Amazon Steps Up Enterprise Support for Cloud Services

While Amazon Web Services is the undisputed leading provider of cloud computing services, competitors often are able to legitimately put forth a value proposition centered on customer support. That argument might become a tad more difficult now that Amazon has said it will offer higher-touch customer support.

Amazon announced today it is extending its free support and reducing the cost of premium tiers while adding more support services. The company also said it is will be more proactive in alerting enterprise customers of opportunities to lower their costs or improve performance.

Under the new plan, Amazon is revising its four tiers: Basic, Developer (previously Bronze), Business (previously Gold) and Enterprise (previously Platinum). Here's a rundown of the new tiers as described by the company:

  • Basic: Newly added features to its free support include 24-hour access to customer service via e-mail or phone for technical support, billing and account questions.

  • Developer: Priced at $49 per month, this service guarantees 12-hour response time and access to Amazon support engineers via e-mail during local business hours for help configuring and operating Amazon's core services.

  • Business: At this level, customers will receive responses within one hour from an "AWS Trusted Advisor." This tier provides 24x7 phone, e-mail and chat support. Also covered is support for common third-party software (such as operating systems, databases, etc.). Amazon slashed the price of this service from $400 to $100 per month. Plus, it lowered usage fees from 5 to 10 percent to 3 percent.

  • Enterprise: Customers running mission-critical apps receive 15-minute response times plus a dedicated technical account manager for various planning and reporting services. Amazon has reduced the minimum fee from 10 percent of usage to variable costs ranging from 3 to 10 percent.

Amazon will also offer what it is calling "trusted advisor updates," which is based on best practices from serving customers. "It inspects your AWS [Amazon Web Services] environment and makes recommendations when opportunities exist to save money, improve system performance or fault tolerance or close security gaps," said Amazon Web Services technical evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post.

For example, Barr said it checks Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) optimization, recent Elastic Block Storage (EBS) warnings, EC2 Availability Zone balance and service limit checks to ensure a customer is not nearing limits on instances, volumes or IP addresses. He also pointed to a new self-service portal that lets customers view recommendations and observations covering such areas as security, fault tolerance and cost optimization.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/14/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Oracle Public Cloud Is Finally Available

Culminating seven years of development and billions of dollars in investment, Larry Ellison officially took the wraps off Oracle Public Cloud. At a launch event Wednesday, which was expected, Oracle CEO Ellison said all the vendor's key infrastructure and applications are now available as cloud services.

The long-planned effort, known internally as "Fusion," will allow customers to procure Oracle's broad product line as elastic, consumption-based services. Despite trailing its rivals in offering a broad cloud portfolio, Ellison argued Oracle is now delivering a public cloud service that lets enterprise IT customers seamlessly move their premises apps to its cloud and vice versa. "You can move things gracefully back and forth. You're not making a forever commitment to keep it on our cloud," Ellison said.

Touting its security, Ellison said Oracle Public Cloud is not based on a multitenant architecture. "When you're using our database, your data is not commingled with other customers' data. It's secure and it's separate," he said. 

Among Oracle's core products available as a service are its flagship database, WebLogic (for developing, deploying and managing Java apps), developer tools and Web services components (for building  apps using PHP, Ruby and Python), mobile tools for building cross-platform native and HTML 5 apps, document collaboration, Web site services and analytics.

Also available is Oracle's broad portfolio of apps including ERP, human capital management, CRM, talent management and customer service. The company is also offering Oracle Cloud Social Services, which includes its own enterprise social network platform called the Oracle Social Network. It includes Oracle Social Data Services for aggregating data from public social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Oracle Social Marketing Engagement Services and Oracle Social Intelligence Services.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/07/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Microsoft Covers the Bases with Revamped Azure

Whether or not Microsoft succeeds in making its Windows Azure platform a viable alternative to the Amazon Web Services cloud portfolio, it won't be for lack of trying. Microsoft on Thursday took the wraps off a major refresh of its two-year old Windows Azure service that could make it a formidable infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider.

At an event in San Francisco that was webcast, Microsoft corporate VP Scott Guthrie outlined the new Windows Azure. In addition to offering IaaS, Microsoft is adding support for Linux servers. Though Microsoft revealed its plans late Wednesday, Guthrie made it official at Thursday's launch event and in a blog post.

