Cloud

Podcast: Amazon Re:Invent 2013 Recap with Alan and Mitchell

20 Nov , 2013  

Like a bad penny and gum on your shoe, Alan and I are back podcasting together again!

Join us on this short jaunt down the rabbit hole where we recap some of the announcements from the Amazon Re:Invent 2013 conference, reference architectures for legacy and greenfield cloud apps, devops, and the redefined role of the CIO.

Have a question or topic for a future podcast? Post a message.

Thanks for listening!

SECURITY.EXE Podcast

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Here are links to some of the topics discussed:
Blog post on CIO role: http://goo.gl/fzH5K The CIO Role – From Tech Manager to IT Services Broker

AWS reference architectures.
– cloud bursting –https://devcentral.f5.com/articles/aws-reinvent-2013-cloud-bursting-reference-architecture-feat-pearce
– cloud migration –https://devcentral.f5.com/articles/aws-reinvent-2013-cloud-migration-reference-architecture-feat-pearce#.UoZvkGRgZIA

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Cloud, featured, General, IT, Network

Network Virtualization: Next Battlefront for Your Data Center

3 Sep , 2013  

Everyone’s very familiar with server virtualization technology (VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, KVM); creating virtual server instances instead of matching server hardware up with a single operating system. Most medium and many small sized business have carved out a server virtualization strategy and are well down the path of virtualizing the computer room or data center. Virtualizing servers is an established best practice.

What you may not realize is the heated battle between vendors to virtualize the network is in full gear (network virtualization or Software Defined Networks). Combatants include well established companies such as Cisco, VMware and IBM, open source initiatives like OpenStack, university research programs, and industry organizations and standards including OpenFlow (ONF), NfV (ETSI), and OpenDaylight (Linux Foundation).

Consider network virtualization an open battlefield where new entrants and established players see an opportunity to unseat traditional network vendors, most notably Cisco. During August 2013’s VMworld Expo, VMware pre-announced their NSX network hypervisor. HP and Juniper co-announced plans to integrate VMware NSX with their respective SDN controllers and Layer 2 gateways.

Keeping up on all that’s happening in network virtualization can be challenging for network engineers and IT managers in small-to-medium sized businesses. What’s occurring is more than just an incremental move to virtualize elements within of the network. SDN and virtualization are fundamentally redefining how we design and think about data networks, emphasizing software functionality over traditional network hardware, dynamic network creation/reconfiguration through OpenFlow and network controllers, collapsing network functions into multi-purpose network devices, and performing network administration tasks through APIs and scripting languages such as Python and Django framework. These represent substantial, if not fundamental, changes in how we design and manage networks today, and the network engineering skills necessary.

What should IT and network engineering organizations do to prepare for network virtualization?

  1. Build new network engineering skills through exposure to existing server and storage virtualization technologies, and script development with Python, Django and web services (popular scripting languages used in SDN open source initiatives).
  2. Leverage existing virtual network technologies such as software-based network elements (firewalls, load balancers, etc.) including those provided through Amazon Web Services, network vendor offerings such as the Cisco Nexus platform, open source and 3rd party software options (Kemp’s load balancer for example).
  3. Review and educate you and your team on the virtualization strategies of your current or desired key vendors. Keep in mind their strategies can range from supporting industry collaboration and open source, to more defensive and proprietary approaches.
  4. Outline for vendors your interests and plans for network virtualization.
  5. Require vendors begin to virtualize traditional hardware-only network products and appliances. You can bet your enterprise IT counterparts are doing the same.

Short URL to this post: http://goo.gl/f6eGkm

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Apple, Cloud, featured, IT, Mobility

Google Pushes Apple To Improve iOS 7 For Business Users

12 Jun , 2013  

iOS_7Thank you Google Android for pushing Apple to bring iOS current with iOS 7, sort of. Talk to most anyone and they are mildly excited about the coming changes to the iPhone/iPad operating system. While many of us, business users included, still love our iPhone and iPad devices, true innovations in iOS have been slow in coming. Apple has been unable to match the pace of innovation of Android devices. Many of iOS 7’s new features can be directly attributed to existing features in other versions of Android.

iOS 7 is more of a UI facelift than a leap in innovation, with very useful additions such as easy access to common settings, Activation Lock, multitasking, auto updating of apps, and more notification improvements (which recent iOS 6 updates struggled to improve). But the new “flat” UI design along with these useful improvements are just that, improvements, not the true innovations we expect from Apple. iOS 7 shows Apple is playing catch up more than staking out any claim that iOS 7 is a mobile OS game changer.

