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GARTNER: Preferred Infrastructure for Virtualization and Cloud Computing

The Case For and Against Fabric-Based Computing

What to Consider When Cisco Wants to Be Your Major Data Center Partner

GARTNER: Preferred Infrastructure for Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Fabric Computing Poised as a Preferred Infrastructure for Virtualization and Cloud Computing
11 February 2011 George J. Weiss, Andrew Butler
Gartner RAS Core Research Note G00210438

Nearly 50% of respondents to a poll at a recent Gartner Data Center Conference implemented, or are in the process of implementing, fabric computing, driven by one significant aspect of virtualization.


Fabric computing is a fixture on the radar screen of many IT groups, driven by the increased penetration of virtualization and prospects for cloud computing.
As virtualization penetration increases, IT organizations will deploy virtual machine (VM) mobility, which will demand more attention to a fabric-based infrastructure that better integrates server, storage and networking for greater agility and faster time to deploy.
Key Findings
  • Fabric computing is nearing a stage of adolescence — maturing quickly, but with much room for growth and maturation.
  • Enterprises with serious initiatives in virtualization and cloud computing need to begin designing a fabric-based infrastructure, and the organizational structure to properly support it, as the underlying foundation for these initiatives.
  • Based on polling results and many interactions with clients, we believe that Cisco has been the most influential marketing force in expanding the IT vocabulary and recognition for fabric computing, which is currently dominated by two vendors (Cisco and HP), with Dell, IBM and others making moves. Most users are still determining the use cases of fabric-based computing, and, as yet, are unwilling to be sold prepackaged modules of complete solutions by a single vendor.
  • Put fabric computing on the priority list of data center architecture planning, if your virtualization plans call for a heavily dynamic infrastructure.
  • Do not overhaul or plan on rip-and-replace fabric development, but impose on vendors' design guidelines that harmonize their solutions with your other data center infrastructure.
  • Keep three vendors on the playlist of considerations; no single vendor is likely to have all the pieces at any time, so a comparison of options is advisable.
  • Organizational role alignment and administrative responsibilities, while not high on the factors of importance poll, should be an integral part of the planning process, paralleling the efforts around infrastructure virtualization and fabric design.

What You Need to Know

Fabric can offer a number of advantages, such as improved time to deployment, and greater efficiencies and resource utilization in the data center. Nevertheless, the adoption rate will be relatively low through 2011, because of ROI benefits that are still relatively unproven across a wide field of use cases. Vendors are initially positioning their fabric computing offerings as data center solutions — presenting a high overall entry cost due to new blade systems, software for fabric resource management, and integration services to bind servers, networks and storage — potentially into new silos. Combined with the slow economic recovery, Gartner believes that the market share of servers associated with fabric architectures will be relatively slow to ramp up (with a modest 4.4% of total server shipments by 2015), but will continue throughout the decade. As a model, this penetration mirrors the experience of blade servers throughout its decade-long climb to prominence.


One of the major factors driving fabric computing will be the level of infrastructure virtualization and the dynamic nature of these infrastructures. The more that virtualization is implemented with the dynamic mobility of VMs, the greater the likelihood that these dynamic environments will need improved management of the resources to gain greater utilization efficiencies. As an indicator, one poll conducted at the 2010 Gartner Data Center Conference (held in December 2010) asked respondents to characterize their IT infrastructure. Only 17% responded that they were either not virtualized or that the VMs they deployed were fixed to a physical server. The other 83% of respondents were using mobility to reassign new locations or shift workloads, or were using policy-based software rules for optimization.
Our planning assumption links the dynamic infrastructure to increased fabric computing. The polling data in Figure 1 suggests that a large proportion of IT organizations are preparing to engage with vendors — some already in production and others deploying proofs of concept. Overall, 63% are in the active phase, as opposed to the rest, which lack interest or seriousness. The poll results do not constitute a scientific sample, and, therefore, are of value only as potential indicators of the perceptions of half the attendees at this presentation. The results, as with all Gartner conference polling, should not be used to extrapolate vendor market share or to predict definitive future outcomes (see Note 1).
Figure 1. What fabric infrastructure deployment stage are you in?
Figure 1.What fabric infrastructure deployment stage are you in?


Source: Gartner (February 2011)

Because this market is being driven in part by active vendor marketing, we sought to differentiate how influential the vendors were in promoting their own concepts, including Cisco's Unified Computing System, HP's Converged Infrastructure, Dell's Virtual Integrated System, IBM's Dynamic Infrastructure, etc. However, vendor sales pressure turned out to receive the lowest response rate, and virtualization expansion received the highest sales pressure (by 3.5 times). If we add in cloud computing as an additional motivating factor, the driving force rises to 6.3 times sales. Yet, vendors will be instrumental in proving (or disproving) the ROI benefits of fabric computing. Gartner believes that one vendor, Cisco, seems to have been particularly adept at missionary selling and persuasion, most likely due to its strong networking base in many large enterprises. Figure 2 shows that respondents identified Cisco as the most credible contender, with HP a distant second, then IBM, Dell and others.
Figure 2. Which vendor would you perceive to be the most competent to deliver on a fabric-based strategy in your enterprise?
Figure 2.Which vendor would you perceive to be the most competent to deliver on a fabric-based strategy in your enterprise?

n= 92

Source: Gartner (February 2011)

The question addressed in Figure 2 was also asked in a separate presentation in which users had multiple-choice options. Out of 101 responses, Cisco captured 47, HP got 26 and IBM got 24.
Finally, equally important was how respondents felt about the way solutions should be packaged and delivered. Figure 3 raises the issue of whether users can be easily sold on prepackaged "vendor blocks," as opposed to having the flexibility to configure solutions from existing infrastructure (e.g., VMware and blades in place) integrated with vendor deliverables, or having the flexibility of building out data center convergence and consolidation incrementally and modularly. The underlying risk might already be evident to data center managers: the fear of vendors usurping their independence and forcing disruptive rip-and-replace decisions on them. This will become even more apparent as solutions such as Oracle's Exadata and the recently announced HP-Microsoft Converged Application Appliances combine to leverage fabric-based platforms.
Figure 3. Which packaging and procurement strategy will represent your most likely approach in rolling out a comprehensive fabric strategy in your data centers?
Figure 3.Which packaging and procurement strategy will represent your most likely approach in rolling out a comprehensive fabric strategy in your data centers?


Source: Gartner (February 2011)

Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire newScale plans to use newScale's tools to complement and expand its existing services options for cloud management and automation.

The newScale portfolio competes directly with products provided HP such as the HPService Catalog, and some elements of the HP Matrix OE and the HP’s Cloud Service Automation suite.

newScale also competes with offerings from VMware (VCloud Director) and BMC (BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management ), so with this acquisition Cisco has acquired capabilities that were previously delivered by Cisco's partners.

This acquisition will put more pressure on the VCE alliance as Cisco develops more capabilities that were delivered by VMware or EMC Ionix (or BMC outside of the VCE coalition.

read the news article...

SAN FRANCISCO, Mar 30 -- Computer networking equipment giant Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday announced the intent to buy privately-held software company newScale Inc., in a move to complement and expand its offerings in cloud computing.

Based in San Mateo in the U.S. state of California, newScale provides software that delivers a service catalog and self-service portal for information technology (IT) organizations to select and quickly deploy cloud services within their businesses.

Founded in 1999, the company now has more than two million users worldwide, including 20 percent of the Fortune 50 companies, according to information posted on newScale's website.

"With the acquisition of newScale, Cisco will be able to accelerate the deployment of cloud services through a service catalog and self-service portal that allows customers to easily manage their IT infrastructures," Parvesh Sethi, Cisco's senior vice president, noted in a statement.

Cisco said it expects to close the deal in the second half of its fiscal year 2011, without disclosing financial terms.

Gartner:Technology Trends You Cant Afford To Ignore

Gartner:Technology Trends You Cant Afford To Ignore

The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

Authors: Peter Mell and Tim Grance
Version 15, 10-7-09

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Information Technology Laboratory

Note 1: Cloud computing is still an evolving paradigm. Its definitions, use cases, underlying technologies, issues, risks, and benefits will be refined in a spirited debate by the public and private sectors. These definitions, attributes, and characteristics will evolve and change over time.

Note 2: The cloud computing industry represents a large ecosystem of many models, vendors, and market niches. This definition attempts to encompass all of the various cloud approaches.

Definition of Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

Essential Characteristics:
On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.
Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs).
Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines.
Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to quickly scale out and rapidly released to quickly scale in. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time.
Measured Service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

Service Models:
Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through a thin client interface such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email). The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings.
Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly application hosting environment configurations.
Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).

Deployment Models:
Private cloud. The cloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization. It may be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.
Community cloud. The cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be managed by the organizations or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.
Public cloud. The cloud infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large industry group and is owned by an organization selling cloud services.
Hybrid cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load-balancing between clouds).

Note: Cloud software takes full advantage of the cloud paradigm by being service oriented with a focus on statelessness, low coupling, modularity, and semantic interoperability.

Cloud Computing For Dummies

Cloud Computing For Dummies LOL

Oracle Stops All Software Development For Intel Itanium Microprocessor

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., March 22, 2011

After multiple conversations with Intel senior management Oracle has decided to discontinue all software development on the Intel Itanium microprocessor. Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life.

Both Microsoft and RedHat have already stopped developing software for Itanium.  HP CEO Leo Apotheker made no mention of Itanium in his long and detailed presentation on the future strategic direction of HP.

Oracle will continue to provide customers with support for existing versions of Oracle software products that already run on Itanium.

About Oracle

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is the world's most complete, open, and integrated business software and hardware systems company. For more information about Oracle and Itanium, please visit our Web site at


Market Overview: Cloud-Based Email Vendors

Infrastructure and operations executives have shown a tremendous interest in the cloud to provision email and collaboration services to their employees. Why? Cloud-based email and collaboration can be more cost-effective, increase your flexibility, and help control the historical business and technical challenges of deploying these tools yourself. Forrester recently published a report covering four major cloud email platforms.

The Leap To Cloud-Based Email

The Leap To Cloud-Based Email

Cisco Partner Summit 2011

Cisco Partner Summit 2011

Can RIM's Cloud Push Recapture BlackBerry Magic?

By Bruce Gain

RIMs BlackBerry has been steadily losing share in the smart phone market, but RIM hopes it could use the cloud computing space to offer something new and exciting like it did when it came out with its then-revolutionary push e-mail service over a decade ago.

During a presentation that Alec Taylor, vice president, software, services and enterprise marketing for RIM gave Thursday, cloud applications have become "core to RIM's strategy." Taylor also claimed that RIM is "positioned to lead in mobile cloud services."

As part of its push into the cloud, RIM said it has formed a partnership with Microsoft to offer Office 365 Web-based office applications, which include SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync. RIM said BlackBerry and soon-to-be launched Playbook tablet customers will be able to use Microsoft Office 365 over the cloud free of charge in the middle of the year.

RIM says its announcement with Microsoft represents one example of many new cloud services it will offer its users. But corporate posturing aside, what does RIM's push into the cloud mean for the small business user? That mostly remains to be seen, but I know what I would like to see.

A major peeve I have always had with my BlackBerry, as well as with any other kind of Android, iPhone, or smart phone device for that matter, is how hard it is to share data with workstations, whether tethered directly to a PC or to a LAN. Sure, you can use BlackBerry's sync software to share data with PCs, but it is clunky, to say the least. Being able to use a BlackBerry or RIM's upcoming Playbook to seamlessly share data and access applications over the cloud with different PCs and devices as easily as you can between PCs on a LAN could make RIM's devices exciting again.

I also would love one day to be able to use a BlackBerry for all of my computing tasks over the cloud, whether for storage, office, or any other application. That way, I could work anywhere and everywhere with nothing but my mobile device.

But for a variety of reasons--not least of which are unresolved security concerns--the real role the cloud will play in the future of computing has yet to be determined and does not depend much on RIM.

RIM's Microsoft announcement is hardly earth-shattering, as the company will likely never capture the magic again like it did when it captivated the business world with its first BlackBerry devices. RIM will also face stiff competition in the mobile space from Google, Android, and the search giant's cloud services. At least RIM's announcement that it will offer Microsoft's cloud-based office applications is a step in the right direction. RIM also says there is a lot more to come, but only the future will tell how successful it will be.

Bruce covers tech trends in the United States and Europe and tweets at @brucegain.

source: PCWorld

HP to offer cloud computing platform

5528997203_63d8ffa752 Hewlett-Packard is getting into the cloud-computing business and taking on competitors Amazon and Google.

