PaaS Predictions for 2016

Article written by cloud computing consultant, Barry Gold.

Often dwarfed by IaaS and SaaS services, platform as a service or PaaS is a category that has quietly been growing in scope and demand over the past couple of years. This category of cloud services offers customers a platform to develop and manage their own web applications, without any need to build the supporting infrastructure. So what comes next for PaaS? Here are a few predictions of what could happen over the next year.

Cloud services in 2016

To understand the position of PaaS among cloud computing trends as a whole this year, it helps to look at the bigger picture first. This year, leading cloud experts have made predictions showing that the whole field will grow and change in significant ways. For example, it's expected that an increasing number of enterprises will jump on the cloud bandwagon as a whole, with many businesses choosing to diversify their cloud strategy rather than rely on a single provider. So while a business may choose one vendor for their storage services, they may choose another for PaaS, which opens up the playing field.

2016 will be the Year that People Finally Stop Immediately Associating Cloud with IaaS

Article written by Leo Reiter

Before I look into the proverbial crystal ball again, let's see how I did on my 2015 prediction, which was: 2015 will be the year that enterprise software ISVs embrace cloud licensing.  Well, while not universally true, we've seen good progress there.  It's hard to argue with the success of cloud licensing for major ISVs like Microsoft and Adobe, but technical computing, as usual, is lagging a bit.  However, while not exactly 2015, I happen to know (confidentially) that we will see some

Michael Dell is Committed to VMware's Independence. But What About the Competition?

Article written by David Marshall

Unless you've been buried in the sand somewhere for the past eight days, you've probably read at least one news article or came across at least one email announcement telling the tale of Dell's intentions to purchase EMC (and subsequently with it, VMware). This was after all the biggest technology M&A news story made so far in 2015, affecting those of us living in and following the virtualization, PC and server hardware, storage, security, mobility and cloud communities.

One of the big question marks surrounding this acquisition news has been, "what will happen to VMware once Dell takes over EMC's share of ownership?"

EMC currently controls in excess of 80 percent of the virtualization giant. But the company has for all intents and purposes allowed VMware to operate independently and form its own partnerships with EMC competitors to further the VMware cause. This independence has allowed VMware to flourish and advance its technologies, and it kept the company from getting bogged down in the political fray within the storage market. And fortunately for VMware, EMC competitors, at least on the face of things, didn't seem to mind that money ultimately flowed back into the hands of their storage competition. 

VMware Scoops Up Mobile Vendor Boxer, Adds to AirWatch Unit

Article written by David Marshall

This week, if you put the words "VMware" and "acquisition" in the same sentence, the mass majority of us would conclude you were talking about the $67b Dell acquisition of EMC, VMware's parent company.

But in a small corner of VMworld Europe 2015, those two words are being paired up to talk about the VMware End-User Computing team's announcement made earlier today that talks about the virtualization giant's plans to acquire Boxer, Inc., a privately held company that offers a comprehensive and secure personal information management (PIM) solution for mobile devices to businesses and consumers.

At first blush, the acquisition news may give you pause. Boxer is after all a consumer oriented application, with apps being designed for use on iOS and Android devices. And that may bring up memories of the great VMware sell off in 2013 when the company "realigned its strategy" and sold off the likes of  Zimbra, Sliderocket and Wavemaker. But this latest move has more to do with security and control, and boosting VMware's business mobility product line.

The addition of Boxer becomes part of VMware's strategy around the digital workspace, which according to VMware, offers a single, central location for business users to access any application on any device, built on a mobile-cloud architecture that centralizes core services, simplifies management, and meets both user and business expectations. VMware adds that it provides businesses with the power to deliver innovative business processes and reach customers in new ways; but most importantly, it follows the VMware End-User Computing philosophy of consumer simplicity and enterprise-grade security so the solution can realistically be used in the real world of on-demand, mobile-cloud computing.

Is Ubiquitous Internet Access Gating Public Cloud Adoption?