There are important features in iOS 7 business users will find helpful. AirDrop means less emailing and texting of photos and contacts to someone nearby, make FaceTime VoiP calls over Wi-Fi to save cell phone minutes and international roaming charges, the new Control Center makes switching in and out of Airplane Mode quicker when getting on and off the plane while juggling your carry on bag, seamless automatic joining to wi-fi networks that support the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint technology, and a small but helpful feature is the Clock app icon now shows the correct time including second hand movement (sorry, that always bugged me).

ios7_for_businessThese new iOS 7 features are helpful, but as a business and consumer user, I wanted much more from iOS 7. If you aren’t a Pandora user then iTunes Radio is marginally interesting. iWorks apps are very long in the tooth and integrating then into iCloud doesn’t do much for Microsoft Office users, and filters for pictures and built in flashlight features mean a few less 3rd party apps, yawn.

Apple’s web site gives a paragraph description of iOS 7 and business, describing capabilities that make it easier to manage app licenses, wireless configuration, single sign-on, better protection for personal and work data, and data protection for 3rd party apps. But there isn’t even a link to take you to a more in-depth description about iOS 7 and business. I want to hear a lot more about these features and hopefully we will soon.

Short URL to this post: http://goo.gl/J83V8

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Apps, Cloud, featured, IT, Mobility

Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) Strategies for Medium-Sized Business

6 Mar , 2013  

 Short URL to this post: http://goo.gl/E0kiL

Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) is here and will only increase its presence in medium-sized businesses. iPhone users store company information, including files and emails, in their personal iCloud account. Staff utilize Dropbox and Evernote to manage confidential business information, notes and files. We should only expect continued growth of this trend and our best approach is to get ahead of it, not in front it.

What are IT adoption strategies for BYOC? I prefer to be realistic about such trends. IT customers will continue to utilize their own productivity devices, software and the online services they feel will aid them in the work environment, whether it’s sanctioned by the business or not. If IT doesn’t provide them, IT customers will acquire it themselves. If IT attempts to block their use, our customers will just do it anyway. Company policies on these matters aren’t effective because there are no serious consequences for violations, so IT customers use unapproved consumer cloud services anyway.

Business Editions – Finally

Consumer cloud services have taken a page right out of Apple’s “camel’s nose under the tent” playbook: rely on employees to bring consumer cloud services into the enterprise instead of working through the tedious and more stringent IT approval process. But consumer clouds’ success brings with it the message from the business that these services need to add more robust enterprise management, security and user account management capabilities. And many services are beginning to do just that, often in a slow and incremental fashion, but they are making the move towards addressing IT’s needs. Consider the following business-friendly alternatives to consumer cloud services.

Evernote now offers Evernote Business, a hybrid cloud service connecting personal Evernote accounts with shared business notebooks managed by your company. This allows Evernote users within a company to access, modify and manage notebooks controlled by your company, while still maintaining the privacy of users’ personal Evernote notebooks.

Dropbox offers Dropbox for Teams, taking the simplicity of shared folders to the next level. Businesses can create, share and manage access to folders they control, view user activities, control whether company folders can be shared with others outside the company, and enforce two-step user verification.

Box.com and ownCloud are comparable to business versions of Dropbox, while offering much, much more. Box.com is one of the most business friendly and mature file sharing cloud offerings available. Box.com offers passwords and time limits on shared files and folders, activity logging and audit trails, mobile clients, extensive user management, AD and LDAP integration, social collaboration, and a community of application developers significantly expanding upon the Box.com platform.

ownCloud is an open source software, private cloud, internally operated alternative to Dropbox and it possess a significant number of the management capabilities required IT. ownCloud offers content management (including restricting the types of files that can be shared), file versioning, encryption, mobile clients, user management through LDAP and Active Directory, and open APIs. If you haven’t checked out ownCloud, you owe it to yourself to do so.

These are just a few of the medium-sized business friendly cloud service alternatives to consumer cloud offerings. If your IT customers are using services such as Dropbox or Evernote, consider the business edition alternatives we’ve discussed here.

