General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Amazon WorkSpaces is Now Available for Public

Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets.

To use WorkSpaces, customers need an AWS account, a supported client device, and internet access (TCP on port 443 plus TCP and UDP on port 4172, notes Amazon). After downloading and installing the client on their device of choice, users are delivered a cloud-based Windows 7 computing environment, offering persistent storage, various bundled utilities, productivity apps required for their job, and access to the resources and files they need on the company’s corporate intranet. To get a quick overview of what this technology is, watch the video below –

To know more, read the official blog-post here

Some Key Features and Benefits Include:

  • Amazon WorkSpaces makes it easy to manage your desktop computing infrastructure by eliminating the need for up-front investments and avoiding the complexity of maintaining, patching, and managing a large physical desktop environment or a complex virtual desktop solution.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces securely integrates with your corporate Active Directory so that your users can continue using their existing enterprise credentials to seamlessly access company resources. This also makes it easy to manage your WorkSpaces using familiar systems management tools.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces provides each user with access to persistent storage in the AWS cloud. When users access their desktops using Amazon WorkSpaces, you control whether your corporate data is stored on multiple client devices, helping you keep your data secure.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces offers a choice of bundles providing different amounts of CPU, memory, and storage so you can match your Amazon WorkSpaces to your requirements. Amazon WorkSpaces offers preinstalled applications (including Microsoft Office) or you can bring your own licensed software.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces requires no upfront investment and features pay as you go pricing. With a few clicks, you can provision the number of desktops you require and you pay only for what you use.

With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

What does Cloudant acquisition mean to IBM?

IBM acquired Cloudant early this year. This acquisition helps the company extend its data management capabilities with a JSON database-as-a-service for web-scale and mobile applications. Delivered as a fully managed cloud service, Cloudant eliminates complexity by enabling developers of fast-growing web and mobile apps to focus on developing their applications without the need to manage database infrastructure or growth.


Cloudant serves as the standard data layer for the next generation of web and mobile applications. They deliver distributed DBaaS coupled with Replication & SYNC, search and web scale under one API. Their cloud services business model is available in 34 data centers around the world today. The rapid growth in Systems of Engagement use cases has led to the emergence of developer-centric technologies supporting continuous iterative creation and deployment of applications. These new capabilities include NoSQL databases based on open source technologies, designed to support flexible data types and often delivered as a fully managed service. Cloudant accelerates and extends IBM’s Big Data and Analytics portfolio, specifically data management capabilities, with a NoSQL, JSON database-as-a-service (DBaaS) for web-scale and mobile applications that has been tuned and optimized for delivery on SoftLayer.

Cloudant also is integral to IBM’s MobileFirst solutions and enables developers who use Worklight to quickly create flexible, reliable and scalable apps that include a variety of structured and unstructured data. Cloudant sits squarely among key IBM growth initiatives including: Big Data and Analytics, Cloud and Mobile.

The acquisition of Cloudant is expected to close in 1Q14. Following the close, Cloudant will join IBM’s newly formed Information and Analytics Group led by Senior Vice President Bob Picciano, a business unit within the IBM Software & Systems Group.

Cloudant’s DBaaS extensively leverages the availability, elasticity and reach of the cloud to create a global data delivery network enabling applications to scale larger and remain available to users wherever they are located. In addition, the Cloudant managed cloud service:

  • Stores data of any structure as self-describing JSON documents
  • Leverages a multi-master replication system and advanced distributed design principles to achieve elastic database clusters that can span multiple racks, data centers, or cloud providers
  • Enables global data distribution and geo-load balancing to provide high availability and enhanced performance for applications that require data to be located close to users
  • Provides full-text search, advanced geo-spatial and temporal querying, and flexible, real-time indexing
  • Integrates via a RESTful application programming interface (API)
  • Enables easy data replication and sync for mobile applications, with open source, device-native software libraries
  • Offers 24×7 monitoring and management by its Big Data experts
General Microsoft

News: Windows Azure Privacy Statement and Service Name Updates‏

In the coming weeks, the team at Microsoft will update the Windows Azure Service names that appear in the usage records we download. These are only name changes and our prices for Windows Azure are not impacted.

This table below summarizes the changes:

Prior Service Name New Service Name
Windows Azure Compute Cloud Services
Windows Azure Platform – All Services All Services
Windows Azure CDN CDN
Windows Azure Storage Storage
Windows Azure Traffic Manager Traffic Manager
Windows Azure Virtual Network Virtual Network
AppFabric Cache Cache
AppFabric Service Bus Service Bus
AppFabric Access Control Access Control
SQL Azure SQL Database
SQL Azure Reporting Service SQL Reporting


They also recently updated the Privacy Statement to provide additional information on topics important to many of our customers. The new version includes the same commitments we previously made to maintain the privacy of your personal information, while adding more detailed information. They have also created a new Windows Azure Trust Center that provides additional information about Microsoft’s security, privacy, and compliance practices.

Source: Azure emailers

General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Amazon CloudSearch – fully-managed search service in the cloud

Amazon CloudSearch is a fully-managed search service in the cloud that allows customers to easily integrate fast and highly scalable search functionality into their applications. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, developers simply create a search domain, upload the data they want to make searchable to Amazon CloudSearch, and the service then automatically provisions the technology resources required and deploys a highly tuned search index.

Amazon CloudSearch seamlessly scales as the amount of searchable data increases or as the query rate changes, and developers can change search parameters, fine tune search relevance, and apply new settings at any time without having to upload the data again.

For an overview of the Amazon CloudSearch, have a look at this below video:

Amazon CloudSearch enables customers to offload the administrative burden of operating and scaling a search platform. Customers don’t have to worry about hardware provisioning, data partitioning, or software patches. Amazon CloudSearch offers low, pay-as-you-go pricing with no up-front expenses or long-term commitments.

For Pricing details, refer to this page:

To read more Cloud Articles on Technology Simplified weblog, check this page

General Microsoft

Integrating Azure in Office Solutions – Hands on Lab

The Windows Azure platform is a group of cloud technologies providing a specific set of services to application developers. There is Windows Azure, which provides an environment for running applications and storing data in the cloud, SQL Azure for providing relational data services in the cloud based on SQL Server, and the Windows Azure AppFabric that provides services for connecting applications running in the cloud or on premises. The hands-on lab for this module provides you with a foundation for developing Office solutions that integrate with Windows Azure.


Provide you with a foundation for developing Office solutions that integrate with Windows Azure. In particular, you will

  • Learn how to setup your Azure development environment
  • Understand how to access the Azure Table Service for data storage
  • Learn how to call methods exposed by WFC Services on Azure

Click here for the Integrating Azure in Office Solutions Hands on Lab.

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Download Windows Azure Jump Start Training Videos

Just before the Holidays, Microsoft hosted another new and exclusive Jump Start virtual training event, this time covering the Windows Azure Platform. “Building Cloud Applications using the Windows Azure Platform” was tailored for application architects and developers interested in leveraging the cloud. We are now pleased to announce that the professional videos recorded during the online class are available on Channel 9.

What’s the high-level overview?

  • The entire course is 12 hours long.
  • Every section is about an hour length, so it’s easy for you to find just what they need.
  • Every section is led by two of the most respected authorities on Microsoft development technologies, David S. Platt (popular Microsoft Press author from Rolling Thunder Computing ) and Manu Cohen-Yashar (Professor and Senior Consultant, SELA Technical College, Tel Aviv, IS) plus their dialog and banter is quite engaging!

Where do I go for this great training?

The link to session one below will provide you with everything you need, but if you want to pick out a specific topic a link to each topic is below:

For about anything Windows Azure, including links to trial accounts, available offers, and all Windows Azure training & certification options, go to the Microsoft Learning Windows Azure Training Portal.

Who is the target audience for this training?

  • Application Architects and Developers
  • Customers and partners already building a Windows Azure pilot project or planning to migrate an application to the Windows Azure Platform
  • Companies searching for real-world answers as they consider whether or not the Windows Azure Platform fits their needs.

Also read – Windows Azure Roadmap and Announcements – Microsoft PDC 2010

General Microsoft

Webinar – IT Leader’s Blueprint for the IT-as-a-Service Transformation

rPath, the service factory for on-demand IT, is sponsoring an upcoming webinar and in-depth discussion of the new blueprint for delivering IT as a service. This timely webinar will detail how IT organizations must transform and automate their processes to look like today’s industrial factories to accelerate and scale in the age of on-demand IT.

IT organizations are under pressure to transform—to replace bottlenecks and bureaucracy with on-demand IT service delivery models. But this transformation to IT-as-a-Service requires new thinking about old processes. The reality is that today’s manual and ad hoc IT provisioning and change processes will collapse under the weight of self-service, cloud and other on-demand IT models. Particularly vulnerable are today’s practices for constructing and changing system images.

  • What:     “How Manufacturing Practices Inform the Future of IT: The IT Leader’s Blueprint for the IT-as-a-Service Transformation” webinar
  • Who:      Brett Adam, vice president of engineering, rPath, Bernd Harzog, principal analyst, The Virtualization Practice
  • When:    Thursday, January 20, 2011; 2:00 p.m. Eastern time (11:00 a.m. Pacific time)
  • How:      Register for this free event here.

Attendees will learn to:

  • Break the dependence on brittle, unmanageable and rapidly proliferating system images in favor of version-controlled system blueprints
  • Identify process bottlenecks and vulnerabilities across the IT service chain
  • Adopt best manufacturing practices of standardization, automation, mass customization and just-in-time delivery as the foundation for on-demand IT
  • Leverage infrastructure investments in VMware, Red Hat, Microsoft and others as the foundation for a next-generation IT delivery model

You would also be interested in hearing to this conversation of mine with Jake on the Cloud Predictions in 2011.

Microsoft Virtualization

Download Guide to Monitoring Data Center, Virtual Environments & Cloud

It’s only recently that businesses have started focusing on modern application performance management techniques, and along comes cloud computing and other “hybrid IT” elements (such as Software as a Service) to make application performance even more complicated.

In The Definitive Guide to Monitoring the Data Center, Virtual Environments, and the Cloud by business technology writer and analyst Don Jones, you’ll see how application performance management techniques need to evolve to accommodate hybrid IT. You’ll learn about emerging techniques and technologies, and develop a “shopping list” of capabilities that your IT environment will need in order to survive in the Hybrid Age. This guide will make Dell Virtualization a much easier proposition to implement into your business.

This complete book includes the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Evolving IT: Data Centers, Software as a Service, Hosted Solutions,Virtualization, and Clouds
  • Chapter 2: Traditional IT Monitoring, and Why it No Longer Works
  • Chapter 3: The Customer is King: Monitoring the End User Experience
  • Chapter 4: Success is in the Details: Monitoring at the Component Level
  • Chapter 5: The Capabilities You Need to Monitor IT From the Datacenter into the Cloud
  • Chapter 6: IT Health: Management Reporting as a Service

Download the complete 111 page book today!

Note: You will need to create a profile in Realtime Nexus (The Digital Library for IT Pros) when you click the above link.

Courtesy: Realtime Nexus

You would also be interested in downloading these e-books:

General Guest Posts Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Jake Sorofman’s Prediction on Enterprise IT in 2011 – Cloud Adoption

Jake Sorofman is the Chief Marketing Officer of rPath. In this article, Jake speaks  about the Cloud, its deployment strategies and his predictions on how the year 2011 might look with regard to cloud adoptions in IT Enterprises.

Over to Jake’s Article –

If you prefer this information as an Audio, listen to this podcast Interview which Jake gave few days back –

CloudIf you were to analyze the hundreds of predictions for IT that will hit the blogosphere over the coming weeks, the truth for 2011 would probably emerge. That’s why I think this is an exercise worth continuing—not because you uniquely value my point of view or because I’ve cornered the market on vision—but because it contributes in a small but equally important way to our insights for 2011.

It’s also why I look forward to this time of year—to offering my predictions and, more importantly, reading those of others. So, as my contribution to the crowd, here are my IT predictions for 2011:

1. Private cloud proliferates – The second half of 2010 was all about the private cloud. The rise of the public cloud brought new clarity and focus for the CIO, who recognized that, without a transformation in its delivery models, IT organizations would be disrupted and perhaps disintermediated by the speed, flexibility and economy of public cloud services. In 2011, we’ll see widespread investment in private cloud projects, as IT leadership defines the reference architecture for next-generation IT delivery models.

2. Public cloud thrives – At the same time, we’ll see continued growth—explosive growth—in public cloud services, where affinity will continue to bind to small and mid-sized businesses and non-production enterprise workloads. We’ll also see more evidence of rogue workloads leaking to the public cloud outside of the reach of corporate policies. This will motivate IT leadership to define governance models for controlled usage of public cloud services.

3. Hybrid cloud emerges – Definition of such governance models will enable enterprise IT to begin experimenting with hybrid cloud models. Initially, this will look like a simple stratification of deployment environments based on lifecycle stage—for example, dev and test workloads only in public cloud. But such early experimentation will enable IT leaders to define the reference architecture for the dynamic data center of the future, where workloads can move fluidly between deployment environments. By enabling application portability, workloads become a liquid commodity and a marketplace emerges. IT can dynamically retarget workloads based on optimizations for price, policy or performance, and they achieve true leverage over service providers.

4. Ecosystem rules – And speaking of leverage … fear of leverage lost through expanding hegemony of virtualization and cloud infrastructure providers (read: VMware) will conspire with frustration over the pace of innovation—giving rise to a new class of smaller, independent providers that become important vendors in their own rights. Best of breed tools will become integrated ecosystem-led solutions that represent a foundation for making this transformation to delivering IT as a service.

5. Power is redistributed – IT leverage over service providers means better cost-economies and more innovation, as software and service providers are forced to differentiate and add deeper, more sustainable value to IT customers. This will fuel the transformation of IT delivery models as enabling technologies mature and cost is driven down. For providers, it will lead to new niche markets and specialized domains (think: industry-specific clouds, for example) as a basis for sustaining unique advantage under the threat of commoditization. We’ll see early signs of this dynamic in 2011, but it will take several years for it to fully manifest.

6. New models for IT leadership – New architectures that enable dynamic workload portability will change the ideals of the CIO from operationally focused to sourcing and portfolio focused. We’ll see some old-line CIOs cycle out in the face of change. And we’ll see new stars born on the basis of a new vision for IT, inspired—and not threatened—by the rise of public cloud services. The successful among them will find ways to define the “to-be” IT delivery model, while also looking after “as-is” realities. New expectations for IT will lead to new expectations for IT leadership to guide us through what is going to be a mandatory transformation.

About the Author – Jake Sorofman is the Chief Marketing Officer of rPath. Jake is a seasoned software marketing executive with a strong product strategy and communications background. Previously, he was SVP of marketing and business development for JustSystems, the largest ISV in Japan and a leader in XML technologies. Before that, Jake was VP of product marketing with Mercury Interactive (now part of HP Software), where he was responsible for the Systinet product line. He joined Mercury though Mercury’s $105 million acquisition of Systinet Corporation. Before Mercury, Jake led marketing for two WebSphere products at IBM Software Group, which he joined through the acquisition of Venetica. Prior to Venetica, Jake was director of product marketing with Documentum, Inc. (now part of EMC), which he joined through the acquisition of eRoom Technology.

Check out the other Guest Articles here


Google Chrome OS – Pre-Beta Computers, Pilot Program and Availability.

Last year, Google announced their effort towards designing an operating system that is built and optimized for the web. Yesterday, in a limited presence of the press, they announced that Chrome OS is not available for consumers yet., but Chrome OS is at the stage where they need feedback from real users.

Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware. Instead of selling pre-beta computers, they’re launching a pilot program where they will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. The Pilot program is starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries. To participate in the pilot program, apply here.

The test notebooks exist only to test the software—they are black, have no branding, no logos, no stickers, nothing. They do have 12.1 inch screens, full-sized keyboards and touch pads, integrated 3G from Verizon, eight hours of battery life and eight days of standby time. Chrome notebooks are designed to reach the web instantly, are easy to share among friends and family, and simply by logging in, all of your apps, bookmarks and other browser settings are there. Setting up a new machine takes less than a minute.

Google claims that, even at this early stage, there is no consumer or business operating system that is more secure.

In the first half of next year Chrome notebooks will be available for sale from Acer and Samsung. More manufacturers will follow. Also, Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling their partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks.

Some of the key features of the Chrome OS –

Instant web – Chrome notebooks boot in about 10 seconds and resume from sleep instantly. Favorite websites load quickly and run smoothly, with full support for the latest web standards and Adobe Flash.

Same experience Everywhere – All apps, documents, and settings are stored safely in the cloud. So even if you lose your computer, you can just log into another Chrome notebook and get right back to work.

Always connected – Integrated Wi-Fi for home and work, and 3G for all the places in between.

Built-in Security –Chrome notebooks use advanced technology to help prevent malware and viruses from accessing your data. And you never have to lift a finger.

Web Apps – Every Chrome notebook runs millions of web apps, from games to spreadsheets to photo editors. Try the latest apps from the Chrome Web Store or just type URLs into the address bar – no CDs required.

Courtesy: Google Chrome Pilot Program