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News from The Cloud: NetSuite and that vision thing

31st Jul 2009
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A regular round-up of stories about web-based applications from our new sister site,

NetSuite and that vision thing

31 July - More belligerent talk from NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson on this week: “It’s pretty clear that while SAP and the rest of the industry may not have figured out how to deliver mission-critical applications from the Cloud, NetSuite certainly has.”

Nelson backed his latest claim with the addition of 270 new customers in the past quarter and the company’s inclusion in Gartner’s top 10 listing of ERP software vendors.

“In the financial management systems study, NetSuite was the only SaaS provider in the top 10 - or the top 25, for that matter. And the Gartner data named NetSuite by far the fastest-growing vendor in the top 10 list,” Nelson added.

Netsuite recently fleshed out its portfolio for the professional services market with the acquisition of QuickArrow to go alongside last year's purchase of OpenAir. “We believe services industries are key to economic growth in developed nations and we have the best product set and industry expertise to meet the needs of this underserved and strategic vertical,” said Nelson.

“With our vision of the NetSuite Services Resource Planning addition or SRP, we are well on our way to transforming how services business are run and in much the same way we hope to transform that industry as the economics of running manufacturing enterprises was changed in the ’90s with the advent of ERP and MRP systems.”

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Security as a Service can cut security costs in half

27 July - PC security provider, McAfee has exhorted the advantages of ‘Security as a Service’ systems, claiming it can save customers up 50% on average.

The SaaS portfolio from McAfee covers a range of products, including endpoint protection, Web protection, email protection and vulnerability assessments as a service, linked to global threat intelligence from Artemis, TrustedSource and SiteAdvisor.

"Our customers have told us they want flexibility in their delivery options," said Marc Olesen, SVP and General Manager, McAfee Software-as-a-Service. "It is clear that IT resources need to focus on initiatives that are business critical, while consolidating vendors. Bottom line, McAfee is committed to making it easy for customers to maximize the value of our solutions and help them save money through Security-as-a-service."

Industry analysts estimate the worldwide security-as-a-service market was valued at approximately $643 million in 2007 and is forecasted to grow to more than $3 billion in 2012.

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NetSuite adds to professional services portfolio

23 July - NetSuite is bolstering its professional services capabilities through the $20m acquisition of QuickArrow, a US-based developer of Cloud Computing software for professional firms. QuickArrow will become part of NetSuite's OpenAir business, which was formed from the acquisition of OpenAir last year. The deal brings the NetSuite OpenAir customer base up to more than 80,000.

"Underlying both the QuickArrow and the OpenAir acquisition is NetSuite's strategic commitment to lead the business application revolution taking place in the services sector," said OpenAir CEO Morris Panner. "Together, we have the resources and the platform to realiae a vision to serve the global services economy of tomorrow."

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HP beefs up Cloud storage strategy with IBrix deal

21 July - Hewlett-Packard (HP) is to buy IBrix, a maker of file-serving software, to boost its Cloud Computing infrastructure offerings.

Founded in 2000, Ibrix has 53 employees and more than 175 corporate customers. HP already uses the company's technology within its StorageWorks storage area networks, ProLiant servers, BladeSystems and ProCurve Ethernet switches and management software. To bolster its Cloud Computing strategy, HP will integrate IBrix into its Technology Solutions Group.

IBrix's key product Fusion is based on a scalable parallel file system that can handle data-intensive application environments involving petabytes of data.

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Azure Clouds float onto Microsoft horizon

14 July - Microsoft elaborated on the role The Cloud will play in its strategic direction and lifted the lid on pricing for its Windows Azure Cloud Computing platform at the recent Worldwide Partners Conference.

When it launches in November, the infrastructure will be available  in the US, Australia, Japan, India and most of Europe. Microsoft will offer three pricing models for Azure: consumption-based pricing, in which people pay for what they use; subscription-based pricing; and volume licensing to integrate existing enterprise agreements with Microsoft into Azure.

Consumption-based pricing, will cost 12 cents per hour for compute infrastructure; plus 15 cents per gigabyte for storage; and 10 cents per 10,000 transactions for storage purposes. For the SQL Azure Cloud database, Microsoft is charging $9.99 for a Web Edition, which comprises up to a one-gigabyte relational database; and $99.99 for a Business Edition, which holds up to a 10-gigabyte relational database.

"The Cloud is not just an infrastructure play. It's the combination of infrastructure and applications, and Microsoft brings those together," said Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools business.

“To fully take advantage, applications will need to be built in a way so they can scale out as a part of The Cloud. And most apps today are not built that way. So, there's a great opportunity as we move to The Cloud to build applications that take advantage of the scale-out, and it's a large part of what Microsoft does.”

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Bubble bursts among customers over SaaS promise, warns Gartner

8 July - A survey by research firm Gartner confirmed that Cloud Computing is entering the mainstream, but also found that many users feel that the software as a service (SaaS) promise has not been realised.

Gartner found that 58% of the 333 US and UK organisations surveyed last December plan to maintain current levels of SaaS for the next two years. Just under a third (32%) plan to expand, while 5% will decrease levels and 5% will discontinue altogether. Overall, the user organisations were "somewhat satisfied" with SaaS, with an average score 4.74 on a 7-point scale.

“Our research findings did not exactly provide a ringing endorsement of SaaS. In fact I would go as far as to say that satisfaction levels among SaaS users are little more than lukewarm,” said Ben Pring, research vice president at Gartner. “Although macroeconomic factors would seem to favour SaaS providers, almost two thirds of respondents said that they planned only to maintain their current levels of SaaS in the next two years.”

Gartner urged Cloud suppliers to focus on delivering lower total cost of ownership (TCO), making deployments easier deployments and providing more robust integration strategies to let customers operate within heterogeneous computing environments.

