Wednesday Nov 11, 2009

OpenSolaris based JeOS VMWare Appliance available

Sun and VMware have just released a prototype of a OpenSolaris 2009.06 based JeOS VMWare appliance for building your own lightweight virtual machines. Its only 660MB in size and offers all the advanced OpenSolaris features like ZFS, DTrace, Solaris Containers, Network virtualization with Crossbow, our new Service management framework (SMF), new Image Packaging System (IPS), Solaris containers...All the features you have come to love and enjoy about OpenSolaris. And its Free. Enjoy!

Learn more about OpenSolaris JeOs here

Friday Nov 06, 2009

The new Mantra: Consolidate, Virtualize, Automate, Self Service

So, there you have it. Every CIO there is being tasked these days to potentially reduce costs and accelerate the time to market by incorporating this Mantra in their data center. Either by building in-house or by buying the service from an external vendor that offers these features to the user.

Its no news that Virtualization and Cloud Computing go together. Virtualization enables Cloud Computing, and in fact is one of the key under lying technology enabling the Cloud. However, often people are left wondering if Cloud Computing is no more than "Next-Gen Virtualization". In my mind, Yes and No, especially if you are talking about Private Clouds. I got motivated to write this piece to bring some clarity to this topic. 

A Cloud is virtualized by definition, but the degree of cloudiness depends on the level of automation and self service that is built into it. If the offering is a Public Cloud, then it must incorporate almost all principles of a Cloud Computing architecture that include multi-tenancy and pay-as-you-go model, enabled by a virtualized self-service platform with built-in services like billing, metering, charge back, along with public APIs or a Portal for public access to the Cloud. This is much more than an evolved virtualized environment, where you can quickly get a pre-deployed server or a service, ready to use, but does not necessarily have all these other built in services like self-service and pay-as-you go. In fact, a cloud service should be such that it can be abstracted for use on an as-need basis, and not just be a service that can be used over the internet.

In case of a Private Cloud, the users are more targeted and there is more leeway in how much of Cloud Computing principles are built into the infrastructure.  Infact, most enterprises are going with the incremental approach so as to leverage their existing legacy systems, yet begin to harvest the benefits of Cloud Computing. This is making Hybrid Clouds more popular where enterprises can spin off certain type of functional workloads or burst loads to an external Public Cloud. Several Public Cloud vendors are offering this feature where the customers can embed the compute nodes from the public cloud into the company VPN, hence making the public cloud nodes part of the company data center. While this architecture has some security concerns, given the public compute nodes in most cases are physically not separate from other nodes in the cloud, it being a virtualized environment, its still a good mid-way between an exclusive public cloud and a private cloud. Its worthwhile to mention here that there are companies like GoGrid and Rackspace who would offer dedicated hardware in their data centers to complement an enterprise private data center. However, the more dedicated the hardware, less are the cost and flexibility benefits of a cloud available to you.

Friday Mar 27, 2009

Sun talks out Cloud: Open Cloud Platform

Sun's Open Cloud Vision unveilled: Open Cloud Platform, an open infrastructure powered by Java, MySQL, OpenSolaris, and Open Storage software technologies.  Open APIs, Open formats and Open source.

On March 18th, at CommunityONE aka CloudONE, Sun unveiled the open cloud platform for powering public and private clouds. We also  announced that we are building our own Public Cloud. This will include a Storage and Compute Cloud. Our Cloud will be compatible with Amazon S3 and EC2 at the API level. Meaning, we will provide S3 and EC2 compatibility APIs in addition to our own, hence enabling an easy migration from Amazon services to Sun Cloud. All clouds - public, private or hybrid, built on Sun's Open Cloud platform will be interoperable and there will be minimal vendor lockin given the cloud platform will be built on open standards and APIs.

Storage Cloud:  The Sun Cloud Storage Service is a set of web service APIs and WebDAV protocols that provide open standard based, on-demand, programmatic access to highly scalable storage infrastructure via the Internet, (" the cloud "). With the Sun Cloud Storage Service you will get:

  • Ability to store and retrieve data in multiple data formats
  • Programmatic web services API operations and administration control, using industry standard that don't lock you in
  • Ability to clone and snapshot volumes
  • Ability to mount cloud drives via multiple WebDAV clients including DavFS
  • AWS S3 compatibility

At the CommunityONE conference, Zmanda' CEO Chander Kant showcased Amanda Enterprise (AE) and Zmanda Cloud Backup (ZCB) integration with Sun Cloud APIs to provide customers with backup and recovery solutions for the Sun Cloud that combine fast installation, simplified management, enterprise-class functionality and the benefit of using open formats to ensure that customers are not locked into a vendor to recover archived data. Zmanda engaged with us to get a Storage Account and were able to complete the integration in less than one week for both S3 and WebDAV set of APIs.

Compute Cloud: The core of the Sun Compute Service is the Virtual Data Center (VDC), based on capabilities acquired when Sun bought Q-layer in January.  VDC is a self service UI for Orchestration and Provisioning of resources. It provides everything developers need to build and run a cloud-based data center, including an integrated interface to stage an application that runs on either the OpenSolaris, Linux or Windows operating systems. The VDC enables you to design applications from pre-built components using drag-and-drop, deploy to cloud, monitor, manage and reconfigure the system, and is compatibile with programmatic APIs. The data center  abstraction layer allows for seamless encapsulation of system architecture of an application, and ability to model, save and deploy entire system into a cloud.

At CommunityONE, Sun's Cloud Computing CTO, Lew Tucker demonstrated a functional virtual data center in the cloud, running the Wikipedia and Facebook design patterns. He showed how to build a VDC using the drag-and-drop GUI interface as well as the Sun Cloud RESTful APIs.

Ref. Fig. left: The tool's left pane lists the different sorts of gear/virtual machine images (VMIs) that you might put into your data center as drag-and-dropp'able objects. The objects can be Linux servers, Windows servers, Solaris servers, firewalls, Web servers, load balancers, caching servers, databases, networking switches and so on. Some are standard configurations that Sun will offer. Others will be built by the Sun Cloud community and published in a catalog that you can use. On the right is a blank pane representing an empty cloud that's waiting for you to drop your personalized virtual data center into.

What happens next could not be simpler. You start picking up servers, switches, firewalls, etc., and you just drop them into the cloud. Then, you connect them. Certain objects like servers can be configured. For example, you can describe a server's processor attributes (GHz rating, core count, memory, etc.) and the resulting pay-as-you-go cost depends on that configuration. More cores, more memory, more GHz... more cost. The VDC is automatically asigned one public IP and the servers in the vLAN get private IPs. The diagram on the left shows the typical Facebook design pattern built using the VDC.

A replay of the demo is available here.  We are blown away by the interest in our Cloud and everyone's eagerness to give us their Credit Cards to get access to the Services TODAY.  We can't wait to roll this out this summer! In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming.


Monday Mar 16, 2009

Be our Cloud guest: Real or Virtual


CommunityOne EAST is here and we at Sun are excited to tell you all about what is cooking at our end. Be our Guest. In the Cloud Real or Virtual.

If your thinking is Cloudy about cloud computing, you will get some sunshine. __̴ı̴̴̡̡̡ ̡͌l̡̡̡ ̡͌l̡\*̡̡ ̴̡ı̴̴̡ ̡̡͡|̲̲̲͡͡͡ ̲▫̲͡ ̲̲̲͡͡π̲̲͡͡ ̲̲͡▫̲̲͡͡ ̲|̡̡̡ ̡ ̴̡ı̴̡̡ ̡͌l̡̡̡̡.__You have heard that we are building a Sun Public Cloud, we will tell you more about that.

March 18 2009

Wednesday Jan 14, 2009

Cloud Computing Services Officer

So Long CIO, Welcome CCSO.

How cool is that for a Job Title?

Seems like the CIO job at a company of managing business's information is expanding towards one that would require additional responsibility of  designing IT operations as services that can be consumed and paid for internally and externally. CCSOs might oversee the use of subscription services and might design their systems and networks to be used by others for subscription purposes.

Cant agree more with Mark Everett Hall of CompterWorld that the arrival of CCSOs (or whatever they end up being called) will be the ultimate recognition by business that IT is less and less about systems, software or even the information they support, and more about the services those tools bring to an organization.

Wednesday Jan 07, 2009

Sun expand its Cloud Computing Offering: Acquires Q-Layer

Sun is elevating investment in cloud computing to fulfill our vision of enabling the creation of a large number of public and private clouds that are Sun-powered, open, and compatible.

Yesterday, on January 6th, 2009, Sun officially closed the acquisition of Q-layer, a cloud computing technology provider that simplifies cloud management and lets users quickly provision and deploy applications.

The Q-layer acquisition adds unique technologies to Sun's cloud computing portfolio that will serve as key differentiators for Sun. By combining Sun's leadership in data-intensive computing, openness, interoperability, and virtualization with Q-layer's technologies for resource management and deployment, cloud computing will be simplified for customers deploying applications to public and private clouds.

