could well be interested in a robust NoSQL database, or otherwise an IPO.


OpenStack Essex Deploy Day On May 31

May 31 is OpenStack Essex Deploy Day, namely, a “hack-a-thon [that] focuses on automation for deploying OpenStack Essex with Dell Crowbar and Opscode Chef.” The event is designed to facilitate deployments of the Essex version of OpenStack by providing novices and experts alike with instruction about OpenStack Essex and Crowbar, an open source product used for deploying OpenStack and Hadoop. The event represents an opportunity for developers, administrators and users to learn more about the basics of automating deployments of OpenStack Essex with Crowbar and Chef. Given that OpenStack Essex Deploy Day focuses on automation, the event stands to raise important questions that apply to cloud automation software other than Crowbar and Chef such as Puppet. Currently, Crowbar supports Chef but not Puppet, for example.

SAP AG Acquires Ariba For $4.3 Billion

SAP AG, the German company that produces software used to manage and optimize business operations, agreed to acquire Ariba Inc. for $4.3 billion in what represents SAP’s biggest push into cloud computing. Ariba develops cloud collaboration software that facilitates the discovery of trading partners. Ariba’s commerce network empowers buyers to find suppliers, sellers to find customers and finance professionals to find better ways of managing capital. Additionally, the Ariba network facilitates the sharing of information regarding best practices and topics of interest more generally. SAP’s acquisition price of $4.3 billion amounts to $45 a share, roughly 20% more than the closing share price on Monday, May 21 of $37.64. On Tuesday, May 22, Ariba shares soared toward the acquisition share price by closing at $44.77.

According to Bloomberg, SAP’s acquisition of Ariba represents the largest enterprise software acquisition since HP’s purchase of Autonomy for north of $10 billion in August 2011. The acquisition is expected to bolster SAP’s positioning with respect to cloud-based software in relation to its nemesis, Oracle, which has also made great strides in the space over the last year. Most recently, SAP acquired SuccessFactors in December for $3.4 billion whereas Oracle purchased cloud-based talent management vendor Taleo and cloud-customer service provider, RightNow Technologies.

Pano Logic Releases System 6 To Help Enterprises Transition to Zero Client Desktop Virtualization (VDI)

Today, Pano Logic announced the release of Pano System 6 software that supports its zero client devices. The release of Pano System 6 makes it easier for enterprises to explore desktop virtualization options by means of the Pano Virtual Client, which turns PCs and laptops into virtual desktop endpoint machines. The Pano Virtual Client empowers enterprises that have made commitments to using PCs and laptops to enable desktop virtualization functionality on those machines in addition to deploying Pano Logic’s zero clients. Moreover, Pano System 6 boasts enhanced security options for remote desktop virtualization for Pano Remote users. With Pano System 6, Pano Remote now features RSA SecureID authentication using a key fob that further protects the security of remote devices that are connected to Pano Logic’s virtualization infrastructure.

Pano Logic’s CEO John Kish commented on the transition to desktop virtualization by suggesting that cloud computing was ushering in a “post-PC world” wherein “server computing” allowed enterprises to connect thin or zero clients to servers with desktop virtualization software:

“Organizations are marching steadily into a post-PC world and with gathering speed. But as with any radical change, many IT managers need a period of transition to prepare themselves, their users and their environments to support server-based computing. The Pano Virtual Client helps facilitate a staggered rollout and lets a host of new organizations immediately begin centralizing computing on the Pano System and taking advantage of the most cost-effective desktop virtualization solution on the market.”

Kish underscores how the Pano Virtual Client empowers organizations to make a gradual transition to desktop virtualization while implementing desktop virtualization immediately, nevertheless. As noted in today’s press release, desktop virtualization “eliminates endpoint support and maintenance” and paves the way for the use of zero clients that save as much 97% in power as compared to PCs. Because of their lack of processing functionality, zero clients also function more hardily in rugged manufacturing environments than devices with fans and processing devices that react adversely to harsh environmental conditions marked by heat and dust. Pano Logic’s zero client devices are differentiated from many of the other zero clients on the market because they more fully embody zero processing functionality than their competitors owing to the use of specific data transfer and communication protocols.

Amazon Web Services Enhances CloudFront With Dynamic Personalized Content

Amazon Web Services has enhanced its CloudFront content delivery web service to deliver dynamic personalized content for visitors to websites. Jeff Barr’s AWS blog post cut to the chase with an explanation of the technical stakes of dynamic personalized. After noting that web content is uniquely identified through a URL, Barr begins his post with a description of query strings and how servers delivering a request to a website can render personalized information about a user as follows:

A URL can also contain a query string. This takes the form of a question mark (“?”) and additional information that the server can use to personalize the request. Suppose that we had a server at http://www.example.com, and that can return information about a particular user by invoking a PHP script that accepts a user name as an argument, with URLs like:

http://www.example.com/userinfo.php?jeff or http://www.example.com/userinfo.php?tina.

