What is the Intel Hybrid Cloud?

While the cloud computing market is still nascent and most aspects of it are changing every day, a few things should be well-defined at this point. Things like the definitions.
So far the Industry used to recognize three major architectures for cloud computing, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and four deployment models: public, private, hybrid and the community cloud.

When we talk about a hybrid cloud, we usually think about a private cloud that interconnects with a public one, or with a virtual private one, through a secure channel, some routing and a network fencing technology to overcome any networking conflict between the two segments.
In this scenario the customer is supposed to extend his private cloud infrastructure off-premises, and, whenever possible, to remotely control the virtual machines (if IaaS), the application framework (if PaaS) or the web-oriented services (if SaaS) that are hosted in the public cloud with his on-premises management tools.
But Intel is working on a product dubbed Hybrid Cloud that seems to work the other way around. Sort of.

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Morphlabs launches mCloud, secures $5.5M in Round B funding

Morphlabs is a US startup founded in 2007 by Winston Damarillo (CEO) and Guy Naor (CTO).
Damarillo founded a number of other startups (some acquired by IBM, Iona and Intalio) and he’s currently busy as Chairman also at G2iX and Exist Engineering, but most importantly he has been a venture capital executive at Intel Capital.

Morphlabs’ flagship product, mCloud, has been launched in April. It’s a management platform for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. Anyway the product is not meant to control and extend an existing virtual infrastructure by managing all its virtual machines. It’s rather a full computing stack that orchestrates the deployment of a large amount of predefined VMs, to realize a cloud-in-a-box platform.
Such Linux VMs come preconfigured with a specific Linux distribution and specific applications: Ruby on Rails, Java, PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Solr and ActiveMQ are the predefined templates at the moment, but customers can create their own templates.

mCloud leverages the open source automation and configuration management framework Puppet. Puppet currently supports only Linux operating systems, despite that Morphlabs managed to support Windows guest operating systems inside the recently released mCloud Controller 2.1.
mCloud also leverages the open source monitoring framework Nagios. Morphlabs developed an API for it to track virtual machines specific values like the vCPU or the vRAM load. 
It’s not clear what hypervisor or virtual infrastructure the product currently supports but considering the strong focus on open source it’s either Xen or KVM.

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Symplified brings SSO to Amazon EC2 with Trust Cloud

In mid-May the US startup Symplified launched a new product called Trust Cloud.

Symplified is focused on cloud computing security, and specifically on identity access management (IAM).
The company offers Single Sign-On (SSO) products that can run on Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service cloud platforms (Force.com, Google App Engine, Google Apps and many others are supported), as well as on-premises.

In its several forms, the flagship product, SinglePoint, allows Windows users to log into the multiple software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that an enterprise uses just with their existing account credentials.
SinglePoint integrates with Microsoft Active Directory, mapping the Windows accounts and all the others owned by a firm to access online SaaS applications into a virtual LDAP directory.


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Amazon introduces the Cluster Compute Instances for EC2

At the beginning of this week Amazon announced a new kind of virtual machine (the Amazon Machine Image or AMI) available for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) customers: the Cluster Compute Instance.

When launched, almost four years ago, EC2 offered just three AMIs: the small, the large and extra large instances, featuring no more than 15GB vRAM and no more than 4 virtual cores.
Over time Amazon enriched the offering by adding another five instances: three high-memory ones (with vRAM ranging from 17.1GB to 68.4GB) and two high-CPU ones (with 2 and 8 virtual cores).

The new Cluster Compute Instances have 23GB vRAM, 33.5 Compute Units (equal to 2 x Intel Xeon X5570 physical CPUs), 1690GB of local storage, 10Gbit Ethernet and a 64bit virtual hardware.

The new AMI, which doesn’t currently support Windows guest operating systems, is priced at $1.60 per hour and it’s only available for deployment at the North Virginia Amazon AWS data center in US.

