Public cloud: Real-world lessons of strategic success

The commodity days of the cloud are over. It’s time to get strategic. That’s the message of today’s leading cloud strategies, as forward-thinking CIOs are no longer turning to the public cloud to cut costs. Instead, the public cloud is viewed as an opportunity to get out of the business of managing data centers and focus on projects that are more strategic for the business.

Whether that means building a mobile app or new website to strengthen customer engagement, these shifts signal how strategic the public cloud has become for many companies. As a platform for running key business applications and services, the public cloud is a popular facilitator of digital transformations that enterprises are undertaking to boost bottom- and top-line growth.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Enterprises can put Oracle’s entire public cloud in the data center

While Amazon is raking in the lion’s share of money spent by public-cloud users, Oracle is doubling down on its hybrid-cloud strategy, appealing to enterprises that want to put data and applications behind their firewall while taking advantage of cloud pricing models and technology.

Oracle has greatly expanded the services available through its on-premises Cloud at Customer offering so that they are essentially at parity with what the company has on its public cloud. The company announced Tuesday that a broad portfolio of SaaS (software as a service) applications as well as PaaS (platform as a service) and Oracle Big Data Machine services are now available via Cloud at Customer.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Enterprises can put Oracle’s entire public cloud in the data center

While Amazon is raking in the lion’s share of money spent by public-cloud users, Oracle is doubling down on its hybrid-cloud strategy, appealing to enterprises that want to put data and applications behind their firewall while taking advantage of cloud pricing models and technology.

Oracle has greatly expanded the services available through its on-premises Cloud at Customer offering so that they are essentially at parity with what the company has on its public cloud. The company announced Tuesday that a broad portfolio of SaaS (software as a service) applications as well as PaaS (platform as a service) and Oracle Big Data Machine services are now available via Cloud at Customer.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Millennials push for public cloud, innovation

Millennials in the workplace are increasingly taking on IT decision maker (ITDM) roles, and in pursuit of improved agility, they are pushing their organizations to embrace public cloud and adjust IT policies to better enable innovation, according to a study by Microsoft and Wakefield Research.

As 2017 begins, millennials already represent a third of the workforce, and the Brookings Institute forecasts they will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Ricoh USA transforms ediscovery in the public cloud

For 80 years, Ricoh, the Japanese multinational that first saw light as Riken Sensitized Paper, has been known for manufacturing. But even with its long history, digital transformation hasn’t passed Ricoh by.

“While overall, we think of Ricoh as manufacturers for 80+ years, management of information has really been the focus of Ricoh for many years,” says David Greetham, vice president of eDiscovery, sales and operations for Ricoh USA, the company’s Malvern, Penn.-based North and South America arm.

Specializing in cameras and office electronics, Ricoh has manufactured copiers for Pitney-Bowes and Toshiba, Fax machines for AT&T and Omnifax, even the 8-bit processor used in the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Through the early 2000s, Ricoh grew to become the largest copier manufacturer in the world. It holds more than 46,000 patents for imaging and printing solutions, industrial products and digital cameras, and boasts 109,000 employees globally.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Cisco pits modular storage servers against public clouds

Cisco Systems is finding its way into storage through its successful server business. On Tuesday, the company introduced modular systems that can be deployed with different combinations of computing and storage capacity.

Though it’s not Cisco’s first foray into storage, the UCS S3260 Storage Server offers a density and a freedom of configuration that stands out against other systems, even competing on cost with public cloud services, the company says.

The server was announced at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Francisco. It’s the first entry in Cisco’s S-Series, a line of systems designed to serve both enterprises and companies that provide cloud services to others.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Are There Workloads that Don’t Belong in the Public Cloud?

According to ESG research, 75% of organizations are currently using a public cloud service while another 19% have plans or interest in doing so (note: I am an ESG employee).  Furthermore, 56% of all public cloud-based workloads are considered IT production workloads while the remaining 44% are classified as non-production workloads (i.e. test, development, staging, etc.).

This trend has lots of traditional IT vendors somewhat worried, as well they should be.  Nevertheless, some IT veterans believe that there are limitations to this movement.  Yes, pedestrian workloads may move to the public cloud over the next few years but business-critical applications, key network-based business processes, and sensitive data should (and will) remain firmly planted in enterprise data centers now and forever.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Massive growth shows why Amazon is the public cloud leader

Amazon showed off its dominance in the public cloud market on Thursday as the capstone to a better than expected quarterly earnings report.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services during the first quarter of 2016 was up 64 percent year-over-year, showing the big money that’s still out there as companies invest more and more in the public cloud. 