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

 

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Cloud, featured, Games, IT, Mobility

Are you ready for BYOC? – Bring Your Own Cloud

17 Feb , 2013  

Short link to this post: http://goo.gl/q4KGj

A not so subtle undertone of CES 2013 was the expanding presence of the cloud, smartphone and tablet apps that connect consumer products with online user data and services. IT organizations of mid-sized businesses are already familiar with consumer devices, apps and cloud services, including smartphones, tablets, Dropbox, Google apps, SugarSync, Evernote, iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive and Yammer (to name a few), that utilize online storage and application services. Even though many of these cloud services have little or no corporate IT administration capabilities, services like Google Drive, Evernote and Dropbox are accepted solutions in many small-to-medium sized companies.

More consumer cloud services and devices are headed into the business environment as employees erase the boundaries that separate company approved solutions and technology end users’ use in their connected lives. Health and wellness biometric sensors, wi-fi enabled cameras, audio connected devices, cloud connected cars and trucks, social networking, cloud-based home security monitoring and smart home devices… all types of personal and consumer products represent “connections” end users want to bring with them and access from the workplace.

Consumer technology has shifted from connecting your device to a computer to configure, sync or download data, to registering your device or user account with the accompanying consumer cloud service to perform sync, access data and utilize online services. IT customers bring personal smartphones and tablets into the workplace everyday, expecting to use their consumer devices and accompanying apps as essential productivity and communications tools. This consumer cloud and app bundling is now the norm — Count up the number of apps and online services you use on a weekly or even daily basis. You’ll be surprised at how many cloud services are tied to devices and apps that tag along with you everyday.

All of this represents the next steps beyond BYOD, what I refer to as Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC). With devices comes apps, and with those apps comes the cloud services they rely upon. Depending on your corporate IT DNA and acceptance of using personal devices connecting in the workplace, BYOC can represent a great opportunity or an even greater challenge to IT’s ability to weave together a suite of productivity tools and applications, while still meeting uptime, interoperability, corporate data protection and security requirements.

What does this trend mean for mid-sized business IT organizations? As IT leaders we must anticipate users wanting, and expecting, to use more consumer devices, apps and cloud services in the work place. We can either embrace the challenge and determine how to best adapt to IT customers use of BYOC, or deny its existence all the while it is happening around us. My approach has always been to figure out how to embrace what IT customers want to do, help find solutions and strategies to make it work, not ways to shoot down their ideas. Don’t be the traditional IT “Land of No”. (See my post IT can’t say No anymore, Learn how to say Yes.)

In my next blog post, we’ll talk about strategies to help you avoid being the IT Land of No in your quest to embrace the challenges of BYOC.

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Cloud, featured, IT

IT can’t say No anymore, Learn how to say Yes

11 Aug , 2012  

[REPOST] If you are still from the traditional “IT Land of No”, your IT customers are already going over, under and around you. And they have been for some time. Every No is yet another shovel of dirt thrown on your own effectiveness within the organization. IT customers are bringing their own iPhone and Android smartphones and even computers to work, using file sync services like Dropbox on their company computers, using their credit cards to set up their own shadow IT environments in Amazon or other public cloud services, and more… all to avoid dealing with the IT Land of No.

As engineers, our problem solving training taught us to eliminate all the obstacles, and if your proposed solution still stands once all the possible no’s are eliminated, you likely have a workable solution. The problem with our training? It’s slow, leads to analysis paralysis, and most importantly causes you to automatically say No to your IT customers. At least that’s how they will see it.

While at the Cloud Leadership Forum a few weeks ago, I sat directly across from an IT manager who was a good example of an IT curmudgeon. We were discussing using cloud services to deliver IT as a Service and he kept saying things like, “they’re going to ask for their own virtual machines…No, they can’t have that.” Oh my. We need to undo this programmed behavior and learn how to say Yes.

How do you learn how to say Yes? The simplest approach is often holds the best approach. Start by just saying Yes upfront when an IT customer asks you for something. Literally, say it out loud to them; “Yes.” Don’t drag them through all the No’s to get to the Yes. Alternatively, say something like, “I’ll bet we can find a way to do that”, even if you don’t quite know yet how you’d solve their need or achieve what they’re asking. Next, ask yourself “how can I say yes to their request?” and start down the solution path without verbalizing all the No’s. What wasn’t possible a year ago might just be possible today or maybe you discarded their request out of hand in the past by habitually saying No. It’s simple but taking this approach really does work.