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Microsoft to offer Azure on-premises – UPDATED

The Register just broke the news that Microsoft has made significant changes to its internal organization to push even more the emerging Azure platform. The company is in fact preparing to sell a version of Azure, apparently codenamed Project Talisker, that customers and hosting providers can run on-premises:

…Last December Microsoft shifted responsibility Azure’s development, business and marketing into S&T out from under chief software architect Ray Ozzie. Microsoft put development into the newly created server and cloud division with business and marketing joining Kelly’s infrastructure group.

Now, a brace of executives have also shifted to the Windows Azure team to drum up partners and developer adopters. Adam Skewgar and Haris Majeed will "help quickly define the future of the Windows Azure services" while senior director of platform strategy Robert Duffner moves from open source to jump-starting adoption of Azure among ISVs and developers. Duffner’s goal will be to translate his experience from working on ISVs and partners on open source to get adoption and build ubiquity for Azure…

Microsoft may unveil the new product this week at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010.
The Register also suggests that the on-premises version of Azure may be sold under an enterprise-based volume license.

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The 12 benefits and risks of embracing Azure for Microsoft partners

Just before the opening of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010, R “Ray” Wang, founding partner of Altimeter Group, published a very interesting and lengthy article about Azure, highlighting its architecture and the inherent benefits and risks for Microsoft partners.


  • Faster deployment times and client adoption
  • Greater pool of development resources
  • Recurring revenue streams
  • Improved TCO and margin for differentiated IP
  • Opportunity to break out of the Microsoft client base
  • Lower application lifecycle costs

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Microsoft releases the Azure Architecture Guide

Earlier this month Microsoft published for free a big, detailed document describing the Azure internals.

Simply dubbed Azure Architecture Guide the paper is intended for any architect, developer, or IT professional who designs, builds, or operates applications and services that are appropriate for the Microsoft cloud.

It demonstrates how you can adapt an existing, on-premises ASP.NET application to one that operates in the cloud through a number of chapters:


Salesforce countersues Microsoft on patent violation

So far Salesforce and Microsoft played didn’t compete much in the cloud computing space.
The former is a well-known player in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market with its CRM while the latter is trying to establish a presence in the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market with Azure.
But Microsoft is entering the SaaS space with Office Web Apps and its Dynamics CRM Online.
At the same time Salesforce is about to extend the capabilities of its Force.com PaaS cloud thanks to a deal with VMware, which will allow customers to develop applications with Java and not just with the Apex Code language.

Looking forward, the competition between the two players is set to increase a lot so it doesn’t surprise much to see a preemptive patent war taking place right now.

In mid-May Microsoft sued Salesforce for infringement of nine patents.
Salesforce counter-sued Microsoft for infringement of five patents, which involve technologies used in Azure, Windows Live Services, .NET, Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, and even SharePoint.

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CloudAudit API 1.0 submitted as IETF draft

A number of cloud computing experts joined Christofer Hoff, the Director of Cloud & Virtualization Solutions at Cisco, in his project to develop a standard interface to simplify the auditing and the security assessment of cloud computing infrastructures.

Originally called Automated Audit, Assertion, Assessment, and Assurance API (A6), the interface has been later renamed CloudAudit API.

The working group that is developing it includes representatives from Akamai, Amazon, Arcteck, CloudScaling, CSC, enStratus, Google, Microsoft, Orchestratus, Rackspace, Savvis, TELUS, Unisys and VMware.

The team published the API 1.0 as an IETF draft at the beginning of the week:

CloudAudit provides a common interface, naming convention, set of processes and technologies utilizing the HTTP protocol to enable cloud service providers to automate the collection and assertion of operational, security, audit, assessment, and assurance information.
This provides duly authorized and authenticated consumers and brokers of cloud computing services to automate requests for this data and metadata.

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CloudSleuth service benchmarks IaaS and PaaS worldwide clouds

In the attempt to provide more transparency to those customers that are approaching cloud computing, a number of brave firms is building methodologies and infrastructures to benchmark the performance of several Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) public clouds.

A little more than one month ago, CloudHarmony published its first performance analysis on the most popular IaaS public clouds.
This week Compuware goes beyond that, launching a public tracking service that measures the performance of IaaS and PaaS public clouds: CloudSleuth.


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