Sporting his trademark red shirt, Guthrie described a boatload of new features to the Windows Azure platform, revealed numerous new partners -- companies typically associated with the likes of Amazon and cloud providers backing such efforts as the open source Cloud Foundry and OpenStack projects -- and demonstrated a cloud infrastructure that promises to lend itself to more portability between enterprise datacenters and other cloud providers.

"We are announcing the most significant release of Windows Azure yet. It elevates Azure to a new level [and] it opens it up for even more developers to use," Guthrie said. "Today's release of Windows Azure is more flexible than ever. We're supporting more operating systems, more languages, more open protocols and releasing all the Azure SDKs on GitHub under an open source license. You can now use the best of the Microsoft ecosystem and the open source ecosystem together and you can build better and more scalable solutions than ever before."

First, he demonstrated the new Windows Azure portal, which provides IT pros and developers a unified view of all of the services and applications that can run in the cloud environment. Customers can drill into different services, virtual machines and storage and view stats.

Guthrie explained that enterprise customers for the first time can shift workloads from their Windows and Linux environments to Azure, pointing out that all of the virtual machines in the new Microsoft cloud will support the VHD file format. "Because we're running the same file format, it's really easy for you to take a VM whether it started off in your own datacenter and upgrade it into Azure," he said. "You don't have to run an import-export process, you simply upload it and enable it within Azure and it works. There's no conversion tools or agent you need to install the VM, it just works."

Guthrie also talked about the new Virtual Private Networking solution, aimed at simplifying the connectivity between Azure, enterprise datacenters and other cloud providers. "What's nice about our virtual private networking solution is you can integrate it with pretty much any back-end network provider," Guthrie said. "We don't require you to install any custom software on your existing enterprise network or datacenter. Instead we integrate with existing VPN hardware and software and interoperate well with Azure."

Among some other features Guthrie outlined:

  • Identity Services: Customers can integrate their cloud applications with their enterprise identity infrastructures, notably Active Directory. Windows Azure Active Directory, or WAAD, is a REST-based service that provides access control to cloud apps. Customers can apply existing Active Directory policies to Azure.

  • Distributed Cache: A new in-memory, low-latency distributed cache that lets customers provision dynamic scaling of capacity based on the needs of an application. "What's nice is you don't have to modify any application code or redeploy your application in order to increase or decrease the cache side," Guthrie said. It implements the memcached, distributed memory caching protocol.

  • Service Bus: New secure messaging and relay capabilities are suited for integrating cloud-based solutions with enterprise apps in a secure but loosely coupled architecture. That is enabled through better tooling in Visual Studio and the introduction of cross-platform libraries, allowing the service bus to work from any operating system and various languages.

  • Media Service: This new managed service is aimed at distributing media in various formats including Flash, Silverlight, HTML 5, iOS and Android. Using REST calls, customers can upload media to Azure, describe how it should be encoded and in what format and the service will be streamed to devices. Users can implement DRM as well. "It's a real compelling way to use media," Guthrie said.

  • Web Sites: Will let developers build and deploy Web sites in the cloud that can scale based on ASP.NET, PHP and Node.js, as well as support for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Umbraco and DotNetNuke.

Some key established cloud partners joined the Azure ecosystem such as cloud management vendors RightScale, ScaleXtreme and Opscode; monitoring tool suppliers AppDynamics and New Relic; NoSQL database providers 10gen (MongoDB) and Cloudant (CouchDB) and various other cloud providers including Joyent, CloudShare and Appfog.

Microsoft is making some substantive upgrades to its Windows Azure cloud platform. Do you think its moves will appeal more broadly than its existing platform as a service (PaaS)? Drop me a line at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/07/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

HP Includes Amazon with New Hybrid Cloud Offerings

Looking to broaden connectivity from its private cloud portfolio of hardware and software, Hewlett-Packard this week said it is extending links to Amazon Web Services EC2 as well as its own forthcoming HP Cloud service.

The move to allow customers to burst workloads between its private cloud software and hardware and public cloud services is one of a number of noteworthy announcements HP made at its Discover 2012 conference taking place in Las Vegas this week.

HP also announced its first vertical market cloud service with solutions aimed at the commercial airline industry, a new version of its CloudSystem Matrix templates, Cloud Service Automation software and a cloud-based service that allows users to print from any mobile device without requiring print drivers. HP is also rolling out new cloud consulting services for enterprises seeking to build hybrid deployments.  

