This was a busy week for the cloud. The biggest news was Amazon.com's entry into the platform-as-a-service business with its Elastic Beanstalk. But there were several other big announcements as well: a Dell employee confirmed that Dell will get into the infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service businesses, GoGrid announced a new service, Rackspace opened its first European data center and more.

Dell to Get into the Public Cloud Business

Logan McLeod, director of cloud at Dell, tweeted on Wednesday: "Dell as a public cloud end-to-end service provider? Yes. IaaS & PaaS. Coming soon. Dell DC near you."

The Register notes that following Dell's acquisition of Perot Services it now operates 36 data centers world-wide. These data centers power software-as-a-service offerings, not IaaS or PaaS solutions. Although Dell announced it would be using Microsoft Azure for these SaaS data centers, The Register speculates that Dell will use OpenStack for its IaaS data centers. Dell has been an OpenStack partner since the project debuted last July. But Dell sells Joyent's SmartDataCenter platform as well, and is rumored to be an investor in Joyent, so don't count that platform out of the running.

GoGrid Launches Hosted Private Cloud

What's a "hosted private cloud"? A public cloud generally lets customers rent virtual infrastructure shared with other customers. Customers pay for what they use. A private cloud is built by an organization to take advantage of virtualization and resource pooling internally. "Hybrid cloud" is a fuzzy term that usually refers to hosting data off-site. A hosted private cloud provides dedicated physical resources hosted off-site. Customers get their own private infrastructure that's managed by the host but not used by other customers.

The advantage over a public cloud is that none of your data is "touching" that of another customer. The disadvantage is that you have to pay for resources that you might not use. The advantage over a private cloud is that you can rent the resources without putting up capital expenditure money or the time and labor of building a data center. The disadvantage is that you still have to trust an outside organization to store your data.

It's an interesting compromise. GoGrid isn't alone in offering this sort of service, but it hopes to differentiate itself by offerings its cloud deployment and management tools as part of the package. GoGrid hosted private cloud customers will also have the option of "bursting" to GoGrid's public infrastructure if they need more resources. GigaOm cites Peer1, StrataScale and VMware as competitors in the hosted private cloud market.

Rackspace Opens Its First Data Center in Europe

Rackspace announced its first European data center in the UK. Rackspace cited regulations stopping European organizations from storing sensitive information overseas as the major reason for opening the new data center. Rackspace competitors like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure also have European locations. AWS expanded into Asia last year as well. The cloud is increasingly becoming global.

Riptano Changes Its Name to Datastax, Announces Management Product

Riptano, the sponsor company of the NoSQL database Cassandra, changed its name to Datastax. It also announced a new product called OpsCenter for Cassandra, which it promises will make Cassandra easier and more efficient.

Joyent Updating Its Cloud Operating System

Joyent announced that SmartDataCenter 6, its cloud operating system for data center managers both public and private, will be generally available in March 2011. Joyent has sold SmartDataCenter through Dell in the past, but it will now be selling its solution directly to customers. It will compete with other cloud infrastructure platforms like Azure, Eucalyptus and OpenStack.

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