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Top 10 news stories of 2012: CloudStack vs. OpenStack and more

Kara Deyermenjian

The holidays can be the busiest time of the year for many people, so we'll forgive you if you've had a tough time keeping up with all the news here at SearchCloudProvider.com. Luckily for you, we've put together our top 10 news stories of the year so you don't have to miss out on time-honored holiday traditions like buying presents, chugging eggnog, preparing for the Maya-predicted end of the world, or just clogging your arteries with more latkes.

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Hot topics this year included pretty much anything Amazon did, Platform as a Service (PaaS), cloud-in-a-box, adoption woes, high-profile cloud failures, Hurricane Sandy's impact, CloudStack vs. OpenStack and more.

And without further ado, here are the top 10 news stories of 2012, from least to most popular:

10. Analysis: Amazon must be part of the carrier cloud discussion

Is Amazon just the "vanilla" cloud, or is it the yardstick against which other cloud providers should measure themselves? Amazon's cloud service suite, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has been in the doghouse for its various outages and failures, and carriers have hesitated to recognize it as a direct competitor. This attitude is shifting, however, and candid comments at the 2012 Carrier Cloud Forum revealed carriers are acknowledging Amazon as a real competitor. So, is Amazon's cloud actually as low-end as its stigma suggests, or is it time to take them more seriously?

9. Don't fail out of the cloud: PaaS providers offer next-level services

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has been the go-to service that hopeful providers use to break into the cloud market, but there's now a new kid on the block: Platform as a Service. PaaS gives providers a better chance of differentiating themselves in an already crowded market -- something providers have had a hard time doing after hastily entering the cloud with IaaS.

8. Selling cloud services in 2012 a priority, but providers are still learning

Selling cloud services should have been a major business priority for service providers in 2012, according to a SearchCloudProvider.com survey of network operators and IT service providers. This would be all well-and-good if these providers knew the next step, but survey responses also pointed to a gap between service providers' desire to move to the cloud and their knowledge of how to get there.

7. Why CIOs have problems with cloud computing: Sunk costs in legacy IT

It's obvious that security concerns continue to hinder cloud adoption, but what may be holding enterprises and small- to medium-sized businesses back even more is the fact that they've already sunk too much money into legacy IT. One way cloud providers may be able to overcome this problem is by redirecting marketing tactics. Marketing their services as replacements for IT infrastructure just isn't going to cut it, but there may be a bigger opportunity for providers lying in the "service cloud" market.

6. Cloud-in-a-box technology can turn VARs into cloud providers

Cloud-in-a-box technology is becoming more appealing to managed service providers looking to offer cloud services. This technology can help value-added resellers (VARs) quickly add cloud services to their catalogs. Prepackaged cloud offerings are becoming more attractive to aspiring providers looking for a quick path to the cloud, but when are they the right move?

5. Cloud disaster recovery services: Customers want 'DR as a Service'

Customers are used to turning to the cloud for backup and storage solutions, but recent hype has been surrounding disaster recovery (DR) services. It's essential that cloud providers prove that their cloud DR services are reliable. To do this, offering resilient services backed by strong service-level agreements for data and application protection are the ways to go.

4. As Desktop as a Service grows, Citrix gives boost to DaaS providers

Despite issues with Microsoft's licensing policy and years of sluggish development, the Desktop as a Service market is poised for growth. With the release of its Cloud Provider Pack, Citrix is trying to simplify the process for cloud provider partners to pursue this flourishing opportunity.

3. Hurricane Sandy's wake: How did providers' data center DR plans do?

Superstorm Hurricane Sandy showed no mercy, causing power outages, flooding and extensive infrastructure damage across the Northeast. Curious about how cloud providers' DR plans held up in the wake of Sandy? In this news story, service providers shared their experiences.

2. Amazon cloud failure highlights reliability, DR concerns for providers

It became all too apparent that the cloud is not invincible after Amazon suffered two cloud failures in a single month. The cloud is still based on physical equipment, and, unfortunately, physical equipment has a tendency to fail. Even if cloud providers can't control the weather or freak happenings, they must still have a "Plan B" in case their equipment goes down. Cloud providers would be wise to learn from recent Amazon shortcomings by revisiting their own DR strategies.

1. CloudStack vs. OpenStack: Competitors or allies?

After Citrix made the decision to open source its CloudStack Infrastructure as a Service product with the Apache Foundation for greater neutrality, many figured the vendor abandoned OpenStack, the leading open source cloud platform. In reality, while CloudStack is another option for providers, it may not be a direct threat to OpenStack. According to Citrix, the company didn't totally break up with OpenStack; it just changed its status from "in a relationship" to "it's complicated."

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