Cloud News Recap: April 22, 2014

By Colby Dyess | April 22, 2014

Last week we looked closely at hybrid and private cloud, as well as growing interest in open source cloud software among enterprises. Many organizations are keen to mix public and private cloud environments so as to strike a balance between the security and control of a data center and the elasticity of ecosystems such as Amazon Web Services.

While there are many options to consider when setting up cloud infrastructure, AWS has the lead, at least in public cloud. More than 80 percent of public cloud users who responded to a 2014 survey by RightScale stated that they were either already running apps on AWS, experimenting with it or planning to use it. It's no surprise then that hybrid cloud platforms are often architected with AWS interaction (via AWS API compatibility, such as in Eucalyptus) in mind

There's a lot to cover in this week's Eucalyptus and cloud news roundup. We'll touch upon AWS uptake and market positioning, DevOps best (and worst) practices, hybrid cloud in the enterprise and EC2 automation, among other topics.

Is Amazon Web Services the Microsoft Windows of Cloud Computing?

Windows was once the most dominant operating system, running on seemingly every computing device. Microsoft's OS has since given way to other platforms, but AWS may be turning into a latter-day Windows for the cloud - that is, the backbone of a variety of IT architectures.

"I claim that Amazon Web Services is the Windows of today," Eucalyptus CEO MÃ¥rten Mickos told Quartz. "Amazon has the chance of controlling the public cloud just like Windows controlled the PC environment for a long time."

Quartz's Christopher Mims went deeper, looking at the intense competition between AWS and Google, which has been marked by ongoing price cuts and rapid feature iteration. Mims compiles a lot of evidence making the case that AWS's lead may be insurmountable, in that it had an eight-year head start, far greater capacity than its competitors and a growing portfolio of cloud services.

Moreover, the number of customers on AWS means that there's a massive amount of code out there designed to work with Amazon's APIs. Private cloud software must be able to talk to these APIs if organizations are to make AWS a part of their cloud setup.

Comparing the Costs of Amazon Web Services and Private Cloud

Cost is a core consideration when picking a cloud provider and deployment model. TechTarget's Beth Pariseau recently analyzed how organizations assess the economics of AWS and private cloud.

In some cases, companies may run almost the same number of machines each month, meaning that they have no pressing need for public cloud elasticity. Accordingly, a private cloud may offer what they require, namely dedicated, consistent performance and static costs.

Other organizations such as Flipboard have been able to avoid spending on network engineers and in-house infrastructure by leveraging Reserved Instances. The right cloud choice will vary by company, as Pariseau pointed out.

Still, managers don't have to make an either/or choice between public and private when it comes to realizing the benefits of cloud computing. A hybrid cloud with deep AWS API compatibility means that users get the best of both worlds.

DevOps Popular at Red Hat Summit, Becoming Standard Practice at Many Organizations

SiliconANGLE's Alan McStravik chronicled the hot topic of DevOps at the April 2014 Red Hat Summit. Organizations ranging from Facebook and Google to Etsy and Netflix have taken up DevOps as a way to inject more fun into the programming process and enable continuous delivery and innovation.

DevOps brings dev/test and operations teams closer together. Ideally, such an arrangement contributes to rapid application lifecycles and the agility to respond to changing business conditions.

"A great DevOps shop has fast flow of features and production where they can very quickly go from code being written to code deployed and code running," Tripwire founder Gene Kim told SiliconANGLE. "This is where you get hundreds or thousands of deploys per day."

Productive DevOps also requires the right cloud computing architecture. With a cost-effective hybrid cloud, it's possible to economically automate processes and use public cloud resources for bursting.

Avoiding Common DevOps Pitfalls

DevOps has great potential, but teams can run into problems while making it a key part of their company cultures. Writing for TechTarget, Cloud Technology Partners vice president John Treadway looked at seven common DevOps errors to avoid.

Essentially, companies have to plan out how they are going to approach DevOps. This entails paying adequate attention to funding, overhauling everyday IT processes to remove bottlenecks and regularly testing critical systems.

Applications also need to be created, deployed and managed consistently. Manual processes should be cast aside in favor of automation whenever possible. Speaking of which, Nick Hardiman has a good step-by-step TechRepublic piece up about setting up EC2 automation with Puppet.

Hybrid Cloud Computing is an Increasingly Popular Choice for Enterprises

Firms from Gartner to RightScale have projected that the hybrid cloud will become a fixture of IT in the near future since it offers a flexible blend of control and elasticity. We looked at the implications of RightScale's survey, noting rising levels of interest in AWS hybrid cloud, DevOps and automation.

Datapipe's Robb Allen delved into the growing enterprise enthusiasm for hybrid cloud infrastructure. Rather than confine themselves to public platforms, organizations are realizing that particular workflows may run best on in-house machines.

"Although the public cloud offers extremely affordable services, not all operations are appropriate for the platform, so organizations need hybrid options that let them delegate certain processes to the private cloud," explained Allen.

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