There’s a trend building, and it’s not good for the PC industry. It’s not tablet and smartphone growth — although that’s part of the trend — but virtualization on mobile devices. This allows remote PC access from a tablet, for example, and could hurt already slowing PC sales.
Alongside the plethora of small consultancy shops more than happy to take your money and help your business get on the cloud, we’re seeing a trend toward the cloud companies themselves launching professional services offerings. Nimbula was the latest to join this trend yesterday, with a professional services offering — the Nimbula Cloud Migration Service — geared toward getting customers off public cloud infrastructure (Amazon, etc) and onto Nimbula-powered private clouds inside their own data centers. Nimbula boasts an impressive team of alumni from Amazon, VMware, and elsewhere, but it certainly doesn’t have this space to itself. Eucalyptus Systems offers similar services around Eucalyptus, and Rackspace Cloud Builders or others are doing the same for OpenStack. And the traditional big system vendors like HP and IBM would also be happy to sell you a package of hardware, software, professional services and ongoing support, if you chose to run their cloudy solutions. It’s still not clear what proportion of those seeking to deploy private or hybrid clouds will do it themselves, and what proportion will turn to these packaged solutions. But this could turn out to be quite a big business, at least for the next few years.
Amazon rolled out a new region for their public cloud computing service yesterday; physically located on the west coast of the United States and featuring additional checks to ensure that only U.S. citizens may gain access. The new GovCloud (US) Region is intended to meet the needs of state and federal government agencies, and it was interesting to note Jeff Barr’s claim that little additional effort was required to meet government’s requirements; “Other than the restriction to US persons and the requirement that EC2 instances are launched within a VPC, we didn’t make any other changes to our usual operational systems or practices. In other words, the security profile of the existing Regions was already up to the task of protecting important processing and data. In effect, we simply put a gateway at the door — ‘Please show your passport or green card before entering.'” Amazon is keen to explore offering similar services to other governments, and this relatively lightweight approach of layering logical regions on top of Amazon’s existing physical infrastructure may offer a cost-effective means to appear to meet the niche requirements of government… and a whole host of regulated industries. Which will be next? AWS GovCloud (UK), or AWS FinanceCloud ? Companies like IBM, which have explicitly set out to build and deploy different clouds for different verticals, must be watching closely.
You’re not likely to have missed the hype surrounding Spotify‘s U.S. launch today. It finally signed the last of the big four record labels yesterday. Today Spotify starts selling its premium music services: unlimited on-demand streaming to a PC for $5/month, or a $10 version that supports mobile access and offline listening. Its ad-supported free service is invitation-only. I’m not as excited about Spotify as the hypesters. Rhapsody, Napster, Rdio and MOG offer similar services and may also get some special Facebook treatment that Spotify is promising but doesn’t have yet. There’s a limited market among serious music fans (perhaps 5-7 million) for premium celestial jukeboxes. And one of Spotify’s tickets to European success was upselling from its free offering, which has had its hours cut back and won’t be widely available in the U.S. initially. But Spotify’s certainly getting enough buzz and rave reviews that it won’t have to spend all of its recently raised $100 million on advertising.