Cloud Review

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More small businesses turn to the Cloud

In the cloud is where you will find many small-to-medium enterprises as they increasingly embrace cloud based services to meet the demands of today’s dynamic business environment. A recent survey of resellers commissioned by Egnyte, revealed that a majority (74 percent) of small businesses plan to increase cloud software spending in 2011 and more than half (52 percent) plan to increase collaboration software spending.

“Cloud services provide the flexibility and mobility required in today’s business environment,” said Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte. “As organizations increasingly employ virtual and remote work models, in addition to coordination with vendors and other stakeholders, cloud services provide the tools and access they need to remain connected and productive.”

“Everywhere” is the new work location and “anytime access” to business data is a growing need. Thirty-eight percent of resellers indicated that all of their customers would benefit from cloud storage services. Another 40 percent indicated that half of their customer base would benefit and only 2 percent of resellers believed that cloud storage does not offer any benefits to their customers.

The business landscape today is extremely dynamic and projects require coordination between multiple locations and/or companies. Cloud services facilitate data access and collaboration for onsite and remote work teams without the prohibitive costs associated with purchasing and maintaining on-premise file servers. The survey revealed that 78 percent of respondents believe cloud storage solutions are viable file server replacements for small businesses, particularly as they address key concerns including reliability, off-line access, security and latency issues associated with pure cloud-based solutions.

The top sectors buying cloud services are Professional Services (79 percent), Financial Services (60 percent) and Healthcare (42 percent).

Actuate passes the one million developer mark

Actuate Corporation, The people behind BIRT and the leading open source Business Intelligence vendor, today announced a growing momentum in the number of independent software vendors (ISVs) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers making Actuate and BIRT their embedded Business Intelligence (BI) system of choice.

BIRT, available as a top-level open source project of the Eclipse Foundation and along with value-added commercial products from Actuate, is now used by more than 1 million developers and recently passed the 10 million downloads mark. Adoption is proliferating particularly among ISVs and SaaS providers, which are now embedding the highly customisable, visually-rich, data analysis and reporting environment into their own software products, rather than develop their own.

BIRT is driving a number of new OEM accounts as ISVs and SaaS providers look to focus their resources and accelerate their speed to market with enhanced BI capabilities. Among Actuate’s 300+ OEM and SaaS partners are some of the biggest names in software, including Cisco, Computer Associates, BMC Software, GE Healthcare, Infor, Siemens, Taleo and VeriSign.

Giving his own independent assessment of Actuate’s burgeoning OEM business, James Governor, co-founder of Open Source Analysis Company, RedMonk said:

“The economics of open source software and Business Intelligence are remaking traditional reporting and analysis. Actuate is helping drive this change through its support for the fast-growing BIRT platform, which is increasingly embeddable, with packaging and full support for OEMs.”

Commenting on the surge in interest David Armstrong, vice president OEM, who is spearheading Actuate’s global OEM sales, noted that developers are attracted by Actuate’s open source strategy. They find value in being able to try out BIRT’s capabilities for free, to complement or complete their own software, with the option to purchase fuller commercial capabilities plus training and support at a later date.

David explains: “Software vendors are faced with an increasingly competitive marketplace and a higher level of customer frustration with unwieldy or non-intuitive Business Intelligence and information applications. In addition, developing, supporting and maintaining home-grown BI is unrealistic from a cost and time-to-market perspective, while standard solutions rarely deliver the flexibility that customers demand. By coming to Actuate, software providers gain access to a powerful, customisable and highly intuitive BI application development environment that gives end-users maximum flexibility while reducing the ISV’s cost of support and maintenance.”

One of the most recent vendors to enter an OEM arrangement with Actuate is SaaS provider Taleo, which realised tangible benefits within just 120 days. Other recent BIRT OEM partners include Persolvo Data Systems, RedSeal and OptTek in the US.

Underpinning BIRT’s adoption by ISVs and SaaS providers is the BIRT iServer, designed to ensure that BIRT deployments are not locked into a particular end user experience, hardware configuration or data structure. The technology supports and streamlines the deployment of custom BI and information applications in on-premise, SaaS and hybrid scenarios.

“We are excited to see the adoption of our technologies by other ISVs and SaaS providers who recognise Actuate and BIRT’s potential in the rapid deployment of BI and information applications,” concludes Nobby Akiha, senior vice-president of marketing at Actuate. “Increasing competitive advantage, opening new revenue streams and enhancing user experience are key deliverables for Actuate and the companies with which we form strategic alliances, so everyone stands to win.”

