Weekly Roundup: Windows Azure IaaS moves into GA

Over the last week, the cloud world seems to have received some significant announcements from Microsoft and Amazon. Also, HP Cloud has introduced a new messaging service. Plus, Appcelerator has announced the release of Titanium 3.1 and Node.ACS GA.

Here’s a quick sum up of Cloud happenings over the last week.

Microsoft has announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. This new service allows users to host Virtual Machines in Azure. In addition, they have also reduced GA prices on virtual machines and cloud services by 21-33%. Next, they have also announced the availability of Django (a high-level Python Web framework) in the Windows Azure Web Application Gallery. This tutorial helps users to create a website on Azure for Django Framework in just a few clicks.

HP Cloud has introduced a new HP Cloud Messaging service. This service simplifies the communication between applications. Also, minimizes disruptions and redundancy. The objective of this project is to define an open-source, multi-tenant, cloud queuing service for OpenStack-based clouds.

IaaS leader Amazon has announced that AWS Elastic Beanstalk will now support IAM roles. Users are now allowed to securely access AWS services from their application. Next, they have announced that the number of objects stored in Amazon S3 goes more than 2 trillion (2 x 1012) and the service is regularly peaking at over 1.1 million requests per second. Amazon has also announced the support for local secondary indexes for Amazon DynamoDB tables. These indexes help users to query tables in new ways and increases retrieval efficiency.

Yet another announcement was Amazon RDS for Oracle Database will now support a pair of important features to protect mission-critical data. New features include Transparent Data Encryption of data at rest and Native Network Encryption of data in motion. They have also introduced a new training, accreditation, and competencies for Amazon Partner Network members. Finally, they have released version 6.4 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) on all EC2 instance types in all AWS Regions.

BaaS provider Appcelerator has announced the release of Titanium SDK 3.1 and Node.ACS GA. In the 3.1 release they have focused on 3 key areas: Performance optimization, APIs, and new platform support. Node.ACS extends Appcelerator Cloud Services by providing Node.JS development framework on the middle-tier. Using Node.ACS, users are allowed to implement and deploy server services using JavaScript on the Appcelerator Cloud.

Stay tuned until next week!


Weekly Roundup: OpenStack Grizzly is Out

Last week in cloud world, there were some new features release and price offerings from Amazon and Google.  Openstack has announced the release of ‘Grizzly’.

Here’s a quick summary of cloud happenings over the last week.

Early last week, IaaS leader Amazon has launched a new Punched Card Cloud (PC2). The PC2 is compatible with all mainframe operating systems. Users can upload, compile and run the FORTRAN, COBOL, and PL/I programs on PC2. Plus, the AWS Cloud Control Language allows users to create, manage, and destroy cloud resources using line-oriented statements specified on punch cards. Next, Amazon has announced about the expansion of Amazon Redshift clusters and EC2 High Storage instances in the US West (Oregon) Region.  Amazon has extended the AWS access policy language to include support for variables. Policy variables make it easier to create and manage general policies that include individualized access control.

They have also added a new Tags page in the EC2 Console that help users browse EC2 resources and to add or remove Tags from multiple resources. Their final announcement of the week was price reduction of up to 26% on Windows On-Demand instances. This reduction applies to the Standard (m1), Second-Generation Standard (m3), High-Memory (m2), and High-CPU (c1) instance families.

OpenStack has rolled out its 7th release, called ‘Grizzly’.  This release supports the compute, storage, and networking technologies with greater scale and ease of operations. Grizzly lets customers manage multiple OpenStack compute environments as a single unit. And, Grizzly also expands block storage options.

Google Compute Engine has made some significant announcements on expanded availability, new features and price drops. New features include boot from persistent disks, improved administration console, five new instance type families with 16 new instance types, an enhanced metadata server. They have expanded availability in two new zones in Europe. And they have made 4% reduction on all Compute Engine pricing.

Microsoft has introduced a new class at the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure, powered by TechStars. This session gives early stage startups full access to Windows Azure and to help them succeed by connecting each company to leading technical and business mentors.

Stay tuned until next week!


