Infrastructure Overview, Q2 2010

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Public Clouds
    1. The Quarterly Amazon Report
    2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) Takes Center Stage
    3. More Clouds Roll In
    4. Washington, D.C., Moves Closer to the Cloud
    5. Do Benchmarks Matter for Cloud Computing?
    6. Software Vendors Boost Their Cloud Presences
    7. Outages: Fewer Overall, but Still Significant
    8. By the Numbers
    9. Elsewhere in the Clouds
  3. Internal Clouds
    1. VMware Fills its Cloud Holes
    2. Systems Management Targets Cloud Computing
    3. Internal IaaS is the Startups’ Game
    4. PaaS Takes off Internally Too
    5. By the Numbers, Internally
  4. Cloud Services
    1. Has a Busy Quarter
    2. Collaboration Competition Heats Up
    3. More Options for Cloud Storage
    4. Large Vendors, Service Providers Realize SaaS Potential
    5. How to Become a SaaS Provider
  5. Web Infrastructure
    1. Web Giants Share Some of Their Secrets
    2. Facebook and its Infrastructure Won’t Stop Growing
    3. What’s the Best Foundation for Web Infrastructures?
  6. Data Center
    1. Green is the New Black
    2. Virtualization Market Swirls Around VMware
    3. Converged Infrastructure Isn’t Going Away
    4. Networking Vendors Vie for Differentiation
    5. Dell Proves Commodity Can Sell at Cloud Scale
    6. New and Improved Management Players
    7. Data Center Demand is Increasing
  7. Data
    1. Hadoop is Ready for the Mainstream
    2. NoSQL Databases Evolve, Expand User Base
    3. “Traditional” Databases Set Sights on Analytics, Scalability
    4. What are We Analyzing? Everything
    5. Following the Cloud, Storage Vendors Scale Out
  8. Processors
    1. New Server Chips on the Horizon (or Here Already)
    2. Intel and AMD Still Command Respect
  9. Networks
    1. There’s No Such Thing as too Much Bandwidth
    2. Can Anyone Really Challenge Akamai in CDNs?
    3. Can Networking be Made Cool Again?
  10. Financials
    1. Cisco Rebounds With Authority
    2. The Big Winners
    3. Not Everybody Wins, Though
  11. Key Takeaways
  12. About Derrick Harris

1. Summary

The first quarter of 2010 was all about established vendors making their plays in emerging fields like cloud computing, but the second quarter once again belonged to the little guys and the new guys. Almost across the board, from processors to virtualization to cloud services, relatively small vendors and startups had the market cornered on innovation and mindshare.

In cloud computing, although large providers like AWS, Google and Microsoft made their fair share of headlines, startups like Engine Yard and Heroku grew their offerings significantly and showed customer growth to match. And in the internal cloud space, startups almost completely stole the show. Companies like Eucalyptus Systems,, MorphLabs, Nimbula, GridCentric and Makara all launched new products, raised significant funding and/or signed up impressive new customers.

In the data center, it was startups (and everyone not Intel and AMD) driving innovation in energy-efficient processors and servers. SeaMicro released its low-power 512-processor server, Tilera, and Quanta announced a 512-core server built on Tilera’s new 64-core x86 alternative. Marvell and SmoothStone, meanwhile, vowed to bring ARM processor-based servers into web-scale data centers.

The data analytics and database markets also belonged to startups and, in some cases, open-source projects. Hadoop kept marching toward mainstream acceptance thanks to companies like Cloudera, Karmasphere, Datameer and several niche software vendors. NoSQL databases attracted some high-profile customers — including CERN, Zynga and Mozilla — but the biggest database technology innovations might have come from non-NoSQL startups Clustrix and VoltDB.

Even in the CDN space, where Akamai handled the lion’s share of traffic, smaller competitors raised upward of $30 million in venture capital.

In terms of technological shifts, the second quarter brought an increased emphasis on PaaS over IaaS in cloud computing, and demonstrated that solutions targeting big data management and analytics will only become more important with each passing day. After all, we’re generating significantly higher volumes of data every year, and there are all sorts of insights to be drawn from that.

The second quarter also brought further proof that the long-dominant x86 architecture might be on its way out. Intel and AMD won’t let this happen without a fight, of course, but the increased focus on data center efficiency, combined with the aforementioned new server offerings, are no small matter. Where there’s tinder in the forms of customer demand, products, funding and a greater societal movement toward environmentalism, something is bound to catch fire.

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