Showing posts tagged Microsoft

VMware: Stick with us because Amazon will kill us all

#SuryaRay #Surya VMware has gone to the mattresses —  telling its reseller and systems integration partners that if corporate workloads go to the Amazon cloud, everyone else is dead.

I’m exaggerating, but not much. Accounts out of VMware’s partner conference in Las Vegas this week really lay it out: CRN quotes VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger telling VMware partners that “if a workload goes to Amazon [Web Services], you lose, and we have lost forever.”

Gelsinger continued:

“We want to own corporate workload … We all lose if they end up in these commodity public clouds. We want to extend our franchise from the private cloud into the public cloud and uniquely enable our customers with the benefits of both. Own the corporate workload now and forever.”

So who loses or wins here? Would it really be everyone or would it be VMware? No one is blind to the fact that Amazon Web Services’ growing power is of huge concern to legacy IT vendors and even to some of AWS’ own partners, but VMware hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory when it comes to partner relationships. Long-time VMware partners always complain about having to compete with VMware sales in the field. And, Gelsinger’s verbiage sounds very much like Microsoft whining a few years ago that Microsoft partners lose when customers go to Google Apps.

It’s a never-ending story; vendors love their VAR and integration partners until the vendor hits critical mass and business matures. Then those partners — and the margin they take from vendors — become an albatross and it’s time to go direct or to cut partner margin. Guess who loses then.

Conflating your own vendor-specific interests with those of your partners (and  users) is tricky stuff, as Matt Asay writes in ReadWrite.

CRN also quoted VMware President and COO  Carl Eschenbach saying: “I look at this audience, and I look at VMware and the brand reputation we have in the enterprise, and I find it really hard to believe that we cannot collectively beat a company that sells books.”

To which, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels responded on Twitter:

@beaker as long as people see us as a bookstore, we are fine :-)

— Werner Vogels (@Werner) February 28, 2013

The problem VMware has is that many of its own partners don’t see huge value in selling vCloud Director: Many will provide it but they often offer other options — OpenStack etc.– as well. VMware’s advantage is that nearly every company of any size runs vSphere in-house, but parlaying that virtualization dominance into the public cloud has proven difficult. Fair or not, VMware is seen as the expensive, proprietary option while AWS has become the go-to plan, at least for  test and development environments. Now Amazon is pushing hard  to win production workloads as evidenced by its big AWS: Reinvent show last November.

Here’s the thing: Gelsinger’s a smart guy. If he really wants VMware partners to fight its battles, it has to start being better to its partners and stop competing with them in the field.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
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* The promise of SDNs in the enterprise
* Takeaways from the second quarter in cloud and data
* PaaS market accelerators, 2012–2013 @suryaray

Facebook Buys Atlas Ad Business From Microsoft

#SuryaRay #Surya

Facebook has acquired Microsoft’s Atlas Adviser Suite, the online ad business and management service.

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Review: Exchange and SharePoint 2013 ready for cloud—yours or Microsoft’s

#SuryaRay #Surya Onsite or in Office 365, there’s no real difference to users or administrators. @suryaray

Review: Exchange and SharePoint 2013 ready for cloud—yours or Microsoft’s

#SuryaRay #Surya Onsite or in Office 365, there’s no real difference to users or administrators. @suryaray

Microsoft Launches Updated Office 365 For Business, Adds ProPlus With Full Office Apps And New Small And Medium Business Versions

