Windows Azure

SendGrid adds Parse, Stackmob, Azure integrations

SendGrid is inching towards ubiquity with new integrations to Parse, Stackmob and Windows Azure mobile backend services. SendGrid is popular with developers who want easy email integration for their mobile apps and who don’t want to rely too much on Amazon services.

CloudVelocity gets $5M to move biz apps to public clouds

Mayfield Fund is backing CloudVelocity’s hybrid cloud automation vision to the tune of $5 million in Series A funding. CloudVelocity’s very bold promise is that it will move your existing enterprise apps to a public cloud and run them there securely.

Storage: the crack cocaine of cloud computing

Storage price slashing continues as Microsoft meets cuts Google and Amazon traded last week. There’s method in this madness — lots of businesses have yet to test the cloud, and cheap storage is a way to attract those newbies. And once they’re hooked, watch out!

Microsoft takes Azure to China

Chasing a potentially huge market, Microsoft has inked a pact with the municipality of Shanghai and with ISP 21Vianet to offer Windows Azure services in China. The deal could be huge but also problematic, given problems Google and other U.S. companies have had in China.


Data markets: in search of new business models

From information on U.S. census returns to the location of every Starbucks in Canada, the demand for data to support decision making is increasing. Fittingly, a number of new data markets have emerged in the past few years that provide access to this data. A wide range of companies exists in this space, and often there are more differences than similarities in the various products on offer, not to mention the many different financial models. This report describes the basics of a data market, explores the ways in which various companies are beginning to position their offerings, and looks for evidence that there is sufficient demand for this market segment to prove sustainable.

Google: App Engine is energy efficient & carbon neutral

Buying IT services should be the opposite of how you buy produce: “No you don’t want to consume your IT locally. Trust us,” says Google’s Peter Magnusson. That’s because products like Google’s platform as a service App Engine are energy efficient and carbon neutral.

Microsoft opens Office and SharePoint up to web developers

With the next release of Office and SharePoint, developers can build add-ons that run in Windows Azure (or Amazon, or other clouds.) A bigger question is when Office and SharePoint themselves will make the transition into Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar cloud. Microsoft still isn’t saying.

Microsoft updates explanation of Azure outage

Microsoft issued a fuller explanation late Thursday for the 2 hour outage that afflicted Windows Azure in Europe a week ago. If vendors want to bring more businesses into their respective clouds they need to be fully forthcoming about operational issues and their causes.

Microsoft pins Azure outage on network miscue

A misconfigured network device caused Windows Azure to crash and burn in Europe yesterday. In a blog post, Microsoft said it is still digging into the root cause of the outage and will report back next week.

Google Talk is silenced

The popular Google Talk app is down for most users on Thursday morning. This snafu, which cut many people off from their instant messaging/video chat app of choice, along with today’s WIndows Azure snafu in Europe, show the dark side of cloud computing.

Windows Azure outage hits Europe

For anyone needing a reminder that no computing cloud is perfect — Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud went down in Europe on Thursday. Few details are available, but Microsoft says it’s on the case.

AppFog lets you pick your cloud, (almost) any cloud

For companies wanting to put workloads on a public cloud without having to sweat the details, Appfog has a bold proposition. It says its new PaaS will abstract out all that annoying tweaking and tuning for loads running on Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft or HP clouds.

For its new cloud, Google learns old tricks

For years, tech vendors built complicated partner programs to sell, support and maintain their stuff and break into new markets. Now Google, Amazon are following suit with new-look partner programs. The goal is to bring new customer business into their respective clouds.

Take that, vCloud: Microsoft opens Windows Azure to web hosts

It looks like Microsoft is serious about becoming the operating system for cloud computing. At its Worldwide Partner Conference on Tuesday, the company announced what amounts to a white-label version of its Windows Azure cloud platform targeting current Windows Server-based web hosts.

Microsoft’s Nadella: We will democratize big data

Microsoft plans to bring big data to the little guy, said Satya Nadella, the executive directing the company’s gigantic Windows Azure cloud effort. It’s backend work with Hadoop is a big piece, but the linkage to Excel will bring big data to the masses.

Microsoft Azure gets a big assist from small PaaS companies

Windows Azure, Microsoft’s huge platform-as-a-service, is getting a big boost from Appfog and Apprenda, two small PaaSes that will make it easier to run hybrid clouds using Azure back-end services. That addresses a concern among business customers that want to run apps in house. aims to renew .NET apps for mobile, cloud use aims to bring .NET applications to the Azure (or other) cloud and to the mobile devices of the customer’s choice. The company knows from Windows and .NET — between them, its CEO and VP of business development spent 40 years at Microsoft.


AWS Storage Gateway jolts cloud-storage ecosystem

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Storage Gateway is the company’s first foray into the on-premises cloud-storage space. But it isn’t the only one: A number of vendors are attacking the on-premises cloud-storage gateway market. Do these new offerings, Amazon’s foremost, signal the death of the cloud gateway as an appliance, or are they simply validation of the market?

Amazon moves freak out partners and rivals alike

Amazon’s Eucalyptus deal, which gives it a better hybrid cloud story and solidifies the dominance of the AWS API, plus the ever-growing AWS feature set, aren’t necessarily all good news to PaaS and other partners that run their services on Amazon infrastructure.