For more information regarding this deal, please go to the Sun's official announcement.

Tuesday Dec 23, 2008

Cloud Computing for the White House?

Ok, Now we are talking!

Oh well, we know the Obama team is quite technology savvy and want to run the administration on the state of the art computer technologies. As an example, Obama campaign website used MySQL on the backend. 

So then, can Cloud Computing benefits lure the administration? Security and Technology experts discuss on national public radio  if Cloud Computing will work for the White House and how their computers should run.  Kevin L. Jackson further muses if the Obama Administration should use Cloud Computing.  He believes that Cloud Computing technology can indeed be used to implement the recommendations made by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)  that recently released the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency.  

Provide your comments to NPR.

Monday Dec 22, 2008

2008 Wrapup: Top 10, What Say.

YouTube anounces the Top 10 YouTube videos of all times! Guitar videos are at #3 and I am not surprised. I for one have been learning Guitar online with YouTube videos! (Yeah, that's me in the photo:-)). 

Also check the Top 10 Web Platforms, Semantic Web Products, Consumer Web AppsMobile Web Products and Enterprise Web Apps of 2008 as identified by ReadWriteWeb. While many of them on the list are no surprise (Facebook, OpenSocial, Google Apps, Twitter, AWS, Android, FireFox, Meebo, LinkedIn, Google Maps (Mobile), Y! Search Monkey) , a few that caught my attention are: Pandora, Shazam, Fring, Brightkite,  Last.fm, Ning, Hulu, Qik, Cooliris, Atlassian, DimDim, WordPress, Mindtouch, Dapper, Hakia, BooRah, Zemanta, Uptake and Zoho. I'll let you Google explore them if you havent been playing with them already.

While Apple has been identified as the Best BigCo. of 2008, Zoho has been identified as the Best LittleCo. of 2008. Zoho is an indian startup that is likely to compete headon with the likes of Microsoft Office, Google Apps and SalesForce.com with their office productivity suite, product management tools and CRM solutions.


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Saturday Dec 20, 2008

Cloud Optimized Storage

Check out this pretty neat outline by Dave Graham of a Cloud Optimized Storage (COS) architecture/solution.

Also check out a very interesting term coined recently by Reuven Cohen called the Content Delivery Cloud


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Thursday Dec 11, 2008

Watch this Space in 2009: Sun's Cloud ChalkTalk with Analysts

In a ChalkTalk discussion with Analysts, Sun Executives talk about our Cloud Division and more. InformationWeek's artcile quotes Sun Cloud VP, Dave Douglas's advise: "Watch this Space in 2009"

And I echo that sentiment!

Yes, Sun is Reaching for the Clouds. 

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Friday Dec 05, 2008

Sys-Con on Sun's Cloud Computing Portfolio

Sys-Con talks about Sun's Cloud Computing Portfolio. Check it out.


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Sunday Nov 23, 2008

Sun appoints the new Cloud Computing Czar

Yes We Can! 

Hey Folks, Sun is serious about Cloud Computing. We announced a brand new Cloud Computing organization last week to be led by Senior VP Dave Douglas.  The newly formed Cloud Computing organization will be in addition to two other organizations at Sun: Systems(Includes Solaris, Storage) and Application Platform Software(Includes the Software Stack)

Stay tuned for more! Also, we'd love to hear your ideas on Cloud services and features you'd like to see from Sun. Click here to provide feedback to us. Thanks.

Check special offers we have for you to develop your own Cloud. 

Also see OnTheRecord link here for an earlier update.

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Monday Nov 17, 2008

Cloud Computing Expo: San Jose

The Cloud Computing Expo at Fairmont Hotel in san Jose, CA is fast approaching and I plan to be there to learn and meet the folks interested in Cloud Computing. If you plan to be there, dont miss the hands on Cloud Computing BootCamp, also being held at Fairmont hotel on 20th Nov. and is Free.

Led by Williamson, the Cloud Computing Bootcamp will illustrate all the major players and provide a hands-on program with configuration samples, live demos and working setups you can further adapt and play with.

Hope to see you there and chat about how you can leverage the Sun Cloud offerings to build applications for the cloud or build your own clouds.



Wednesday Nov 12, 2008

Bebo Apps hosting free on Open Solaris

Yesterday, it was my pleasure to be a part of the BeboDevNite at AOL's offices in Mountain View. Bebo is a social networking platform/website, just like Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and is owned by AOL. Bebo has been more popular in Europe so far but is gaining popularity in USA. 