#SuryaRay #Surya A month after launching its subscription-based Office 365 Home Premium for individuals, Microsoft today launched a major update to Office 365 for business users. Just like in its previous incarnation, Office 365 for Business will feature cloud-based online versions of Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, as well as all of the standard Office web applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (and InfoPath, Access, Active Directory integration and other tools, depending on the version you subscribe to). Starting with today’s update, Microsoft will also offer a set of new versions of Office for small and midsize businesses. In addition, Microsoft now offers the Office 365 ProPlus package, which offers business users the full versions of the standard Office apps as a service for up to five devices at $144 per user per year (including a set of management tools for IT departments). The number of small- and medium-sized businesses using Office 365 has grown by 150 percent in the past 12 months. The new ProPlus packages is also included in Microsoft’s Office 365 Enterprise offerings and the new Office 365 Midsize Business package. This new Midsize Business version is meant for businesses with between ten and 250 employees. As Microsoft’s general manager for its Office Division Kirk Gregerson told me earlier this week, most of these businesses don’t always have IT departments and if they do, they typically only have an IT generalist on staff. Because of this, the Midsize Business edition comes with simplified IT tools that take away a great deal of the complexity of managing all of these users. It also comes with Active Directory integration and business hours phone support. The price for this version is $180 per user for an annual subscription. For smaller businesses with one to ten users, Microsoft is now offering a new plan for $150 per user per year that mostly focuses on email, calendaring video conferencing and website tools. Yammer, which Microsoft acquired last year, is now part of the Office 365 for Enterprise edition, but Gregerson noted that the company isn’t making any specific announcements about how and if it plans to add the service to other versions as well. According to Microsoft, Office 365 is “one of the fastest growing businesses in Microsoft history. After only 18 months, one in five of Microsoft’s enterprise customers now has the paid service, up from one in seven a year ago.” Among @suryaray

Internet Explorer 10 Comes to Windows 7 With New Ad

#SuryaRay #Surya

Several months after arriving as the default browser on Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 is now available for its predecessor, Windows 7.

On Tuesday, Microsoft made IE10 for Windows 7 available for download on its site. The company also promises to release the update automatically for those running IE9 and the IE10 preview version Microsoft made available to Windows 7 users in November. Users will be prompted to install the update over the coming weeks.

Only recently did IE9 surpass IE8 installs on Windows 7, according to data cited by Microsoft. But it’s not quite as popular as Google Chrome 15, which is the most popular browser in the world, according to StatCounter.

Microsoft say
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Fear of lock-in dampens cloud adoption

#SuryaRay #Surya It’s become a truism to say that data is the new gold –but that doesn’t mean there are easy answers about where to store this gold. For now, many corporate customers will hold back on full cloud computing adoption until they’re convinced that they can move their data off a given cloud as easily as they put it there in the first place. Face it: fear of vendor lock-in is not limited to the on-premises IT world and it’s time enlightened vendors get this problem in hand.

The advent of cloud computing should make it easy to mix and match services from multiple vendors within a cloud and to let data flow in and out of parts of the clouds as needed. But that’s not necessarily the reality now.

Bill Gerhardt, director of Cisco’s internet Business Solutions group’s service provider practice.

“When you move to cloud, you should be increasing your choices, not decreasing them. You don’t buy three on-premises apps but you can use three services from three vendors in the cloud,” said Robert Jenkins, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Sigma, the Zurich-based cloud provider.

Bill Gerhardt, director of Cisco Systems’ internet solutions group’s service provider practice, agreed. “We need to sort out data portability. Customers ask: ‘If I give you all this data, how do I retrieve that data if I want to go somewhere else? Many cloud companies don’t have a clear exit route.”

Robert Jenkins, CTO of Cloud Sigma.

It’s a fact of life: Cloud vendors have a vested interest in making it drop-dead simple and cheap to put your data on their respective clouds. If you don’t believe that just witness the price war that Amazon, Google and Microsoft are waging on cloud storage. Those vendors obviously hope once your data is in their grasp, they can up-sell you on pricier higher-level services. And, they don’t necessarily see the value in making the return trip so easy and that’s what has people spooked.

“It’s not just privacy and security. It’s also — if I change my mind or it doesn’t work out, how do I move on? This is an issue that’s prevalent in public cloud but in the era of big data it’s becoming quite an acute big problem,” Jenkins said.

“If you put a ton of data up there, the time and expense to manually stream it out can be very painful,” Jenkins added.

It’s fairly straightforward to move things off a bare-bones infrastructure as a platform. But not so easy when higher-end services get layered atop the platform. Even Amazon fans worry that the edition of Amazon’s Simple Workflow Service and other add ons create barriers to exit.

There have been the requisite attempts to build standards to neutralize cloud lock-in but to date not much has happened on that front.

There aren’t easy answers to this problem but Jenkins, Gerhardt and I will discuss it, along with data privacy and other concerns at GigaOM’s upcoming Structure: Data conference in New York March 20-21.

_Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Moyan_Brenn_

Upcoming: What’s your best route to the cloud?, Feb. 27, 10 AM PST. More upcoming webinars.

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* A near-term outlook for big data
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Microsoft Launches IE10 For Windows 7, Starts Auto-Upgrading IE9 Users And Launches New Ad Campagin

#SuryaRay #Surya This sure took a while, but Microsoft just announced that Internet Explorer 10 is now finally available for all Windows 7 users worldwide. Previously, the release version of IE10 was only available on Windows 8, though the company did launch a preview version for Windows 7 users last November. Starting today, Microsoft will make the release version of IE10 available for download to all Windows 7 users. It will also start auto-updating its over 700 million IE9 users and those currently using the preview release. @suryaray

Internet Explorer 10 finally released for Windows 7

#SuryaRay #Surya Almost, but not quite, identical to the Windows 8 version. @suryaray

Hortonworks and Microsoft bring open-source Hadoop to Windows

#SuryaRay #Surya There’s probably no better way to open up big data to the masses than making it accessible and manipulatable — if that’s a word — via Microsoft Excel. And that ability gets closer to reality Monday with the beta release of Hortonworks Data Platform for Windows. The product of a year-old collaboration between Hortonworks and Microsoft is now downloadable.  General availability will come later in the second quarter, said Shawn Connolly, Hortonworks’ VP of corporate strategy,  in an interview.

The combination should  make it easier to integrate data from SQL Server and Hadoop and to funnel all that into Excel for charting and pivoting and all the tasks Excel is good at, Connolly added.

He stressed that this means the very same Apache Hadoop distribution will run on Linux and Windows.

Microsoft opted to work with Hortonworks rather than to continue its own “Dryad” project, as GigaOM’s Derrick Harris reported a year ago. Those with long memories will recall this isn’t the first time that Microsoft relied on outside expertise for database work. The guts of early SQL Server came to the company via Sybase.

The intersection of structured SQL and  Hadoop universes is indeed a hotspot, with companies including Hadoop rivals Cloudera and EMC Greenplum all working that fertile terrain so Hortonworks and Microsoft face stiff competition. This topic, along with real-time data tracking, will be discussed at GigaOM’s Structure Data conference in New York on March 20-21.

Upcoming: Structure:Data, Mar. 20-21, 2013, New York, Register by March 1 and save $200! More upcoming conferences.

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* Takeaways from the second quarter in cloud and data
* The importance of putting the U and I in visualization
* A near-term outlook for big data @suryaray

This week in cloud: Cloud as job creator, crazy times for Microsoft Azure storage

#SuryaRay #Surya It was another busy week in cloud. Amazon continued its enterprise push with the delivery of its promised Redshift data warehouse service and announced OpsWorks, an application configuration and management tool based on the Chef framework which competes to some degree with third party tools like Rundesk, Scalr and Rightscale. 

Rackspace CTO John Engates

Shocker:  cloud computing can _increase_ headcount

One fear among IT people is that the move to cloud computing will mean job cuts. But that may not really be the case, according to a new Rackspace-backed survey. Among 1,300 U.K. and U.S. companies surveyed by the Manchester Business School, found that more than half (62  percent) said they actually increased headcount or boosted wages and bonuses using IT savings they realized from their move.

“We really think [cloud deployment] can create jobs under the right circumstances,” Rackspace CTO John Engates said in an interview. “It leads to innovation and that … opens up the floodgates and gives people access to tools for more innovation — it’s a virtuous cycle.”

Of course,”if you’re the guy who punches the button on the server every day, you might have to retool your skill set,” he added.

Cloudtech has more on the survey.

Best and worst of times for Microsoft Azure storage

Microsoft Azure storage had an up and down week: On Tuesday, it beat out Amazon S3, HP, Rackspace, HP and Google as the best cloud storage provider after performance testing by Nasuni. On Friday suffered an embarassing worldwide outage after letting an SSL certificate expire.

Rackspace moves to tiered pricing

On Friday, Rackspace cut prices on its content deliver network (CDN) services and said it would move to tiered price model for other services. Most reporters (including yours truly) saw this as a competitive move against Amazon Web Services.