Company officials emphasized its blend of public and private cloud offerings and focus on providing a hybrid delivery model. "You should be able to move that service or workload transparently and easily and support that with the converged cloud across all deployments across one simple consumption experience, a simple portal," said Steve Dietch, VP of Worldwide Cloud in HP Enterprise Group, speaking at a press conference Tuesday.

HP already offered connectivity from its CloudSystem to the public cloud service from Savvis, but adding Amazon Web Services to the mix was a tacit acknowledgement that its customers may prefer to use that company's services over HP's own forthcoming public cloud offering, said Forrester Research analyst James Staten. "That's an acknowledgement by HP of the power of Amazon," he said.

Despite the bevy of incremental announcements, Staten said the vertical solutions for the airline industry were most noteworthy. Struggling airlines are aggressively moving to build new apps that support mobile users for offerings such as loyalty programs and other amenities. Thanks to its acquisition of EDS and its own services business, HP has strong outsourcing relationships with the major airlines. "They've taken some of these things that were in traditional outsourcing modes and moved them to the cloud," Staten said.

The airline industry offerings consist of the HP Passenger Service Solution, which provides various passenger services and ties into reservations and travel management systems; the HP Airline Service Oriented Architecture Platform, a suite of industry-specific Web services designed to build apps that can help airlines generate added revenues; and HP Enterprise Cloud Services, a private cloud that ties server, storage and network functions that provides capacity on demand, allowing airlines to scale up and down as business needs dictate.

The new cloud-based printing service, called HP ePrint Enterprise 2.0, is a suite of downloadable apps for Android devices, iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys that allow users to print on any HP network printer without requiring drivers. Users can also securely print files from their devices by requiring the use of a password to actually retrieve the document from a printer.

Upgrades to CloudSystem Matrix, the company's software for building and provisioning IaaS private and hybrid clouds, includes an improved graphical user interface and tooling that enables IT administrators to build out virtualized environments in days, said Terence Ngai, HP's worldwide director for enterprise cloud solutions.

Similarly, the revised Cloud Service Automation software was upgraded to speed up the development of Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud apps, Ngai said. "The benefit is quicker time to market," he said.

The company also launched HP Application Performance Management 9.2 for Converged Cloud and updated versions of the HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and HP Performance Center suites. And HP is building on its cloud consulting offerings with new HP Cloud Planning Services, targeted at enterprises looking for needs-analysis assessments.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/07/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Microsoft Talks Up Active Directory as a Service

Identity management is a key focus in managing ensuring security in the cloud, a technology Microsoft has invested heavily in. The company has a major effort afoot to extend Active Directory, the widely used component of Windows Server for enterprise authentication and identity management, into the cloud.

Microsoft already lets users access Office 365, Dynamics CRM and Windows Intune services via its new Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD), but its goal is to broadly offer cloud-based authentication and single sign-on as a service.

While the company has remained rather quiet about WAAD, it's starting to disseminate more information. For one, WAAD is not simply a port of the premises-based version of Active Directory bundled with Windows Server. That wouldn't provide the Internet scale and high availability to reliably offer such a service, explained Microsoft technical fellow John Shewchuk in a blog post last week. Here's the upshot:

To make the Active Directory service operate at extremely high scale and with very high availability (including the ability to do incremental servicing) and provide integrated disaster recovery, we made significant changes to the internal architecture of Active Directory and moved from a server-based system to a scale-out, cloud-based system. For example, instead of having an individual server operate as the Active Directory store and issue credentials, we split these capabilities into independent roles. We made issuing tokens a scale-out role in Windows Azure, and we partitioned the Active Directory store to operate across many servers and between data centers.

Beyond these architectural changes, it was also clear that we needed to reimagine how Active Directory would operate in the cloud. In talking with many developers, customers, and partners, we heard that they wanted us to enhance the ability for Active Directory to "connect" -- to the new Internet-based identities from Google, Facebook, and other social networks; to new SaaS applications; and to other cloud platforms.

This process has taken many years, Shewchuk noted. Now that it's baked into Office 365, Dynamics and Intune, select organizations are building applications using WAAD. One example he cites is easyJet in Europe, which is using WAAD and the Windows Azure Service Bus for passenger check-in and other tasks by gate managers.

