Category Archives: Storage

Virtustream Takes a New Approach to Take on the Giants of Cloud Computing

Over at Network World, Brandon Butler, reports that Virtustream–while not as big as Microsoft and AWS–has carved out a nice niche in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) world and takes a unique consultancy approach.

“Co-CEO and CTO Kevin Reid describes it like this: You can’t just walk into a bank and deposit $100,000; the financial institution would ask questions, making sure the money is not laundered or gained from some illicit activity. Similarly, Virtustream doesn’t just allow customers to swipe a credit card and get access to hundreds of thousands of virtual machines holding sensitive data of its large enterprise customers. “We want to know our customers,” says Reid, who used to manage a consulting firm that was bought by Capgemini before working at Virtustream. “We run more of what could be considered a community cloud, or a country club cloud. None of the workloads in our cloud are unknown to us – we know where they came from.”

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Guest Post: Virtualizing Datacenter Storage with EMC ViPR

The way that we store data has changed and the need for a single solution that lets you pool all of your datacenter storage resources into a self-sustaining storage mechanism has presented itself. EMC ViPR lets you achieve the goal of grabbing virtual datacenter hard disk on demand. This free flow of storage space allows utilities and datacenter applications to function without restriction. It is important to note that just because a datacenter is virtualized, it doesn’t mean that the corresponding cloud is a private cloud.

How does Software Defined Storage work?

Storage solutions such as ViPR pool together storage resources and allow them to be accessed abstractly from within the network. A provisioning controller exists to handle requests while a self-service panel is available for users to request additional storage resources. A reporting component gives administrators up to the minute data on what is being using and how it is being used. The last component of software defined storage is the automation component, which can be setup with triggers that allow for more storage resources to be made available as needed.

Key features of using Software Defined Storage such as EMC ViPR

Change on Demand: Do you manage a dynamic pool of server resources? Perhaps these resources have needs that change rapidly? Using a software defined storage system would allow your organization to provide storage space on a scale that matches your business model.

APIs: APIs can help your existing tools interact cohesively with a software defined storage solution. EMC ViPR provides robust APIs that allow developers to specifically code using the framework provided. This allows organizations to flawlessly integrate with the Storage as a Service platform.

Diverse Storage Options: Regardless if you currently use file, block or object storage, a solution like EMC ViPR can help you pool these resources into an on-demand solution. This centralized approach helps administrators easily add storage into the Storage as a Service solution from a diverse array of vendors. This storage can then be queried when needed.

Can Storage as a Service really help?

EMC ViPR allows organizations to keep their existing infrastructure in place. Vendors such as EMC realize that organizations sometimes have millions invested in private cloud datacenter solutions. Instead of reinventing the wheel, EMC ViPR allows you to keep your existing infrastructure. These solutions allow you to abstract server storage resources and use them as needed within your environment. EMC ViPR doesn’t require you to tailor your existing infrastructure. The dynamic private datacenter storage solution is designed to compliment and enhance what you have already built out in your datacenter.

Author Bio:

Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

 

Interview: Mateo Meier of Artmotion Talks About Why Switzerland is the Country of Choice When it Comes to Security

When the PRISM scandal broke in the US awhile back, many concerns were raised over the security of the information in our data centers. Artmotion, based in Switzerland, stepped in with lock-down security and saw an increase in revenue of 45% almost immediately. We sat down with Mateo Meier to discuss why his company saw such incredible gains and to learn more about Artmotion’s offerings.

inside-cloud: What does your company do exactly?

Mateo Meier: Artmotion is located in Switzerland and specializes in secure IT solutions, with a focus on data center and server offerings. I founded the company in 2000 and since then the company’s services attract an international clientele looking to benefit from Switzerland’s central location, respect for confidentiality and tax advantages. Beyond that, Artmotion focuses on customers with high quality standards, who look for demanding security and confidentiality levels. For example customers like trading firms, banks and healthcare organizations with “secret” research or development needs. At the moment Artmotion’s customer base is from about 30 different countries around the globe and their main interest is secure hosting.

inside-cloud: The PRISM scandal was shocking here in the US. What was the reaction in Europe and specifically in Switzerland?

Mateo Meier: The NSA PRISM scandal had ambivalent effects on the Swiss hosting market. Speaking for Artmotion, after the first leaks were published we had an increase of 45 per cent in revenue and were able to grow with the scandal. Particularly, we were able to acquire new customers form the United States. As diverse online magazines state, in the worst-case-scenario the U.S. cloud market is about to lose approximately $35 billion to non-U.S. markets by 2016 (more details see: http://www.zdnet.com/u-s-cloud-industry-stands-to-lose-35-billion-amid-prism-fallout-7000018974/).  Unfortunately, I cannot give you more numbers as those, as the effects of the scandal are still ongoing.

inside-cloud: How did this affect your business?  

