“The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.” ~Bertrand Russell
It has been proven that markets, over time, will revert to the mean. It has also been proven that marketing, over time, will revert to the math. I love the math.
This Cloud technology market of ours is an extraordinary one. It’s disruption defined, creating an explosive market that will relentlessly expand. As cloud software and service providers, we are all furiously working to “get ours”. We are all craning our necks and straining to get our message heard above the fray. We all have to market. But if your software is really good, you have the math. Nothing, over time, beats the math.
This week, Cloud Spectator released the results of an independent performance analysis they did on the top 14 cloud service providers worldwide as defined by the 2013 Gartner IaaS Cloud Magic Quadrant (MQ). The only missing data point is CSC, who chose not to grant access to Cloud Spectator for this performance test. [NOTE: VMware’s vCHS and Google GCE were still in beta at the time of study.] Continue reading →
There is a significant point to be made about the benefit of the uVM which is only implied in the report. The report highlights that some Cloud providers had variations of the resources based on their instance sizes. That emphasizes two important points.
In 2011-2012, we had been in the business of delivering managed and hosted services to Fortune 2000 clients for a few years and had been transitioning many of our clients to cloud-based consumption models. We felt confident that our technology and operations were at a level where we could compete against much larger cloud providers. The 2012 Gartner IaaS Cloud MQ was going to be a big test of whether or not our IaaS cloud services, xStream software and IaaS revenues would match our belief that we had progressed enough to be considered a significant cloud provider.
Inclusion in the 2012 Magic Quadrant established Virtustream as a cloud provider of record. It brought our name to the forefront of this emerging industry.
Inclusion in the 2013 Magic Quadrant meant that we could consistently deliver financial results and were evolving technically to align with the rapidly changing demands of cloud services.
The Gartner IaaS Cloud Magic Quadrant establishes a technical baseline of cloud computing features focused on service-enablement, as well as standard capabilities such as secure access, monitoring and system management. Clients definitely understand the significance of providers being on the Magic Quadrant, but as they get more sophisticated in their cloud strategies, they have begun to ask us much more complex questions about how they can better server their business needs.
Not all Clouds are created Equal
With that in mind, we wanted to go a couple steps further to focus on aspects that are critical to any Enterprise or Government IT organization that is considering running their production or mission-critical applications in the cloud. These are groups that are expected to deliver not only high-available applications to the business, but be able to stand behind them with measurable response times and SLAs. These groups also have to be able to cost-justify expenditures, so any performance results needs to be considered against the cost to deliver those results. Fast is excellent, but not if it breaks the bank. Continue reading →
Contributed Article By Michael Skok, General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners
At this year’s GigaOM Structure Conference in San Francisco last month, North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM Research, Virtustream and close to 60 additional collaborators unveiled the results of the 2013 Future of Cloud Computing Survey.
This is the third consecutive year we’ve conducted this study into how the business and IT community views cloud computing – its drivers, inhibitors and opportunities. I’d like to extend my thanks to Virtustream and the other collaborators who helped make this our largest survey yet, with a sample of 855 respondents — over a third of whom were C-level executives.
This year’s findings point to a cloud market that continues to grow, with 75% of respondents reporting the use of some sort of cloud platform – up from 67% last year. It also exposed several shifts in why and how cloud computing is being used, as well as changes related to obstacles to adoption, where cloud decision-making resides within organizations today and how the vendor landscape is evolving.
Key takeaways include:
Business is driving cloud adoption in the Everything-as-a-Service era (EaaSe)
IT is investing heavily to catch up and support consumers graduating from Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC)
Opportunities exist for vendors to mitigate reliability, security and complexity challenges associated with increasingly hybrid cloud environments
Industry concerns around interoperability and vendor lock-in are provoking change in the form of more APIs and greater data portability
Among the many survey results I find interesting is that business is driving cloud adoption – which is a direct reflection of their use of cloud services in a “boundary-less” way where they can seamlessly integrate them at home and work across all their devices. That boundary-less computing shift is indicative of an evolution from BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to what we’re calling BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud), which has all sorts of implications for companies in terms of accepting, adopting and updating usage policies.
Given who the drivers of cloud adoption are, the reasons shouldn’t surprise you. Agility (54.5%) and scalability (54.3%) were cited as the primary drivers for cloud adoption, followed by cost (48%), mobility (25%) and innovation (22%) to drive competitive advantage.
