HP Insight Orchestration Solaris Provisioning

Step-by-step instruction on what needs to be done.

HP targets Cisco customers with trade-in promo

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday launched its most aggressive assault on networking giant Cisco: A trade-in promotion to rip and replace existing gear.
HP's promotion, dubbed "A Catalyst for Change" to play off the brand name for Cisco's switches, is aimed at networking gear that will be nearing the end of its useful life at the end of 2011.
Under the terms of the trade-in promotion, HP will shave 20 percent off the list price of its A-Series and E-Series switches for customers who trade in Cisco equipment. The minimum deal size is US$100,000 list price. Specifically, the savings requires a trade-in of Cisco Catalyst 2960/S Series, 3560/E Series/X Series, 3750/E Series/X Series, 4500 E Series, 4900 Series or 6500 Series, as well as Cisco Nexus 5000 Series or 7000 Series switches.
Read more of "HP launches trade-in promotion to poach Cisco customers" at ZDNet.

Private clouds: Not for the faint of heart

Novell Cloud Manager wins five-vendor shootout, but many products still a work-in-progress

By Tom Henderson and Brendan Allen

If you're thinking about operating a private cloud, you'll need management software to help create a virtualized pool of compute resources, provide access to end users, and handle security, resource allocation, tracking and billing.

We tested five private cloud management products -- Novell's Cloud Manager, Eucalyptus Enterprise, OpenNebula, Citrix Lab Manager, and Cloud.com's CloudStack -- to see if the current generation of tools is up to the task. We found that Novell's Cloud Manager was the only product that had all of the features we were looking for. Therefore, Cloud Manager is our Clear Choice Test winner. We were frustrated by some of the other products, and a couple are not yet ready for prime time.

As with any discussion of cloud computing, the first step is to provide definitions. In this test, we're building and delivering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) inside the corporate firewall.

via networkworld.com

IBM's Cloud Framework

IBM's whitepaper on cloud Framework.

Microsoft delivers Azure cloud roadmap

By Mary Jo Foley
There were a lot of promised deliverables on the Azure cloud roadmap that Microsoft unveiled at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October 2010. This week, the Redmondians rolled out more of them, including a public beta of the Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role.

According to a December 14 TechNet blog post, Microsoft is providing the following test and final versions of five of the two dozen or so new Azure cloud features detailed at the PDC. This week’s five:

·         Full Administrative Access (general availability)

·         Full IIS Access (general availability)

·         Remote Desktop (general availability)

·         Windows Azure Connect (Community Technology Preview test build)

·         VM Role (public beta)

Update (December 17): It turns out these are not new as of this week; these final and test releases were all out as of November 30. The December 14 post was not worded correctly, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

The Windows Azure Virtual Machine (VM) Role is designed to ease migration of Windows Server apps to Windows Azure by allowing them to run virtually. The public beta will enable VM Role support for Windows Server 2008 R2 in Windows Azure. Apps running in VMs won’t be able to take full advantage of the elasticity, multitenancy, and other cloud functionality, but still will derive some benefits, such as automatic cloud backup for apps running on the Azure platform.

Admin access enables multiple Windows Live IDs to have administrator privileges on the same Windows Azure account, so that teams can work on the same account while using their individual Live IDs. Full IIS support allows developers to enable multiple IIS sites per Web role and to install IIS modules. Remote desktop provides the ability to connect to a running instance of an Azure app or service so as to monitor and troubleshoot it. These three features were all slated to be generally available to customers before the end of 2010.

A Community Tech Preview build of Azure Connect (codenamed “Project Sydney”) is designed to allow users to set up easily IP-based network connectivity between on-premises and Azure resources. Azure Connect is the first piece of what Microsoft is calling the Windows Azure Virtual Network. The final, generally-available version of Azure Connect is slated for the first half of 2011, Microsoft officials have said.

Microsoft made available earlier this month a second CTP test build of the SQL Azure Reporting Services it also promised at the Professional Developers Conference.

USDA moves to the Cloud with Microsoft

From MS....

The past few months have marked a transformative time in government IT, with the State of California, the State of Minnesota and New York City embracing cloud computing.  And now that momentum is carrying into the federal sector, as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it will become the first cabinet-level agency to move its e-mail and productivity applications to the cloud.  USDA will transition 120,000 federal workers from on-premise messaging and collaboration to Microsoft’s BPOS-Federal cloud computing solution over the next four weeks.  The migration to the cloud is part of USDA CIO Chris Smith’s vision to consolidate disparate messaging environments onto a single, unified platform, which will reduce costs, boost workforce productivity and improve communications and collaboration across the agency.
USDA is an incredibly complex enterprise, with a distributed workforce, 27 sub agencies, and a broad mission that touches everything from homeland security to food safety.  Organizations like USDA require enterprise-grade collaborative capabilities like global address lists, full calendar synchronization, presence and video conferencing.  Through the power of the cloud, USDA personnel will have better access to information and improved data sharing capabilities, all while reducing computing costs and building on existing investments. 