In a follow-up post due to hit any day, Shewchuk said he will explain how Microsoft is looking to make it easier for developers to tie WAAD to their apps and use it to secure social enterprises.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/31/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Oracle Planning Public Cloud Launch

Look next week for Oracle to release its public cloud platform as a service (PaaS). CEO Larry Ellison presaged the June 6 kickoff Wednesday evening at the D: All Things Digital conference in an interview with influential blogger and editor Kara Swisher.

"We're announcing the general availability of the Oracle Cloud," Ellison said. "Platform as a Service. Database Service, Java Service and a bunch of applications. All on top of other acquisitions, like Taleo for talent management."

Ellison described Taleo, a company Oracle acquired earlier this year for $1.9 billion, as a complex cloud-based ERP and HR suite that run on Oracle hardware in their own Oracle virtual machines. Around the same time, the company also acquired RightNow, a cloud-based provider of customer service apps, for $1.5 billion.

Oracle announced Oracle Public Cloud at its OpenWorld conference back in October. The company said the suite of services were built to run Oracle applications, middleware and database products as a self-service offering available for both cloud and premises-based deployment.

The company's cloud portfolio is divided into two service categories: applications and platforms. Application Services consists of Fusion CRM, Fusion HCM (human capital management) and a Social Network, an offering that provides secure collaboration using social networking concepts. Platform Services is divided among offering Java-based infrastructure and database hosting.

Ellison pointed out that Oracle Cloud will take a different approach to cloud computing than other offerings, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required). Rather than building Oracle Cloud on a multi-tenant architecture where multiple instances run on the same hardware, the company is emphasizing its VMs, which Ellison argues gives customers more control over upgrades.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/31/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

MongoDB Supplier 10gen Scoops $42M in Funding

10gen, the company backing the popular open-source NoSQL-based MongoDB database and a cloud-based monitoring service to support it, today said it has received a cash infusion of $42 million.

Leading the latest round of venture funding was New Enterprise Associates and backed by existing investors Sequoia Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners and Union Square Ventures. In total 10Gen has raised $73 million. The huge investment is the latest sign that MongoDB is gaining momentum as a repository for emerging big data applications.

Former DoubleClick founder and CTO Dwight Merriman and Eliot Horowitz, also an engineer coming from DoubleClick, which is now part of Google, led development of MongoDB and subsequently launched 10gen.

MongoDB is popular because it is better suited than traditional relational databases for handling documents and other unstructured data types. Unlike relational databases designed to store data in tables and rows, MongoDB stores JSON-type content with dynamic schemas. MongoDB aims to "bridge the gap between key-value stores (which are fast and scalable) and relational databases (which have rich functionality)," according to a FAQ on the 10gen site.

"We want to change the database market, to make MongoDB the best way for companies to build new applications," said Merriman, who is now10gen's CEO. "Our goal is to give tech teams not only a database that scales to any big data level required but also helps developers be productive and more nimble. That has been the vision of the MongoDB open source community and we want to continue to help make that happen."

MongoDB databases are frequently stored on cloud-based infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services EC2 and Microsoft's Windows Azure, among other services. 10gen said it plans to invest the funding in further development of MongoDB and the cloud-based MongoDB Monitoring Service as well extending support for its customers and community of developers.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/29/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Google Apps Gains ISO 27001 Security Certification

Google has picked up another key security certification for its namesake cloud-based productivity suite. Google Apps is now ISO 27001-certified, the company announced Monday.

The ISO 27001 standard is recognized internationally and like other cloud security certifications such as SAS 70, SSAE 16/ISAE 3402, and FISMA, it is important to enterprise customers wary of using the cloud because they don't know if their data is safe. Gaining ISO 27001 certification requires an independent third-party audit. Google's auditor, Ernst & Young CertifyPoint, certified Google Apps.

"ISO 27001 is one of the most widely recognized, internationally accepted independent security standards and we have earned it for the systems, technology, processes and data centers serving Google Apps for Business," wrote Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google's enterprise business line.

Microsoft's Office 365 is also ISO 27001 certified, taking that argument off the table as both companies battle for enterprise customers. ISO 27001 is particularly important to multinational companies that are bound either by regulations or customer requirements that ISO 27001 audits have been conducted by validated third-party auditors, explained Dave Anders, CEO and managing partner at Phoenix-based SecuraStar Information Security, a consultancy focused solely on helping large enterprises prepare for ISO 27001 audits.

IS0 27001 certification is a complex process but in short it means an organization has an information security management system that outlines a company's risk assessment and controls in place to address that risk. The standard covers IT assets, personnel as well as physical security of datacenters. "One of the most important aspects is risk and how it's controlled," Anders said, in an interview.

