On July 8, DigitalOcean announced the finalization of $83M in Series B funding led by Access Industries, with additional participation from Andreessen Horowitz, the leader of DigitalOcean’s Series A funding round. The funding will be used to accelerate product development and build out the company’s team. Since its inception in 2012, more than 500,000 developers have deployed over 6 million droplets of DigitalOcean server capacity in various sizes. The company boasts the capability to provision a server in less than 55 seconds on a SSD hard drive by means of a highly intuitive user interface that streamlines provisioning and deployment. Today’s capital raise brings the total funding raised by DigitalOcean to $123.4M and underscores the success of the company’s mission to streamline and simplify infrastructure deployment for developers. In a blog post, the company noted that it intends to work on bringing the simplicity of provisioning infrastructure to deploying and managing production-grade environments in a sign that DigitalOcean intends to expand and enrich its product offerings while continuing to scale to accommodate its explosive growth.
Without a formal announcement, Google has launched a repository for storing code named Google Cloud Source Repositories. Currently in Beta, the repository allows users to store application-related code on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Users can set up a Git remote and perform push, pull, clone, log and other operations. The platform also allows users to connect a GitHub code repository to other code repositories such as GitHub or BitBucket. Additionally, the Google Cloud Source Repository features a Source Code Editor as well as integration with the Google Cloud Debugger. While the Google Cloud Source Repository hardly aspires to replace code repositories such as GitHub anytime in the near future, it represents yet another feather in the cap of the Google Cloud Platform in the form of a repository that enables customers to store, debug and deploy their code within the same platform. As such, the Google Cloud Source Repositories constitutes yet another moment in the evolution of the Google Cloud Platform into a one stop shopping ground for application development and hosting. Google Cloud Source Repositories participates in a larger ecosystem of code repositories for major IaaS platforms alongside the likes of the Amazon Web Services Git repository CodeCommit and Microsoft Azure’s Visual Studio Online service. The beta release of the platform currently allows for 500 MB of storage although developers should expect Google to monetize storage allocations for code in forthcoming months.
Microsoft recently announced support for Docker and Kubernetes technology on the Azure platform. Docker is an open source technology that enables developers to “build, ship, and run distributed applications” by means of container technology that facilitates application migration and deployment. Meanwhile, Kubernetes is an open source cluster management platform that can be used to deploy Docker containers. Azure customers can now use the Kubernetes platform to create and publish Docker containers to the Azure storage platform. In addition, Azure customers can deploy and configure Azure clusters using container images from Azure Storage or the Docker Hub. The Microsoft Azure team also built the Azure Kubernetes Visualizer which provides developers with a visual representation of the status of Kubernetes when managing Docker technology as illustrated below:
The Azure Kubernetes Visualizer is intended to “visually demonstrate some Docker and Kubernetes concepts such as containers, pods, labels, minions, and replication controllers.” Given that Kubernetes was open-sourced by Google in June, Microsoft’s decision to support Kubernetes and Docker represents a stunning example of the way in which container technology promises to drive product development as it relates to Infrastructure as a Service cloud computing. Amazon Web Services, for example, has yet to embrace Docker technology, and given its history of ignoring open source projects with the exception of Apache Hadoop, is likely to continue to withholding support for Docker. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s decision to support Kubernetes in conjunction with Google and its IaaS Google Compute Engine opens the door for the possibility of increased inter-operability between Azure and GCE, and subsequently promises to assert the criticality of Docker and Kubernetes to conversations about cloud computing inter-operability. The real winner from Azure’s support for Kubernetes and Docker, however, is Docker, whose container technology is likely to continue skyrocketing in adoption and affecting market dynamics not only within the IaaS space, but also the Platform as a Service (PaaS) landscape given its ability to reduce the gap between application development and operations by streamlining application migration across different cloud environments.
On Thursday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced it had become the first cloud vendor to obtain provisional authorization from the Department information Systems Agency (DISA) to handle DISA data requiring levels 3-5 security clearance under the DISA Cloud Security Model (DISA CSM). Because AWS had already achieved authorization to manage data for levels 1-2 security clearance as of March, Thursday’s announcement means that AWS can now handle all unclassified data given that level 6 security clearance applies to classified data. The DISA CSM imposes even more restrictions on cloud-based data than the FedRAMP certification program. Department of Defense Agencies can now leverage the capabilities of the AWS GovCloud more quickly given the expanded scope of its authorization to handle a greater range of unclassified data. As the very first cloud vendor to obtain DISA clearance for levels 1-5 of unclassified data, AWS stands poised to strengthen its market share advantage in the battle for government-based cloud services given its receipt of a hotly contested contract for $600M and leadership with respect to obtaining FedRAMP certification.
