Friday, August 27, 2010

Platform Computing steps up with easy-entry solution for building private clouds

Platform Computing has paved the way to faster private cloud adoption with a low-risk, low-cost way for companies to evaluate their use of cloud computing. The Platform ISF Starter Pack, announced this week, will enable architects and IT managers to get a cloud sandbox environment up and running in less than 30 minutes, the company says.

The $4,995 Starter Pack announcement comes as a slew of vendors are focused on the adoption path for private clouds. More private cloud developments are expected at next week's VWworld conference.

Platform ISF manages application workloads across multiple virtual machine (VM) technologies and provisioning tools. It includes self-service, automated provisioning and chargeback capabilities. It supports multiple VM technologies, including ESX, Xen, KVM and Hyper-V, as well as popular provisioning tools, such as Red Hat Satellite, IBM xCAT, Symantec Altiris, and Platform Cluster Manager. [Disclosure: Platform Computing is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

“Organizations have plenty of toolkits to choose from as they evaluate private cloud, but they require multiple tools that users must string together themselves,” said James Pang, Vice President Product Management for Platform. “What’s more, these toolkits can cost $50,000 or more, and require 30-plus days of onsite consulting to build and customize an evaluation environment. We wanted to provide a cheap and easy way for users to get up and running quickly with a single product."

Software and best practices

The ISF Starter Pack, which costs $4,995, includes software, best practices advice and help to set up private cloud and includes:
  • One-year Platform ISF term license for 10 sockets, including support

  • Half-day orientation training

  • Half-day cloud building consultation

  • Integration advice for Platform ISF with your internal tools
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trio of cloud companies collaborate on new private cloud platform offerings

A trio of cloud ecosystem companies have collaborated to offer an integrated technology platform that aims to deliver a swift on-ramp to private and hybrid cloud computing models in the enterprise.

newScale, rPath and Eucalyptus Systems are combining their individual technology strengths in a one-two-three punch that promises to help businesses pump up their IT agility through cloud computing. [Disclosure: rPath is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The companies will work with integration services provider MomentumSI to deliver on this enterprise-ready platform that relies on cloud computing, integrating infrastructure for private and hybrid clouds with enterprise IT self-service, and system automation.

No cloud-in-a-box

From my perspective, cloud solutions won’t come in a box, nor are traditional internal IT technologies and skills apt to seamlessly spin up mission-ready cloud services. Neither are cloud providers so far able to provide custom or "shrink-wrapped" offerings that conform to a specific enterprise’s situation and needs. That leaves a practical void, and therefore an opportunity, in the market.

This trio of companies is betting that self-service private and hybrid cloud computing demand will continue to surge as companies press IT departments to deliver on-demand infrastructure services readily available from public clouds like Amazon EC2. Since many IT organizations aren’t ready to make the leap, they don’t have the infrastructure or process maturity to transition to the public cloud. That’s where the new solution comes in.

Incidentally, you should soon expect similar cloud starter packages of technology and services, including SaaS management capabilities, from a variety of vendors and partnerships. Indeed, next week's VWworld conference should be rife with such news.

The short list of packaged private cloud providers includes VMware, Citrix, TIBCO, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Red Hat, WSo2, RightScale, RackSpace, Progress Software, Platform Computing and Oracle/Sun. Who else would you add to the list? [Disclosure: HP, Progress, Platform Computing and WSO2 are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts].

Well, add Red Hat, which this week preempted VWworld with news of its own path to private cloud offerings, saying only Red Hat and Microsoft can offer the full cloud lifecycle parts and maintenance. That may be a stretch, but Red Hat likes to be bold in its marketing.

Behind the scenes

Here’s how the newScale, rPath and Eucalyptus Systems collaboration looks under the hood. newScale, which provides self-service IT storefronts, brings its e-commerce ordering experience to the table. newScale’s software lets IT run on-demand provisioning, enforce policy-based controls, manage lifecycle workloads and track usage for billing.

rPath will chip in its automating system development and maintenance technologies. With rPath in the mix, the platform can automate system construction, maintenance, and on-demand image generation for deployment across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

This trio of companies is betting that self-service private and hybrid cloud computing demand will continue to surge

For its part, Eucalyptus Systems, an open source private cloud software developer, will offer infrastructure software that helps organizations deploy massively scalable private and hybrid cloud computing environments securely. MomentumSI comes in on the back end to deliver the solution.

It's hard to imagine that full private and/or hybrid clouds are fully ready from any singe single vendor. And who would want that, and the inherent risk of lock-in, a one-stop cloud shop would entail? Best-of-breed and open source components work just as well for cloud as for traditional IT infrastructure approaches. Server, storage and network virtualization may make the ecosystem approach even more practical and cost-efficient for private clouds. Pervasive and complete management and governance are the real keys.

My take is that ecosystem-based solutions then are the first, best way that many organizations will likely actually use and deploy cloud services. The technology value triumvirate of newScale, rPath and Eucalyptus—with solution practice experience of MomentumSI—is an excellent example of the ecosystem approach most likely to become the way that private cloud models actually work for enterprises for the next few years.
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at and
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