The technology giant announced plans Monday for a portfolio of cloud computing capabilities from infrastructure to platform services, the company said.

As part of that push, HP plans to deliver an "open cloud marketplace" in which developers can create applications for consumers and businesses.

“We see clearly a world in which the impact of cloud and connectivity is changing not only the user experience, but how individuals, small businesses and enterprises will consume, deploy and leverage information technology," said Chief Executive Leo Apotheker in a statement.

After purchasing smart phone maker Palm and its WebOS last year, HP also announced plans this week to expand and put its WebOS into a broader range of products, ramping up its presence in the gadget world by delivering 100 million devices a year.

This is the first time Apotheker has publicly announced his strategy for HP since taking the helm from Mark Hurd, who is credited with rebuilding the technology giant into the world's largest computer maker and resigned last August after allegations of sexual harassment and falsifying expense reports.

No date was set for the launch. It remains to be seen whether HP can lure software developers to the new platform with a bevy of other competitors such as Google and Amazon already present.

IBM Puts $38 Million into New Singapore Cloud Computing Data Center

Facility to launch in April, offer IBM cloud services and technology to businesses in A/P region.

D.H. Kass

IBM Corp. said that it will pour some $38 million into a new cloud computing data center in Singapore to offer businesses in the Asia Pacific region access to cloud services and related technology, a market researchers estimate will climb to nearly $5 billion by 2014.

The facility is scheduled to open in April with a raft of cloud services intended to help businesses accelerate time to market, reduce costs, increase security and compliance of public cloud environments, and promote flexibility and agility, IBM officials said.

IBM said that its initial offering at the Singapore data center will stem from its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) portfolio. In addition, a collection of software from the vendor’s Software Group and products from third-party developers designed for mid-sized businesses, large enterprises and ISVs will be available, officials said.

“IBM’s investment in our Asia Pacific Cloud Computing Data Centre in Singapore reflects the increase in demand for cloud solutions and services by our clients in the region,” said Andrew Sotiropoulos, IBM Asia Pacific general manager, Global Technology Services.

“The Centre will provide the highest security standards and capabilities to minimize capital expenditure and reduce operational costs,” he said.

In addition to the impending Singapore facility, IBM maintains seven cloud labs in Asia Pacific, including China, India, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, and cloud delivery centers in Germany, Canada and the U.S. In total, the vendor operates 13 cloud labs throughout the world.

IBM pointed to figures from researcher International Data Corp. pegging the market for cloud services in the Asia Pacific region, including Japan, at about $4.9 billion by 2014, a 40 percent annual growth rate.

Chris Morris, IDC Asia Pacific director, Cloud Services & Technologies, attributed the expected growth for cloud services in the region to infrastructure provided by new data centers.

“While cloud services have been attractive in the past, concerns about the consistency of the service performance due to the potential impact of network latency and the location of the data have inhibited their uptake for anything that was a critical workload,” Morris said.

“This increased availability of enterprise-class cloud services will underpin the acceleration of cloud services in APEJ as cloud service shifts from the SMB sector to the large enterprise," he said.$38+Million+into+New+Singapore+Cloud+Computing+Data+Center

Dublin Emerges as Cloud Computing Hub

March 17th, 2011 : Rich Miller
An aerial view of the Microsoft data center in Dublin showing the rooftop air handler units atop the first phased of the facility, as well as the vacant roof space available for additional air handlers as the remainder of the facility is built out.
Ireland has emerged as a key hub for the growth of cloud computing, hosting huge data centers powering the global cloud operations for two of the largest players in the sector, and Microsoft. Dublin also hosts major data centers operated by Digital Realty Trust and facilities for IBM and SunGard, among others.
Dublin has become a key gateway to Europe and beyond for U.S. companies due to several factors, including the city’s location, connectivity, climate and ready supply of IT workers. Dublin’s temperature is ideal for data center cooling, allowing companies to use fresh air to cool servers instead of using huge, power-hungry chillers to refrigerate cooling water.
This allowed Microsoft to design and build one of the world’s most efficient data centers, a huge facility that hosts the company’s cloud services for Europe and operates entirely without chillers. At 550,000 square feet, it is also one of the world’s largest data centers.
The Microsoft project also illustrates the impact of data center development on the Irish economy. It was one of the largest construction projects in Ireland in 2009, requiring approximately 1 million man-hours to complete and a workforce of close to 2,100 at peak.