Rackspace recently announced details of a managed cloud service plan that gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of managed services for their cloud deployments. The managed cloud service plan comes in two forms: (1) managed infrastructure, which provides advisory services regarding infrastructure set-up and architecture; and (2) managed operations, which enables Rackspace engineers to access customer servers to tweak code as necessary. The managed infrastructure and operations offerings represent Rackspace’s attempt to differentiate itself from competitors such as Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure, both of which demand greater responsibility on the part of developers and IT staff to provision, configure, deploy and manage Infrastructure as a Service environments. The introduction of the managed cloud service pivots on Rackspace’s famed “fanatical support” by building on the company’s strengths as a leader in consultative support for IaaS deployment and management. Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes summarized the new managed cloud offerings as follows:
Our basic level, called Managed Infrastructure, offers Fanatical Support with much more managed service than do the more-expensive, premium service levels offered by many of our competitors. Our higher service level, called Managed Operations, provides even more managed services, up the stack into the support of application level — addressing customer needs that most of our rivals won’t even touch.
Components of the managed infrastructure offering include architectural advice, support for workload migration and scaling, launch assistance and round the clock availability of cloud engineers to troubleshoot and resolve issues. Managed operations additionally delivers support for operating systems, web servers, database servers, cloud databases, cloud backup and monitoring and user provisioning and permissions. Rackspace’s managed infrastructure offering is priced at $.005/GB, assuming a $50 minimum per month while managed operations is priced at $.02/GB, with a $500 monthly minimum. In addition to its managed cloud service, Rackspace announced details of an expanded program for developers and more transparent pricing. Altogether, Rackspace’s new managed cloud offering is likely to give it some short term publicity and inject new life into its ailing IaaS positioning, but the San Antonio-based company will need a deeper transformation if it intends to seriously compete with the big players in the IaaS space, particularly given that competitors such as Amazon Web Services already partner with other vendors to offer managed services comparable to those revealed by Rackspace last Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Virtustream announced the release of xStream 3.0, the cloud management platform that allows cloud service providers to create public clouds and enterprises to create private clouds. Based on Virtustream’s proprietary µVM™ technology, the xStream platform empowers customers to create secure, IaaS environments for mission-critical applications that can tolerate little or no system downtime. Virtustream’s xStream technology is engineered to minimize costs associated with migrating applications to the cloud and streamline the day to day management of the subsequent cloud deployment. Available as both software and an appliance, the xStream platform has evolved in its latest release to target government, cloud service provider and enterprise customers with stringent demands for availability and compliance. xStream 3.0 features enhanced enterprise risk management (ERM) functionality that allows customers to implement ERM solutions not only for an organization’s IT infrastructure, but also for the organization as a whole. In addition, xStream 3.0 delivers support for OpenStack, enhanced data protection functionality, application performance management monitoring tools and predictive analytics that optimize infrastructure management. With this release, Virtustream announces itself as a major player in the market for production-grade cloud deployments that require rich and nuanced ERM and data security functionality. As ERM implementation proliferates in verticals outside of financial services and the government sector, expect cloud technologies such as xStream to enjoy increasing adoption as a result of its suite of tools for compliance, data protection, application monitoring and infrastructure optimization. xStream’s support of both OpenStack and VMware represents yet another feather in its cap whose importance will reveal itself as OpenStack technology continues to assert its imprint on the IaaS space in conjunction with OpenStack’s maturation.
The screenshot below of the xStream management console illustrates the platform’s ability to track resource consumption, storage and costs:
On Monday, IBM opened a new SoftLayer datacenter in Hong Kong as part of a $1.2 billion investment to strengthen its cloud services in Asia and all over the world. The Hong datacenter represents the first of 15 datacenters that IBM plans to open worldwide this year, bringing its total fleet of centers to 40 by the end of the year. Separate from the Hong Kong datacenter, IBM currently has 13 SoftLayer data centers and 12 from IBM. The Hong Kong data center has capacity for over 15,000 servers and complements IBM’s presence in Asia by way of the Singapore datacenter and “network points of presence” in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. Moreover, it positions SoftLayer to serve the entrepreneurial community’s cloud services needs in Hong Kong. IBM intends to deploy data centers in all major geographic regions and financial centers worldwide, including plans to extend its cloud services presence to Africa and the Middle East in 2015.