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News briefs: PayPal considers OpenStack cloud, Cisco buys SolveDirect

In these news briefs, PayPal plans to build an OpenStack cloud with 10,000 servers, Cisco acquires SolveDirect and CloudStack grows up.

UPDATED: PayPal makes plans for OpenStack deployment

Editor's note: Due to inaccuracies in the original story on which this news brief was based, the following news brief has been edited and amended to reflect the latest updates to the story.

PayPal is planning to create an OpenStack-based cloud with 10,000 of its servers, according to a Business Insider report. Boris Renski, OpenStack Foundation board member and co-founder of OpenStack consultancy firm Mirantis, claimed that PayPal would replace VMware's software with the open source software by the summer. However, Renski did not specify which VMware product would be replaced nor did he have firsthand knowledge of the project. While OpenStack is often described as an operating system for building and managing Infrastructure as a Service, it is not a replacement for hypervisor software, such as VMware's vSphere. OpenStack is frequently cited as a commercial alternative to VMware's vCloud Director, but neither PayPal, VMware nor Mirantis stated which product PayPal would potentially phase out. 

Business Insider originally reported that PayPal and its parent company, eBay, ultimately planned to run OpenStack on their collective 80,000 servers across both companies' data centers. A long-time corporate sponsor of the OpenStack Foundation, PayPal was reportedly looking to add flexibility to its virtual servers with a new layer of orchestration, a move that reflects a larger trend away from the traditional all-in-one infrastructure model, according to SiliconANGLE. Shortly after Business Insider broke the story, however, Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel downplayed Renski's claim, telling the publication that Renski was "exaggerating the use case" and only had second-hand knowledge of it.

Update: A blog post by VMware's senior vice president of cloud infrastructure Bogomil Balkansky clarified that PayPal does not intend to drop VMware's software completely.  PayPal plans to implement OpenStack on 10,000 servers this summer, but has not stated an intention to remove its VMware hypervisor and could potentially continue to run VMware underneath OpenStack infrastructure. As Information Week noted, statements made by OpenStack's Boris Renski indicating PayPal and its parent company eBay would replace VMware with OpenStack on 80,000 servers were not necessarily verifiable and potentially exaggerated. 

Cisco scoops up SolveDirect

In a move to further expand its cloud software portfolio, Cisco Systems announced it will acquire IT service management vendor SolveDirect. The Vienna-based company has sold its cloud-based platform, ServiceGrid, to enterprises and service providers, and it also maintains a professional services business. In a recent blog, Cisco exec Hilton Romanski wrote that SolveDirect will be absorbed into Cisco Services, which funnels professional services business into Cisco's sales channel, as the company completes the deal in the fourth quarter. ServiceGrid offers "a flexible way to integrate with service partners, and automate sharing of processes, data and workflows in real time by eliminating manual practices and bottlenecks," Romanski wrote. Cisco expects SolveDirect to give the company an edge in the business cloud market through services that automate workflow and data swapping. The SolveDirect acquisition is Cisco's third this year after Intucell and Czech Cognitive Security, following 11 buy-outs in 2012.

CloudStack graduates Apache Incubator

One year after Citrix handed over its CloudStack technology to the Apache Software Foundation's (ASF) Incubator project, the cloud-building platform has graduated to become a top-level project. As CloudStack had entered the incubation process as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform developed by Citrix, it already had a mature codebase that allowed Apache to focus on developing governance policies and a solid community around the code, the ASF stated in a recent press release. Looking to IaaS as the next generation of IT infrastructure, the foundation emphasized adherence to its rigorous standards of open governance and the expectation that CloudStack will continue to meet those requirements.

Amazon reportedly building the CIA a private cloud

The blogosphere has been on fire since Federal Computer Week released a report on a potential deal between Amazon and the CIA, citing two anonymous sources. The stakes are big, Business Insider noted: The 10-year contract is reportedly worth up to $600 million and could turn the enterprise cloud market on its head. After years of exclusively supporting public cloud, Amazon's move to build a private cloud spells trouble for rivals VMware, Citrix, Rackspace and others. No details are confirmed -- "The CIA does not publicly disclose details of our contracts," a CIA spokesperson told Federal Computer Week -- but the agency has dropped hints at upcoming changes in its policies around procuring software, big data analytics and incorporating commercial sector innovation.

Enterprises tag BYOD, cloud services as main concerns

Cloud services and enterprise mobility top the list of challenges for more than 1,100 IT professionals polled in the seventh edition of telecom vendor CommScope's Global Enterprise Survey. Forty-four percent pointed to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend and the cloud as game-changing factors likely to grow in importance. To support the surge of popularity around BYOD, a third of businesses reported deploying a distributed antenna system for mobile traffic, while another third said they lacked adequate provisioning for indoor mobile coverage. BYOD's high demand on organizational infrastructure is one of the reasons for the uptick in cloud deployment, according to Kevin St. Cyr, CommScope's senior vice president of enterprise solutions.

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