Once you’ve started to break the No habit, get out of the defensive IT position. Start by thinking about and learning how to do what your IT customers want… before they start asking. We’re tech people and there are things we’d like to do at work but haven’t figured out how to do yet. Threatened by BYOD? IT customers are already coming to IT with “how can I…” questions. So start figuring out the uses, apps to use, and requirements like security, remote access and data protection, before they ask you. Be ready with Yes answers because you’ve anticipated the need and gained enough insight how to support it. This is just one example.

Envision the future and start trying it now. And learn to embrace change… even better yet, how to enable and help make change happen. And when the next IT customer comes with their request, start your response with; “Yes, we can figure out how to do that.”

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Cloud, featured, Microsoft, Mobility, Product Mgmt

Product Bistro: A Product Manager’s Dream and Nightmare (cont’d)

15 Jan , 2009  

Continued from a previous blog postThe Digital Age Will Save Us… Uh HuhIf you haven’t noticed our world of software is changing right from under us. We rarely receive CDs or DVDs when you buy software. All the Microsoft products I use in my business all come direct via the web, downloading an installer or the ISO image of the DVD to my computer. We buy and download our music through Amazon and iTunes. Now customers have much greater access to products, and we have instant delivery of online services and software products to our customers.Fall 2008 at the Microsoft developer’s conference, Microsoft announced Windows Azure, their strategy for bringing applications and infrastructure services into the cloud. It’s a bold step but nothing short of bold will do to be able to compete against the lead created by Google and Amazon. We’re entering an age where computing power, storage and network bandwidth are services we can spin up or wind down as needed. That’s a product manager’s digital dream, right? Well, it’s never that easy.Yes there are automated processes for provisioning services and bringing new servers online, and they work, but not always in peak situations. There’s always more to it than standing up a dozen or more servers and “bring them online”. Databases, load balancers, firewalls, application software, backup/recovery, bandwidth, failover schemes… it all plays into the equation.Microsoft was down for nearly a full day reconfiguring their service to be able to handle the huge demand for the Windows 7 beta. We don’t yet think of Microsoft as hosting thousands of computers like a Google or Amazon EC2 and S3 (Amazon’s hosting and storage services). But Microsoft runs a huge infrastructure that delivers MSN Messenger, MSN email, MSNBC site content, Windows Update service (all those patches you keep receiving), automated anti-virus updates for OneCare…. see there’s a lot. So, Microsoft’s no newb at the online services hosting game and it still took them a day to get back on their feet delivering Windows 7 downloads on the Internet.It’s Not A Successful Launch Unless The Order System Gets HurtI see a trend happening. It’s obviously not intentional but it may become one of the criteria for any mind blowing, gang buster style product launch. The trend: crashing the servers.Apple’s iPhone 3G was plagued with enormous problems which revealed a single point of failure in their online and SmartPhone strategy – the iTunes service. Yes, that nice little program you have on your Mac or PC to play songs, sync up you iPod and iPhone, and buy digital songs and movies. Behind your desktop app are the iTunes service which not only provide the online store for buying digital content, it also is crucial to provisioning iPhones and delivering software upgrades. Apple unwisely chose to bring out a new iTunes and iPhone software upgrades, and convert the .MAC service to MobileMe… all within a few days of each other. Busted. When demand peaked, the iTunes servers couldn’t handle the demands and customers were impacted on all fronts.Verizon’s Blackberry Storm was plagued with similar issues when their ordering system overloaded during the first day of product launch. Call me silly but I’m pretty sure they knew the demand was coming following several very public product launch date delays, tons of attention from online on technology sites and blogs (like mine) and Verizon’s own billboards plastered around town more than a month before launch. (A consequence of moving the launch date once too often.)Don’t Do It To Yourself… or Your CustomersWhat’s the second most under appreciated component of any piece of software? Answer: The installer. And what’s the number one under appreciated component of any software product? Answer: The upgrade.My mom used to say that you don’t get to go to kindergarten until you can remember three things. (I forget what the other two things she says are, but I digress.) My adage is a product team doesn’t really know how to ship a successful software product until they can reliably do software upgrades successfully at least three times consecutively. (And not just minor upgrades.)Apple is notorious for really bad upgrades, the consequences of which are bricked iPhone, wiped out data and pissed off customers. It’s not happened with just one software release, but occurs time and again. I’ve personally had two iPods blanked from Apple’s software updates, one of them was totally DOA and not recoverable without sending it to Apple. The most recent episode smacked down my buddy Alan’s iPhone, wiping it and causing him to wait while fix was tested and posted. That one experience moved him from being an iPhone advocate to an iPhone protagonist.In IT shops software upgrades might be something we do once or twice a year. They are well planned (or should be) and timed, and include a recovery strategy should something go afoul. But that’s become much different for consumers and PCs in small and medium businesses. An upgrade or patch to Windows or Mac OS X could happen at any time, resulting in our PCs being reboot overnight or creating a capability problem you didn’t have the day before.Upgrades are crucial to a positive customer experience. Their importance is drastically increasing. In my opinion, we’re not far from the day where every company needs to learn to do upgrades flawlessly or they get to go away.The Fundamentals & Learning FasterShifting to the age of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), online hosting, services on demand, and digitally delivered products are launch and delivery strategies we all are likely to consider and use at sometime. It opens up new possibilities, gives us access to new customers and markets, and drastically decreases the time to reach customers before, during and after the sale. It also means we need to be smart about learning from our experiences and the experiences of others in market.Jumping onto some new technology often means we forget or ignore the fundamentals. Who’s the customer, what really are their needs, what will create a satisfying experience for them, positioning, messaging, the 5 P’s, etc. If anything technology accelerates and shortens the window between a buying a experience and a satisfying product experience. That means we have to learn faster, plan better and be prepared for more contingencies. We have to be open and transparent with our customers because they see the magnitude of product issues we experience and the age of whitewashing problems through some fancy PR campaign of CEO slight of hand are gone. Ask Jet Blue’s former CEO who is Passenger Bill Of Rights won over unhappy customers who sat in the plane grounded for hours.Transparency. Something I’ll talk about at another time.