Mateo Meier: As mentioned before, Artmotion had an increase of 45 per cent in revenue, since the first leaks were published and regarding this case we were able to grow with the scandal. On the other hand, many of our customers felt insecure about the security of their data and still feel unsettled about the matter. At the moment, Microsoft is updating their TOS, in order that the Cloud Service accommodates to the Swiss law instead of the US law. In general, there’s been a huge movement in this sector and the market has been changing intensely for the past couple months.

inside-cloud: Everybody talks a big game when it comes to security and privacy in the data center. What sets Artmotion apart? What sets Switzerland apart from other counties in this realm?           

Mateo Meier: Its location! One of the main reasons for companies to choose Switzerland as their hosting locations are Switzerland’s neutrality and independency, its low environmental risks and its long lasting political stability. As it is known, Swiss banks are governed by stringent laws, which also are a derivative of the nation’s privacy legislation. In consideration of data privacy and security issues, similar strict laws apply in Switzerland.  Moreover, Switzerland is a country outside of the EU and therefore is not bound by pan-European agreements to share data with other member states, or other non EU countries. As you can see, hosting data I Switzerland has many benefits.

inside-cloud: What challenges does the future hold for data management? What exciting products will your company have to meet these challenges?             

Mateo Meier: One of the challenges I believe most hosting companies are facing right now, are multiple security issues in general. At the moment we are being challenged by our new “Hosted Desktop Workstation” products and are developing an overall secure solution.

Wipro and Nexenta Come Together to Offer Software-Defined Storage and Virtual Desktop Solutions

Nexenta has announced that it will bring its software-defined-storage solutions to Wipro to enable user data storage infrastructure for tens of thousands of virtual desktop customers.

“We needed a scalable and cost-effective file storage solution for our VDI implementation. Nexenta proved that we can achieve great performance metrics while being able to scale the storage capacity without excess expense,” said Andrey Zhulenev, General Manager and VirtuaDeskTM Practice Head, Wipro. “We are excited to work with Nexenta on our internal Wipro company storage requirements and offer the same solution to our VirtuaDeskTM customers.”

Read the Press Release.

Guest Post: Artmotion CEO Mateo Meier on PRISM Scandal, Security and the Swiss Data Center

Mateo Meier

Artmotion is one of those companies whose name doesn’t portray what it does. Mateo Meier lends his time to find out more about a company whose level of secrecy and its close connections to some of the world’s biggest banks and tobacco companies are a credit to the culture of neutrality of the Helvetians.

Swiss banks are known to be governed by stringent laws, which also are a derivative of the nation’s privacy legislation, and now – thanks to the PRISM scandal – the country is fast becoming the ideal location for those turning their back on the cloud, says Mateo Meier, director at Artmotion, Switzerland’s biggest offshore hosting company.

As a result of the recent leaks of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programme (PRISM), which sparked growing concern over data privacy, businesses are now turning to Switzerland for their data hosting needs.

Swiss hosting companies are seeing growth because privacy in Switzerland is enshrined in law. As the country is outside of the EU, it is not bound by pan-European agreements to share data with other member states, or other non EU countries. Artmotion, for example, has witnessed 45 per cent growth in revenue amid this new demand for heightened privacy.

Until now, the PRISM scandal has focused on the privacy of the individual, but surveillance undertaken by the NSA and Britain’s own GCHQ has spurred corporate concern about the risks associated with using American based cloud providers. Neelie Kroes, the European Commission Vice President went on to state that “the NSA scandal has had a chilling effect in Europe; businesses are worried about their resources being controlled by someone else.” It is especially troubling for businesses with data privacy issues, such as banks or healthcare organisations with ‘secret’ research and development needs.

However, the scandal has unearthed significant risks to data for businesses, as well as for their customers. With US cloud service providers, the government can request business information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act without the company in question ever knowing.

The desire for privacy has therefore seen a surge in corporations turning to ‘Silicon’ Switzerland to take advantage of the country’s renowned privacy culture. Mateo Meier said: “Unlike the US or the rest of Europe, Switzerland offers many data security benefits. For instance, as the country is not a member of the EU, the only way to gain access to our data hosted within our Datacentre is if the company receives an official court order proving guilt or liability. This procedure applies to all countries requesting any information from a Swiss datacentre.”

About Artmotion

Founded in 2000, Artmotion specialises in secure IT solutions located in Switzerland, with a focus on data centre and server offerings. The company’s services attract an international clientele looking to benefit from Switzerland’s central location, respect for confidentiality and tax advantages. Strong demand for these solutions has helped Artmotion record an annual growth rate of over 45 per cent.

