Thursday, January 21, 2010

Microsoft, Intuit Target SMBs In Cloud Deal

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) and Intuit (NSDQ:INTU) are teaming up to make it easier for developers to build SMB-focused software-as-a-service applications that integrate with the popular Quickbooks financial application.

As part of this tie-up, Intuit on Wednesday released a Windows Azure software development kit for its Intuit Partner Platform, which comes with APIs for single sign-on, billing, and data integration. The idea is to enable Azure developers to build apps on Intuit's platform and sell them on Intuit's App Center, which already includes a range of SMB focused tools, according to Alex Chriss, director of the Intuit Partner Platform.

Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing development platform, is currently in production and will launch as a paid service on Feb. 1. For developers getting their feet wet in Azure, the Intuit deal offers access to Quickbook's user base of more than 27 million. Intuit channel partners, meanwhile, will gain access to a broader array of offerings.

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Enomaly Unveils Cloud Platform Partner Program

Cloud computing platform vendor Enomaly has launched a partner program designed to boost the delivery of cloud computing solutions to service providers, such as carriers, hosting companies and others via a network of vendor partners, system integrators and service providers.

The Enomaly Partner Program is a global effort comprising partnerships with hardware technology vendors, cloud and storage companies, SIs and service providers all tied together to deliver local support and services to Enomaly customers in North America, Asia and Europe.

Toronto-based Enomaly released its first cloud platform in 2004. Since then, its Elastic Cloud Platform (ECP) product line has evolved. Enomaly now offers the ECP "cloud in a box" product in a Service Provider Edition and a High Assurance Edition. Essentially, Enomaly delivers a customizable cloud platform that enables service providers, telcos, systems integrators and resellers to offer cloud services to their customers.

"Enomaly is focused on making it very easy and simple to deploy," said Miriam Tuerk, a strategic advisor with Enomaly, adding that VARs can get customers up and running with a full swath of cloud services in four to six weeks.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

HP, Microsoft team up on $250 million cloud computing project

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft said Wednesday they will jointly spend $250 million to develop hardware and software products that are designed to work together smoothly in their customers’ data centers and in cloud computing facilities.

"This is all about integrating technology and making things as close to ’plug and play’ as we can," HP CEO Mark Hurd said during a telephone conference call with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other executives, in which they announced a partnership that appears to represent another move toward consolidation in the commercial tech industry.

The two tech giants said they will collaborate in designing a full "stack" of data center hardware, software management tools and other applications, as well as on Windows Azure, which is Microsoft’s operating platform for cloud computing, in which customers can access data center services over the Internet.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google Docs Becomes Google ‘Any File’ as Cloud Wars Heat Up

Google is now offering a small virtual hard drive in the cloud so you can access all sorts of files anywhere — the latest salvo in an arms race to become the dominant player in cloud services.

As with many Google initiatives, this one may be deceptively modest: When it is completely rolled out, Google Docs will accept uploads of any kind of file — not just text and spreadsheets. That move heightens their competition with Microsoft, and takes on Apple and a number of small startups in the business of creating backup and storage space on remote servers.

This business is suddenly becoming viable with the ubiquity of broadband connectivity (which makes things almost as accessible as they’d be on your hard drive) and the popularity of netbooks (which are usually light on internal storage). Cloud computing also makes it possible never to lose data when you drop your beloved laptop, or when you don’t have it with you.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Cloud Storage On The Rise

The availability of online storage choices for VARs contemplating moving customers to cloud or cloud-hybrid solutions continues to grow.

Depending on the needs of an enterprise -- with performance, compliance, scalability and budget -- Storage-as-a-Service options have been leading the way toward the cloud computing model because of the relative ease of deployment and growth of competitive vendors in this space.

In previous issues of CRNtech, we've looked at a number of different offerings including Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN)'s S3 -- arguably the biggest cloud storage vendor in the market. As the cloud buildout continues, Rackspace, San Antonio, does continue to impress with a variety of its offerings and approaches. More and more, the CRN Test Center believes VARs may want to keep the company in mind as it moves customers to this model.

Rackspace has very quietly outflanked giants Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) and Google in online storage and backup, giving the hosting and cloud computing upstart bragging rights as the market races toward the new IT model in 2010 and beyond.

Unveiled recently, Rackspace's Cloud Drive provides a quick, easy-to-deploy solution for "cloud-based" storage and file backup. Here are the basics: At a price of $4 per month, per user, Rackspace will offer a company or workgroup 10 GB of file storage. Using the interface of the Jungle Disk Workgroup Activity Manager (Jungle Disk is a Rackspace subsidiary), files can be managed and backups can be scheduled and tailored to a specific need. From a desktop or server, the files are copied onto Rackspace's storage infrastructure where they can be managed or retrieved.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Windows Azure: Microsoft's Big Bet

Windows 7 has put the swagger back into Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT)'s stride. But with Windows Azure, the cloud computing platform that will debut as a paid service on Feb. 1, Microsoft faces a new type of challenge: showing the industry that its deep software expertise can translate into success in the Wild West frontier of cloud computing.

Microsoft, which has spent more than $1 billion to build gigantic data centers to run Azure, faces formidable competition from companies like Google and Amazon that have already become synonymous with delivering services over the Internet. In addition, startups are cropping up left and right to grab their piece of the cloud computing pie. All of which suggests that Microsoft will have to get paying customers onto the Azure platform as quickly as possible to stake its own claim in the cloud.

To make this happen, Microsoft has built Azure to support open source programming languages like PHP, Ruby On Rails, and Python. The idea is to lure developers that haven't traditionally been Microsoft's biggest fans, and it's a bold move from a company that trying to show the industry that it's serious about interoperability.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Not Everything Will Move To The Cloud

When Rackspace opened for business at the end of the last century, people thought it was a wannabe Electronic Data Systems. Since then it has evolved into one of the largest cloud operations on the planet with an estimated 60,000 servers and data storage that is increasing by a mind-boggling 1 petabyte a month.

So what better place to look at how data management is changing? Forbes caught up with John Engates, Rackspace's chief technology officer, to talk about the evolution and where things are likely to go in the future.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Cloud Development Instrumental in IT Recovery for 2010

IDC, the tech industry analysts, have come out with their predictions for 2010 – and it’s a model that heavily involves the development and growth of the Cloud.

First some general IT industry forecasts:

- growth is expected to return to the IT industry, and IDC is forecasting a more than 3% expansion for the year; the industry will see spending levels rise once again (but to 2008 levels) to $1.5 trillion;

- emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil will lead IT recovery, growing 8-13%, while mature markets like the U.S. and Europe are to remain relatively weak and vulnerable to risk factors;

- small and medium-sized businesses, another important form of “emerging market” for the IT industry, declined by about 3.5% this year…but expect this sector to grow in 2010 by 3.5%. Growth among SMBs will be higher than large enterprises.

What role the cloud will play:
- For the IT industry, 2010 will be a huge year for the continuing build-up and maturing of cloud services delivery and consumption, according to IDC. Look for “enterprise grade” cloud services to emerge in order to support the “more demanding security, availability, and manageability requirements of traditional IT” in cloud services.

- The year will be marked by seven distinct cloud trends:

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