Tag Archives: cloud

IOTAP Showcases Microsoft Office 365 Business Cloud Services‎

In the presence of IT managers from various corporations in Oman, IOTAP, a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner, in collaboration with Microsoft, organized an event to showcase the next generation cloud technology, Microsoft Office365. The cloud productivity event was held recently at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Muscat.

At the event, IOTAP and Microsoft delivered sessions on various topics related to Cloud Productivity and its benefits, with the help of customer case scenarios and live demonstrations.

IOTAP showcased its services and solutions portfolio and showed how companies can scale their critical infrastructure and simultaneously reduce IT costs through Cloud Services.

Microsoft officials said that Office 365 would complement the company’s efforts to help customers take advantage of the most complete set of cloud-based solutions to meet any business need. They also said that Office 365 would be a key element in Microsoft’s plans to provide world class collaboration tools to businesses. Office 365 is catered to organizations of all sizes that are looking for enterprise class communication and collaboration solutions that are flexible, bundled, integrated and seamless in operation, and work across multiple facilities and devices.

Microsoft Office 365 will also provide the highest levels of reliability, performance and security with the best service level agreement policies in the industry. The company’s newest cloud service brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a monthly subscription.

In addition to enterprises, Office 365 will also help the small and medium enterprise community. Office 365 can play a significant role in helping their employees share information in new ways that boost productivity and minimize IT costs. With Office 365, people can stay on the ‘same page’ using instant messaging and virtual meetings with people who are just down the hall or on the other side of the world. They can work on files and documents at the same time and share ideas as easily as they can share calendars.

Microsoft will roll out a wide range of service plans that are designed to meet the needs of a variety of companies of different sizes at the time of Office 365’s commercial launch.

Mr. Ebrahim Nalwala, Managing Director – IOTAP says, “We have been deploying Microsoft cloud services for our global customer base for several years now – we are extremely excited to be able to take that experience and expertise and share it with customers in Oman.”

The seminar was also addressed by Chris Waldie, Cloud Sales Manager, Microsoft Gulf. He said that the new technologies provided by Microsoft Office 365 present a qualitative change in IT industries. Microsoft’s cloud computing solutions, such as Office 365, are geared to support emerging economies and accelerate the growth of local innovation industries.
He also added, “Microsoft is always keen on evolving integrated business platforms that are in tune with the requirements of firms and organizations. It seeks to enhance search technologies and facilitate rapid response to changing business needs by making data-driven decisions and by deploying customized solutions quickly and securely.” IOTAP, he said, is distinguished by the fact that it is a leading company in deploying latest Microsoft Cloud technologies, will be chosen to provide a full range of solution and services around Office365 for the clients.

“Collaboration is necessary for instant access to relevant information, exchange of ideas and the right people to take the right action at the right time. Businesses today are looking for technologies that help them make an even bigger impact and with Office 365, we believe we have the solution to enhance collaboration and productivity for businesses of all sizes in Oman,” he said. Office 365 was launched in June 2011 in 20 different languages and more than 200,000 organizations worldwide signed up for the trial version.”

Microsoft Oman declared that the trial version of new Office365 will be available in Oman end of June 2012. So, all the SMBs and big enterprises in Oman can get the benefit of it. Office 365 will also be available in Arabic once it is launched in the region.

Amazon makes clever private cloud play

In a savvy bid to make its cloud a de facto standard, Amazon Web Services has given its blessing to an open-source version of its APIs produced by Eucalyptus Systems. In a clear signal that it will not challenge Eucalyptus for infringing on its property, Amazon is in fact partnering with the company. Eucalyptus supplies on-premises cloud-launching software that can mobilize APIs that are a match for Amazon’s major services.

Amazon could back away from the move at a later date, but it’s unlikely. On the contrary, Amazon appears to have decided that small and midsize companies and large enterprises building out private clouds should be its natural ally.

That means an enterprise that develops its private cloud using Eucalyptus will have built-in compatibility across several Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud services, including EC2 compute and S3 storage. Such compatibility would be an advantage to companies that want to use the public cloud for websites and some types of customer service and other public-facing processing while maintaining a more guarded and managed set of cloud services in their own data center.

Doubters wondered whether Eucalyptus hadn’t jumped the gun in being early to market with Amazon-compatible APIs. The risk was service giant Amazon would dismiss Eucalyptus as an interloper and find a way to make its APIs incompatible, or worse, take it to court for infringement. The Eucalyptus APIs sprang out of an open-source project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by Professor Rich Wolski, now CTO of the firm. But the APIs have stood both the test of time and of Amazon’s patience.

