My interview on the Windows Azure team blog — The Cloud will go away

January 17, 2011

Earlier this month an interview I did with Robert Duffner, Director of Product management for Windows Azure, went live on the Windows Azure team blog.  Robert asked me a variety of questions about Cloud security, how I see the Cloud evolving, the pitfalls of the cloud, where Dell plays etc.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my ramblings actually turned out coherent :)  Here is a section from the interview (you can check out the whole piece here):

Cloud computing is a very exciting place to be right now, whether you’re a customer, an IT organization, or a vendor. As I mentioned before, we are in the very days of this technology, and we’re going to see a lot happening going forward.

In much the same way that we really focused on distinctions between Internet, intranet, and extranet in the early days of those technologies, there is perhaps an artificial level of distinction between virtualization, private cloud, and public cloud. As we move forward, these differences are going to melt away, to a large extent.

That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to still have private cloud or public cloud, but we will think of them as less distinct from one another. It’s similar to the way that today, we keep certain things inside our firewalls on the Internet, but we don’t make a huge deal of it or regard those resources inside or outside as being all that distinct from each other.

I think that in general, as the principles of cloud grab hold, the whole concept of cloud computing as a separate and distinct entity is going to go away, and it will just become computing as we know it.

Pau for now…


PWC’s Cloud man bullish on OpenStack

November 12, 2010

Last not but least in my series of videos from the OpenStack design summit, is an interview I did with David Lemphers of Price Waterhouse Coopers.  David recently joined PWC as their director of cloud computing after spending six years at Microsoft, most recently as one of the principle engineers on the Windows Azure platform.

I talked with David to get his thoughts on OpenStack and here is what he had to say:

Some of the ground Dave covers:

  • Dave’s background
  • What he’s doing at PWC as the cloud director
  • Why decided to attend (and present at) the OpenStack summit and why he’s so bullish on the platform.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Cool Article on the Dell/Azure announcement

July 14, 2010

Monday, as part of Microsoft’s big Azure announcement, we announced that we would be both building an Azure appliance, enabling customers to build their own public or private clouds, as well as developing an Azure public cloud at Dell that our customers can use to develop and deploy next generation services on.

There has been a ton of press surrounding this move by Microsoft to broaden the market for Azure, an effort which also includes similar agreements with HP and Fujitsu. Not surprisingly, my favorite article is one by Charles King that came out yesterday in eCommerce Times — Microsoft’s Windows Azure and Dell: Blue Skies Ahead.

Check out these excerpts and you’ll see why :)

Dell is out of the blocks and running with Azure while its rivals are still sorting out their gym bags.

Dell’s cloud efforts tend to be one of the company’s best kept secrets. Some vendors’ continual cloud pronouncements tend to blend into a vuvuzela-like drone, but Dell has simply gotten down to the hard work of building workable commercial cloud and hyper-scale data center solutions during the past three years.

In fact, Dell was the first major vendor to launch a business unit specifically focused on the commercial cloud. By doing so, the company’s Data Center Solutions (DCS) organization has gained invaluable hands-on expertise about the specialized needs of organizations leveraging cloud technologies for applications including hosting, HPC, Web 2.0, gaming, energy social networking and SaaS. That point likely influenced Microsoft’s 2008 decision to choose Dell as a primary infrastructure partner in developing the Azure platform.

Cool stuff!

Pau for now…


The Dell / Azure Cloud & Appliance

July 12, 2010

Several months ago in the press release that announced our Cloud Solution offerings, there was a particularly cloudy paragraph that talked about Dell’s relationship with Microsoft.  The paragraph ended with the sentence: “Dell and Microsoft will collaborate on the Windows Azure platform, with Dell and Microsoft offering services, and Microsoft continuing to invest in Dell hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure.”  What the heck did that mean?  Well today we can be a bit clearer.