Another interesting development of note is that security is slowly but surely starting to lose its label as the primary inhibitor to cloud adoption. This year, 46% of respondents named security concerns as the #1 factor prohibiting further cloud adoption as compared to 55% of respondents in 2012. Meanwhile, 46% of respondents describe the management of IT as “more complex” with the growing use of cloud components, and vendor lock-in (35%), interoperability (27%) and cost (28%) continue to be cited as barriers to adoption. Reliability (22.3%) and complexity (21%) round out the list, reflecting real-world obstacles to an “always-on” services infrastructure.
Going forward, more than three-quarters of respondents expected hybrid clouds to be at the core of their cloud strategies in the next five years, clearly showing that the market is ready for more solutions that combine the security, control, compliance and reliability benefits of a private cloud with the scalable, agile and cost-effective capabilities associated with public clouds. Of course, the key for IT will be to seamlessly aggregate internal and external cloud services to give business the speed and ease of use it needs.
What do you find most surprising when reviewing our 2013 results? I encourage you to take a look at the full report, and let me know your thoughts via Twitter @mjskok or on my site.
To make xStream into a leading enterprise-class cloud orchestration system, Virtustream brought in SafeNet data protection solutions give enterprise customers security and control of their data. While Virtustream has been using SafeNet’s authentication solutions for almost two years, they’re increasing their cloud security offering to include SafeNet ProtectV and KeySecure for encryption of virtual images and key vaulting in the cloud.
“Security is part of our genome,” explained Gregsie Leighton, CISSP and Chief Security Architect at Virtustream. “We created an enterprise-class cloud solution, and a core component is enabling control and compliance. This means encryption for data at rest and in motion.”
And of course, whenever you implement encryption, it’s important to store those encryption keys in a secure key vault.
“ProtectV is able to protect the VM instance, and the encryption keys are stored securely with KeySecure,” said Chen Arbel, Director of Business Development at SafeNet. “SafeNet solutions protect data regardless of where it resides, affording separate security administration duties, enforcing granular controls, and establishing clear accountability with audit trails and compliance reporting. And xStream customers can easily scale the use of encryption in very large, dynamic cloud environments.”
One of the most important pieces of the puzzle was making sure that Virtustream’s customers not only have access to encryption, key vaulting and authentication, but are able to decide where to implement that security based on their own needs. Since different types of data are subject to different regulations and corporate policies, Virtustream wanted to make sure that each organization could easily add as little or as much security as needed to protect their data in the cloud.
“We automated processes within the xStream portal so that SafeNet’s security solutions are part of the ecosystem,” Gregsie said. “That automation cuts down on manual labor, reduces human error, and makes our customers lives easier.
“ProtectV, KeySecure and SafeNet Authentication Service give our customers more assurance into their data security throughout the data lifecycle – from creation through deletion.”
This week is CiscoLive 2013 in Orlando, the annual opportunity to hear Cisco’s vision and see what they announce in terms of new products and services. It’s also an excellent opportunity to interact with Cisco partners and customers.
This past week, Cisco and Virtustream explored this on the “Bringing the Cloud down to Earth” webinar. We’ll be discussing this in much more detail throughout the week in Orlando.
Virtustream will be showcased in the Intel booth, highlighting our Secure Hybrid Cloud solutions. Stop by, we’ll be providing live demos of our xStream Cloud Management Platform, as well as our unique integration with Cisco and Intel TXT technology. Virtustream is the only Cloud Provider to enable this level of security and compliance, which is particularly critical when migrating business-critical applications to the cloud. Continue reading →
This past week, at the Structure 2013 conference, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel with Ben Kepes (@benkepes) and Rodney Rogers (@rjrogers87) entitled “Mission Possible: Moving Business-Critical Apps to the Cloud”. The focus of the discussion was real-life examples of Enterprise companies that had migrated their mission-critical applications (eg. ERP, CRM, HCM, SQL Databases, Unified Communications) to public clouds.
One of the topics that we covered, based on a question from the audience, was about the bifurcation of existing applications and new applications, specifically in migration scenarios. The question was “Will this lead to faster adoption of ‘DevOps’?”
While I’m a believer that DevOps and have discussed it quite a few times on the podcast (here, here, here, here), I thought it was important to highlight that there is a non-technical element that is critical to the success of migrating business-critical applications. DevOps is a fundamental operational requirement for anyone building modern, scale-out web applications, but those applications are typically very different than existing (legacy) applications. And in most cases, those existing applications make up 80%+ of the IT portfolio in terms of resource usage and on-going costs.