Windows Azure Learning Plan

Overview and Training

Overview and general  information about SQL Azure - what it is, how it works, and where you can learn more.
General Overview (sign-in required, but free)
General Guidelines and Limitations
Microsoft SQL Azure Documentation
Samples and Learning
Sources for online and other SQL Azure Training
Free Online Training
60-minute Overview (webcast)


SQL Azure Internals and Architectures for Scale Out and other use-cases.
SQL Azure Architecture
Scale-out Architectures
Federation Concepts
SQL Azure Security Model (video)
Standard Administrative Tasks and Tools
Tools Options
SQL Azure Migration Wizard
Managing Databases and Login Security
General Security for SQL Azure
Backup and Recovery
More Backup and Recovery Options
Syncing Large Databases to SQL Azure


Programming Patterns and Architectures for SQL Azure systems.
How to Build and Manage a Business Database on SQL Azure
Connection Management
Transact-SQL Supported by SQL Azure

BMC Software and Cisco Partner to Launch Secure Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform for Large Service Providers

BMC Software and Cisco's December 6th announcement of a strategic alliance to develop and market new solutions for large-scale multi-tenant cloud-computing infrastructures is a significant deepening of a relationship that has been maturing since BMC partnered with Cisco to help launch the Cisco UCS. The partnership's newest offering marries BMC's Cloud Lifecycle Management with Cisco's Unified Service Delivery solution to help service providers deploy and manage large scale cloud infrastructure service delivery environments more quickly and cost effectively than has previously been possible.
The joint solution, dubbed the Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform, should enable BMC broader and more strategic access to service provider cloud organizations while enabling Cisco to position itself as a more sophisticated, full stack cloud infrastructure provider. BMC's contribution to the partnership is anchored by Cloud Lifecycle Management (CLM), which was introduced in May 2010. The Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform includes:
  • A policy-driven service catalog, which can support personalized lists of available service offerings and customizations, based on a user’s role or service agreement
  • A self-service Web portal for requesting and controlling cloud resources which can be implemented based on pre-defined policies and service profiles
  • Dynamic orchestrated provisioning of the entire service stack – compute, network, storage, and application -- across heterogeneous infrastructures using Bladelogic automation technology and the Atrium CMDB
  • Secure network container technology to allow for different services to be provisioned independently accordingly to different SLAs and customer profiles.
  • Out-of-the-box cloud management workflows to drive ongoing governance, performance, and compliance monitoring and reporting
The alliance has extended these capabilities to address the security and multi-tenant operational requirements of cloud service providers. Specifically, the Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform will allow service providers to automate self-serve cloud infrastructure and cloud services provisioning activities on a multi-tenant basis. Rather than being limited to network, storage and server provisioning, the Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform will be able to provision the full stack from application and middleware through to hardware resources.
BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management is deeply integrated with Cisco’s Secure Network Container Architecture. Secure Network Container Architecture is a particularly critical element of the solution as it enables service providers to support multiple customers on the shared cloud infrastructure by automating the secure partitioning of physical and virtual resources. The Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform is designed to allow service providers to develop differentiated offerings by taking advantage of a range of customizable service level parameters and options such as time frame to deliver resources or thresholds to scale resources up and down.
Although the partnership is not exclusive, both firms have made significant investments to ensure deep integration. Specifically the two firms have closely aligned product development roadmaps, architectures, service, support, joint go to market and executive governance programs.  IDC expects they will continue to jointly evolve the platform's capabilities over time. For example, the initial version of the platform stops short of trying to address service provider billing requirements, opting to provide utilization metering data to existing billing systems. This is a potential area of expansion for future releases.
BMC and Cisco report that a significant number of service providers such as Telefonica are already conducting proof of concept tests and planning to launch services based on the new solution. At least initially, IDC expects most service provider customers will leverage Cisco's technology strengths and focus on Infrastructure as a Service and cloud collaboration services as their earliest cloud services.
IDC sees this as a win-win partnership that targets service providers that are looking for ideas for new services as well as ways to improve operational efficiency. By working together to produce the Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform, Cisco and BMC are positioning for a key service provider focus: scalable, secure and systematized operations. Keeping operational cost and complexity to a minimum is critical to the long term success of service provider offerings.

NZ tax department use of Cloud Computing

Interesting little "alert" from the NZ tax department around use of Cloud Computing... 

I assume other countries tax departments may have similar concerns...