Weekly Roundup: Amazon Beefs up Cloud Security

Last week, there have been few important feature releases from Amazon.  Apache CloudStack proudly announces its graduation to Top Level Project.   There were also some new releases from StackMob, Scalr and Appcelerator.

Here’s a quick sum up of Cloud happenings over the last week.

To begin with, IaaS leader Amazon has added another powerful security option, the AWS CloudHSM service. The CloudHSM service helps customers to meet strict requirements for key management without sacrificing application performance. Next, they have also announced about the newest version of Amazon Linux AMI. The goal of this version is to ensure that EC2 customers will have a stable, secure, and simple Linux-based AMI that integrates well with other AWS offerings.

Apache CloudStack has been graduated to a Top Level Project, announced by The Apache Software Foundation (ASF). That is, Apache CloudStack can now operate more autonomously and will make it easier for the project to do things like releases and promote itself.

StackMob has announced the release of iOS SDK v1.4.0 and Android SDK v1.2.1. The updates include:

  • Improved social integration: login to StackMob and create a new user if needed, using Twitter or Facebook credentials.
  • OR query support: now developers can perform more advanced queries such as, “todo where A AND (B OR (C AND D) OR E).”
  • Supports for querying where a field equals/does not equal the empty string.

Scalr has launched the first integration with Amazon VPC by supporting the EC2-VPC behaviour. When users launch instances from Scalr will automatically be placed in a VPC, in a single public subnet, and have a public IP address that it uses to access the Internet. BaaS provider Appcelerator has announced GA support for the new Tizen platform in the Titanium SDK. Tizen is a robust and flexible operating system, based on Linux and HTML 5. Also, supports devices like smartphones, tablets, netbooks and smart TVs.

DB provider Xeround has announced about the support for paid plans on HP’s data center. HP Cloud users can now enjoy larger DB sizes, scheduled backups and auto-scaling capabilities.

Stay tuned until next week!


Weekly Roundup: Windows Azure gets More Features

Last week seems to have been an important week for the Windows Azure team at Microsoft. They have provided some new and improved features to Windows Azure. There were also some new feature releases from Google, Amazon and Eucalyptus. And, Hortonworks releases new version of the Sandbox.

Here’s a quick sum up of Cloud happenings over the last week.

To start with, Microsoft has added a number of new features to Windows Azure over the last week. The new features include HDInsight sevice, support for Dropbox and Mercurial repositories, and a few updates to Mobile Services.

  • HDInsight: Windows Azure HDInsight Service is a standard preview service on the Windows Azure Portal, which allows users to quickly deploy, manage and use Hadoop clusters running on Windows Azure. Customers can use Hadoop-based big data analytics in the cloud and pay for only the storage and compute they use.
  • Support for Dropbox & Mercurial repositories: Windows Azure now supports site and app deployment from Dropbox to any website. It allows users to simply copy files to Dropbox folder and press a button to deploy via Azure Management Portal. Windows Azure also supports Mercurial repositories when setting up continuous deployment of websites from CodePlex or Bitbucket repositories.
  • Updates to Mobile Services: Updates include adding of HTML5/JS client library to the current suite of SDKs for Windows Store, Windows Phone 8 and iOS. Next, a preview drops of portable client libraries, which allows Windows Phone 7.5 apps to use Windows Azure Mobile Services as a backend.

Google has shared a small open source project called Tailbone that lets developers read and write to the Google App Engine Datastore using JavaScript. In order to make App Engine a bit more accessible for people who aren’t familiar with server-side coding.

IaaS leader Amazon has added EBS-optimised support to four additional EC2 instance types. Users can now request dedicated throughput between EC2 instances and EBS (Elastic Block Store) volumes at launch time. Eucalyptus announced the beta test version of euca2ools that allows eustore to automatically fetch, upload, and register bootable EMS image in Eucalyptus cloud.

Big Data provider Hortonworks has announced the release of new version of the Sandbox. This new version contains Apache Ambari. They have also included the video content from Hadoop Essentials course and lecture material on the use cases of Apache Hive, Apache Pig, and Apache HCatalog.

These are the latest happenings from the cloud world. Stay tuned until next week for more!


