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News briefs: NSA scandal leads Brits, Canadians to move data out of U.S.

This week, a survey shows the NSA scandal has made businesses wary of storing data in the U.S., and Boston ditches Microsoft for Google Apps.

Survey: One in four U.K., Canadian businesses moving data out of U.S.

A recent survey of 300 U.K. and Canadian businesses by Canadian hosting and cloud provider Peer 1 Hosting found that 25% of companies plan to move their data storage outside of the U.S. as a result of the ongoing National Security Agency (NSA) domestic surveillance scandal. Canadian companies were the most spooked by the fallout, with one in three planning to move their data out of the States.

Despite this exodus, the U.S. still remains the most popular location for U.K. and Canadian companies to store their data outside of their home countries, according to Peer 1.

"It's clear that hosting and cloud providers need to take note and offer their customers true choices in terms of the locations and environments where they store their data, ensuring they can maintain security, compliance and privacy to the best extent possible," wrote Robert Miggins, senior vice president of business development at Peer 1, in a recent blog.

The latest development in the NSA scandal -- beginning in June 2013 with a series of leaks by former CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the U.S. government's PRISM program -- erupted late last month when German magazine Der Spiegel reported the NSA had intercepted shipments of routers and firewalls to hack backdoors into them.

The majority of Peer 1's survey respondents said privacy laws are a top concern when choosing where to host data, and most want to know where exactly their data is being hosted.

Microsoft loses city of Boston to Google Apps

The city of Boston moved 76,000 email accounts from on-premises Microsoft Exchange to cloud-based Google Apps, both organizations announced Monday. The migration includes all city departments as well as all public school teachers and more than 50,000 public school students.

"We clearly saw cloud services as the most cost-effective, supportable platform to address our future needs," said Bill Oates, chief information officer of the city of Boston, in a Google blog. A committee composed of members of Boston's IT organization, Boston Police and Boston Public Schools evaluated 10 proposals and unanimously chose Google Apps, he said.

Oates said Boston made the move to the cloud because Microsoft Exchange required "extensive" upkeep, upgrades and patches. Every city employee has a Google Account and email address accessible from any device.

Boston's move to Google Apps is very different from Los Angeles' attempted move. Los Angeles inked a $7.25 million deal with Google in 2009 to migrate to Google Apps, but the city had only completed half of the original 30,000-person migration by 2010 because public safety departments, including the police department, were not satisfied with Google Apps' security policies for protecting criminal history data, according to Wired. The city demanded a refund for the portions of the contract that could not be fulfilled.

Red Hat and CentOS announce open source partnership

Red Hat Inc. and the CentOS project, an alternative open source Linux distribution to the commercialized Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), announced a partnership Tuesday that Red Hat claimed will accelerate community adoption and development of open source technologies in cloud computing, virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN).

The two Linux distributors said they are collaborating to combine their strengths -- Red Hat's professional support and expertise with CentOS' developer community -- to develop a new version of CentOS that will focus on driving support for OpenStack and other open source projects, according to BusinessCloudNews. Red Hat is also interested in tapping CentOS' community to help the company improve its enterprise-grade, subscription-based products, including RHEL, RHEL OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure.

"We believe the open source development process produces better code, and a community of users creates an audience that makes code impactful. Cloud technologies are moving quickly, and increasingly that code is first landing in RHEL," said Brian Stevens, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Red Hat, in a press release.

The move sparked skepticism across the Linux community, as CentOS has long been considered the "chief copycat" of RHEL, offering a practically free "clone" of what Red Hat charges hundreds of dollars per box in licensing fees for, wrote ReadWrite columnist Matt Asay, vice president of business strategy and corporate strategy at MongoDB Inc., a vendor that sells commercial support for MongoDB, an open source NoSQL database.

"Red Hat could have kept trying to fight CentOS gravity … or Red Hat could do what it did, which was to embrace the parasite," Asay wrote. "The former would have been akin to Red Hat constantly trying to plug holes in a leaking dam. The latter is a recognition that there's more to be gained by enlarging the official Red Hat ecosystem than trying to bottle it up."

Oracle to acquire cloud service delivery platform vendor Corente

Oracle announced Tuesday its intention to buy Corente, a company that describes itself as a cloud service delivery platform vendor. The company's core product, Cloud Service Exchange, delivers, secures and manages distributed applications over any IP network, it said.

Oracle has billed the acquisition as an SDN play, but much like its acquisition of virtualization vendor Xsigo last year, some industry watchers contend that Oracle is using the SDN label too liberally with Corente.

"Corente does claim to offer the quick provisioning and self-service network creation that many SDN products boast about," wrote Craig Matsumoto, managing editor of SDNCentral "Whether it does this by truly separating forwarding intelligence from the control plane -- a staple concept for SDN -- isn't so clear."

Corente's technology is expected to deliver a portfolio for cloud deployments with SDN offerings that virtualize the enterprise data center LAN and WAN, Oracle said in a press release.

"Oracle customers need networking solutions that span their data centers and global networks," said Edward Screven, Oracle chief corporate architect, in a press release. "Enterprises will be able to easily and securely deliver applications and cloud services to their globally distributed locations."

Details of the acquisition were not available, but PCWorld reported the deal is expected to close early this year.

In other Oracle news, GigaOM reported that Oracle and Verizon have partnered to allow Oracle customers to pay middleware by the hour through Verizon Cloud.

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