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News briefs: Google cloud services headline I/O, Compute Engine opens

In these briefs, Google I/O delivers news about Google's cloud services, including a new database service and general availability of Compute Engine.

Cloud dominates Google I/O conference

A spate of fresh developments to Google's cloud services took center stage this week at the 2013 Google I/O conference, including updates to App Engine and the introduction of Cloud Datastore, a fully managed, scalable database service. Following the company's move last month to make Google Compute Engine available to Gold Support package subscribers without an invitation being required, Google announced on Wednesday the general availability of the service to any developer or business. New Compute Engine features target a wider market, with by-the-minute pricing for short-lived workloads and the introduction of micro and small instance types for low-intensity workloads. Building on its software-defined networking (SDN) strategy, Google also introduced support for software-defined routing capabilities to Compute Engine. In all, the company dedicated 25 sessions to its Google cloud services platform at the conference this year, with talks spanning the gamut from "Intense Gaming" to "Cloud Computing and High-Energy Particle Physics."

EMC, VMware and SAP make smooth transition to private cloud

An IT vendor trifecta has teamed up to release new services for supporting private-cloud design and management. EMC announced in a press release Monday its collaboration with VMware and SAP to offer disaster recovery tools that accelerate recovery and allow for nondisruptive testing, along with options for increased support of SAP private clouds. Virtual infrastructure consolidation, automated storage tiering and cloud monitoring are featured in the new technology, which, Wikibon Chief Technology Officer and cofounder David Floyer was quoted in the release as saying, will result in greater choice and less risk for the more than 60% of customers moving to virtualize their production environments.

ServiceNow offers new tool for cloud management

Software as a Service (SaaS) provider ServiceNow, which specializes in cloud-based IT service management software for enterprises and managed service providers, updated its application suite with a fresh feature for orchestrating cloud management. The tool, aptly named "Cloud Provisioning," automates such processes as cloud selection and resource optimization to speed up cloud deployment, minimize the need for training and eliminate day-to-day manual intervention. The application promises to increase visibility into cloud operations and cut down on the clutter of underutilized virtual infrastructure. Cloud Provisioning is currently operational with VMware-based clouds and in Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud environment, and support for Microsoft Hyper-V is soon to come.

Wal-Mart looks to lift cloud with latest acquisitions

Two Silicon Valley startups, OneOps and Tasty Labs, are Wal-Mart's latest acquisitions to be snapped up through its @WalmartLabs technology division. The retail giant said in a recent blog post that the additions mean further innovations for e-commerce experiences, which have become a big focus as Wal-Mart competes with online retail rivals, such as Amazon. OneOps brings Platform-as-a-Service capabilities to advance Wal-Mart's own PaaS and private-cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) strategies in developing website applications. Tasty Labs' social software has a history of developing solutions for specific, small-scale personal and business needs -- a potential area of improvement for the massive retailer.

VMware Horizon Mobile takes on BYOD concerns

For some Android users, VMware's proposed Horizon Mobile software has developed a reputation for living up to its brand's namesake -- seeming full of promise but always beyond reach. But VMware VMware finally delivered this Wednesday, making the dual-persona platform available on two Verizon Wireless Android devices, the LG Intuition and the Razr M by Motorola. Horizon Mobile can be used to isolate users' personal data and apps from their business-related ones, creating what VMware calls a virtual "workspace" that aims to allay business customers' concerns around bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. For Verizon, this means being able to help IT staffers keep granular control over corporate content through a virtual operating system (OS) that separates business and personal personas on the device without modifying individual applications. Access to the OS gives administrators tighter regulation and the ability to widely distribute a template for the workspace -- no complex customization required. As Information Week noted , the $125-per-user offering isn't exactly entering an open market -- BlackBerry, AT&T and AirWatch are among the many other providers and vendors offering tools to separate personal and work content. It's the use of virtualization, however, that VMware believes will set its offering apart.

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