Just as DevOps is ultimately about providing greater transparency between Developers and Operations, I believe that application migration is ultimately about something I call “BizOps“. Far too often, Cloud Providers talk about the simplicity of migrating applications to their Cloud, focusing primarily on the transition of a VM from on-premise to off-premise. But where problems arise is when that off-premise cloud is fundamentally a black-box to the business (or existing IT staff). Unless a business is migrating to a SaaS application or completely outsourcing the business-critical application, it can’t be overstated how important it is to maintain a level of transparency between the Cloud Provider, the Business and IT. This is “BizOps”.
When most people think of SAP, then tend to think of large, complex application landscapes that run the back-office operations of some of the largest and most well-known companies in the world. For many years, these systems consumed huge amounts of physical resources within a company’s data centers, as well as 1000s of hours of systems integration and consulting services.
For quite a while, people assumed that SAP could only run properly within a customer’s data center, on purpose built environments. They also assumed that the applications could not be virtualized to enable greater levels of efficiency because it must introduce undue latency and performance penalties.
And then Virtustream came along and disproved both of those myths. Not just once, but almost 100 times for production landscape customers. At this year’s VMware Partner Exchange, 4 of the 5 customer examples highlighted SAP landscapes running virtualized were on Virtustream xStream IaaS Cloud.
People asked how Virtustream delivered SAP landscapes to the cloud. So we spent some time providing a high-level overview of our patented uVM technology, as well as the innovative use of our Cloud Advisory Services to profile the workloads prior to onboarding to ensure application-level SLAs.
But we live in a “what have you done for me lately?” world, so what’s next in Virtustream’s journey to help customers move more of their production SAP workloads into an Enterprise Class Cloud?
Glad you asked…
Last week SAP announced the HANA Enterprise Cloud. And standing right beside them, with the world’s first production instance of SAP Suite on HANA was Virtustream, with our valued customer Florida Crystals/Domino Sugar. Together we’ve set the new standard for running a real-time business, in the cloud. We’re incredibly proud that SAP would trust Virtustream to partner with them to drive this next evolution in IT.
And this is just the beginning. Once you’ve proven to customers that you can do this, in production (not just smaller dev/test environments), it begins to open up tremendous opportunities not only for SAP customers, but also ISVs that are looking to harness the power of SAP HANA and the breadth of business impact these systems can have on Enterprise business. It’s critical to remember, HANA is not just for SAP Suite, it can also be used for new, real-time applications. Bringing together the core of the business (SAP Suite) with the power of real-time (Suite + HANA; New Apps + HANA) unlocks incredible business potential.
But wait, there’s more…
Big Data has the tech world a buzz these days. But Big Data has one challenging quality – it’s BIG (and difficult to move). Being able to bring together multiple data sources, potentially from partners or supply-chain companies along with 3rd-party sources, within a localized Cloud environment, and you have more than just a Cloud. You have a real-time marketplace. Just as web properties want to share information to drive new ad opportunities (eg. Yahoo + Tumblr), businesses want to leverage knowledge from cross-platform data sources to drive new business. And SAP is at the core of so many interconnected businesses. Data attracts Data (a form of “Data Gravity“), and business opportunity is surfacing in real-time from these new data interactions.
The opportunity for SAP customers to transform their business with HANA is unprecedented. And being able to do this in the cloud, with a trusted, experienced partner like Virtustream make the opportunity this much closer to reality. Virtustream’s Enterprise Class Cloud is leading the industry in this transformation.
Is your business ready to run better?
Is your SAP environment ready to deliver results in real-time?
This is a guest post by Virtustream partner Pavan Vyas, Product Marketing Manager at Asigra Inc. Vyas is the primary owner of go to market deliverables and strategies for the entire product line of Asigra Cloud Backup Solutions. His responsiblities include working with various internal and external stakeholders to conduct market research, evaluate market trends, and evaluate customer requirements.
Sweeping changes are taking place in enterprise IT environments. The era of desktop computing and that of centralized computing are merging; data formats such as audio and video, long considered primary data formats of the consumer space are becoming valuable enterprise assets; collaboration, sharing, and social media are now part of the enterprise; and standardized desktops are giving way to heterogeneous bring your own device environments. Large amounts of data are being created in short periods of time. Businesses and consumers create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day! All this data needs to be stored, managed, and analyzed. This new world of IT is demanding flexibility and responsiveness from IT departments like never before.
