Google Steps Up Authentication for its APIs and Servers

Google is adding an extra layer of security for developers building applications that access a variety of its server-side platform services.

The company's new Service Accounts, launched Tuesday, will provide certificate-based authentication to Google APIs for server-to-server interactions. Until now, Google secured its APIs in these scenarios via passwords or shared keys.

"This means, for example, that a request from a Web application to Google Cloud Storage can be authenticated via a certificate instead of a shared key," said Google product manager Justin Smith, in a blog post, noting that unlike passwords and shared keys, certs can't be guessed. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/21/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

HP Nearing Launch of Public Cloud Service

One year has passed since Hewlett-Packard announced its plans to launch a public cloud service and it appears that service will arrive in May.

Zorawar Biri Singh, senior vice president and general manager of HP's cloud services business last week told The New York Times that the service is on pace to go online in two months. While HP is launching a portfolio of public cloud infrastructure services similar to those of Amazon Web Services, Singh is setting modest expectations for taking on the behemoth. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/15/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Microsoft Promises Better Communication After Azure Leap Day Outage

It was bad enough that Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud service was unavailable for much of the day on Feb. 29 thanks to the so-called Leap Day bug. But customers struggled to find out what was going on and when service would be restored.

That's because the Windows Azure Dashboard itself wasn't fully available, noted Bill Laing, corporate VP of Microsoft's Server and Cloud division, in a blog post Friday, where he provided an in-depth post-mortem with extensive technical details outlining what went wrong. In very simple terms, it was the result of a coding error that led the system to calculate a future date that didn't exist. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/14/2012 at 1:14 PM1 comments

Amazon Cuts Cloud Pricing Again

Once again, Amazon Web Services said it is cutting the price of its cloud offerings, including its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Relational Database Service (RDS) and Elastic MapReduce (EMR) offerings.

This latest reduction marks the 19th time Amazon has cut prices of its cloud services in the six years since launching them. Just last month, Amazon reduced pricing for its Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Block Storage (EBS) offerings. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/08/2012 at 1:14 PM1 comments

Cloud Sherpas Merges with GlobalOne

One of Google's largest cloud partners is now even larger. Cloud Sherpas, a major provider of Google Apps, this week said it has merged with GlobalOne, making it a major partner, as well.

Since its founding in 2008, Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas has focused its business on replacing premises e-mail and collaboration platforms with cloud services based on the Google Apps stack. New York-based GlobalOne has concentrated on offering CRM services from since its formation in 2007. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/08/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

IBM Vets IaaS Customers To Ensure Security

I have yet to talk to a cloud provider that doesn't emphasize the security of its services. So it should come as no surprise that when I talked to executives overseeing IBM's cloud efforts last week at the company's Partnership Leadership Conference in New Orleans, security was a critical part of the conversation.

IBM's cloud security framework brings together assets from its Tivoli security software business and Rational development tools unit, as well as its identity management and data security approaches embedded into its servers, storage and various software offerings ranging from development tools to middleware and its business analytics software. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/05/2012 at 1:14 PM1 comments

Why Rackspace Bought SharePoint911

Rackspace's acquisition of SharePoint911, announced last week, is intended to further the company's reach as a provider of cloud-based SharePoint implementations. But in a departure for the hosting and cloud services provider, the move also aims to give Rackspace a stake in supporting premises-based deployments of SharePoint.

Unusual as that might sound, the acquisition of SharePoint911, a leading boutique firm of Microsoft MVPs specializing in Microsoft's collaboration platform, is the latest step in Rackspace's effort to expand from a provider of pure hosted services to one that offers hybrid cloud offerings by adding support for installations running in customers' datacenters. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/27/2012 at 1:14 PM1 comments

BSA: Consistent Regulation Will Ensure Global Cloud Computing Growth (UPDATED)

When it comes to policies that promote growth of cloud computing among the world's leading users of information technology, Japan comes out on top and the United States fourth, according to a report published this week by the Business Software Alliance.

But a lack of consistency in laws and economic polices among the 24 countries that account for 80 percent of the world's information and communications technology is putting the promise of a robust global cloud marketplace at risk, based on a BSA study that is the basis of its first Global Cloud Computing Scorecard (report .PDF here). More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/23/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Dimension Data Launches Public Cloud Infrastructure Service

Dimension Data on Thursday is launching a public cloud offering that it says will compete with Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Hosting, among others.

The $5.8 billion global systems integrator and technology services provider is also launching private cloud implementation services, hybrid cloud offerings and a managed hosting service. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/23/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Amazon Web Services Adds Workflow Engine

Looking to simplify the development and management of business critical applications distributed across its public cloud and customers' private data centers, Amazon Web Services on Wednesday launched a workflow service that coordinates all of the processing procedures within an app.

Amazon said its new Simple Workflow Service (SWF) is aimed at reducing the time-consuming process of building applications such as those that automate business processes for, say, running financial systems, conducting data analytics or managing cloud infrastructure services. SWF coordinates the tasks and manages their execution dependencies, scheduling and concurrency in conjunction with the application logic associated with that task, according to Amazon. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/22/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Rackspace Hosting Acquires SharePoint911

Rackspace Hosting is getting deeper into the SharePoint consulting business. The hosting and cloud provider on Thursday said it has acquired SharePoint911, a well-regarded boutique firm that provides enterprises with SharePoint consulting, custom development, design, implementation and training services.

Six of its consultants are Microsoft MVPs who have authored numerous books and are frequent speakers at industry events. Rackspace first started offering managed SharePoint services in 2008. The acquisition of SharePoint911 gives Rackspace a staff of experienced SharePoint consultants who have architected numerous SharePoint projects for customers. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/16/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Rackspace Taps Partner To Build OpenStack Private Clouds

When Rackspace launched Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition last year, the goal was to allow enterprises to build clouds based on OpenStack in their own datacenters or in collocation facilities of their choices. But Rackspace has determined that some customers, while they like the idea, don't want to do it themselves.

Its remedy is a partnership announced Wednesday with Redapt, a solution provider with expertise in OpenStack that deploys private clouds. Rackspace has established Redapt as its partner of choice for such work, due to its work with such companies as Zynga, Citigroup and Red Hat. Redapt is also an established Dell partner. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/15/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments