Amazon continues to reach into your server room

Microsoft already has a huge presence in most companies’ server rooms. And it hopes to keep it that way or at least, persuade those companies running Windows Server, SQL Server et al. to — when the time comes to move to the cloud — opt for Microsoft Azure. Amazon, of course, has another plan for those workloads.

Last week, Amazon Web Services launched an update to a previously announced  System Center Virtual Machine Manager add-in  that will enable your admin, in layman’s terms, to vacuum those Windows workloads into the AWS public cloud. System Center is Microsoft’s management console for Windows environments, analogous to VMware’s vCenter. The original AWS add-in announced last fall, let admins manage both their on-prem Windows and their AWS EC2 instances “out there” from the same console.

I love how The Register characterized this sleight of hand:

“As of Wednesday, that plugin can import Windows virtual machines from on-premises bit barns into EC2. [company]Amazon[/company] reckons it takes just a few clicks and – POOF! – VMs disappear into the cloud.”

Remember, Amazon is also wooing [company]VMware[/company] admins with a portal that lets VMware vCenter users manage both in-house VMware workloads and AWS instances from one place that looks and feels familiar to them.

I think Amazon’s enterprise workload ambitions are even grander than it’s already signaled. Here’s betting that the Service Catalog  announced in November to ensure that only users authorized to access any AWS service will eventually extend to managing third-party application access on premises as well.

Conspiracy theory? Maybe. But that doesn’t make it wrong.

New managed VMware cloud from Rackspace

In other cloud news last week, [company]Rackspace[/company], one of the original OpenStack powers, announced a “Dedicated VMware vCloud” as one of its managed private cloud options.

The new [company]VMware[/company] menu option was described as:

a single-tenant, hosted environment that enables enterprises to take the next step in their virtualization journey by offering advanced automation, self-service, hosted catalogs and access to the vCloud API and vCloud web portal.”

This was reported as a sort of shocker since OpenStack originally launched — 5 years ago? — as a counterweight to VMware and AWS, but in reality, Rackspace has a long history of offering VMware-based infrastructure. And, on the flip side, VMware joined the OpenStack Foundation  in 2012 by virtue of its purchase of Nicira.

Oh, and don’t forget Rackspace also operates and manages [company]Microsoft[/company]-based private clouds. So this continues Rackspace’s attempt to distinguish its service and support of several core infrastructures as a differentiator.

Structure Show: Defending the data scientist

hilary masonHilary Mason was chief data scientist at, data scientist in residence at Accel Partners and is now CEO of research company Fast Forward Labs so it’s probably not a shocker that she thinks the title of “data scientist” remains valid. Here’s her take on why that is and what it takes to move big data concepts from theory to real-world application.

And, to hear more on these topics and others from Mason and a bunch of other data brainiacs, come to Gigaom’s Structure Data conference that takes place March 18-19 in New York.

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Hosts: Barb Darrow and Derrick Harris.

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