Sun Startup Essentials team including myself was there and we announced our newly launched program to offer developers free hosting of Bebo Apps with our hosting partner Joyent (learn about the Joyent-Bebo developer program). We also offered access to discounted Sun hardware, open source software, professional services, and connections with VCs. 

If you are a Bebo developer, check out this program. Plus Bebo has made it very simple and intuitive to migrate Facebook Apps to Bebo. You have an opportunity here to capture new users of the Bebo community, especially outside of USA where Bebo is more popular. 


Sunday Nov 02, 2008

Sun's Cloud Computing Portfolio

Update: Sun has expanded its Cloud Computing portfolio with the recent acquisition of Qlayer, a cloud computing company that automates the deployment and management of both public and private clouds.  The Q-layer organization, based in Belgium, is now part of Sun's Cloud Computing business unit which develops and integrates cloud computing technologies, architectures and services.

Cloud computing is about managing petascale data. Sun's server and storage systems can radically improve the data-intensive computing emerging in the cloud. Some clouds are closed platforms that lock you in. Sun's open source philosophy and Java principles form the core of a strategy that provides interoperability for large-scale computing resources. Sun's virtualization solutions for advanced high-performance computing deployments are integrated with Solaris and Web 2.0 technologies such as Java and MySQL.

Check out Sun's Cloud Computing Porfolio below:

  • MySQL is almost the defacto database of choice powering the web-scale next-generation of database driven web applications in the cloud. Cloud computing solutions for MySQL makes it easy to develop, deploy, and manage your new and existing MySQL-backed applications in a virtual computing environment. The MySQL Enterprise for Amazon EC2 subscription is a comprehensive offering of database software and production support to deliver applications on Amazon EC2 with optimal performance, reliability, security, and uptime. For the first time, organizations can now cost-effectively deliver database driven web-scale computing in the "cloud", fully backed by the MySQL database experts at Sun. You can learn more about it here


  • The Webstack from Sun is the optimized open source software stack and is bundled with latest release of OpenSolaris 2008.11. It is pre-configured to have the most popular applications (Apache, PHP, MySQL) to work seamlessly out of a Solaris box. By using Solaris with these binaries in a Cloud, you can enjoy the best levels of performance, while also reducing your time-to-service.
  • Performance is one of the key metrics that users are skeptical about in the cloud. White its not a critical criteria, they still want to be able to profile their applications running in the cloud. Netbeans  provides plugins to profile your application on Amazon EC2. Check out the steps here on how to use Netbeans for profiling your application in the Cloud. You can learn more on this at the Cloud Computing Bootcamp on Nov. 19 2008.  

  • Virtualization is key to enabling a Cloud Computing environment. The Sun xVM portfolio offers a simple and efficient way to leverage a heterogeneous, virtualized environment:
    • xVM Ops Center Discover, provision, update, and manage globally dispersed IT environments from one console
    • xVM VirtualBox Build, test, and run applications on one desktop or laptop for multiple OS platforms side by side
    • xVM Server Securely and reliably virtualize systems and services in a Windows, Solaris OS, or Linux environment
    • Sun VDI Software Securely access a virtual desktop from nearly any client on the network

Further, Solaris 10 includes the Containers technology which is an implementation of operating system level virtualization technology first made available in 2005 as part of Solaris 10. A Solaris Container is the combination of system resource controls and the boundary separation provided by zones. Zones act as completely isolated virtual servers within a single operating system instance. By consolidating multiple sets of application services onto one system and by placing each into isolated virtual server containers, system administrators can reduce cost and provide all the same protections of separate machines on a single machine, hence making it a perfect technology for the Clouds.

  • Besides the product portfolio, Sun is also offering services in the Cloud Computing space.
    • Zembly is a service from Sun hosted on Network.Com which is a place to create social applications, together.  At Zembly, you easily create and host social applications of all shapes and sizes, targeting the most popular social platforms on the web like Facebook, Meebo, iPhone, Google Gadgets etc. And, you do it along with other people, using just your browser and your creativity, and working collaboratively with others.
    • Project Kenai is the foundation for the connected developer of tomorrow. It allows you to freely host your open source projects and code. Find and collaborate with developers of like mind and passion from around the globe.
    • Project SocialSite, is an open source ( CDDL/GPL2) project for building Widgets and Web Services that make it easy for you to add social networking features to your existing web sites, including the ability to run OpenSocial Gadgets and have them backed by the same social graph.
    • Project Caroline is an advanced R&D project at Sun Microsystems. It is a hosting platform for development and delivery of dynamically scalable Internet-based services. It is designed to serve an emerging market of small and medium sized software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers.


