Pano Logic Extends Virtualization To Google Chrome With Pano System For Cloud

Today, Pano Logic launched Pano System for Cloud, a software infrastructure that brings the Google Chrome browsing experience to zero client devices characterized by the lack of a processor, storage, memory and operating system. By using Pano System for Cloud, enterprises can centralize computing resources within a data center and deliver a computing option to zero clients based on Google Chrome’s ability to access SaaS applications or other web-based applications. Users leverage the familiar Google Chrome browsing experience to access web-based applications such as Google apps or the Microsoft Office 365 suite of online applications. Geared towards organizations that lack the need for a full-blown Windows environment, Pano System for Cloud empowers users to take advantage of the increasing richness of the SaaS ecosystem of productivity applications.

Key benefits of the Pano System for Cloud include the following:

• Cost savings related to the eliminated need for software licensing, SAN, NAS and endpoint security
• Reduced costs related to use of Pano’s Zero Client
• Simplified management console for IT administrators
• Increased security because end user devices lack storage resources and an operating system that is vulnerable to attack by rogue code

The overall vision for the Pano System for Cloud appears below:

Pano System For Cloud

The release of the Pano System for Cloud comes hot upon the heels of its May 16 launch of Pano System 6 software that featured the Pano Virtual Client, which turns PCs and laptops into virtual desktop endpoint machines. The Pano System for Cloud represents a low-cost “extension of the core technology in Pano System for VDI. Pano’s VDI platform is a complete end-to-end, hardware-and-software virtual desktop solution that independently interoperates with all three leading hypervisors (vSphere, XenServer, Hyper-V) and their management systems (VMware View, XenDesktop, Microsoft SCVMM).”

Meanwhile, the broader market for desktop virtualization offerings is beginning to explode after several years of nominal growth with veteran players like Dell and Citrix variously expanding their portfolios with products such as DVS Enterprise, DVS Simplified Appliance and DVS Simplified Desktop as a Service, announced in late March.


New Relic Monitors Application Speed With New Index and Dashboard

On Tuesday, New Relic launched an Application Speed Index that measures the performance of SaaS-based applications based on user data. The application allows organizations to compare “application performance, end user response time, application availability and error rate with that of their industry peers in real-time and trending over time.” New Relic’s Application Speed Index features an Application Speed Index Leaderboard that displays the fastest applications using New Relic by industry.

Customers that opt-in are compared against their competitors in one of the following categories:

• Blog
• CMS/Wiki
• Consumer Internet
• Ecommerce
• Marketing Site
• Mobile App
• Online Training & Collaboration
• SaaS (B2B)
• SaaS (Consumer)
• Social Networking
• Streaming Media
• Online Games

Participating customers receive a histogram of metrics such as end user response time and application performance, delivered daily, as measured against their peers. The application is enabled by big data aggregated from more than 25,000 New Relic customers and will be refreshed daily in a dashboard format.

New Relic plans to leverage its Application Speed Index to capitalize on its position as one of the leaders in data repositories about SaaS applications. Meanwhile, the Application Speed Index and its accompanying dashboards promise to inject volumes of data about application performance into the public domain in ways that are virtually guaranteed to affect the design and technical architecture of SaaS applications, in addition to igniting the debate about best practices for measuring application performance.

Amazon Web Services June 2012 Outage Explained

Amazon Web Services recently released an explanation of the outage that affected a single Availability Zone in the US East Region (Northern Virginia) on June 14. The outage affected customers such as Quora, Heroku and Hipchat. The chronology below represents a summary distilled from Amazon Web Services’s more complete explanation of the outage. The root cause of the outage was a power failure coupled with an incorrectly configured generator that was unable to handle the load once EC2 instances and EBS volumes failed over to it.

June 14, 2012 to June 15, 2012: US East Region (Northern Virginia). All times listed are PDT.

•8:44 PM: Single Availability Zone in the US East Region transfers to generator power after a cable fault in the power distribution system.
•8:53 PM: A generator that had been used to manage the power failure overheated. Affected EC2 instances and EBS volumes failed over to their secondary back-up power source given the failure of the generator.
•8:57 PM: One of the circuit breakers in this secondary back-up power grid failed due to an incorrect configuration. Affected EC2 instances and EBS volumes now had no primary, secondary or tertiary power source.
•10:19 PM: Generator was repaired and restarted.
•10:50 PM: Majority of EC2 instances and EBS volumes recovered.
•1:05 AM: 99% of all EBS volumes that were in the process of an “inflight write” were brought back in an “impaired” state that allowed customers to verify the consistency of the volume and subsequently resume using it.

Concurrent with the above:
•8:57PM until 10:40PM: Vitiated ability of customers to launch new EC2 instances backed by EBS.

Kudos once again to Amazon’s transparency although its failure to test and correctly configure its back-up power infrastructure is disappointing.

Cascading 2.0 Streamlines Hadoop-based Big Data Analysis And Development

This week, Concurrent Inc. announced the release of Cascading 2.0, an application framework that streamlines the process of creating Hadoop applications for Java developers. An open source alternative to MapReduce, the product provides an API and framework for constructing complex data processing tasks within a Hadoop cluster. Cascading features an abstraction platform wherein data captured from raw data sources is channeled into “pipes” that execute data analysis jobs and processes. In combination with data sources, “pipes” and data sources and data sinks are referred to as a “data flow.” Flows can converge into a “cascade” that can be managed and scheduled using Cascading 2.0’s scheduling system. Cascading 2.0 also allows developers to detach applications by running them in memory and testing them on smaller data sets.