Rackspace CMO Suaad Sait said the move does not signal a race to the bottom in cloud service pricing. “We’re not trying to start any crazy price war,” he said in an interview.

He characterized both the CDN price cut and the tiering move as a response to customer input. “If you look at our bandwidth pricing, it was out of whack compared to what surrounded it_._

Net, net, he said, there has been no change from Rackspace’s “fanatical support” mantra nor its goal of being the proven premium provider. 

More cloud news from around the web

Storage kingpin Seagate joined the OpenStack Foundation and Open Compute Foundation. OpenStack is an open-source cloud effort pushed by some 150 vendors.  OpenCompute was initiated by Facebook last year to push the design of standard, energy-efficient hardware for webscale data centers.

U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel says the federal government has barely scratched the surface of cloud-big data convergence opportunities. 

Telecompaper, citing a new KPMG Cloud Monitor survey, reports that more than a third of German companies surveyed use cloud computing.

Upcoming: Structure:Data, Mar. 20-21, 2013, New York, Register by March 1 and save $200! More upcoming conferences.

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* Amazon’s DynamoDB: rattling the cloud market
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Microsoft: Yes, We Got Hacked Too

#SuryaRay #Surya

Microsoft confirmed on Friday afternoon that it too was a victim of the same type of attack that affected Facebook and Apple earlier this month.

The company chose to not make a statement earlier this month while it was investigating the event, a move it says is consistent with its security response practices.

“During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organizations,” Microsoft said in a blog post acknowledging the attack.

“We have no evidence of customer data being affected and our investigation is ongoing.”

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Microsoft Azure storage ends the week with a bang — and not in a good way

#SuryaRay #Surya That’s life, as Frank Sinatra once sang. Microsoft Azure Storage was named the world’s best public cloud storage service on Tuesday, then crashes and burns on Friday.

Here are a few of the posts to the Windows Azure status dashboard: 

22-Feb-13  ·  9:45 PM UTC

Access Control v2, Service Bus, and WebSites services are impacted by Storage service degradation worldwide. We are actively validating the recovery steps to resolve it as soon as possible. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers.

22-Feb-13  ·  8:44 PM UTC

We are experiencing an issue with Storage Worldwide and this is impacting all dependent services. We are actively investigating this issue and working to resolve it as soon as possible. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers.

Folks on Twitter and elsewhere attributed the snafu to the lack of a new SSL certificate. If such a certificate does expire, users cannot authenticate against their various services: No authentication, no access.

I’ve asked Microsoft for comment and will update this when they do. Whatever the cause of the snafu, it’s been an up-and-down week for Windows Azure. On Tuesday, Nasuni, a company that manages cloud storage for business customers, said Windows Azure storage outperformed all four other cloud services — including Amazon S3 —  in rigorous performance testing. Despite Azure’s performance, Nasuni said it would stick to S3 as its primary supplier, citing its maturity. Looks like that may habe been the right call.

Windows #Azure Blob Storage service is down due certificate issue. Check update at Windows Azure Service Dashboard:…
Avkash Chauhan (@avkashchauhan) February 22, 2013

Well, as Sinatra sang: “Riding high in April, shot down in May.” Web time just accelerates the process.

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“Police raided me” says leaker who tried selling next-gen Xbox dev kit

#SuryaRay #Surya Clandestine source tweets about home inspection by FBI agent and “7-8 police.” @suryaray

Bill Gates: Microsoft is Not Doing Enough to Innovate

#SuryaRay #Surya

In an unusually candid interview aired on CBS over the weekend, Microsoft’s co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates praised the company’s investments in Windows 8 and Bing, but said Microsoft is still not doing enough to innovate.

"Windows 8 is key to the future, the Surface computer. Bing, people are seeing as a better search product. Xbox," Gates said in an interview with Charlie Rose. "But is — is it enough? No, [CEO Steve Ballmer] and I are not satisfied that in terms of, you know, breakthrough things, that we’re doing everything possible."

Gates described himself and Ballmer as being “two of the most self-critical people you can imagine,” by way of explaining their dissatisfac…
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