  • Sun is offering Open Solaris on Amazon EC2 OpenSolaris, which comes with tools such as ZFS and Dynamic Tracing (D-Trace), are offered for free, in contrast to some Linux offerings that cost money. ZFS allows instant rollback and continual check-summing capabilities, something developers have found lacking in the EC2 platform.  In addition, Sun is offering several popular EC2 images like Drupal, Roby on Rails, Apache, Tomcat etc. For the entire list, click here.


  • Sun is running several promotions for  hosting Facebook and OpenSocial applications on OpenSolaris free for 1 year with some of our cloud computing partners like Joyent. For more details, check out our Startup Essentials program.

Stay tuned for more to come from Sun in this space.

Monday Oct 27, 2008

Open Solaris + MySQL + ZFS Success Story in Production at SmugMug

SmugMug , a photos and videos publishing site, goes into Production on Open Solaris + MySQL + ZFS. Check out this story on why a Linux geek decided to move his site from Linux To Open Solaris.

Don MacAskill, chief geek and CEO of SmugMug says"  ZFS is the most amazing filesystem I’ve ever come across. Integrated volume management. Copy-on-write. Transactional. End-to-end data integrity. On-the-fly corruption detection and repair. Robust checksums. No RAID-5 write hole. Snapshots. Clones (writable snapshots). Dynamic striping. Open source software. " He is also excited about the CoolStack 5.1 stack available in Open Solaris along with MySQL.

Full Story on SumgMug Powered by  Open Solaris  and  MySQL

http://smugmug.com 

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Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

Its all about Evolution: IDC Research survey results on Cloud Computing

IDC made a Press Release this week on a research survey on Cloud Computing adoption in the next five years. Good to see some numbers backing the hype.

As per IDC, Cloud computing is reshaping the IT marketplace, creating new opportunities for suppliers and catalyzing changes in traditional IT offerings. Over the next five years, IDC expects spending on IT cloud services to grow almost threefold, reaching $42 billion by 2012 and accounting for 9% of revenues in five key market segments. More importantly, spending on cloud computing will accelerate throughout the forecast period, capturing 25% of IT spending growth in 2012 and nearly a third of growth the following year.

In addition, they added that to succeed, cloud services providers need to address a mixture of traditional and cloud concerns. According to survey respondents, the two most important things a cloud services provider can offer are competitive pricing and performance level assurances. These are followed by the ability to demonstrate an understanding of the customer's industry and the ability to move cloud services back on-premises if necessary.

For more, go to http://idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS21480708

Monday Oct 06, 2008

Cloud Computing and Beyond: The Web Grows up (Finally!)

I recently attended a conference titled "Cloud Computing and Beyond: The Web Grows up (Finally!) hosted by SDForum in Santa Clara. It was a good informative conference with views presented from the enterprise world like Sun, IBM, HP, SAP, Salesforce, from Cloud providers/vendors like Joyent, GoGrid, Nirvanix, from Cloud Application providers like Mashery, PBWiki and several VCs.

Lew Tucker of Sun gave a fine presentation calling out that one of the major driver of Cloud Computing is the Web APIs.

Russ Daniels of HP called out that the economics of Cloud computing will have a huge influence on what Clouds do and the value will be in targeting new markets, driving higher margins, differentiation and increased share in the market.

Jayashree of IBM talked about the IBM Cloud Computing centers around the world to enable cloud providers use IBM technologies to build clouds and get their feedback as well.

There was an interesting Panel discussion on When to use the Cloud and When Not To. Participants included Joyent, Nirvanix, Elastra, eComputer. Most agreed that Cloud Computing changes the cost and consumption model for applications and services moving from a Capex to an Opex model.

Some of the chalenges of Cloud Computing that were discussed in another panel included lock-in to specific cloud provider proprietary APIs, hence a need for Cloud API standardization. In the absence of such next-gen standard APIs, there is plenty of oportunity for startups here to deliver software that would make migration of applications from one cloud vendor(say EC2) to another (say Google App engine) seamless.

The VCs showed confidence in Cloud Computing and suggested that it is here to stay. It is not necessarily the next revolution but evolution of some of the internet technologies that have been around for decades like Grid computing and more recent ones like Utility computing and SaaS.

Bottomline was that those who learn to do Cloud Computing profitably will survive in the long term, especially in view of the economic recession.

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alkagupta

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