Monday, September 15, 2008

SIMtone races to provide cloud-deployed offerings, including wireless device support

SIMtone advanced its cloud-computing offerings last week with a three-pronged approach that includes a universal cloud-computing platform, a virtual service platform (VSP), and a cloud-computing wireless-ready terminal.

The combined offerings from the privately held SIMtone, Durham, N.C., helps pave the way for multiple cloud services to be created, managed and hosted centrally and securely in any data center, while allowing end users to access the services on the fly, through virtually any connected device, with a single user ID, the company said.

The SIMtone Universal Cloud Computing Platform enables network operators and customers to build and deliver multiple cloud services -- virtual desktops, desktop as a service (DaaS), software as a service (SaaS), or Web services.

The SIMtone VSP lets service providers of many stripes transform existing application and desktop infrastructure into cloud-computing infrastructures. SIMtone VSP supports any combination of VMware Server and ESX, Windows XP, Vista and Terminal Server hosts, multi-zone network security, and offers automated, user-activity driven, peak capacity-based guest machine management, load balancing, and failure recovery, radically reducing virtual data center real-estate and power requirements.

Pulling the effort together is the SNAPbook, a wireless-ready portable terminal that can access any services powered by the SIMtone platform. Based on Asus Eee PC solid state hardware, the SNAPbook operates without any local operating system or processing, with all computing tasks performed 100 percent in the cloud.

What was a virtualization value by these vendors -- at multiple levels, including desktop and apps virtualization -- has not struck the chord of "picks and shovels" for cloud providers. Citrix is this week extending the reach of its virtualization Delivery Center solutions to cloud providers as well.

This marks a shifts in the market. Until now, most if not all "cloud providers" like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, et al, have built their own infrastructures and worked out virtualization on their own, often based on the open source Xen hypervisor. They keep these formulas for data center and cloud development and deployment as closely guarded secrets.

But SIMtone and Citrix -- and we should expect others like Desktone, Red Hat, HP and VMware to move fast too -- are creating what they hope will become de facto standards for cloud delivery of virtualized services. Google may not remake its cloud based on third-party vendors, but carriers, service providers and enterprises may just.

The winner of the "picks and shovels" for cloud infrastructure may well end up the next billion-dollar company in the software space. It should be an intense next few years for these players, especially as other larger software vendors (like Microsoft) also build, buy or partner their way in.

Indeed, just as Microsoft is bringing its Hyper-V hypervisor to market, the value has moved up a notch to the management and desktop delivery level. The company that manages virtualization best and fastes for the nascent cloud infrastructure market may well get snatched up before long.