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News from the Cloud: Preventing Cloud Computing from becoming a gathering storm

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21st Sep 2009
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Preventing Cloud Computing from Becoming a Gathering Storm
21 Sept – Joe Tobolski, Accenture’s director of Cloud Computing services, has outlined his opinion on the unmanaged and unstructured use of Cloud Computing within companies, what he calls ‘Cloud sprawl’.

The ease of which employees can initiate a Cloud service, with or without the consent or knowledge of the IT department, means data can spread across a series of unmanaged environments. Tobolski explains: “This negates the efficiency gains that Cloud can bring. Worse, it can change how and where its data is stored. This ad-hoc approach to usage could cause a logistical nightmare for CIOs.”

“While being rigid and inflexible is a mistake, so is doing things willy-nilly without some sort of management control.  There needs to be a meeting somewhere in the middle.”

For Tobolski it’s all about being flexible and nimble, leading to the increased value of IT, with the onus squarely on company CIOs.

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Adobe takes to the Cloud with $1.8 billion bid for SaaS web analytics firm Omniture

21 Sep – Adobe, the software company behind PhotoShop and Flash, has confirmed a $1.8bn plan to acquire web analytics firm, Omniture.

Omniture, whose client base includes web heavyweight like eBay and MSN, offers real-time user tracking. On completion, the acquisition could open the door towards real-time applications including tracking for Flash-based web adverts.

“The addition of Omniture's SaaS model with recurring revenue diversifies Adobe's overall business model and revenue profile,” said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO. “We share a culture of delivering innovative solutions to solve real customer problems.”

The company hit the headlines in the United States back in January, when an outage left many of Omniture's clients (including the website of sports network ESPN) without real-time data intermittently over a 44-hour period.
 

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VMware warns of Cloud’s ‘Hotel California’ syndrome

2 Sept
- Virtualisation specialist VMware is creating a Cloud Computing infrastructure to by-pass the software version of ‘Hotel California’. CEO Paul  Maritz told the VMworld 2009 conference in San Francisco last week that companies spend a majority of their IT budgets ensuring their infrastructure is kept up and running rather than on bottom line activities.

“Over half of IT spending is going into keeping the lights on, the trains running and the plumbing working. Everything we are doing should be focused on moving that meter, helping [those companies] be more flexible, more productive. The challenge is, how do we get from where we are today to the promised land?”

The answer, according to Maritz, is virtualisation. Companies need to be able to take an existing application, lift it up and slide in a virtualised component to move it to any physical or virtual data centre without disrupting day-to-day  operations. “You will be able to pick up a virtual data centre and slide it into an external Cloud. Once having done that, you want to make sure the management looks the same,” said Martiz. “If we're not careful the Cloud might become the ultimate [Hotel California] where you can check applications into the Cloud, but you can't check them out.”

In a related story, Dell announced it will bundle VMware View with some of its servers and desktop PCs as part of its Virtual Remote Desktop solution to let IT managers to run virtual desktops in their datacentre. The desktop-to-datacentre virtualisation system will give users a single view of all their applications and data on any device at any location.

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Amazon reaches into private Clouds

1 Sept - Online retailer Amazon’s web services wing has introduced a new Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service to give business customers their own "isolated" computing resources in the Amazon Cloud infrastructure.

Amazon VPC will require minimal upfront investment and will not require long-term contracts, the company said. Customers will only pay for the resources they use.

Amazon's chief technology officer Werner Vogels explained, “We have developed Amazon Virtual Private Cloud to allow our customers to seamlessly extend their IT infrastructure into the Coud while maintaining the levels of isolation required for their enterprise management tools to do their work.”

Large organisations looking to move their IT resources into the Cloud have found the transition difficult, he continued. “We have been listening very closely to the real requirements that our customers have and have worked closely with many of these CIOs and their teams to understand what solution would allow them to treat the Cloud as a seamless extension of their data centre where their standard management practices can be applied with limited or no modifications.”

The new service connects internal the company’s resources to Amazon's cloud via a virtual private network (VPN) and can support client systems running Windows, Linux or Unix operating systems.

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