Dell Cloud based on Windows Azure

Earlier this morning at Microsoft’s Worldwide partner conference, the giant of Redmond announced the limited production release of the Windows Azure technology for a select few tech giants.  Dell is one of these and will be taking this technology and creating ourselves a Platform as a service (PaaS) cloud.  We will in turn use this cloud to deliver both public and private cloud services to customers looking to develop and deliver next generation cloud services based on .Net.   This platform will be targeted at enterprise, public, small and medium-sized business customers as well as be used by Dell itself.

But wait, there’s more: Azure in a box

Dell and Microsoft are also working on a Dell-powered Windows Azure platform appliance.  (Don’t let the term “appliance” throw you, you can’t register for this and it really represents 100s or 1000s of servers plus storage and networking).  Dell will be making this turnkey cloud platform available to enterprises to enable them to set up their own PaaS clouds within their organizations.  Dell has a bit of a leg up here since we’ve been working with Microsoft on Azure as the primary infrastructure partner since its launch back in ’08.  We’re simply packaging this “winning combination” and providing it in a turnkey package for internal use by enterprises.

A little context: adding to our cloud portfolio

So how does this fit in with some of the other cloud solutions that we have announced?  At a high-level, Dell is providing cloud solutions to help customers take either an evolutionary approach that makes their existing applications more efficient or a revolutionary approach with new applications written for cloud scale (we actually believe customers will do both).

We have already been working with Microsoft to offer evolutionary cloud services based on Microsoft’s Hyper V platform.  We are now complementing this with a revolutionary Windows Azure appliance.  This turnkey PaaS cloud platform will be in addition to the turnkey PaaS cloud platform that we announced with Joyent.   Whereas the Joyent-based offering, “the Dell cloud solution for web applications” is targeted at folks developing in Java, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby on Rails etc. the Azure appliance will naturally be targeted at the .Net world.  BTW we also offer solutions based on VMware Redwood/ Spring, EMC Atmos and BMC among others.

Stay tuned for more!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Microsoft Joins the Cloud Party

October 28, 2008

Yesterday at PDC, the big Microsoft developer fest, Ray Ozzie got up and announced the beta launch of Windows Azure, Microsoft’s entry into the cloud computing arena. (It may be beta but you’ll notice they already have a snazzy logo)

This wasn’t a big surprise to anyone since they had been doing some saber-rattling in the past weeks about how they would be joining the party (fashionably late in true Microsoft style).  To carry the party analogy a little bit further, two of the other guests who had gotten there early to help set up, Rackspace and Amazon, made announcements of their own last week.  Rackspace announced the acquisition of two cloud-focused start-ups and a reorganization of their Coud division, Mosso.  Amazon added Windows as an OS to EC2 (have a mentioned how much I dislike the “EC2″ name?), dropped the “beta” tag it and added an SLA of 99.95% availability per year.

Looking at the Cloud from both sides now

In an interesting post from the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones, which is based on an interview that Rory conducted with Ozzie yesterday, Rory finds out they have slightly different interpretations of cloud computing (shocker!).  Ozzie sees Amazon as a cloud pioneer but “[insisted] that Google just wasn’t in cloud computing.”

I pointed out that the one cloud application with which I was familiar was Google Docs … But it turned out we were looking at the cloud from different sides. Mr Ozzie was focussing on it as something you rented out to businesses so they could use the vast computing power in your data centres to create applications which could scale up in a hurry – an approach where Amazon is enjoying plenty of success. I was thinking of the cloud as a place where millions of users could store their data and use simple online programmes, mostly for free.

There are folks who agree with Ray that what Google does is deliver Software as a Service rather than cloud computing but I don’t think the distinction is helpful.  To me if you draw on compute resources, be they apps or platforms, from a source you don’t own or manage and that you can scale up or down as needed and you are billed accordingly… that’s cloud computing.  (I’m off to the Rackspace customer event today so it will be interesting to see if I come back with a different definition ;)

Pau for now…


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