Cloud computing: The very definition of cloud computing remains controversial. Consulting firm Accenture has crafted a useful, concise definition: the dynamic provisioning of IT capabilities (hardware, software, or services) from third parties over a network.
Stories by Kevin Fogarty
IT vendors tend to hold off major announcements until after Labor Day, when customers, presumably, will be paying more attention to work than summer vacation planning. The end-of-August scheduling of VMworld in San Francisco will push that deadline as VMware announces tweaks to its own products and ISVs try to jump-start their marketing to take advantage of what analysts are calling a fundamental IT shift toward cloud computing and virtualization. Here's a look at what to expect from VMware and others at next week's event.
Most companies virtualize servers to save money, save space and act faster on IT requests from the business. Human-resources outsourcing service <a href="http://www.simplysullivans.com">The Sullivan Group</a> virtualized its servers partially because company executives were worried about hurricanes.
There's no question that cloud-computing infrastructures will become a significant part the IT plans of large corporations, according to analysts. The question, at least right now, is how well those hybrid internal/external infrastructures will be managed.
Two major identity management companies are forging ahead with products designed to satisfy what a cloud-computing consortium calls one of the trickiest problems preventing secure and automated connections between internal IT infrastructures and external service providers: identity and authentication.
Virtualized infrastructures may be "the mainframe for the 21st century," as VMware CTO Stephen Herrod said in April, but the company will move increasingly toward virtualization and management of smaller devices during the next year or two.
Like any major national entry point, the San Diego Port Authority deals with its fair share of security headaches. The real-world port is patrolled by local Harbor Police, environmental monitors, airport security, military security and the customs and immigration authorities you'd expect. Responsibility for IT security, though, came down to how alert and persistent a staff of 18 people could be, when it was already supporting 11 separate sites, more than 700 users, more than 60 networking devices making up a wide-area network, and a mix of Microsoft, NetWare and Unix servers.
BMC Software announced today it is launching an expanded set of cloud-management products and services, including a partnership with Amazon Web Services that is designed to help end-user companies keep control of data even outside their firewalls.
EMC took square aim at the "big four" data center management software players-HP, IBM, CA and BMC- this week when it launched Ionix. The new Ionix business unit and brand name are designed to make more noise about what analysts call an under-appreciated set of broad capabilities in data-center management tools.
Third-party virtualization companies appear to be taking advantage of what are traditionally slow news weeks in the technology business by rushing out a host of products designed to make virtualization infrastructures more manageable, cheaper, and easier to squeeze into previously unappreciated corners of the IT world.
Despite an overwhelming dominance of the networking business, Cisco has a target painted on its back, in the eyes of Hewlett-Packard.
Moving to a nearly fully-virtualized infrastructure in 2008 made Joel Braverman a lot more confident in both the physical and digital IT infrastructure at his (relatively new) employer Universal Audio. As manager of IT and the guy responsible for security on that infrastructure-one that supports a company whose products are both expensive and almost entirely digital-it also made him extremely nervous, he says.
Despite its recent acquisition of second-tier virtualization software developer Virtual Iron, Oracle has yet to move into the century of the virtual server when it comes to the nitty gritty of supporting and licensing Oracle software running on virtual servers, analysts say.
In surveys of senior-level IT managers, security is consistently one of the top five concerns, along, specifically, with security related to the hot technology of the moment. Most recently those worries have included social-networking technologies such as Twitter and Facebook and other outlets through which employees could turn loose company confidential data. But the security of virtual servers and virtualized infrastructures also rank near the top of the list-and rightly so, according to analysts.
The string of new desktop-related products Citrix Systems is announcing at its user show in Las Vegas this week may elate some customers. But its rhetoric about continuing to compete with VMware in server virtualization and cloud computing could confuse others, and even overshadow the real, mostly free client software that should be the focus of attention, analysts say.