And Amazon has been steadily beefing up its Web Services and dropping prices. "It is clear that people are now figuring out that they can do High-Performance Computing in the cloud," as they posted recently on their blog.
And as hybrid clouds mature, there is more information on lessons learned, like this post from Netflix's blog on how they made the transition from their own data centers to AWS, including cutting down on latency and learning how to scale up their operations.
2. Virtual firewalls still lag behind the physical ones. The protective technologies that are plentiful and commonplace in the physical world become few and far between when it comes to the cloud. And while few attacks have been observed in the wild that specifically target VMs, this doesn't mean you shouldn't protect them.
However, traditional firewalls aren't designed to inspect and filter the vast amount of traffic originating from a hypervisor running ten virtualized servers. VMs are so easily portable that tracking down a particular instance isn't always something that a traditional intrusion detection device can do.
And because VMs can start, stop, and move from hypervisor to hypervisor at the click of a button, protective features have to be able to handle and recognize these movements and activities with ease. Finally, few hypervisors have the access controls that even the most basic file server has.
A growing number of vendors have stepped up into this space, and the majors have begun acquiring them to add to their security portfolios:
VMware purchased Blue Lane Technologies and incorporated their software into its vShield product line.
Juniper Networks purchased Altor Networks Virtual Firewall and is in the process of integrating it into its line of firewalls and management software.
Third Brigade is now part of Trend Micro's Deep Security line.
There are a number of other VM security products, including these offerings:
Beyond Trust Power Broker Servers for Virtualization
CA's Virtual Privilege Manager
Fortinet FortiWeb VM
Reflex Systems Virtualization Management Center
Certainly, anyone with a large virtual server infrastructure should consider at least one of these products more closely to protect their investment.
3. Cloud storage shakeout. Several major cloud storage players are either getting out of the business or will be by the end of this year, including Iron Mountain's Virtual File Store (after two years), Valutscape (2009-2010) and EMC's Atmos Online (2009-2010). Some of their competitors have stepped up to help migrate the existing clients. Clearly, this is a market in transition. Expect more of the same for the remainder of this year.
Clearly, the virtualization field continues to be active. And as more vendors affix the "cloud" label to just about everything, it becomes harder to discern what is reality and what is virtually nothing. The good news is that the products are improving and becoming more capable and ready for enterprise deployment.