Cloud Wars: Dell Fights Back With UEC

While Verizon is acquiring Terremark and Time Warner Cable, yes TW Cable, is acquiring NaviSite, Amazon continues to disrupt the industry with their 12 plus Cloud offerings.  The more EC2 grows, generated $220 million in 2009 with predicted revenue of $500 Million in 2010 and $750 Million in 2011, the more it validates that customers are willing to transform their purchasing behavior from hardware devices to compute nodes.

Meanwhile, Enterprises are struggling with virtualization and virtualization stall with the impending reality that they must operate within a Cloud model.  Here lies VMware, the dominant x86 virtualization provider, as they have a complete set of products and 3rd party certified partners to help their customers go virtual.  Let’s face it; ESX/ESXi and vCenter are excellent products.  Additionally, VMware has introduced vCloud and vCloud Express “VMware Power. By the hour.” Essentially, this technology allows Enterprises to build a private cloud and Service Providers to build public clouds and to provide hybrid cloud offerings.

Of course, this pits Amazon’s Cloud Offerings, which are not built with VMware’s technology, against VMware and some of their most powerful partners.  Amazon utilizes the Xen hypervisor along with other customized/internal solutions.  Understanding that VMware is the dominant Enterprise x86 virtualization technology, Amazon has introduced VM Import.  VM Import allows Enterprises to easily migrate VMware Guests (VMDK) into the Amazon EC2 Cloud.

However, what if I want to create a private EC2 within my Enterprise?  Along comes Dell’s Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) infrastructure solution. Dell UEC combines the power of Dell’s server hardware with the software of Ubuntu Linux and Eucalyptus providing Enterprises with the same virtual machine images and management APIs that Amazon uses for EC2.  Well it is not exactly EC2, as some will argue that Eucalyptus is not a full implementation of the EC2 API, and it is a matter of fact that Amazon has plenty of additional customized internal tools/systems that make EC2 a reality.  Not to mention that EC2 relies on the Xen hypervisor while UEC utilizes KVM virtualization.  All in all, it’s a great start.

As always, Dell has published an excellent UEC Reference Architecture White Paper for UEC Standard Edition.  This begs the question whether or not Dell will offer Enterprise and/or Service Provider Editions of UEC.  In any case, Dell now has a visionary offering that they will be able to evangelize to their current customers and prospects.  In fact, as UEC matures, Dell is sure to add elements of their entire product portfolio; namely Compellent storage equipment, more powerful server platforms, and perhaps networking/storage hardware via their partnerships with Juniper, Brocade, and others.

One last thought, Dell has incredible flexibility in creating unique cloud offerings via simply changing software and hardware partners.  For example, offering a solution based on Red Hat with Delta Cloud or perhaps a secondary UEC offering that utilizes OpenStack.  This flexibility also translates to Dell’s Open Management philosophy, which is sure to attract additional software partners thereby creating a UEC partner ecosystem.

Forget Google Chrome OS: Root for Microsoft, Apple, and Linux

Yesterday, Google announced their intention to release a new operating system designed primarily for Netbooks.  The new operating system, Chrome OS, will now compete against established Linux vendors as well as Microsoft for market and mind share.  While the initial reactions to this announcement were positive, I have a different spin.

This announcement underscores a major challenge at Google; they are a “one trick pony”.  Google is simply a giant advertising machine that needs critical inputs regarding our personal information to better serve their advertising clients.  While many individuals cling to an unhealthy affection towards Google, the truth is Google provides its services, search, mail, calendar, gears, etc. not for the sake of good, but for the sake of money.

At first, Google was satisfied with the collection of information via third party web browsers such as Firefox and IE.  However, their hunger for personal information led them to release an even more intrusive technology; the Chrome browser.  Now they crave even more information that can only be obtained via having access to everything; the Operating System.  By collecting all this personal information, whether it is scrubbed or not, Google can better profile its users and charge more to its advertisers.  It’s not simply a numbers game any longer as the quality of the information about your user population is as, if not more, important then the quantity; a lesson Facebook plays perfectly.

I’m rooting for Microsoft, Apple, and Linux to put Google’s Chrome OS back in its preverbal box. Google can keep Android, Chrome, Desktop Search, and anything else they desire to load on my personal computers to themselves.  Does anyone seriously think Microsoft did not see this coming?  If Apple released OS XI generically, would anyone care about Chrome OS?  Will Chrome OS make a dent in the fiercely loyal and growing Ubuntu population?

Google’s corporate motto may say “Don’t be evil”, but that’s like the pot calling the kettle black.  One person’s road to Evil is another one’s road to riches.