The Cascading 2.0 API also empowers developers to:

• Model and explore structured and unstructured data
• Transfer applications from development to production environments
• Use familiar Java languages to develop applications and processes within a Hadoop cluster without learning MapReduce

Cascading is licensed under version 2.0 of an Apache Software License. Concurrent’s CEO Chris Wensel elaborated on Cascading 2.0’s value proposition for organizations building Hadoop-based applications as follows:

Building applications on Hadoop, despite its growing adoption in the enterprise, is notoriously difficult. We are driving the future of application development and management on Hadoop, by allowing enterprises to quickly extract meaningful information from large amounts of distributed data and better understand the business implications. We make it easy for developers to build powerful data processing applications for Hadoop, without requiring months spent learning about the intricacies of MapReduce.

As Wensel suggests, Cascading stands poised to play a pivotal role in the big data revolution by transforming the way in which developers create and manage Hadoop-based applications. With enterprises such as Etsy, Razorfish, Trulia and Twitter using Cascading for data analysis and discovery, Cascading has garnered an early foothold in the market for software that streamlines development. Expect enterprises to deploy software such as Cascading 2.0 as developers and data scientists gravitate toward simplified ways of managing data processing in a Hadoop cluster.

Jaspersoft Takes Early Lead In BI Market For PaaS

One of the lesser commented on attributes of the cloud computing revolution is the way in which it has spawned a constellation of supporting verticals that deliver software for optimizing IaaS and PaaS deployments. IaaS, in particular, has precipitated the birth of verticals such as cloud automation, cloud security and cloud management, for example. Business intelligence (BI) for cloud platforms represents another emerging vertical that lies poised to explode given the growth of IaaS and PaaS, though in this case, one vendor appears head and shoulders ahead of the pack. Despite the relative immaturity of the market for BI products that are compatible with cloud-based platforms, San Francisco-based Jaspersoft has emerged as the early market leader as measured by its strategy of seeding PaaS and IaaS platforms with open source editions of its BI software.

In 2012 alone, Jaspersoft finalized deals with Amazon Web Services, Red Hat and VMware’s Cloud Foundry to variously facilitate access to its suite of BI products to users of each of the respective cloud platforms as follows:

• In January, Jaspersoft announced a partnership with Red Hat to integrate its BI solution on Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS platform. The partnership empowers developers seeking to add reporting and analytics functionality to their applications to seamlessly integrate Jaspersoft’s BI suite, complete with its support for Big Data platforms such as MongoDB.

• In April, Jaspersoft teamed with Amazon Web Services to offer JasperReports Server Community Edition on the Amazon Web Services marketplace. The agreement means that developers building applications on IaaS and PaaS platforms hosted on the Amazon Web Services infrastructure can integrate an open source version of Jaspersoft into their applications with a few clicks of the mouse.

• In May, Jaspersoft announced an agreement with VMware’s Cloud Foundry to integrate its BI platform with the Cloud Foundry PaaS. The deal features the integration of an open source version of Jaspersoft with Cloud Foundry that supports both MySQL and big data infrastructures such as MongoDB.

The business development strategy behind each of these deals is relatively transparent: streamline the access had by developers to Jaspersoft with the goal of making Jaspersoft the default choice of a BI application for developers building applications in the cloud. Jaspersoft’s Karl Van den Bergh, Vice President of Product and Alliances, elaborated on Jaspersoft’s cloud business development strategy in a conversation with Cloud Computing Today as follows:

We are currently running BI for PaaS in RedHat’s OpenShift and VMware’s CloudFoundry. However, we have always been a vendor-agnostic company and plan to pair with other PaaS vendors in the future to provide developers with a wide variety of options for developing applications in the cloud. Our strategy is to become the de facto BI service inside of PaaS so that any developer building cloud applications will use Jaspersoft to deliver reporting and analytics to their end users. Today, we are focused primarily on developer mindshare, which is why we are making our open source server available for free. Later, we will look to monetize as the PaaS offerings themselves move to commercial offerings.

Van den Bergh notes that PaaS represents the target business development platform of choice for Jaspersoft and that the broader strategy consists of becoming the “de facto BI Service inside of PaaS.” Currently, Jaspersoft’s main focus consists of capturing “developer mindshare” through the dissemination of open source offerings that can be commercialized as the relationships between users and Jaspersoft deepens.

Jaspersoft’s targeting of PaaS constitutes an astute business development strategy for two reasons: (1) PaaS lies “on the cusp of several years of strategic growth, leading to innovation and likely breakthroughs in technology and business use of all of cloud computing” according to Gartner and other industry analysts such as the 451 Group; (2) Platform as a Service represents a logical infrastructure for the seeding of BI software simply because the application will effectively become just another appendage to the PaaS infrastructure: in other words, in addition to a pre-configured stack for Java or Ruby on Rails, the stack now comes loaded with Jaspersoft as well. The key question for Jaspersoft in the next few months will be how many other PaaS and IaaS deals it can finalize in order to bolster its argument as the de facto PaaS BI vendor of choice. The other question concerns the business development acumen of competitors like Business Objects, Cognos, Information Builders and MicroStrategy that are likely to start crashing the Jaspersoft PaaS party in the latter half of 2012.