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A Warrior cry for Cloud Computing at Cisco

6 July - Cisco Systems has argued its established enterprise and service provider installed base makes it an ideal partner for Cloud Computing vendors.  The case was made at the company’s Cisco Live conference, recently held in San Francisco.  Specifically, the company’s Unified Computing Systems (UCS), which combines multiple functions including networking, storage, and computing, is being positioned as an architectural foundation on which to build private Clouds.

Chief Technology Officer, Padmasree Warrior announced: “Cisco's strategy is to play in the SaaS, platform as a service and the IT foundation layer, [but] we do not have plans to become an IT-as-a-service provider. In other words, we will enable service providers by supplying them with infrastructure rather than provide compute as a service.

"Having a great portfolio of products gets a seat at the table to talk to our customers," Warrior said. "Once we do that, then they expect us to start bringing groups of products together, build them and test them so they work together, and then add technical services on top of that. Once we have the architecture leadership, we then become the de facto standard in the industry and we become a platform leader.”

Chief Executive John Chambers committed Cisco to continued expansion into new services, including a TelePresence product for homes in the next two years. "On the one hand, make no mistake about it, we will stay focused on our core competencies, switching and routing. You will see a constant flood of product capabilities and directions coming in these areas," Chambers said. "At the same time, we realise that the network has evolved."

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Rackspace hit by outages

2 July - Rackspace’s Dallas-Fort Worth server facility was struck by a series of crashes on Monday afternoon. With its own servers out of action, the web hosting company communicated via Twitter and its support blog. “These power interruptions were the result of a range of power infrastructure issues,” it explained.

Initially one of Rackspace's nine data centres lost power for several hours. The disruption filtered through to its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cluster which went down Monday afternoon, was restored and went down again about an hour later.

“Although this outage only affected a portion of our customers in one of our nine global data centers, we consider any outage to be unacceptable,” the company said.
Rackspace guarantees 100% network and infrastructure uptime, but will credit customer accounts 5% of the monthly fee for each 30 minutes of infrastructure downtime, up to 100% of the monthly fee for  affected servers.

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CODA teams up with financial outsourcer Corfino

1 July - CODA and Corefino have teamed up to provide a Cloud-based service called Corefino 2go that combines CODA’s online accounting system with California-based Corefino’s financial outsourcing services.

The all-in-one system is available immediately via monthly subscription and can be up and running within a month, the partners claimed. Characterised as a “CFO’s Strategic Accelerator”, the service is aimed at mid-market chief financial officers who do not have the budgets to go with “Big 3” enterprise software companies.

Corefino runs a number of financial process outsourcing systems to carry out routine financial processes such as period ends, consolidation and statutory reporting. The outsourcer provides the workforce, along with online tools and reports to help clients stay in control. CODA 2go, built on Salesforce’s platform, will now operate as the accounting engine for Corefino 2go.

 “By partnering with Corefino, we’ll be able to reach new markets in an even more powerful way. We are combining the leading enterprise cloud computing platform in with Coda’s best-of-breed financials and Corefino’s best practices to deliver an entire family of accounting and financial solutions completely in the cloud – something we believe no one else is offering to the mid-market,” said CODA CEO Jeremy Roche.


Replies (3)

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By Mark Hutchinson
10th Jul 2009 14:47

Re - News from the Cloud: SaaS 'disappoints', says Gartner
The main issue I personally have with SaaS (Software as a Service) providers is that they have devised a model that works best for them (e.g. to have everything running from within a single place/data centre) and not always what's best for the end user client.

Whilst the majority of SaaS based solutions provide end user clients with lower set up costs for the majority this is a double edge sword as many will end up paying considerably more over time through higher monthly service charges. Clearly the SaaS model isn't only about providing financial savings (however part of the purchasing decision usually involves numbers) and for many organisations it allows them to reduce internal IT resource or the need to train staff on particular new skill sets etc.

SaaS isn't always a magic bullet either as many organisation have concerns around data security (in a shared infrastructure environment), lack of performance if the service provider experiences a surge in usage etc.

Many organisations have or are moving away from traditional hardware/software solution to utilising SaaS that is run in a hosted environment however there is a half way house that many organisations have missed which is an on site bases SaaS solution that is delivered using an Appliance based Software Delivery model.

The following article describes the pro's/con's of the 3 main IT delivery approaches - Traditional hardware/software, Appliance based Software Delivery and SaaS (Software as a Service).

Best Regards

Mark Hutchinson

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By mkcdavies
23rd Jul 2009 14:56

Re: SaaS Bubble has Burst, warns Gartner
While this may be true at the more corporate end of the market, SaaS is delivering significant benefits for SMEs, from sole proprietors to medium-sized companies who don't have dedicated IT resource.

For these customers, software acquisition under the SaaS model usually carries a much lower cost than traditional software - for example, a typical small business in the UK might spend £1,000 buying Sage accounting software with support cover, but could save 85% of that cost by going down the SaaS roue.

While you might think that buying traditional software is cheaper in the long run compared to paying ongoing SaaS fees every month, the savings go on in subsequent years at the level of 65% (more details here:

When you also take account of the surrounding costs associated with hardware, support and backups, the full TCO makes SaaS even more compelling. One SME we deal with says they save over £100,000 per annum by using SaaS. (Details here: Using SaaS to Slash Your Operating Costs).

While I don't doubt the veracity of Gartner's findings across the whole market, it ignores the great work being done amongst vendors to SMEs that's driving significant economies into a vast number of businesses.

Mark Davies

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Dennis Howlett
By dahowlett
05th Aug 2009 12:53

Dead page
Top story re NetSuite leads to 'page not found'

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