Amazon’s cloud platform generated revenue of $ 2.56 billion, putting it on pace to make $ 10 billion this year, in line with a letter from CEO Jeff Bezos sent to shareholders earlier this month. That’s big money to go with Amazon’s massive customer base, which includes names like Netflix, Time Inc., and Intuit. 

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CIO Cloud Computing

AI, Public Data Sets, Real-Time: Strata + Hadoop Keynote Sampling

Strata + Hadoop keynotes included updates on the state of AI, new public data sets and programs from the US Department of Commerce, a closer look at what real-time data means for big data, and more. Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite keynotes from this week’s event.
InformationWeek: Cloud

Private, public, or hybrid: Microsoft’s cloud flavors

Every cloud in the sky is unique, as is every computing cloud. Microsoft has its own view of what its cloud is all about, what it’s made of, and the tools it provides to help connect Microsoft-powered private clouds with Microsoft Azure public clouds with service clouds (from third parties).

Having multiple options as to where your cloud services reside provides real agility should you need or want it.

But some organizations may not want it. For example, you may require complete control over your data and data compliance — for example, to satisfy regulations. In those cases, Microsoft’s options let you create a private cloud using Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft System Center.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Public cloud vs. on-premises: Which is more secure?

Which is more secure: the public cloud or on-premises infrastructure?

“Is it more secure to run in the cloud or more secure to run in my data center?” asks John Treadway, senior vice president at consultancy Cloud Technology Partners. “I can do it better. You can do it better… It becomes a religious debate.”

Large enterprises invest a lot in security, Treadway says and so do large cloud providers. “Whether it’s more secure or less secure, [the cloud is] at least as secure as most enterprise environments,” he concludes.

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: How Notre Dame is going all in on using Amazon’s cloud | Hosted bare metal emerges as alternative to IaaS +

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Its public cloud soon gone, HP aligns with Microsoft Azure

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has partnered with Microsoft to offer its Azure cloud services to customers, filling a gap when HPE closes its own public cloud early next year.

Microsoft will be a “preferred” public cloud partner to HPE, and HPE will become a “preferred provider” of Microsoft Azure services, CEO Meg Whitman said on HP’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday. She didn’t provide details but said they’ll be forthcoming at HPE’s Discover conference in London next month.

It’s no surprise to see HPE cut its first cloud deal with Microsoft rather than Amazon or Google. The companies work closely in servers and PCs, and they’re both trying to sell customers a mix of on-premises and cloud products.

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Network World Cloud Computing

IT pros should focus on largest public cloud providers

The cloud has seen massive rates of adoption among IT professionals this year, and it will spread even deeper into entrenched industries over the next 16 months, according to a new report from Forrester Research. Despite ongoing consolidation, the research firm reports that the cloud vendor landscape is too crowded and IT professionals should increasingly hedge their bets on major public cloud providers such as Amazon, IBM and Microsoft.

CIOs and IT leaders should be wary of small, specialized players due to their narrow focus and the increased risks these companies carry around longevity and security, Forrester reports. The market research firm predicts there will be a significant decline in the number of players providing infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud services and management software by the end of 2016.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Public cloud providers’ end game shouldn’t surprise anyone

In the beginning, public cloud was the only choice. If you had an existing environment on-premise, colocated or with another web hosting company, you couldn’t connect it up to the public cloud. You could set up your own site-to-site VPN across the internet, but this had its challenges and limitations.

Indeed, this was all part of the cloud provider’s strategy — you had to go all in. Everything should be deployed into the provider’s public cloud and nowhere else. It made sense when cloud providers were mostly focusing on new projects and new applications, but it has proven a big challenge to migrate existing workloads or run systems in parallel.

So we started to see features released designed to connect into existing environments. These have ranged from storage appliances that cache files locally to official site-to-site VPN functionality and direct connect. These have all been advertised as helping you connect existing environments to take advantage of public cloud, and it’s true that they do help with this. However, I don’t think that’s the end goal.

There are many cases where it’s an advantage to run your own environment and hook into public cloud for burst capabilities and flexibility. A site-to-site VPN allows you to do this, as does direct connect. However, while these types of features help the cloud providers in the short term, they mean that cloud resources merely complement existing environments for very specific use cases like bursting.