Google said its ISO 27001 certification covers its systems, applications, people, technology processes and datacenters using Google Apps for Business. "What they are now telling the world is they have reasonable validation," Anders said. "It doesn't mean they won't have a break-in or loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability, which is the three-risk components in ISO 27001, but they're saying they have reasonable assurance that they've put a value on risk and they are addressing that value on risk to mitigate it with controls and that somebody has checked it, that's their reasonable assurance."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/29/2012 at 1:14 PM1 comments

SAP Boosts Cloud Shift with Deal To Acquire Ariba

Software giant SAP doesn't get much recognition when it comes to the topic of cloud computing, but it's not for lack of trying. The company last week used its annual Sapphire conference in Orlando to talk up some new SaaS initiatives, including new pairings from its recent $3.4 billion acquisition of human capital management provider SuccessFactors, a pact with Amazon Web Services to support SAP's Business All-In-One and Business Objects software on the EC2 cloud service, and plans to offer SAP's Sybase Afaria mobile device management platform on the AWS Marketplace.

But the big news came Tuesday when SAP said it is shelling out $4.3 billion to acquire Ariba, which operates the giant B-to-B cloud-based supply chain management network. Ariba gained fame in the late 1990s with its supplier relationship management (SRM) platform, which matches those procuring goods with sellers. SRM networks helped level the playing field and reshape the economics of supply chain management once defined by costly legacy electronic data interchange (EDI) networks.

Ariba's global trading network has 5 million paying subscribers among 60,000 customers and grossed $444 million in its 2011 fiscal year, up 50 percent over 2010. Ariba claims its trading network automates more than $319 billion in transactions and provides intelligence on over 730,000 companies. SAP said 190,000 companies use its ERP and CRM software. Executives at both companies pointed to customers who use Ariba's SRM network such as Deutsche Bank, ExxonMobil and Walt Disney. Walt Disney, for example, conducts more than 900,000 transactions per year with over 7,000 suppliers.

"This is a game-changing opportunity for SAP that complements and accelerates our existing on-premises core business software as well as our cloud offerings," said SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott during an investor conference call held Tuesday to announce the deal. "The acquisition of Ariba will also advance us significantly toward realizing 2 billion in cloud revenues in 2015."

Yet that $319 billion transacted by Ariba is only a small fraction of the opportunity, McDermott said, estimating that the top 2,000 businesses spend $12 trillion per year from their suppliers. "We have a unique opportunity to significantly expand this business," he said.

SAP, which expects the deal to close in the third quarter pending shareholder and regulatory approvals, said it will operate Ariba as a separate division and will continue to support connectivity to applications from competitors such as Microsoft, NetSuite and Oracle. Interarbor Solutions analyst Dana Gardner said in a blog post that SAP would be wise to not favor its own ERP apps at the expense of others on Ariba's network.

"SAP should keep its ERP products and tactics separate from Ariba, and allow users to adopt a cloud-first approach, regardless of their on-premises or private cloud technologies," Gardner said. "Clearly, SAP is focused on global cloud growth opportunities, but is wisely defining cloud as a place to do business and extend socially amplified discovery and collaboration efficiencies. Business returns on cloud services may well come more from enabling new business processes across organizational boundaries, than in retrofitting older software as services. SAP will also be able to make more alliances with the next generation of ISVs through an Ariba community approach."

While SAP plans to operate Ariba separately, executives on the investor call said the company sees an opportunity to improve the platform by deploying the SAP HANA in-memory data processing engine.

"We will bring the [HANA] technology into the Ariba stack," said SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe on the investor call. "We will bring the analytics and with that enable companies to better understand their spending, their selection of suppliers, et cetera. We see an opportunity to use applications on top of HANA to bring supply chain management optimization across enterprises and not just within enterprises, which will be a whole new category."

Indeed, this deal looks like it has a lot of upside for SAP. While SAP has shelled out nearly $8 billion to acquire two leading cloud-based application providers, maybe it will even start to get some recognition as a cloud provider.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/24/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

GigaSpaces Targets Clouds for Real-Time Analytics of Big Data

GigaSpaces this week rolled out a new version of its application virtualization software designed to process massive amounts of streamed data and allow users to analyze it in real time.