SaaS for runbook automation and IT process orchestration

Service-now.com, the creator of modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) for IT service management (ITSM), today announced it is the first to deliver cloud computing management from the cloud with the new, first-ever release of SaaS for runbook automation and IT process orchestration. In addition, Service-now.com is pleased to announce rapid customer success with new Service-now.com SaaS applications for software development lifecycle management, project management and IT cost management.

The Fall 2010 release from Service-now.com was automatically delivered to customers on Oct. 1, 2010. This release was the third major release delivered to Service-now.com customers in 2010 and included the new software development lifecycle management and runbook automationapplications as well as significant updates to IT cost management and project and portfolio management.

Service-now.com Runbook Automation extends the same graphical workflow engine that underpins the Service-now.com platform to automate tasks across all types of infrastructure elements such as applications, databases and hardware. This capability (also known as IT process orchestration) dramatically reduces the time to execute defined processes and helps deliver extremely fast and predictable IT service results.

The Fall 2010 release includes a process pack for VMware provisioning that integrates with the vCenter API and additional process packs for task automation are planned for the Service-now.com Winter 2011 release. Service-now.com is unique in providing easy-to-use runbook automation, integrated with IT process management, for the delivery and management of external cloud and private cloud services.

Craig McDonogh, Service-now.com senior product marketing manager, said, “Service-now.com is the first IT management vendor to build all of these capabilities natively into a single platform and we are the only vendor to offer it as SaaS. Nothing is acquired and integration is fundamental. Imagine a software-related incident received by the service desk that spawns a problem management workflow, change management approvals and SDLC tasks. Once the new release is ready, it is automatically distributed using runbook automation workflow and the CMDB is updated. Only Service-now.com provides this level of automation and we’ll continue to work toward providing our customers with simply powerful IT automation.”

Service-now.com Software Development Lifecycle Management significantly extends release management capabilities to deliver high-quality software releases that meet customer needs and require less post-release support. This new application manages the complete software development process including enhancement request and defect prioritisation, definition of release content and tasks, testing and release to production. It natively supports Waterfall and Scrum methodologies and can be customised to support other development methodologies.

A problem can now be tracked all the way through to the specific feature and release that resolves it using a single tool. With yet another industry first, Service-now.com helps every ounce of development effort to be traced back to a specific problem or enhancement request.

Arik Hill, FirstCare CIO, said, “We heavily utilise Scrum software development methodology and use the new Service-now.com applications to automate our release and change management processes. Because Service-now.com applications are integrated on a single platform we also use the new planning board and Gantt chart functionality to support our software development projects. These are fantastic additions and Service-now.com is helping us transform the way FirstCare IT works.”

Service-now.com also updated its IT cost management application which now includes labor costs, in addition to CI costs, for true cost capture, show back or charge back, accurate IT budgeting and real-time access to service delivery costs.

Kevin Birch, Severn Trent Water IT service cost manager, said, “Most modern businesses today rely on internal or externally sourced IT infrastructure to deliver and support daily operations. These IT services hopefully provide value, but always cost money to deliver as IT isn’t free. As an IT organisation it is our job to demonstrate to the business the value we deliver as an integral component of the business.

“For example, we use Service-now.com to help us identify the costs associated with delivering each of our applications as well as IT services such as the service desk, data center and desktop support. These costs are then allocated to the appropriate internal business customers who are then able to evaluate these costs against the benefit received. At Severn Trent we continually strive to deliver the highest standards at the lowest cost and the Service-now.com toolset is a great enabler in that challenge.”

demonstration video of the Service-now.com Fall 2010 release, including the new SDLC and IT process orchestration applications, is now available. Alternatively, an open, no-registration-required instance of Service-now.com is always available at http://demo.service-now.com.

Licensing and availability

Service-now.com has delivered three major releases per year for the last five years. The Fall 2010 release was automatically delivered to customers, customisations were preserved and application availability was uninterrupted. Service-now.com offers a simple yet flexible subscription model.

Service-now.com Runbook Automation subscription licensing is based on the number of physical and virtual servers managed. An all-inclusive license for this component starts at US $9.00 per server, per month with a 500 server minimum. Volume discounts are available.

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