Platform Computing updates cloud management software
Platform Computing Corp., best known as a vendor in the high-performance computing market, released on Tuesday the second version of its cloud management software a year and a half following its first foray into enterprise data centre management.

The Markham, Ont.-based provider released version 2.1 of Platform ISF with a focus on providing IT admins an easy-to-use tool for cloud resource management that aligns with the application-centric approach that enterprises are taking, said a company exec.

Enterprise customers today mostly regard cloud management in terms of development testing and serving up basic virtualization images, but the long-term strategy is for applications to run in live production environments, said Jay Muelhoefer, Platform Computing’s vice-president of marketing for enterprise business.

For that reason, version 2.1 provides out-of-the-box support for example applications and building blocks for service catalogs. “So that makes it easier for people to get up and running with their private cloud projects,” said Muelhoefer.

The ease-of-use aspect of version 2.1 is the “single cloud pane” for IT admins, allowing a greater number of servers managed per person, said Muelhoefer. “In the past, admins would have to go to three or four different consoles from different vendors to optimize sub areas of their cloud infrastructure,” he said.

But visibility is also granted to end users who are allowed to monitor the performance of their own apps.

The resource management aspect of the new version responds to the reality that is heterogeneous data centre environments. Self-service creation of resource pools, dynamic resourcing and set up of custom networking and custom storage management are some capabilities IT admins have. Muelhoefer said version 2.1 allows for the management of apps across multiple data centre locations for business continuity.

Besides striving to let enterprises manage live apps in the cloud, Muelhoefer said another goal of Platform Computing is for a neutral and open technology that saves customers from vendor lock in so they can consume internal and external IT resources from wherever they wish.

“That is really what our mission is,” said Muelhoefer.

Platform’s foray into enterprise data centre management leverages the company’s background in high-performance computing, which is about managing distributed commodity-based computing environments.

That sort of computing environment, said Muelhoefer, is exactly the direction that enterprises are moving in adopting cloud computing.

“That’s the heritage of what we know to manage, he said. “So we’re able to port that and really engage with the enterprise side because they’re facing a lot of the same challenges.”

Recently, a chief technology officer with Indianapolis, Ind.-based managed IT services provider BlueLock made several predictions for the cloud for 2011. One of them is that apps traditionally dealt with on-premise will migrate to the cloud, much like Platform Computing sees the long-term cloud strategy being about live apps and not just development testing.

BlueLock’s CTO, Pat O’Day, also said this year will be when enterprises finally understand the cloud and how it applies to their business. “In terms of entering the mainstream so far it hasn’t at least for the enterprise … in 2011, the enterprise will start to take mainstream applications and put them in cloud environments,” said O’Day.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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