Friday
Jan062006

Movin' on up

An interesting article on the speed at which the various providers of execution virtualization are predicting and acting upon "hypervisors as commodity." The actions they're taking are worth noting: blow by the creation of a big-margin business around hypervisors, and focus on the management of the virtualization infrastructure and/or their application.

Link: Xen Pushes Virtual Software Battle Upstream


As Xen 3.0 and other open-source offerings like OpenVZ threaten to commoditize the core-virtualization stack, all virtualization firms, including VMware and XenSource, are focusing their commercial attentions higher up the stack.



XenSource, for example, is bypassing the core platform market altogether and instead will try to make money on an advanced virtualization management platform called XenOptimizer. The commercial offering, set to be available early this year, provides advanced virtualization capabilities for the Linux data center, the company said. A Windows version is possible but company executives would not elaborate on its long-term plans.



The Xen 3.0 engine will provide the core virtualization capabilities and XenOptimizer will offer advanced services including physical-to-virtual conversions, drag-and-drop provisioning of virtual servers, zero downtime maintenance and centralized monitoring and fine-grained control of CPU, memory, network and storage resources, all through a centralized dashboard. ...

Thursday
Jan052006

The grid infrastructure world

The grid infrastructure world just got more interesting. The article doesn't provide a schedule on which customers can buy hosted services from EMC Corp. But it does say that within 2 years EMC will offer a packaged version of the technology.

The questions that occur to me:

With what products -- EMC's or third party's -- will the new grid infrastructure be certified? Their Information Lifecycle Management product lines?

What's missing from the recipe? Scheduling? Accounting? Policy framework?


Link: EMC buys grid software, offers hosted services



EMC Corp. today announced that it has acquired the intellectual property for grid software developed by Acxiom Corp. for $30 million, and will work with the company to offer grid-based hosted services. Acxiom is a $1.9 billion public company based in Conway, Ark.



Specifically, EMC has acquired the grid middleware that Acxiom uses for internal purposes to run its hosted business analytics service. Acxiom's customers include Citigroup, Bank of America, BMW, Charles Schwab, Sears, Nationwide, Western Union, Sprint, Discovery Communications Inc. and Unilever that buy data mining, data hygiene and other business analytics services from Acxiom on a hosted basis. Acxiom is the only company that has deployed the grid software.

...

Thursday
Jan052006

EMC Buys Acxiom's Grid Software

The grid infrastructure world just got more interesting. The article doesn't provide a schedule on which customers can buy hosted services from EMC Corp. But it does say that within 2 years EMC will offer a packaged version of the technology.

The questions that occur to me:

With what products -- EMC's or third party's -- will the new grid infrastructure be certified? Their Information Lifecycle Management product lines?

What's missing from the recipe? Scheduling? Accounting? Policy framework?


Link: EMC buys grid software, offers hosted services



EMC Corp. today announced that it has acquired the intellectual property for grid software developed by Acxiom Corp. for $30 million, and will work with the company to offer grid-based hosted services. Acxiom is a $1.9 billion public company based in Conway, Ark.



Specifically, EMC has acquired the grid middleware that Acxiom uses for internal purposes to run its hosted business analytics service. Acxiom's customers include Citigroup, Bank of America, BMW, Charles Schwab, Sears, Nationwide, Western Union, Sprint, Discovery Communications Inc. and Unilever that buy data mining, data hygiene and other business analytics services from Acxiom on a hosted basis. Acxiom is the only company that has deployed the grid software.



According to Ian Baird, chief technology officer of grid and utility computing at EMC, Axiom's software includes all the elements to build a complete grid, such as security tools, grid portals, directory and scheduling services, databases and other components. "It's a complete stack unlike many point solutions for grid … the Globus toolkit is a collection of different elements," Baird said.



Within two years EMC plans to sell this grid software to customers in a nonhosted scenario. "It will allow a company to provide IT services against its infrastructure on a utility basis," Baird said. The vision is for IT resources to be much more flexible, and to be available and paid for on demand, improving utilization and lowering costs. EMC said the grid software can run other applications besides business analytics, for healthcare, retail and other industries.

...

Link: EMC Unveils Grid Gameplan

An another article which sheds a bit more light on EMC's and Axciom's plans.


... EMC and Axciom have actually constructed a multi-faceted partnership. EMC is paying for Acxiom’s grid software, but the two companies will jointly develop and sell a hosted grid service that Acxiom offers. Eventually, they will integrate systems, software, and services into a non-hosted grid product. EMC will then sell the grid product, while Acxiom continues to sell the hosted services.



"We will jointly market the hosted solution while we are building out the real solution that we wish to deliver -- that’s a product that installs beyond the customer firewall," says Ian Baird, EMC's CTO of grid and utility computing and head of its new grid incubation unit. ...

Monday
Jan022006

S-a-a-S requirements for scalability and continuity

I'm not sure why people are surprised that outages still occur at service providers like Salesforce.com and TypePad. It does make for "good" tech journalism, in that it provides the journalist with a couple of hooks to warn the readership of both the wonders of Software as a Service (S-a-a-S) and its perils.

The point is this: scaling for the highly successful S-a-a-S provider is hard, and continuity is terribly important. What's not clear to the provider in advance of a move or a data center upgrade is the degree to which they need to prepare (and then pay for) business continuity. This is one of the areas Univa hopes to address by deploying Univa Globus Enterprise as part of a "lower cost" / higher performance approach to continuity and failover.

Link: Week of crashes highlights on-demand peril |

InfoWorld | News | 2005-12-21 | By Stacy Cowley, IDG News Service


...

Salesforce.com is being tight-lipped about the roots of Tuesday's outage. A software problem with one of Salesforce.com's database clusters caused the service to be intermittently unreachable for some customers for about six hours, according to Bruce Francis, Salesforce.com's vice present of corporate strategy. Salesforce.com does not yet know the extent of the outage, he said.



...



Salesforce.com's blackout followed similar downtime from other "software as a service" providers. Six Apart Ltd.'s TypePad blog hosting service went down for the day last Friday following a failed storage upgrade. Affected customers included Major League Baseball's MLB.com site, which hosts all of its blogs with TypePad. In addition, the del.icio.us bookmark-sharing service that Yahoo Inc. just bought suffered days of problems last week after its data center lost power. ...

Monday
Jan022006

I'm just waitin' on a 'plane

We're stuck in Albuquerque, waiting for a plane to be released by ATC to fly into Midway (Chicago). It's now about two hours late, and we're looking at another 45 minutes at least. Christine has made it clear to me that the two things making this delay tolerable are a free Wi-fi network provided by the Albuquerque Sunport, and an electrical outlet nearby. She's deeply involved with a massive multi-player online game, and it has the appropriate soothing qualities.

I have to admit that, after spending the majority of the past week off-line, this has provided me a bit of time to catch up before diving into the deep water tomorrow morning back at the office.

Thanks, ABQ...