 

Why the Main Frame Will Probably Never Truly Be Replaced by Cloud Computing

Over at Wired, Tom Bice writes that while the cloud has certainly made its impact on the computing world, the traditional main frame is still an excellent option for reliability, security and even scalability.

“The mainframe is not nearly as trendy as today’s hot topics like Big Data or the cloud, but it continues to serve as the central nervous system of major industries like finance and healthcare, which is something the public cloud has yet to achieve. Over the years, the mainframe has adapted with each new wave of technology to maintain its place at the center of many computing environments. At the same time today’s mainstream virtualization and security approaches have been part of the mainframe platform for decades.

Read the Full Story.

 

Happy Birthday Amazon Web Services–The Service Turns 8 Years Old

Over at InfoWorld, David Linthicum writes that cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) has now been offering Storage as a Service (SaaS) for eight years. Not only did AWS re-define how the cloud was used, it is now in a position of domination in the arena.

“The unique aspect of AWS is that Amazon.com pushed ahead with its own way of doing cloud, rather than try to replicate the work of others. Storage as a service was around then, but AWS’s use of well-defined APIs made the difference. Moreover, AWS presented the value case to developers, helping embed the notion of storage services into actual software. Finally, the Amazon name mattered greatly, thanks to the company’s reputation for having excellent internal technology that supported an amazing scale of operations.

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Cloud Computing in the Not-Do-Distant Future–More, Bigger, Better

Over at InfoWorld, Paul Krill reports from the IDC Directions conference in Silicon Valley on the future of cloud computing. A lot of the growth will be in the Big Data aspects of the cloud including data center builds, Hadoop services and in-memory databases.

“Speaking at this week’s IDC Directions conference in Silicon Valley, IDC analyst Frank Gens offered projections on a number of technology areas, including growth for cloud computing. “We know the last seven years, folks were building out global data centers. We haven’t seen anything yet. We’ll see a doubling of the footprint.”

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MPSTOR Announces New VMware Version of its Orkestra Open Source Software

MPSTOR has announced a new version of its OpenStack-driven cloud software called Orkestra that repurposes VMware. Orkestra and the VMware datacenter work excellently in concert with Open Stack technologies and provides superb flexibility.

“We were able to save significant capital and operating expenses and avoid vendor lock-in while simply migrating our existing infrastructure onto the open platform using MPSTOR’s VMDK version of Orkestra IaaS,” said Christian Sestu, CTO of cloud resources at Filippetti, a leader in Cloud Computing and IT solutions in Italy.  “It was simple to install and runs seamlessly on top of our existing VMware.”

Read the Press Release.

Silicon Valley Bank and Farnam Street Financial Gives Codero $8 Million in Funding

Codero has announced an $8 million round of funding from Silicon Valley Bank and Farnam Street Financial to expand its world wide data center footprint.

“We have outpaced our industry’s growth, expanding faster than other hosting and cloud providers due to our commitment to providing customers with unparalleled performance, expertise, support and value,” said Emil Sayegh, president and CEO of Codero Hosting. “The support of SVB and Farnam Street Financial helps us accelerate our growth and capitalize on our market success.”

Read the Press Release.

Dropbox Experiences Downtime but Quickly Gets to Work Restoring Services

Over at ITworld, Jeremy Kirk reports that Dropbox went down for awhile on Friday and immediately got to work to fix the outage and as of Sunday 99% of the users could access their files.

“One of the issues revolved around photos. It disabled photo sharing and turned off a “Photos” tab on dropbox.com. Photos were still available through the desktop client and the “Files” tab on dropbox.com, it (blog post) said. The Photos tab remained disabled on Sunday. “Were continuing to make a lot of progress restoring full service to all users, and are doing so in careful steps,” it said. Service outages and probes by cyberattackers are some of the biggest concerns for users of cloud-based services.

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High Performance Computing in the Cloud Doubles over the Last Two Years

Over at ihotdesk, Paul Sells reports that the High Performance Computing (HPC) world has increasingly turned to the cloud for data storage and compute power.

“Earl Joseph, program vice president for technical computing at IDC, said: “The most surprising findings of the 2013 study are the substantially increased penetration of co-processors and accelerators at HPC sites around the world. “[Also of note was] the large proportion of sites that are applying Big Data technologies and methods to their problems and the steady growth in cloud computing for HPC.”

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Talkin’ Cloud 100 Report Names Salesforce as the Top of its Annual List

Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton, names Salesforce number one on the list followed by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Azure, Oracle Cloud and Google Apps to round out the top five.