Up until now, CloudFront did not use the query string as part of the key that it uses to identify the data that it stores in its edge locations. We’re changing that today, and you can now use CloudFront to speed access to your dynamic data at our current low rates, making your applications faster and more responsive, regardless of where your users are located.

In other words, it is now possible for websites delivering content through CloudFront to deliver personalized content depending on the specifics of the URL accessing that website. Because CloudFront supports use of query strings that may identify attributes of a user’s location such as its city, weather, population, etc., websites can now cache and subsequently deliver content specific to types of users. The other notable innovation Amazon Web Services has rolled out with this release features the ability to deliver content from “multiple origin servers” such as Amazon S3, EC2 and third party websites.

Assessing OpenStack, CloudStack And Amazon Web Services: An Interview With Floyd Strimling Of Zenoss

In recent weeks, speculation about the commercial viability of OpenStack as a non-proprietary alternative to Amazon Web Services has mounted given the launch of the OpenStack Foundation, the release of the Essex version of its code and the deployment of Beta versions of OpenStack-based public clouds by Rackspace and HP . The debate about OpenStack’s readiness for the enterprise has been rendered all the more intense because of Citrix’s surprise decision to open-source CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation, thereby creating a competitor to OpenStack overnight. Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services continues its relentless unfurling of feature after feature, and product after product onto its cloud computing platform in an effort to become the web’s one stop shopping ground for cloud software deployment, whether that involves IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, big data, cloud automation, an online marketplace or some combination thereof.

In an effort to obtain industry insight into the three horse battle between CloudStack, OpenStack and Amazon Web Services, I spoke to Floyd Strimling, Technical Evangelist and the Senior Director of Marketing & Community at Zenoss, a leading provider of management software for physical, virtual, and cloud-based IT infrastructures. As elaborated in his responses to the questions below, Strimling noted that OpenStack is tremendously promising but faces multiple challenges in the form of competition from CloudStack, the “staggering” rate of innovation of Amazon Web Services, the danger of Android-like fragmentation within the OpenStack community, and the technical challenge of delivering a “stable, flexible, and useable release that is ready for production deployments.” Strimling also identified “Red Hat as the most likely vendor to succeed in commercializing OpenStack” but refused to count out Piston Cloud Computing and Nebula from the list of candidates that will deliver successful commercialized versions of OpenStack.

Cloud Computing Today: How would you describe the place of OpenStack and CloudStack in relation to Amazon Web Services? Technically, for example, how would you compare CloudStack to OpenStack?

Floyd Strimling: While it is very tempting to compare OpenStack and CloudStack to Amazon Web Services, it is really not a productive exercise. OpenStack/CloudStack are enabling technologies that are used to build private and public clouds while AWS is itself a public cloud. Instead, you’ll need to compare the implementations of OpenStack or CloudStack to AWS and see how they fare. Thankfully, we’ll have that opportunity as two high profile OpenStack public clouds, Rackspace and HP, are released. While most of the technical elite ponders the future of OpenStack, the fact is most AWS customers are less worried about the enabling technologies underlying AWS. Instead, customers are focused on the services AWS offers, the features they provide, and the usability and stability of the solution. This puts Amazon in an extremely powerful position as they are focused on their own path and vision while essential obfuscating the underlying technology.

With regards to the place of OpenStack and CloudStack within the cloud market, they are extremely important as the represent a disruptive force that is open, disruptive, innovative, yet unproven.

I’m not about to step into the emotionally charged arguments of CloudStack vs. OpenStack. It’s really the difference between a commercially polished solution and one that has great promise. In the end, the needs of the users themselves will determine which is the superior solution as well as risks with each product.

Cloud Computing Today: As everyone knows, OpenStack has the potential to significantly impact the balance of cloud computing market share, particularly as it relates to IaaS. What dangers do you foresee for OpenStack in the coming year or two?

Floyd Strimling: While OpenStack has the potential to impact the balance of cloud computing market share, the questions are all about execution. Additionally, OpenStack has plenty of competition within CloudStack, vCloud, Eucalyptus, and more. Will OpenStack clouds have the chance to compete against established public clouds such as Amazon and Microsoft? If so, how?

The reality is OpenStack is full of large and powerful companies with competing agendas. Does Rackspace want to “share” the cloud business with HP or dominate? Does Red Hat want to share the commercialization of OpenStack with the likes of upstart Piston Cloud? This leads these competitors to differentiate their solutions and has the potential to create fragmentation of OpenStack a la Google’s Android. While each provider starts with the same core solution, they innovate around it via features, integrations, or other capabilities.

With that said, the biggest danger to OpenStack may be its ability to create a stable and mature release for its “customers.” After all, OpenStack’s customers are gunning for Amazon and they certainly aren’t standing still. OpenStack must resist the temptation to boil the ocean and instead focus on providing a stable, flexible, and useable release that is ready for production deployments. Time will tell if the OpenStack community is up for the task.

Cloud Computing Today: How do you foresee OpenStack’s most significant technical challenge? What must OpenStack achieve in order to become a credible alternative to Amazon Web Services?