Article written by Leo Reiter
I recently had a friendly email debate with an experienced executive and investor who I respect tremendously. I argued that I would never pitch a private cloud idea to a venture capitalist knowing what I know now, and that new investment should go into public cloud technologies as a bet on the future. It’s true that private/hybrid cloud is strong today and will continue to be relevant, but the really explosive growth – the transformative growth – is in the public cloud space. As large scale computer systems and networks mature and we spend more time solving problems with them than putting them together, it’s only logical that we simply outsource their operation to others (who specialize in that sort of thing). Obviously private cloud operation is commonly outsourced/hosted as well, but the context of the discussion generally assumed such clouds would be operated on premises.

Inevitably the objection of ubiquitous internet access came up, as did my standard rebuttal of “not long ago we had the same concern about electricity”. I wholeheartedly believe this comparison is valid – Internet connectivity is as key to our progress today as electricity was a century ago – so I decided to do a simple comparison of the evolution of the two megatrends. Specifically, what are the inflection points we can compare? And… if we agree that the (developed) world assumes ubiquitous electricity, how long before the same can be said about reliable Internet connectivity?

Free Windows 10 Virtual Machines Lets Anyone Try Microsoft's Edge Browser

Article written by David Marshall

Even though Microsoft's Edge browser has been available to Windows 10 users since its release on July 29, not everyone has tried it yet.  Perhaps you have no interest in upgrading to Windows 10, or maybe you just haven't gotten around to it yet.  Either way, if you have an interest in trying your hand at the new browser, you can now do so without updating your main system.

Microsoft has announced that it is making available a set of free virtual machines (VMs) with Windows 10 and the new Edge browser.  It's designed for Web developers to test how Websites function with the new browser software, but anyone with a virtualization platform can use it -- and in return, receive a safe Windows 10 environment that they can try out.


Private Cloud or Public Cloud?

Article written by Leo Reiter

I’ll be very clear up front… I am not a big believer in private cloud (versus public cloud) for most organizations and use cases. But in the spirit of objectivity, let’s look at both approaches and when one makes more sense over the other. I reserve the right to offer my biased but carefully thought out perspective along the way, because well, this is my column after all!
Let’s start at the beginning…
What is Private Cloud?

Private cloud, unlike public cloud, begins with dedicated infrastructure. Customers leveraging private cloud enjoy the benefits of not having to compete with other “tenants” for resources. The flip side of this (among many other issues) is that capacity is fixed, until it’s explicitly increased, but more on that later.

How are Cloud Applications Different?

Article written by Leo Reiter

One of the most often misunderstood concepts in cloud computing is the architecture of the applications themselves. Cloud applications are different than traditional workloads in many ways, and getting the architecture wrong can mean the difference between something that scales while delivering reliable service and something fragile that falls terribly short.

Cloud “Hosting”?

Don't Allow VENOM VM Security Vulnerability to Bite Your Virtualization Platforms

Article written by David Marshall

VENOMThis latest virtualization exploit is being widely reported to affect virtual machines running on hypervisor platforms such as Xen, KVM and native QEMU. 

A security researcher, CrowdStrike, discovered and reported the new vulnerability, claiming it could allow a hacker to infiltrate potentially every machine on a datacenter’s network, leaving millions of virtual machines vulnerable to attack.

Microsoft Announced Nano Server and a Home Grown Container Technology

Article written by David Marshall

It's been quite a number of months since Microsoft first announced its partnership with Docker, the company behind the widely popular open source Docker container platform.  At the time, the announcement described a partnership that ensured Docker containers would be able to operate on Linux-based virtual machines in a Microsoft Azure public cloud, and also support Docker's open orchestration APIs and Docker Hub images.  The pair followed up that announcement with another partnership that ensured Docker containers would be able to run in Windows Server environments.

Fast forward and the Redmond giant now finds itself back in the container news stream with an equally interesting announcement... but this time, not about Docker but rather its own container platform dubbed Hyper-V Containers.  The introduction of Hyper-V Containers comes just weeks ahead of Microsoft's plans to debut the preview of its next version of Windows Server, currently code-named "v.Next."