“This agreement is going to accelerate our roadmap and help us maintain our compatibility with AWS,” said Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos in a prepared statement on the announcement.

Instead of viewing them as potential competitors, Amazon has come to view Eucalyptus as an ally in consolidating its hold on the public infrastructure as a service market. With Eucalyptus installed inside enterprise data centers, its customers have a way to build their private clouds without disrupting their Amazon Web Services relationship.

Whether Amazon’s blessing was given in a timely manner may be another question. Amazon has shown little interest in joining open-source projects or sharing the benefits of its dominant position by opening up its own APIs for use by corporate developers. And it was outside its business plan to package up its own software and sell it for installation inside the enterprise.

With no action on that front, another open-source effort has gained traction as an alternative: Rackspace, a would-be Amazon competitor coming out of the hosted services field, launched its own infrastructure-as-a-service, then teamed up with NASA to form the Open Stack project.

Open Stack attracted more support than Eucalyptus did because it was conceived on a scale that allows its backers to become public cloud services suppliers themselves should they choose to. Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems, Oracle, Intel, AMD, Dell, Brocade, HP, NTT, and NetApp are among its members. The project claims 155 company participants to date, many of them code contributors.

At the recent Cloud Connect event in Santa Clara, the question was repeatedly raised in sessions: how close were Open Stack APIs to Amazon’s? There was no simple, succinct answer. But several parties, including Cisco’s CTO for cloud Lew Tucker, observed that the Open Stack technologists were broadly patterning their APIs on Amazon’s. They weren’t compatible and they’d never be accused of infringement; on the other hand, it wouldn’t that hard to translate between the two.

Such is Amazon’s dominance in the public cloud market. Those who might want to compete with it don’t stray too far from its example. Amazon in turn understands that it has so successfully established–with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others–the model of a cloud data center model that thousands of companies want to emulate it.

The conflict for Amazon, according to Adam Selipsky, VP of business development, was that they didn’t want to encourage private cloud consumption; they wanted businesses to get cloud services from EC2. In fact, Amazon officials have repeatedly said that the only real form of cloud computing is the public cloud, juggling thousands of different workloads across a massive infrastructure.

Now that Amazon has partnered with Eucalyptus, it’s got a different story. There is such a thing as the private cloud–and it’s a good thing, especially when it operates in conjunction with EC2.

We’ll find out next month how many other private cloud backers feel the same way. The Open Stack Summit will convene April 16-18 in San Francisco, with additions expected to be announced to its code base. Rackspace, HP, NTT Communications, Nebula, ServiceMesh, HyperStratus, Piston, CloudScaling, and Softlayer will take notice and be unlikely to abandon their Open Stack-based strategies in favor of Amazon’s APIs. Open Stack is gaining not only traction but a head of steam.

But Amazon has just given thousands of budding private cloud builders pause to reconsider. If they can get an Amazon-compatible cloud the first time they try–and still avoid lock-in; it’s now open-source code–why not do it? Open Stack is progressing fast, but it’s still a work in progress. By endorsing Eucalyptus, Amazon has given a tacit promise of assistance on continued compatibility. It’s ready for more long-term relationships with Eucalyptus customers if they want Amazon cloud services as an option. Amazon has just closed a circuit that had been left dangling. Amazon APIs are proprietary and not a du jure standard; they may never be. But they just took a step closer to becoming a de facto standard inside the corporate data center as well as out.

Amazon’s S3 offers the fastest storage cloud

A series of tests were conducted by storage vendor Nasuni. What they found is quite shocking. The results of the tests indicate that both rival cloud services, MS Azure and Rackspace, are slow to accept data. Whether this is a limitation of the network or a limitation of the hardware, we can not be sure.

Nasuni conducted five series of tests. The results are, again, quite shocking. Since all of these systems are cloud storage, you would expect similar performance, but you would be wrong. For example, moving 12TB from Amazon to Azure takes 40 hours, whereas moving the same data back took only four. 12TB from Rackspace to Amazon took five hours, yet Amazon to Rackspace took almost an entire week! Amazon “bucket” to Amazon “bucket” took only four hours.

Once again, it’s not clear if this is just a limitation of the network, or if there is a massive difference in technology that is leading to these poor write speeds. Nasuni said the cloud providers were not “forthcoming about why their performance would vary so greatly.” However, “Nasuni did not experience the same behavior with Amazon S3, and this measurement probably further indicates limitations in Azure’s architecture or bandwidth, as other customers using the system appear to be affecting our results to a large degree.”