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Summary:

Privacy was the hot button in the cloud this week following news of more government surveillance, although hot flash storage startups and the potential for more Amazon cloud growth also captured attention.

Questions about privacy of data in clouds kept coming up this week, amid revelations about the PRISM-like surveillance program in France and about NSA spying on Germans.

Hans-Peter Friedrich, Germany’s federal minister of the interior, suggested that Germans concerned about their privacy should avoid using programs that run on American servers, and Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, spoke of the benefits of a cloud that could accommodate not one country but the entirety of the European Union. And the European Parliament also voted to start investigations of PRISM to figure out just how much surveillance of Europeans the program has been conducting.

These developments could open up doors for whole new business opportunities. Already Protonet, a startup pushing NAS boxes intended for private-cloud deployments, picked up $1.2 million in funding.

In other Europe-related cloud news, Deutsche Boerse, the operator of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, announced this week that it will be going big on an international cloud marketplace for compute and storage resources starting next year. It could be of use to companies looking to dump off remaining capacity or pick up service from specific regions not all offered by a single provider. The model is sort of akin to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) EC2 Reserved Instance Marketplace writ large for both storage and compute, and for a wide range of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) vendors.

The flash market picked up its share of headlines. SanDisk announced plans to buy SMART Storage Systems, and news regarding the considerable market position of relative storage newcomers like Violin Memory, Nimbus Data, Pure Storage and Fusion-io made the rounds. Nevertheless, as I wrote on Wednesday, Fusion-io continues to be an acquisition target and needs to bring on more business to prevent major setbacks should big customers go elsewhere.

Also this week, there were interesting discussions around how Amazon might go about expanding the ranks of its enterprise customers. First came word that
a VMware sales and marketing executive, Mike Clayville, was defecting to AWS for a new high-profile position, vice president of worldwide commercial sales. Then came questions about whether and how Amazon might go about taking the channel approach. And Brandon Butler of Network World pointed out the absence of a clear private-cloud strategy on Amazon’s part.

Research projects aimed at making cloud computing more secure, more energy-efficient and more resistant to high temperatures caught attention this week, too.

Other cloud news that graced the webpages of GigaOM and other sites this week

From GigaOM: Oracle’s biggest cloud customer highlights its biggest cloud problem

From GigaOM: Rackspace and CERN collaborate on massive OpenStack hybrid cloud

From GigaOM: Qubell launches to be the enterprise PaaS that actually prospers

From CloudPro: Power cut threats could be reduced by cloud computing adoption

From Datacenter Dynamics: NTT Communications migrates to cloud using SDN

From Forbes: CIOs On Cloud Computing Adoption: Conquer Complexity And Help Us Grow

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user Yann Caradec.

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  1. The reach of the NSA is potentially scary here, definitely. I’ve seen reports other places that not only can they use Patriot Act snooping on servers on US soil, but on those belonging to US companies in other countries as well. So, the definition of “American servers” may be more liberal than meets the eye.

    Pete Johnson
    Cloud Platform Evangelist
    ProfitBricks

  2. Clearly, the whole PRISM, NSA spying and other stories of the likes accumulating last week increased the traditionally high privacy concerns in Germany. This almost led to statements of the Cloud being the Evil. Simply, every vendor who wants to sell something in Germany with a Cloud tag on it will need to answer uncomfortable questions about how they will handle critical data. This may put one or the other’s business model at risk. But it also gives a new class of vendors the opportunity to resonate in a market that’s dominated by few big companies now. The rallye’s been opened again!

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