Cloud, Product Mgmt

Product Bistro: Learning To Create Sustainable Products

9 Aug , 2008  

 Just because many of us are in the tech industry doesn't mean we shouldproceed oblivious to the impact green product design is having on allindustries, including ours. Software delivered through SaaS and virtualizationare two of the more well recognized ways we as technology professionals, productcreators and technology consumers see "green" happening in our industry.Virtualization and SaaS both help reduce the carbon footprint through power andcooling reduction of hosted and virtualized software. Downloadable and hostedsoftware and documentation also reduce the paper, printing, transportation andother eco-unfriendly costs of creating and delivering products.

But the decisions we make in the creation and consumption of technologyproducts impacts our planet's carbon footprint in many other profound and farreaching ways beyond just (and I am in no way minimizing these) saving sometrees or conserving energy costs. Product designers are very often unaware ofhow decisions made early and throughout the product lifecycle can impact thecarbon footprint of the products we create. Certain paints may requirespecial ingredients having a higher carbon footprint manufacturing cost.Software the requires a large number of high speed, energy consuming diskspindles running 24×7 which could be better optimized for peak or infrequentusage. Computer hardware and accessories may have a high environmental impactbecause of their poor recyclability or the products they displace. Even how weorganize or operate our businesses can have a smaller or higher carbon footprintbecause of travel and energy costs.

A new breed of entrepreneurs, called environmental entrepreneurs, haveemerged focusing on creating greener products, services and businesses. I'mfortunate to be an advisor to one of the leading environmental entrepreneurs,Terry Swack, and her third (I believe it's third) "green" company, Sustainable Minds. Terry and theSustainable Minds team launched a series of information services for productdesigners supported by companion decision support software created by thecompany. Here's how Terry describes their offerings:

“These are the first of our information services which deliver newknowledge, processes and strategies for a life cycle-based approach to productdesign, and are the counterpart to our decision support software. Thiscombination is key for design organizations looking to innovate or differentiatethrough delivering more sustainable products or design services.Product designprofessionals can acquire new green skills, increasing their value on the joband having greater impact in organizations. Manufacturers can access new marketswith innovative, environmentally superior products that meet customer needs, andincrease brand value by credibly marketing ‘greenness’. Our aim is to cover theexceptionally broad topic of sustainable design with experts from diverse areaswho drill down to specifics that practitioners will findilluminating.”

I like and believe in the pragmatic approach Sustainable Minds is taking tohelp advise and education product designers, and support the design process withdata and tools. Terry likes to say, "The bottom line is, there is no suchthing as a green product – all products use materials and energy, and createwaste." See what I mean about Terry's pragmatic approach? To help designersthroughout the entire process, the company created Okala, a lifecycle assessmenttool for creating more ecologically sustainable products. She has also assembledsome of the leading experts in creating sustainable products who arecontribution to the Ask the Okala Expertsblog.