The company's XAP 9.0 can run in an enterprise datacenter or within a public cloud environment. The software is designed to take the proliferation of big data coming from various sources -- such as social media and financial and Web transactions -- and allow business users to extract and analyze that data in real time. Founded 12 years ago, the Israeli-based company with U.S. headquarters in New York is well regarded for its in-memory processing technology.

Nati Shalom, GigaSpaces' founder and CTO, described XAP 9.0 as an in-memory storage and processing engine designed to process large volumes of data much like Facebook and Twitter do for their own analytics services, though those social networking giants have built their own custom real-time event processing platforms. Shalom said most organizes don't have the resources and skills to build such infrastructure, yet many have found themselves needing to contend with the huge amounts of data that have become commonplace to analyze in the past two years.

"We solved the problem of processing large volumes of data by processing -- I mean, from the time you get the feeds to the point you get the content generated," Shalom said in a telephone interview.

The new XAP 9.0 software is designed to process large amounts of data coming from various data types based upon various formats and languages. It is also designed to "keep up with the speed of incoming data, while maintaining real-time latency levels," the company said.

It does so using its real-time streaming parallel processing engine, which the company said uses "fine-grained" data compression, a reduced memory footprint that doesn't affect query capabilities and support for any cloud computing environment including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Windows Azure platform, services based on emerging standards such as Cloud Foundry and OpenStack, and services (and private clouds) from just about any provider, Shalom claimed. It also supports bare-metal environments for extreme I/O, he said. Though it's Java-based, XAP 9.0 can process code developed in C++ and Microsoft's .NET and other languages, Shalom noted.

Among the various big data sources it can process are Cassandra, MongoDB, SQLR and others. XAP 9.0 will initially support the Hadoop distribution from IBM called InfoSphere BigInsights with support for the popular Cloudera and Hortonworks Hadoop distributions to follow, Shalom said.

The software starts at "a couple" of thousands of dollars per core, Shalom said.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/24/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

Hybrid Clouds and Big Data Emphasized at EMC World

Hybrid clouds and big data took center stage at this week's annual EMC World conference in Las Vegas. EMC rolled out a record 42 new products crossing all of the company's key lines -- and some new ones.

Describing this year's bevy of new products as a "sweeping refresh" that spans its portfolio of storage, backup, virtualization and management hardware and software, EMC is taking such a holistic view of hybrid clouds and big data. EMC's emphasis on hybrid clouds and big data, though not surprising, is an important indicator that like most major IT providers, the company expects its storage and Documentum enterprise content management platform to evolve into services that are consumed by enterprises.

Among the noteworthy new products is an upgrade to the company's Atmos cloud platform, aimed at letting service providers and enterprise customers manage big data in large, geographically dispersed cloud hosting facilities, and the new Atmos Cloud Accelerators, which EMC said facilitates the movement of data in and out of its cloud-based platform.

The company also launched its new EMC DataBridge, which gives IT managers common and customizable management consoles and dashboards for providing IT as a service. It provides real-time management data to administrators. The company used EMC World to also point to last week's launch of its VMAX Service Provider (VMAX SP) platform, designed to bring large scale storage to service providers.

More from EMC World:

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/23/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments

EMC Jumps into Cloud-Based File Management

EMC has agreed to acquire closely held Syncplicity, operator of a cloud-based file management service. EMC, which made the announcement on Monday at the EMC World conference, is the latest to jump into the file storage market, now dominated by the likes of Box and Dropbox, along with established players including Amazon, Apple, Citrix, Google and Microsoft.

Syncplicity counts Amazon, Google, Microsoft and as partners and, like many looking to expand in the cloud storage space, the company is targeting business users. In its announcement, EMC argued Syncplicity's service is different than others because it is aimed at enterprise users, allowing them to share data on any device with security and governance. The services let organizations maintain, synchronize, share and backup their files.

However, EMC is not the only player to make the case that its online file sharing service is aimed at enterprise users. Nevertheless, it does appear to be targeted at them with its administrator console that lets IT pros establish file access policies and permissions and manage user accounts. And the fact that the company touts its SAS 70 Type 2 datacenter and automatic backup and file versioning will be a welcome add-on to customers of EMC's widely adopted Documentum ECM platform.

Syncplicity offers three services: one for business users, a personal edition and a mobile app for iPhones, iPads and Android-based devices including Amazon Kindle Fires.

More from EMC World:

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/23/2012 at 1:14 PM0 comments