Weekly Roundup: Amazon Fires from all Guns

Amazon continues to add more features to make AWS more appealing to enterprises and developers. Also, Rackspace has announced the launch of Rackspace Cloud Backup and introduced new features on Rackspace Open Cloud Servers.

Here’s a quick summary of cloud happenings over the last week.

IaaS leader Amazon has added some advanced features to Amazon VPC coupled with the simplicity of Amazon EC2. Users are now allowed to use features like assigning multiple IP addresses to an instance, changing security group membership on the fly and adding egress filters to your security groups. New features to VPC include DNS Hostnames, DNS Name Resolution, ElastiCache and RDS IP Addresses. Next, they have announced that AWS Elastic Beanstalk will now support Node.js applications. Users can now build event-driven Node.js applications and can also use Elastic Beanstalk to deploy and manage them on AWS.

Yet another announcement was the availability of the AWS Console for iPhone. The app summarizes the status of your EC2 instances, CloudWatch alarms, total service charges, and AWS Service Health. Also, allow viewing all EC2 instances, filtering and searching for a specific instance, and stop or rebooting an instance. Amazon has introduced a new feature Amazon Machine Image (AMI) Copy. This feature enables users to easily copy their Amazon Machine Images between AWS Regions.

They have also introduced three new features to make Amazon RDS even more powerful and more scalable:

  1. Up to 3 TB of storage and 30,000 Provisioned IOPS.
  2. Conversion from Standard Storage to Provisioned IOPS storage.
  3. Independent scaling of IOPS and storage.

Finally, they have introduced a new feature that allows performing an in-place upgrade of SQL Server 2008 R2 database instances to SQL Server 2012 with just a few clicks.

Rackspace has announced the launch of Rackspace Cloud Backup. Rackspace Cloud Backup is fully integrated with Cloud Servers and offers a file-based alternative to backing up the whole server image. Next, has introduced some new features and functionality that enable customers to manage their applications on Rackspace Open Cloud Servers include:

  • Support for Cloud Block Storage
  • RightImagesTM and MultiCloud ImagesTM for CentOS 6.3, Ubuntu 12.04
  • RightImages and MultiCloud images for Windows 2008 R2
  • 15+ RightScale ServerTemplatesTM from LAMP All-In-Ones to SQL Server

Stay tuned until next week!


Weekly Roundup: Android comes to Windows Azure Mobile Services

The cloud world seems to have been received some interesting announcements and offerings over the last week. There were some new feature releases and price offerings from Amazon.

Microsoft has announced some important updates to Windows Azure Mobile Services. Plus, Cloud Foundry has also announced its ‘handshake’ with Pivotal Initiative.

Here’s a quick summary of cloud happenings over the last week:

Beginning with the IaaS leader, Amazon has offered a month long free trial of the AWS Trusted Advisor to all AWS customers. This service inspects the AWS environment and makes recommendations to help users save money, improve performance or close security gaps. Additionally, enhanced the Trusted Advisor’s user interface and added a new suppress feature that allow users to hide the results of certain checks. Next, they have also announced that AWS customers will get a $120 AWS Credit with any new SAP Hana One subscription.

Amazon has reduced the price of Amazon DynamoDB in all AWS regions. The price of indexed data storage has decreased by up to 75%. The price of provisioned throughput capacity has decreased by up to 35%. Also, they have introduced a new Reserved Capacity offering. This offering apparently can save up to 53% with a 1-year term and up to 76% with a 3-year term.

They have also announced the accessibility of log files generated by Amazon RDS DB Instances running MySQL, Oracle Database, or SQL Server via the AWS Management Console and the Amazon RDS APIs. Finally, Amazon has released an AWS Implementation Guide for SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups, to help users deploy the necessary and correctly configured infrastructure.

PaaS player, Microsoft has made some improvements to the identity and access management capabilities in Windows Azure. The three new features that allow users efficiently manage access are:

  • Manage users and their access rights in the Windows Azure Portal.
  • Try out a preview of our new phone based two factor authentications for users who are Global Administrators in Windows Azure AD.
  • Manage the synchronization and federation between your Windows Azure Active Directory and your Windows Server Active Directory from within the Windows Azure Portal.