Microsoft tries to make good on Azure outage

Microsoft issues credit, apologies and an explanation to Windows Azure customers affected by the recent Leap Day outage that took down several services. Snafus like this one not only affect the specific vendor but can hurt overall confidence in the cloud computing model.

Amazon launches yet another EC2 instance

New medium Elastic Compute Cloud instance fills the gap between — you guessed it — smaller and larger “medium” EC2 instances. That brings the total number of EC2 instances to 13 (for now) as Amazon keeps churning out options for every possible compute load.

Google to Amazon: You’re not the only price chopper around

Amazon isn’t the only cloud power slicing storage prices. On Tuesday Google cut the price on Google Cloud Storage by up to 15 percent in some cases. With this move and new front-end storage partners, Google appears to be making a serious play for enterprise storage.

A CTO’s take on cloud

Joe Coyle, CTO of global integrator Capgemini, sees a lot of cloud pitches from all the major technology vendors — and God knows they all have a cloud strategy. Here’s what he thinks of the current state of the market.

Amazon staffs up for new digital media service effort

Amazon is hiring techies for a new digital media services push. The company seeks senior development managers and developers for a “brand new team,” although their work will grow out of an existing AWS digital media offering, according to a job post.

.NET comes to Cloud Foundry

Up-and-coming Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider Tier3 has made a significant contribution to the Platform-as-a-Service world by releasing a .NET implementation of the Cloud Foundry PaaS project. A fork project called Iron Foundry will serve as the primary source of .NET development within Cloud Foundry.

It’s official: Windows Azure supports Node.js

Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform as a service (PaaS) now supports Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript development framework. That could give Azure more traction beyond the Microsoft .NET faithful. Also new: a limited trial of Hadoop-based distribution for Azure.


Amazon Web Services, by the numbers

When Amazon released its third-quarter earnings last week, some stock analysts were dismayed by the amount of spending that took the shine off the company’s otherwise fine overall revenue. At least when it comes to infrastructure, though, Amazon, like all web-based businesses, has to spend money now to ensure it can make even more later on. That rule might be doubly true for Amazon’s position as a cloud-computing provider, because that business requires having enough capacity to serve untold numbers of users at any given time. And going by the numbers, we’re already starting to see the fruits of Amazon’s labor on that front.

Dell launches a VMware-based cloud; Azure next

Dell has officially become a cloud provider with the launch of an Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud built atop VMware technology. The move is just the first in Dell’s three-pronged IaaS attack, which will soon include clouds based on the Microsoft Windows Azure and OpenStack platforms.

Verizon buys CloudSwitch to give itself a software play

Verizon is buying cloud computing startup CloudSwitch in a move that will give Verizon, as well as its subsidiary Terremark, a software-development edge to complement its service-provider expertise. CloudSwitch will lead software development beyond its core product, which will give Verizon additional cloud intellectual property.

OpenLogic scores $2M for new open PaaS

OpenLogic, a software vendor that helps companies better utilize open-source software, is turning its attention toward cloud computing. On Tuesday, it announced $2 million in funding for a new Platform-as-a-Service offering featuring open-source components.

How low can cloud pricing go?

If there’s one thing certain about Amazon Web Services, it’s that the company isn’t Oracle. On Thursday, the company slashed the bandwidth charges for its various services, the latest in a series of price cuts dating back to 2008.

Apache, Microsoft Take Baby Steps Toward Open Clouds

The dream of open cloud computing took a couple of small steps forward in the past 24 hours with Apache promoting the Libcloud project to top-level status and with Microsoft releasing a new software development kit for PHP applications on its Windows Azure platform.

Microsoft Finally Enables Hybrid Azure Clouds

At long last, Microsoft has taken a big step forward in its cloud computing fight against VMware by letting customers manage hybrid on-premise and Windows Azure environments from within Microsoft’s System Center systems management software.

Microsoft Joins the Free-Cloud Club

Add Microsoft to the list of cloud providers offering free usage levels for their cloud offerings, as the company is now offering 750 free hours of Windows Azure usage. Like most things free, though, there is a catch.

Does Bob Muglia’s Departure Spell Doom for Windows Azure?

Bob Muglia is leaving Microsoft. More accurately, he’s “retiring” this summer because CEO Steve Ballmer decided that the Server and Tools Business, which Muglia leads, needs new leadership. One has to ask what’s going on at Microsoft and what Steve Ballmer has in mind.

Nov. 12: What We’re Reading About the Cloud

It’s a big news Friday. On the NoSQL front, Microsoft is giving Membase and MongoDB some love, while CouchOne distances itself from the term. In the cloud world, there was another revenue prediction, Appistry and Dell teaming on cloud storage, and Eucalyptus potentially working with OpenStack.

Dell’s Cloud Strategy is Shaping Up and Looking Good

Dell is often characterized as a mere server maker, and it’s easy to see why when comparing it with full-service vendors like HP and IBM. With it’s cloud moves, however, Dell has been reshaping itself lately into a provider of more than just gear.

Microsoft Targets Amazon EC2 With New Windows Azure Features

At its Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft rolled out many new features that should seriously strengthen the presence in of Windows Azure among public cloud offerings, perhaps even making the PaaS offering a closer competitor to Amazon Web Services’ industry-leading IaaS offerings.