10 big virtualization and cloud stories from 2013

2013 saw big news around acquisitions, community takeovers, new products, new markets, product deaths, and more FUD

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6. Amazon also throws its hat into the DaaS market

While companies have been able to implement VDI solutions within their organizations for years, managed service providers have been trying to figure out a way to deliver Windows virtual desktops to their clients as well. Unfortunately, they often came up against technical hurdles or cost issues that made the challenge difficult or next to impossible. But Amazon Web Services thinks it may have the answer.

In November, Amazon announced at AWS re:Invent that it would launch a new virtual desktop service called Amazon WorkSpaces that would deliver Windows 7 desktops on-demand to almost any client device.

The company also claimed it could deliver those virtual desktops at a better price point than anyone else. The company's lowest-tier desktop would be available for $35 per user per month, with the basic package offering one virtual CPU, 3.75GB of memory, and 50GB of storage. Software would also be included, although it isn't anything that most users couldn't download and install themselves for free (such as Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Firefox, and 7-Zip).

Beyond cost, the early capabilities of WorkSpaces appear to be lacking some of the more enterprise features found with other providers. And Amazon still has to come up with a real solution that deals with the Microsoft licensing restrictions, protocols, add-on peripherals, and application compatibility challenges. Only time will tell if Amazon will have better luck providing virtual desktops or delivering packages with drone technology.

7. VMware launches its own SDN technology

During VMworld in August, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger used his opening keynote speech to emphasize the importance of virtualized networks to the audience. At the show VMware announced its next generation software-defined networking (SDN) solution, called NSX, which uses technology from VMware's $1.2 billion acquisition of Nicira.

SDN is an array of new techniques to separate control of networks from their underlying infrastructures that handle data packets. But Gelsinger explained it quite simply: "What ESX was to server virtualization, NSX is to network virtualization.

"We're moving to a world where the network is just like the compute, where we will be able to spin up network services just like we can spin up [virtual machine] services," he added.

The stated goal for NSX was to support any hypervisor, any cloud management platform, and any networking hardware -- although out of the gate, NSX would offer certain additional advantages to vSphere environments.

VMware also stated it had lined up a number of key networking hardware vendors as a part of the product release, including Arista, Brocade, Cumulus Networks, Dell, HP, and Juniper Networks, to name a few. One of the companies missing from this initial announcement was Cisco, and VMworld audience members keyed in on this info.

8. Cloud storage provider Nirvanix closes its doors

Cloud storage was becoming all the rage with companies, but in September the market received its first big piece of sobering news when Nirvanix validated some customers' fears with the announcement that the company was closing its doors and shutting down its service.

Numerous media and analyst reports came out to say the company had been informing customers and partners of its impending doom. The company was telling customers it could no longer replicate their storage or upload any more data to the Nirvanix cloud.

Initial reports said Nirvanix had given customers a two-week window with which to migrate all of their data elsewhere. But as Forrester Research analyst Henry Baltazar stated, the cloud provider's demise validates warnings that it is far easier to import data into the cloud than it is to recover large quantities of data or move that data to a new provider. While not as sexy as moving your data up into the cloud, cloud exit strategies quickly became a must-have after this news posted.

At the time, Kyle Hilgendorf from Gartner offered the following piece of advice to existing Nirvanix customers: "It's too late to build a strategy. Drop whatever you are doing and get as much of the data as you can back immediately."

It's 2014, are companies creating an exit strategy yet?

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