Another interesting announcement was Windows Azure Mobile Services will now fully support Android apps and Mobile Services are now available in the East Asia region. Cloud Foundry has announced that the open PaaS, joined the Pivotal Initiative, an independent project by VMWare and EMC dedicated to maintain focus on big data and cloud application platforms.

Appcelerator has open-sourced 24 modules on the Appcelerator Marketplace. Hence, allowing the members of the community to contribute, improve and advance these modules. They have also announced that module developers can now publish their own open sourced modules in the Appcelerator Marketplace.

Stay tuned until next week!


Weekly Roundup: Amazon Drops Prices for SQS and More News

Last week, there were some offerings and new features release from Amazon. Microsoft made an announcement on Windows Azure Store expansion and new add-ons. Google has published some interesting Google Cloud Platform case studies. Plus, Scalr has announced the extension of their multi-cloud capabilities.

Here’s a quick summary of cloud happenings over the last week.

Early last week, IaaS leader Amazon added three new features to the CloudWatch Monitoring Scripts for Linux. New features include IAM Role Support, Auto Scaling and Aggregate Metrics. These scripts can be run in the background to periodically report system metrics to Amazon CloudWatch. Next, they have announced the beta release of AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server. The AWS Diagnostics tool addresses a user request to make the intersection between AWS and Windows Server easier to analyse and troubleshoot.

They have also reduced the price and expanded free tier for the Simple Queue Service (SQS) and the Simple Notification Service (SNS). Here are the pricing details:

  • SQS API prices will decrease by 50%, to $0.50 per million API requests.
  • SNS API prices will decrease by 17%, to $0.50 per million API requests.
  • The SQS and SNS free tiers will each expand to 1 million free API requests per month, up 10x from 100K requests per month.

Finally, Amazon has shared a few FAQs on AWS OpsWorks and scheduled OpsWorks webinar session for users to learn more about the service.

PaaS player Microsoft has posted that there was a Windows Azure Storage outage that impacted HTTPS traffic. This was due to an expired SSL certificate. They have decided to provide credits to impacted customers in accordance with the SLA. Next, they have announced that they have expanded the availability of Windows Azure Store in 25 new markets, raising its market count to 36. They have also introduced four new add-ons in the Windows Azure Store.

Google has published an interesting collection of case studies to the Google Cloud Platform site. These case studies help current and prospective users gain an insight into the vast array of their applications. They have also included some new content to the Google Developers Academy to help users improve their App Engine skills. New tutorial content include use of the Python NDB API, Jinja2 templates, discussion of data consistency and datastore indexes. Also, they have announced that DevTable will now support the development of Google App Engine apps with Python directly on the cloud, without having to install and run the App Engine SDK locally.

Scalr has announced the extension of their multi-cloud support for OpenStack, Rackspace Open Cloud and Google Compute Engine. Scalr now allows users to deploy and manage workloads on Google Compute Engine. ActiveState has released Stackato 2.8 as an update to its private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology.

Stay tuned until next week!


Weekly Roundup: AWS Launched OpsWorks & Google Added Support Packages

Amazon, Google and HP cloud have made significant announcements in cloud during last week. Amazon launched OpsWorks, to automate deployments and manage DevOps efficiently. There were also some new features release and offerings from Google. Plus, HP Cloud launched duo of partner programs and a trio of new services.

Here’s a quick summary of cloud happenings over the last week.

To start with, the IaaS leader, Amazon has launched AWS OpsWorks, a new application management service for managing applications of any scale or complexity on the AWS cloud. OpsWorks features an integrated experience for managing the complete application lifecycle, including resource provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, software updates, monitoring, and access control. Next, they are hosting AWS Summits in 12 cities around the world starting April 18 in New York City. This free one-day event is a great opportunity to learn more about the AWS cloud. They have also introduced three new features for AWS CloudFormation. Features include: provisioning of EBS-Optimized Auto Scaling Groups, rolling deployments of Auto Scaling Groups and cancellation of stack updates. Lastly, Amazon announced that the AWS Marketplace will now support software running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Thus, customers can easily get started with any software packages without considering the hardware provision or software installation.