Floyd Strimling: Perhaps the most significant technical challenge for OpenStack is building a commercially viable solution that satisfies the needs of its members while keeping pace with its competitors. It’s a daunting task to know that you have competition from other open source projects as well as public cloud providers.

Again, as OpenStack is an enabling technology, it needs a commercially viable offering that is in production to compete against Amazon Web Services. However, this is only the first step. These OpenStack clouds must have the features, availability, ease of use, scale, etc. to stand up to AWS. The challenge is as OpenStack struggles for technical parity with AWS, AWS is moving forward at a staggering pace offering innovative solutions with seemingly endless price reductions.

Cloud Computing Today: Which vendor or vendors do you see as most likely to succeed in commercializing OpenStack?

Floyd Strimling: I see Red Hat as the most likely vendor to succeed in commercializing OpenStack. After all, Red Hat has done this before and they finally are focused on the cloud. However, Red Hat has plenty of work to do to make this a reality. Additionally, an intriguing partnership of sorts would be if Red Hat and Rackspace created a joint offering. Red Hat would provide the enterprise or private cloud solution while Rackspace would handle the public cloud. In essence, this would give customers the ability to create hybrid environments backed by proven commercially viable companies.

Additionally, I wouldn’t count out Piston Cloud or Nebula as they offer unique solutions that are based on OpenStack. Piston’s ability to utilize a customer’s existing network hardware, such as Arista Networks, to build a secure, open, and easy to deploy cloud is a very compelling solution. In contrast, Nebula’s appliance-based solution offers a simple way to build an OpenStack cloud that appeals to those that prefer hardware-based solutions.


Floyd Strimling is a Technical Evangelist and the Senior Director of Marketing & Community at Zenoss. Floyd has been following the Cloud computing/autonomic computing (and predecessors), datacenter automation, virtualization, networking and security areas now for over a decade. Floyd also writes on technology trends at his personal blog, The Platen Report.

Zenoss is a leading provider of management software for physical, virtual, and cloud-based IT infrastructures. Over 35,000 organizations worldwide have deployed Zenoss to manage their networks, servers, virtual devices, storage, and cloud infrastructure, gaining complete visibility and predictability into their IT operations. Customers include Rackspace, VMware, Hosting.com, LinkedIn, Motorola and SunGard.

HP Launches Public Beta Of IaaS Cloud Based On OpenStack

Today, HP launched a public beta of its public cloud as part of its HP Converged Cloud solution that features traditional IT, private clouds, managed clouds and public clouds. Designed on the OpenStack open source cloud operating system, HP’s public cloud avoids vendor lock-in by giving customers the option of transferring their deployments to another OpenStack vendor for any reason. The HP public cloud Beta currently features the following components:

Public Beta (pricing is based on a utility model analogous to Amazon Web Services)

HP Cloud Compute: scalable virtual servers on demand.
HP Cloud Object Storage: scalable, enterprise-grade storage.
HP Cloud Content Delivery Network: low latency and optimized content delivery by means of a CDN powered by Akamai.

Private Beta (you must be an existing HP Customer to sample these products)

HP Cloud Block Storage: high performance, persistent storage
HP Cloud Relational Database for MySQL: a web-based service that provides access to a MySQL database featuring “automated backups, database snapshots, automatic host replacement, and multiple availability zones.”

Out of the gate, almost 40 companies have already expressed intentions to partner with HP’s Cloud Services including a cluster of PaaS vendors such as ActiveState, CloudBees, Corent Technology, CumuLogic, Engine Yard and Gigaspaces. Bart Copeland, President and CEO of ActiveState, elaborated on ActiveState’s Stackato PaaS support for HP’s cloud services by noting:

Adding support for HP Cloud Services to Stackato reinforces our vision of providing the PaaS layer in the cloud that supports any underlying infrastructure, which will greatly benefit enterprise developers and IT/DevOps by giving them the options and flexibility they want. Those enterprise developers and IT/DevOps need good options for building secure yet flexible cloud infrastructure—HP Cloud Services allow enterprises access to world-class products and services, and is going to be a clear alternative to Amazon Web Services.

Here, Copeland envisions HP Cloud Services as having the potential to parallel Amazon Web Services even as it is built on open source cloud technology in the form of OpenStack. HP’s press release made the comparison between HP Cloud Services and Amazon Web Services stronger by hinting at an HP marketplace that would allow customers to tap into its rich partner ecosystem in order to build additional functionality into their own deployments on the HP Cloud platform. Such a platform would parallel the recently announced Amazon Web Services Marketplace and render the head to head comparison between HP Cloud Services and Amazon Web Services even more compelling.

For now, however, the important thing worth noting about HP’s launch of its Beta public cloud is that OpenStack has secured an important victory as the foundation for what promises to become one of the world’s largest, enterprise-grade public clouds. Moreover, the deep support that HP’s Cloud Services platform has secured at such an early stage underscores the possibility that HP’s Cloud Services may parallel Amazon Web Services not only in its inherent functionality but also in the richness of its partner ecosystem.