Even as strong democratic forces within have been pushing the enterprise towards giving more control to end users, regulatory agencies, recognizing the strategic value and the power of data, are imposing stronger requirements related to data security, availability, and privacy. This world of conflicting forces demands agility and flexibility, trust and availability – in other words, this is a world that demands the use of the secure cloud.
BYOD Goes Mainstream
Nowhere else do we see this being truer than in the world of data protection. The deluge of data and the proliferation of devices have created new challenges for organizations. As Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have gone mainstream, with between 65% to 74% of organizations already allowing some form of BYOD, more and more enterprise data is now residing on employee owned devices and in mobile devices which leave enterprise boundaries ever so often. The need to protect the data from all of these various devices and needing to keep all of it in the organization’s centralized backup repository is a challenge that enterprises have to find their way around quickly. With new devices, data streams, and formats becoming commonplace in today’s big data world, enterprise IT departments have to ensure that these large amounts of data are backed up within existing backup windows. In fact, in a number of organizations, the concept of a backup window itself is being challenged as organizations are now global and have systems that are being accessed by customers round the clock.
In order to meet the need to scale rapidly, organizations are turning to the cloud backup and recovery platforms which can run in cloud infrastructures across the various deployment models – public, private, and hybrid. Using cloud backup and recovery platforms which deduplicate and compress the data at source ensuring that only changed blocks of the data are sent to the backup repository after being encrypted at source, enterprises are now able to not just backup their large data sets but achieve them within backup windows without compromising network or system performance. Using an agentless backup and recovery platform also helps cloud providers further ensure the security of their customers’ and their own IT infrastructures. This is helping cloud service providers ensure compliance to regulatory requirements for their end customers.
Instant Recovery Capabilities
Cloud backup platforms today are bringing together multiple approaches for data protection into a comprehensive singular platform – snapshot based data protection, image based backup and recovery, as well as traditional file based methods to backup. All of these approaches are provided as options in these platforms enabling Infrastructure as a Service and cloud service providers to provide their customers with cost-effective solutions that best meet their customer’s unique situational needs. This is helping service providers provide unthinkable service levels to their customers. Instant recovery capabilities are increasingly becoming available for customers. With these capabilities extended to them by their cloud service providers, enterprise IT staff are now a lot more confident about being able to support the changing needs of today’s enterprise IT departments. And with the cost benefits, reduced downtimes, and the ability to respond proactively and quickly to end user requirements, enterprise IT is on cloud nine!
How far is your data protection department in its cloud journey?
As our company continues to mature, so does our web site. Today we are proud to announce that we’ve launched the third generation of the Virtustream.com web site. The new site represents a significant advancement in our online presence including a modern lightweight look and feel. We’ve put a lot of work into this website, and we’re excited to share it with you.
The site was built in partnership with Metrik, a multidisciplinary design studio based in the Potrero Hill district of San Francisco. Metrik specializes in Graphic and Information Design. The design firm’s motto is “effective design that goes beyond the ordinary.” Something we believe they have achieved with great effect with the new site.
A lot of effort has gone into this iteration of the web site including an improved “adaptive” HTML5 design built in the open source Drupal CMS. Whether viewing on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop, the site automatically adjusts for you. Just try resizing your browser window; you’ll be amazed, we promise.
We’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to help us launch the new site. And, although we’ve spent quite a bit of time testing it, we ask that you to send us any errors if, by chance, you happen to run across any.
At VMware Partner Exchange 2013, Sean Jennings (SVP Solutions Architecture, @vcdx17), presented several sessions focused on how to successfully enable companies to drive greater efficiency our of their business-critical enterprise workloads. He also talked about how Virtustream customers had migrated some of their most complex environments to our Enterprise Class Cloud environment.
One of the interesting aspects of these presentations were the customer success stories. Of the five that were presented at the conference, four of them were Virtustream customers. 80%, not too bad!!
This past week, there was a very good article in Forbes talking about the changing viewpoints of CIOs towards Cloud Computing services. At the core of the article was a shift in how CIOs are building trust with Cloud Providers through experience in not only securing their applications, but by emphasizes a deep knowledge of the application lifecycle needed for business-critical applications.
For Virtustream, we’ve been at the forefront of this shift to more trusted Enterprise Class Cloud Computing. Being able to bring “enterprise workloads” to the Cloud, delivered in either a Virtual Private Cloud or Hybrid Cloud environment is what’s driving our customers to take the next steps in evolving IT to improve their business.
Looking through the article, I thought it would be useful to highlight how Virtustream helps our customers with this transition and how we’re unique in our approach to Cloud Computing transformation. Continue reading →