I See a Cloud Router in your Future

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Yesterday I met with David Ker, one of the founders of RealWat Inc.  They currently offer the Ti-Took Nuage browser which is based on Google’s Chromium (the Chrome open source project).  The Nuage browser seeks to improve the browsing experience by adding improved privacy, security, speed, and other Web 2.0 cloud based services such as social bookmarking (more feature details here).  While the Ti-Took Nuage browser is interesting I’m unsure of the long term mass appeal it will have as other players (including the big browser shops) add similar functionality to their offerings, but for now Ti-Took is blazing a new trail.

Download a copy of the Nuage Browser here.

What got me more excited is a new project that they are working on called the Ti-Took Cloud Router.  It’s an innovative offering that essentially frontends an IaaS offering such as Amazon’s EC2.  The Ti-Took Cloud Router is targeted at small organizations that want to take advantage of cloud service offerings but still require security and scope of control.  Using the Cloud Router essentially created a virtual private cloud (vPC?) inside a public cloud that encapsulates the services that are important for an individual organizations business and users.  It also allows secure access to a virtual datacenter from public locations.  The key to all of this is their web based identity management service that provides a unified single sign-on that securely validates users into the vPC and then controls access to other cloud services like email or CRM.  We discussed the importance of extended authentication protocols and they assure me that they are investigating two factor authentication.

I foresee this type of offering accelerating the adoption of cloud services in the SMB space.  I’m looking forward to more announcements from RealWat.

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The Public Private Disconnect

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I’ve been looking at public cloud offerings informally for a while and while I appreciate the case for a full cloud infrastructure, it will be quite some time before large enterprise datacenters can realistically retool everything for the cloud.  Sure, small startups can very successfully have large parts if not all of their IT services in the cloud but there are still too many barriers for larger organizations with large investments in “in-house” IT resources.

My initial thoughts were that there could be an opportunity for hybrid clouds that can provide organizations with excess capacity on demand.  This would be a great way to augment datacenters with cloud bursting opportunities and introduce organizations to cloud offerings with low risk.  Of course,  accomplish this, enterprises will need to build infrastructures that are compatible with public clouds.

The problem is that none of the (admittedly small sample) of private cloud infrastructures that I’ve looked at use the same APIs as their public cloud counterparts.  Until now that is …

Here’s an interesting announcement from Eucalyptus and Terracotta that essentially provides the management tools and a private cloud infrastructure that uses the same APIs as the Amazon AWS.  This is a good start and I hope and expect  to see more offerings that make it easy to build hybrid cloud solutions.

Read more here:  Terracotta and Eucalyptus Partner to Deliver High-Performance Data Scaling in Private Cloud Environments | Business Wire.

I expect that MS will soon announce on-premises availability of the Azure platform.

VMware ESX vs. ESXi

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VMware shops weigh ESX vs. ESXi

Some interesting quotes fromthe article:

“People that have never done anything with VMware are all going with ESXi,” said Singler. “Unless they need special hardware monitoring or have existing scripts, there’s no reason not to go with it.”

“Enterprise ESXi shops say the lightweight hypervisor offers many advantages over the full-blown version. In terms of security, ESXi’s smaller footprint and lack of Linux service console makes it harder for hackers to tamper with or for administrators to make mistakes on.”

“VMware’s made no secret of the fact that the ESX console is going to be end-of-lifed,” Wolf said. So while it’s still there in vSphere 4, “I’d be surprised if it was still there in version 5. Customers are going to have to plan on that in the next 24 to 36 months.” Part of that planning process is to select management tools that already support ESXi.”

Most interesting quote:

“We have made no secret of the fact that ESXi is the preferred and better architecture.
-Bogomil Balkansky,
Vice-President of Product Marketing, VMware Inc.

Hyper-V vs. VMware: Which is cheaper?

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Hyper-V vs. VMware: Which is cheaper?.

A few key quotes from the article:

“So while VMware’s initial acquisition cost is much higher than Hyper-V’s, VMware allows for much denser VM configurations and permits RAM overcommit for higher memory utilization rates”

“…users interested in Hyper-V today tend to be small and medium-sized businesses and remote offices that already use Windows Server; Hyper-V is built into that familiar system and allows them to run hundreds of VMs at a lower cost than VMware…”

“large data centers that are serious about VM availability and density continue to rely on VMware, not the first version of Hyper-V”

10 Cloud Computing Predictions For 2010

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10 Cloud Computing Predictions For 2010.

Wow – Way to go out on a limb.  Other than Sam Johnston (prediction 9 on slide 10), everyone is essentially predicting the growth of cloud offering and  adoption rates.

My prediction for 2010 – There will be a significant cloud security breach (or breaches) that slow down adoption rates for a time but ultimately highlight the missing pieces of most cloud service offerings.  Two of these missing pieces, service level agreements, and security services will become more important in closing new cloud business.

I know I haven’t gone much further out on the limb than the others but at least I have a chance of being wrong.

Let me know how accurate I was  in 2011.

Everyone who needs VDI already has it – Brian Madden – BrianMadden.com

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Interesting post from Brian Madden:

Everyone who needs VDI already has it – Brian Madden – BrianMadden.com.

It really underscores how important client side hypervisors will be to propel VDI to the next level.  The ability to have datacenter based VDI with a locally cached VM for offline use addresses the many use cases that are currently can only be addressed by a locally installed desktop OS.

Why Isn’t There a Canadian Cloud Provider?

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Any organization with sensitive data needs to take precautions before moving applications to the cloud.  In many cases, regulatory compliance may prevent certain types of applications from moving tot he cloud any time soon.

Understanding that, what about the jurisdictional risks associated with a third party cloud provider essentially managing a portion of your data center?  What about provisions of the Patriot Act that might compel your cloud provider to disclose or provide your sensitive data to a law enforcement agency such as the department of Homeland Security.

I’m surprised that a Canadian cloud provider hasn’t emerged that operates outside of the jurisdiction of the Patriot Act.  While, such a provider would be certainly be appealing to Canadian organizations that don’t want (or cannot allow) their data to be in the hands of a foreign government, it would also be of interest to American organizations trying to maximize data security while still enjoying some of the benefits of the cloud.

What am I missing?