Eucalyptus and Cloud News Roundup June 30, 2014

By Tim Zeller | June 30, 2014

To finish off June, let's look at the some of the top news about Eucalyptus and the cloud from the past week. This time around we'll also examine a few developments in areas such as the Internet of Things and what it means for dev/test teams, the place of DevOps within the enterprise, competition between open source cloud providers and how regulatory pressure could be a boon to private cloud.

Open Source Solutions Chip Into VMware's Lead in Private Cloud

Database-as-a-service provider Tesora recently conducted a study, "Database Usage in the Public and Private Cloud: Choices and Preferences," that found that Amazon Web Services and VMware were the clear leaders in public and private cloud, respectively. Certainly, AWS's dominance in public IaaS is well known, with Amazon having easily topped Gartner's 2014 IaaS Magic Quadrant.

Both AWS and VMware, however, face challenges to their positions. Gartner's research found Microsoft Azure slowly gaining ground on AWS, while Tesora's findings painted a picture of open source private cloud solutions carving into VMware's lead.

Tesora gathered more than 500 responses from open source community members in North America, discovering that the percentage of respondents using OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus equaled the share that reported implementations of VMware vCloud Director. While Tesora was particularly keen on OpenStack's prospects, it's worth noting that the company's DBaaS offering is built on top of the Trove API introduced in the OpenStack Icehouse release.

The survey also had some notable discoveries about private cloud usage. The top reasons for implementing a private cloud included savings (cited by 44 percent of respondents) and operational efficiencies (38 percent).

Internet of Things is a Golden Opportunity for Developers

The Internet of Things promises to be a transformative force in IT. Connectivity and computing power will be extended far beyond PCs, servers and mobile devices to embedded sensors and systems. Cisco has estimated that the IoT could encompass more than 50 billion connected endpoints by 2020.

What does the IoT mean for developers? It is likely to become the largest platform ever, requiring high-performing software and services to tie all its infrastructure together. ReadWrite's Matt Asay looked at how the underlying need to make sense of the IoT's vast amounts of data would precipitate a surge in IoT developers.

While only a few hundred thousand are working in this space right now, the number could top 4 million by 2020, according to a study from VisionMobile. Software will be the key to unlocking the value of the IoT.

"[T]he only way to make a profit in the Internet of Things is to build a network of entrepreneurs who create unique value on top of commodity hardware, connectivity and cloud services," stated the VisionMobile report.

The Importance of DevOps in Controlling Cloud Performance

The word "cloud" makes compute, storage and network infrastructure seem really abstract, but in the end, all of those resources come from physical machines somewhere. Even AWS is grounded in Amazon's vast data centers around the world.

Writing for ZDNet, cloud expert Joe McKendrick looked at how it can be tricky to get the right level of performance from resources that IT doesn't control. Private cloud has emerged to give organizations more say over provisioning, but there's still the issue of having software that is intelligent enough to respond to shifting needs and make decisions in real-time.

DevOps can go a long way toward maximizing the value of a private cloud implementation. Close collaboration between developer and ops teams ensures that infrastructure is properly applied to requirements and that the organization has a clear sense of its IT capabilities.

"DevOps practitioners must become adept at not only understanding the complex relationships between performance and availability and capacity and load, but how to turn those business and operational expectations into reality by taking advantage of both application and network infrastructure capabilities," stated Lori MacVittie of F5.

Cisco Believes That Private Cloud is Here to Stay

Conventional wisdom holds that enterprises will increasingly gravitate toward public cloud as concerns about data security subside. Undoubtedly, ecosystems such as AWS, with numerous features and unrivaled scalability, have widespread appeal, but that doesn't mean that organizations will give up their on-premises systems.

For starters, enterprises have many regulations with which to comply, making data control paramount. Cisco Systems president of development and sales Robert Lloyd has cited regulatory pressure as a key driver of private cloud growth. Cisco itself recently invested $1 billion in its enterprise cloud push, looking to move beyond offering equipment for cloud and get into actually providing services.

While Cisco foresees increasing momentum for private cloud, it make take time for organizations to make the move. In early June, InfoWorld's Eric Knorr looked at how private cloud has stalled due to issues such as OpenStack being a "moving target." It is usually too difficult to implement as a DIY project, necessitating packaged solutions that can result in vendor lock in. The ease of use of AWS has also led to companies putting off or shelving their pure private cloud plans.

Amazon Launches SSD-based General Purpose Storage Volumes for EBS

Amazon and Google have been in fierce competition this year, each engaging in aggressive price cuts and service tweaks intended to pick up customers at the expense of the other. The two cloud giants' battle has extended all the way to basic infrastructure. Google introduced persistent SSD storage volumes and HTTP load balancing in early June, and Amazon responded by making SSD the standard option for EBS.

The SSD volumes may provide 10x the IOPS of magnetic alternatives. Additionally, they can handle bursts of up to 3,000 IOPS per second for each volume for as long as 30 minutes.

"With the introduction of EBS General Purpose (SSD) volumes today, SSD technology can now be applied to a much broader range of use cases at a lower cost while also delivering high IOPS, low latency and high bandwidth," stated Amazon vice president Peter De Santis, according to TechCrunch.

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