Examining the product portfolios of the big cloud providers (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) suggests that this isn’t the true goal. It’s very clear that these providers are competing to run your entire workload, from email to file storage to compute to data processing — they don’t just want to act as capacity insurance. The investment in the underlying core components has allowed these supporting services to be built, and it all contributes to convincing you to move ever more workloads into the public cloud.

Strange bedfellows make sense

Partnerships such as Google teaming up with VMware seem strange on the surface. Using vCloud to tap into Google Cloud Services seems like Google’s recognition of the fact that private deployments are here to stay. In reality, it has to be viewed as part of a long game to make existing on-site users comfortable with public cloud resources, with the end goal of moving more and more workloads into the public cloud.

Getting existing deployments to accept some public cloud components is a clever way to get into an existing environment, especially in large enterprises that are already familiar with the likes of VMware. For managers and CIOs, everything appears within existing frameworks, with support, SLAs and systems they recognize. For developers and sysadmins, the familiarization strategy is the same, which is why so much effort is being put into supporting common tools. If you can use Kubernetes to manage your existing private environments, you’ll be comfortable using it to manage public cloud resources too.

Docker here, Docker there, Docker everywhere

Why do you think there’s so much support for Docker, and containers generally? It’s certainly an interesting technology, but why is every cloud provider putting in so much effort to rapidly develop specialized services to support deployment and management of containers? Because the format makes it incredibly easy to deploy anywhere — it makes your applications completely portable, so applications can be moved to the public cloud much more easily than if they were VMs. The fact that it makes it easy to move between cloud providers is just a side effect — the biggest hurdle is getting into the public cloud in the first place. Once it’s there, each vendor can battle it out to compete for the workloads.

The strategy is transition. These features are transitory with all eyes focused on the prize of every workload deployed in the public cloud. There will always be hybrid deployments, especially in those cases where it makes more sense to run your own environment, but the goal for the vast majority is not just public cloud first, but only public cloud. This is what the cloud providers are ultimately trying to achieve. Don’t let their partner announcements and discussions around hybrid clouds fool you.

David Mytton is the founder of Server Density, a SaaS tool which helps you provision and monitor your infrastructure. Based in the U.K., David has been programming in Python and PHP for over 10 years, was one of the earliest production MongoDB users (founding the London MongoDB User Group) and was one of the founding members of the Open Rights Group.

Public cloud providers’ end game shouldn’t surprise anyone originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015.

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Cloud

After fumbling public clouds, VMware focuses on hybrid clouds

From what company officials said this week at EMC VMware’s annual VMworld conference held in San Francisco, you’d think that its public cloud vCloud Air was in the same market tier as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. It’s not.

vCloud Air simply doesn’t come up in my conversations with organizations looking to move some, most, or all servers to the cloud. AWS and Azure do.

VMware’s hybrid capabilities

There’s no point to dwell on missing the public cloud infrastructure. Instead, it appears VMware will focus on the market where it currently has traction, meaning in the data center. Thus, what VMware described this week were hybrid capabilities in its cloud offerings to extend an organization’s data center to the public cloud without compromising security and compliance features.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Public, Private, Hybrid? Choosing the Right Cloud Mix

Public, Private, Hybrid? Choosing the Right Cloud Mix
Identifying which IT operations are candidates for cloud deployment is just the first step; organizations also have to decide whether they want their applications hosted in a public, private or hybrid cloud environment. Each model offers its own …
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10 Online Cloud Computing Courses To Get Ahead
With this much money being directed at cloud computing, businesses' need for staff with cloud skills has led to an increased number of training courses related to the field. In particular online courses, which provide valuable skills in the learner's …
Read more on InformationWeek

Microsoft woos startups with 0K in cloud computing credits
Microsoft is trying to lure more startups onto its Azure cloud services by offering a substantial $ 120,000 credit for companies that qualify for its BizSpark Plus program. Starting July 1, qualifying companies will receive $ 10,000 worth of Azure …
Read more on Computerworld

Brace yourselves: Public cloud is coming. When? Er… soon, possibly
Widespread uptake of the public cloud is not happening anytime soon, despite strong growth from the likes of Amazon Web Services, it added. However, this is up from IaaS/PaaS accounting for just three per cent of the total infrastructure services …
Read more on The Register