Google has introduced a collection of support packages for services on Google Cloud Platform. There are four levels of service: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. These services allow customers to choose a level that best fits for their business needs. Next, they have also announced two new preview features: Google App Engine Java 7 runtime support and Google Cloud Endpoints. The App Engine Java 7 runtime allows App Engine developers to keep pace with innovations in the Java language and runtime. Google Cloud Endpoints simplifies building highly scalable and flexible backends for web and mobile applications.
HP Cloud has launched two new partner programs, one for Global System Integrators (GSIs) and the other for Value Added Resellers (VARs) as part of the HP Cloud Builder program. Furthermore, they have also launched three new services to support accelerating the transition of production workloads to the public cloud. The services include Load balancing, monitoring and DNS services provide more scale, reliability and performance options for online applications.

Eucalyptus has introduced Eutester4j, which provides the necessary tools for quickly implementing an automated test strategy with minimal code duplication. Thus, will do debug and verification for various AWS operations and other operations that are typical for writing tests.

Stay tuned till next week!


Weekly Roundup: Amazon Price Cut on RDS Multi-AZ & More

Last week, the cloud world seems to have received lots of new offerings and releases from various providers. There were new releases from CloudStack, Google, StackMob and MongoHQ. There was also a new feature release from Amazon. Microsoft has published an article on choosing the best SQL database solution in Windows Azure. Plus, an acquisition news from VMware and an analyst report on fourth quarter result of Rackspace are also in the offing.

Early last week, IaaS leader Amazon has introduced a new Route 53 DNS Failover feature. This feature pairs well with Amazon S3’s website hosting to create a simple, low-cost and reliable way to deploy a backup website. Thus, directing customers to a backup site when the primary website goes down. Next, they have announced price reduction of a relational database Multi-AZ deployment model from 15% to 32%. This model helps create a standby instance which maintains an up-to-date copy of the primary database. The pricing seems to be varying with the region where the Multi-AZ deployment occurs. Finally, there has been an announcement about the launch of Amazon Redshift to all its customers, which can be used from the AWS management console. This allows users to start with a few hundred terabytes and then scale up to a petabyte or more.

VMware, an IaaS provider, has announced the acquisition of Virsto Software, a California-based company whose software optimizes storage for virtual environments. They plan to support to integrate Virsto’s architecture and data management services into future VMware products. The Apache CloudStack project has announced the 4.0.1-incubating release of the CloudStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud orchestration platform.

Windows Azure, the PaaS player has published an article to help users choose a valid approach of choosing SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machine vs. SQL Database. Additionally, they have provided a simple decision tree to help opt for the best SQL database solution in Windows Azure for satisfying distinct database application needs.

Google App engine has released the 1.7.5 SDK. This release includes new features such as experimental Java 7 runtime, High Memory Instances and Mail Bounce Notifications. They have also published a series of great App Engine training videos to provide insight for both newbies as well as seasoned App Engine developers. StackMob, the leading mobile backend service provider has released its iOS SDK v1.3.0. This includes the ability to work with StackMob GeoPoint types in Core Data. Support for saving and querying geo points through the Core Data integration is also included.

There was an interesting report on the Rackspace growth in the fourth quarter of 2012. According to the report, although the sales estimates for the quarter were lower than expected, the net revenue was up 5 percent from the previous quarter. Plus, Rackspace saw an increase in its cloud sales, but the company still found its overall stock price dropping.

MongoHQ, the popular NoSQL service provider has announced that free, experimental databases running MongoDB 2.4 are now available at MongoLab. The new features and improvements in MongoDB 2.4 include full- text search, Java script engine v8, better GeoSpatial indexing and an interrupted index build.

Hoping to see a lot more interesting cloud news next week!


Weekly Roundup: SAP Business Suite is Certified for AWS & Other Updates

Over the last week, the cloud world has witnessed a few important announcements from a couple of major cloud players. There were some new feature releases from Amazon and Microsoft. In addition, Amazon has announced the SAP Business Suite certification on AWS. Also, there was a ‘must read’ post published by Microsoft. Plus, ActiveState has announced about its significant revenue growth from the past year.
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