I believe we as product creators and designers should be responsible foreducating ourselves about designing more sustainable products. Terry talked atPARC prior to launching Sustainable Minds and thisvideo gives you some good basic information about sustainable design. The Ask the Okala Expertsblog is a blog you can also follow to hear from thought leaders in the space. Iappreciate your checking this information out and sharing it with other friendswho might benefit from this information. I'm learning right from Terry and theSustainable Minds team right along with you.

Blog, Cloud, Security

Podcast 54: A p00ned FBI network, Barracuda, vulnerable Mac, G.hos.st, fired TJX employee, and Sourcefire walk into a bar…

30 May , 2008  

Microphone

Alan and I finally got off our duffs and recorded a podcast. Can you believe it? We have the evidence right here in our grimy little podcasting hands to prove it. But, you’ll have to listen to believe it for yourself.

In podcast #54 Alan and I are back to our old antics, and discuss:

  • How the FBI’s network easily got p00ned by a pen tester in just a few minutes, right up to the NCIC crime database
  • Hot off the presses Barracuda unsolicited (serious?) bid for Sourcefire
  • Mac’s nasty track record for security vulnerabilities (we won’t see those commercials anytime soon, will we)
  • Some new fangled service called G.hos.st that Alan’s all hot about
  • The ethics of security issues, or, how to get fired from TJX without really trying

Alan and I also take some time to put a plug in there for the news about the origins of Stonehenge, and NASA’s Mars Phoenix lander. We also pay homage to two greats who passed in the last few days, comedian Harvey Korman and director/actor Sidney Pollack. "That’s Headley!" Thanks for the wonderful years, guys.

Enjoy the podcast and please drop us any suggestions or questions at podcast@stillsecure.com.

Icon_enclosure_music_7mp3 file

Cloud

Growing The World of SaaS With Parallels and FORTRUST

19 May , 2008  

This week my company where I’m CTO, Absolute Performance, made a couple of announcements. First, we are attending the Parallels Summit 2008 conference in Washington D.C. where Absolute CEO Jerry Champlin had a talk today about exploiting the explosion of opportunities in the SaaS market. At the show we announced Absolute is adding support for Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, which is how Parallels virtualizes applications above the operating system level, sometimes referred to as OS virtualization. Containers abstract the OS from the application, rather than just the hardware as hypervisors do, allowing you to use the OS as a service to applications in multiple containers. Absolute has already announced support for instrumenting VMware ESX and with the addition of Virtuozzo Containers we’ll begin to provide deep instrumentation of virtualized Parallels environments.

How do you rapidly deploy applications, when they all install, have various requirements, and are managed differently? The effort to install applications can be complex and time consuming. The Application Packaging Standard is a standard, created by Parallels which they are now turning into an industry supported standard, which allows you to package an application once. Control panels, provisioning information, etc., are all standardized through APS. There are also useful services within APS, such as the APS Catalog (lists applications in one place with all their associated updates), APS Identity Service for single sign on for APS apps, and APS licensing (under development) for centralizing and standardizing licensing. There are about 150 applications within the APS catalog today. Absolute Performance announced our support for the APS standard, and also that we will have templates for instrumenting some APS right out the box. After some more research into which are the most widely utilized, we’ll start releasing templates for APS apps in the APS Catalog. Lastly, we announced we are deepening our partnership with Parallels and will work together on future initiatives to help managed services and hosting partners effectively thrive in the world of SaaS.

We also announced our partnership with FORTRUST, a Colorado data center services and collocation facilities provider, who brought out their FORTRUST Managed Services. We’re exciting about partnering with them because they clearly recognize the move towards providing high value services to customers. And not just the typical basic monitoring either, but the full suite of monitoring, management, pre-production load testing, end user experience validation and reporting functions of its managed services offering. FORTRUST has some of the highest quality facilities you’ll see and I think you’ll find the same true of their managed services offerings. All my best to the team there and the new managed services offerings.

As I’ve talked about previously in my NWW blog, SaaS is all about partnering and without effective partnering strategies, it’s a tough go to be a one-vendor show. Partnerships, like those we announced this week, show why it’s the case.