Infrastructure Q2: Big data and PaaS gain more momentum

1Executive Summary

Big data and Platform-as-a-Service offerings highlighted the second quarter, suggesting that we can expect to see a shift in enterprise IT practices around application development and analytics very soon.

On the PaaS front, we saw new projects like DotCloud and Cloud Foundry launch and gain incredible momentum in just a few short months. We also saw existing platforms such as Heroku, Google App Engine and Microsoft Windows Azure mature in some very meaningful ways. All of this means that developers — even of the enterprise variety — won’t be able to avoid PaaS for much longer. Pricing model aside, the capabilities will be too much to resist.

The big data activity was broader in scope, ranging from major new Hadoop vendors such as Hortonworks, EMC and MapR to heavy investment in flash storage that will speed the serving of data to processing engines. Even more interesting use cases for Hadoop and other big data tools popped up to demonstrate that with the right technology running the right algorithms, we can use data to power an endless variety of applications.

In other areas, we saw an uptick in cloud-computing plans from large vendors, with IBM, HP and Red Hat showing off very respectable cloud-computing products services. OpenStack also continued to mature and pick up both contributors and users, meaning that anyone selling wholly proprietary cloud software will have a formidable open-source alternative to worry about.

In the world of web infrastructure, Facebook caught our eye by launching an open- source project around the designs for its specialized servers and data centers. How this will ultimately affect the hardware and facility market remains to be seen, but important institutions such as leading service providers and banks are already coming together to try and figure that out.

It wasn’t all great news, though, as the second quarter kicked off with the weeklong Amazon Web Services outage. That event exposed architectural flaws on AWS’ side, as well as among a large number of its customers. Actually, the good name of cloud computing came out of the incident relatively untarnished, as the media and the companies involved focused on how to resolve the problems.

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