Amazon Cloud Contributes to Growth

Amazon Web Services has also been a major force in the Dublin region’s development as a cloud computing hub. The company development opened a data center in Dublin in December of 2008 to house the European availability zones for its EC2 cloud computing services. The company recently acquired a 240,000 square foot building in Greenhills Industrial Estate that previously housed storage for UK supermarket chain Tesco, which will be converted into a data center.
The company’s property moves reflect the rapid growth of its European cloud computing operation, which was chronicled by Netcraft in December. “Amazon’s cloud hosting now makes up more than a third of all internet-facing web servers in Ireland, with three times more web servers hosted than the next largest hosting location,” writes Netcraft’s Colin Phipps.
Many other companies also host data center and cloud operations in Dublin. these include:
    • IBM operates a next-generation facility in Dublin to provide IT services for the Irish market, and also serve as a global hub for delivering IBM Software to clients in 84 countries worldwide. IBM says the Dublin facility provides its clients with “massive internet-scale computing capabilities.”
    • SunGard Availability Services entered the Dublin market in a major way with its March 210 acquisition of Hosting 365, a managed hosting provider with two data centers in Dublin. SunGard said the deal provided it with “access to a new geographic market and proven cloud computing expertise.”
    • The world’s largest data center developer, Digital Realty Trust, operates a data center campus in Dublin, whose tenants include Irish telcom Eircom and ServeCentric.
    • Dublin also houses data centers for two of Europe’s leading providers of colocation and wholesale data center space, Interxion and the TelecityGroup.
See Data Center Map for more information on data centers in Dublin.

EMC's anti-hacking division hacked

SAN FRANCISCO – EMC Corp. says its RSA security division has been hacked. The intruders compromised a widely used technology for preventing computer break-ins.
The breach is an embarrassment for one of premier security vendors and potentially threatens highly sensitive computer systems.
EMC's statement is a rare public acknowledgement by a security company that its internal anti-hacking technologies have been hacked. It is especially troubling because RSA's technology plays an important role in making sure unauthorized people aren't allowed to log into heavily guarded networks.
The scope of the attack wasn't immediately known, but the potential fallout could be widespread. RSA's customers include big military contractors, governments, various banks and medical facilities and health insurance outfits. Hopkinton, Mass.-based, EMC, the world's biggest maker of data-storage computers, itself is an RSA customer.

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Oracle + Cisco UCS ?

Oracle Achieves World Record Result with SPECjEnterprise2010 Benchmark

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Running on Cisco Unified Computing Systems Delivers Highest Performance Per Core; Beats IBM WebSphere

Redwood Shores, Calif. – March 16, 2011

News Facts

Today, Oracle announced that Oracle® WebLogic Server 11g, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, together with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and Oracle Linux running on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) B440 M1 Blade Servers achieved a world record result SPECjEnterprise2010 industry standard benchmark(1).

Oracle® WebLogic Server 11g together with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 outperforms the best IBM WebSphere result with IBM DB2 9.7 on this benchmark, using the same number of cores. (2)

This result demonstrates outstanding performance and scalability of Oracle® WebLogic Server by achieving the highest EjOPS per core of any SPECjEnterprise2010 result to date.

Benchmark Details

Oracle WebLogic Server 11g with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 achieved 17,301.86 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS. Oracle WebLogic Server was running on two Cisco Unified Computing System B440 M1 Blade Servers, each with four, eight-core Intel Xeon x7560 2.26 GHz processors. Both Application Server and Database Server were running Oracle Linux.

SPECjEnterprise2010 is a Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE)-based industry standard benchmark, which tests an end-to-end technology infrastructure that includes server hardware, Java Virtual Machine (JVM), database, operating system, storage and network subsystems.

For the past decade, Oracle has consistently submitted record-setting Java application server benchmarks on a broad range of hardware and software platforms (3,4). For current leading results, visit:

Supporting Quote

“This world record benchmark provides a clear comparison between Oracle and IBM," said Juan Loaiza, senior vice president, Systems Technology, Oracle.  "Oracle software running on Cisco UCS Blade and Rack Servers using Intel Xeon processors easily outperformed IBM's software stack running on Power7 servers.”