“The Talkin’ Cloud 100 is the only report and list that offers a full 360-degree view of cloud computing in the IT channel,” said Amy Katz, president, Nine Lives Media. “Our research shows that the cloud ecosystem is thriving, growing and rewarding a range of companies from various channel backgrounds — including pure CSPs, brokers, aggregators, VARs and MSPs.”

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UOL Selects Virtustream Software to Deliver Enterprise Class Cloud Solutions in Brazil

Virtustream today announced that it has partnered with Brazilian internet services giant Universo Online (UOL). The move comes as demand in Brazil has sharply risen for cloud infrastructure services and data management software.

“We are very pleased to support UOL’s entry into the enterprise class cloud market,” said Rodney Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer at Virtustream. “As Brazilian enterprises increasingly focus on gaining efficiencies and reducing costs through cloud solutions, this partnership will provide them with the efficiencies they seek and the enterprise grade security and performance they need, all delivered by a provider they already know and trust.”

Read the Press Release.

Cloud Brings Big Data to all Levels of Enterprise

At TechRepublic, Nick Hardiman writes that the cloud will play a big role in Big Data. As massive data sets move to the cloud, enterprises of all sizes can take advantage of cost-effective and scalable data analysis.

“For the growing amount of unstructured data produced by social media, sensor networks, and federated analytics data-and for constantly changing data that needs to be replicated to other operating sites or mobile workers-NoSQL technologies better fit those use-cases. Unstructured data can be terabytes or even petabytes in size.

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Real-Time Data Streaming from Google is Here

Over at InformationWeek, Thomas Claburn reports that Google has improved BigQuery, its Web service for intensive data analysis. The new features include: real-time data streaming, ability to query portions of a table and interface improvements.

“Raj Pai, CEO of social analytics company Claritics, said in a Google case study that time-consuming complex queries of large data sets on Hadoop clusters can be processed by BigQuery in as little as 20 seconds. As a consequence, his company has been able to develop apps four times faster and to spend about 40% less time focused on IT infrastructure.

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Slidecast: TwinStrata CloudArray – Disaster Recovery as a Service

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F65pkFUCdRg?rel=0&w=511&h=383]

In this slidecast, Nicos Vekiarides from TwinStrata presents: TwinStrata CloudArray 4.5 with DRaaS. The new offering is an on-demand disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) for VMware users.

Whether your goals are to increase storage capacity, improve off-site data protection, implement disaster recovery or all three of the above, TwinStrata CloudArray is the most comprehensive storage solution available today,” said Nicos Vekiarides, CEO of TwinStrata. “TwinStrata has made great strides in delivering enterprise-class functionality at a fraction of the cost typically required of storage solutions. What’s exciting is CloudArray 4.5 enables organizations to enjoy a full business continuity plan without the need for backup software or a dedicated disaster site– a once unthinkable proposition.”

Read the Full Story * View the slides * * Download the MP3Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe to RSS

RDMA and Storage at a Distance

Over at Forbes, Tom Coughlin writes that RDMA extends the capability of fast direct access to memory between computers in a cluster to greater distances, within a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN ) or even in a Wide Area Network (WAN) that can span continents.

RDMA over a WAN allows some very useful capabilities that can increase the overall power of a clustered computer system. It can provide remote collaboration with a remote file system allowing access as though it were local, enabling apparent real-time collaboration. RDMA also allows very efficient file transfer over a WAN. This direct data placement is accomplished with little impact on the processors on either end of the file transport. These features are very useful for working with large data files such as those common in many HPC applications. Storage at a Distance will not directly impact conventional client computing since these devices typically don’t have access to dedicated high-speed Internet connections. However with the growth of on-line (cloud) services the use of RDMA could accelerate many background processes within a given data center and between data centers. This could improve overall cloud performance and provide services such as fast backups and replications of data to provide data recovery. Thus Storage at a Distance could have a great impact on the overall performance and capabilities available over the Cloud.

Read the Full Story or see Coughlin’s recent Open Fabrics presentation over at inside-Cloud.

Mellanox Announces Integrated InfiniBand to Ethernet Switch System

Mellanox reveals a single switch that merges InfiniBand and Ethernet technologies for data center solutions.

Mellanox’s new InfiniBand to Ethernet gateway functionality built within Mellanox switches provides the most cost-effective, high-performance solution for data center unified connectivity solutions,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “Mellanox’s systems enable data centers to operate at 56Gb/s network speeds while seamlessly connecting to 1, 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet networks. Existing LAN infrastructures and management practices can be preserved, easing deployment and providing significant return-on-investment.”

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