Virtualization and cloud computing predictions for 2011 from leading analysis firms

At the end of every year, industry analysts and reporters are releasing their predictions for the coming 12 months. Jonny Bentwood, Director, Analyst Relations and Strategy at Edelman running the Technobabble 2.0 blog summarized some of these predictions, giving an overview of the different predictions made by the following firms: Gartner, Ovum, CCS Insight, Nucleus Research, HfS,  Infotrends, Quocirca, IHS Screen Digest, Forrester, Disruptive Analysis, Tech Market View.

Some of the predictions related to virtualization and cloud computing include:

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Microsoft details its vision on Private Cloud Computing architecture

In a series of blog posts, Yasser Abdel Kader, HQ Architect at Microsoft Middle East and Africa is detailing the Microsoft vision on the private cloud. The first post provides an introduction detailing the definitions used, like Private Cloud, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

The second post describes the principles, like infinite capacity, continuous availability, drive predictability, service providers approach to delivering infrastructure, resiliency over redundancy, minimize human involvement, optimization of resource usage and influence good customer behavior.

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Benchmarking Amazon EC2

The Phoronix website posted an article on Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) benchmarking using the Phoronix Test Suite. The Proronix Test Suite is an open-source test suite supporting Linux, OpenSolaris, Mac OS X, Windows and BSD operating Systems, normally used by Phoronix to benchmark hardware, but now used for benchmarking EC2.

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Citrix details OpenCloud Access capabilities

In October this year, covered the expected features for Citrix XenDesktop 5.0, which was released beginning this month. In the expected features article the new platform client, called Citrix Receiver was covered and the fact that it will use a new Single Sign On (SSO) technology, called OpenCloud Access, allowing a corporate user to access on-premise and cloud-based applications. How this new SSO was going to work and its limitation weren’t clear at that time though.

Now Simon Crosby, Chief Technical Officer at Citrix has detailed the capabilities for Citrix OpenCloud Access in a blog post on the Citrix blog.

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Amazon EC2 Achieves PCI DSS 2.0 Validated Service Provider Status

Amazon has achieved the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DDS) 2.0. Validated Service Provider Status. This means that EC2 is now compatible with the best practices and security controls needed to keep credit card data safe and secure during transit, processing and storage. In order to receive the certification an organization needs to build and maintain a secure network, protect cardholder data, maintain a vulnerability management program, implement strong security measures, test and monitor networks on a regular basis and it must maintain an information security policy. The certification covers, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), the Simple Storage Service (S3) and the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) globally.

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Oracle applications now available in Amazon EC2

Amazon has announced that its now possible to run Oracle applications inside its EC2 cloud computing platform. The applications available all run inside a Amazon Machine Image (AMI) running on top of Oracle VM implemented using hard partitioning so that Oracle’s standard partitioned processor licensing models apply.

Oracle VM Server came available in EC2 in September this year, running side by side with the Red Hat implementation of Xen.

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FreeBSD 9 will run on Amazon EC2

Until now FreeBSD wasn’t capable of running on top of Amazon’s cloud platform EC2. Now Colin Percival a FreeBSD developer, a member of the FreeBSD Core team, and the FreeBSD Security Officer has managed to modify the FreeBSD Amazon Machine Image (AMI) so that it now runs on EC2. Currently FreeBSD 9.0 is supported though and only runs on t1.micro instances, it should be considered as experimental, not-ready-for-production system for now.

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Release: Quest Cloud Automation Platform 7.5

In July this year, Quest acquired Surgient, a company delivering private cloud automation software, called Virtual Automation Platform (VAP). Now Quest has released version 7.5 of VAP, rebranded as Cloud Automation Platform and integrated with another orchestation product which Quest acquired after buying Vizioncore called vControl.

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Rackspace acquires Cloudkick

Hosting provider Rackspace has acquired Cloudkick, a company which provides web applications for cloud server management. Cloudkick can manage and monitor servers across multiple providers from a single dashboard. Rackspace will integrate the Cloudkick solution into the Rackspace fold. Unfortunately details about the amount of money Rackspace paid for the product were not disclosed.

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Amazon now allows uploading VMware VMs to EC2

Amazon yesterday announced that it now supports the option to import VMware Virtual Machines into it’s public cloud platform EC2 and/or its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) platform. This news is closely related to the news about Microsoft which announced the possibility to upload VMs to Windows Azure, although the procedure to do that is much more complex.

For now, 32 and 64 bit machines running Windows Server 2008 are supported, and Amazon is planning on extending this to Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Also support for several Linux distributions including CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE is expected.

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