News briefs: Google Compute Engine opens up, OpenStack Grizzly debuts

This week in cloud news, Google IaaS opens to more users, OpenStack Grizzly rolls out and an IBM supercomputer fights disease with data in Poland.

Google Compute Engine revs up for public

Pegged as the main competition to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, the Google Compute Engine (GCE) has become available to the public. Since the GCE debuted last June, customers could gain access only through an invitation or direct contact with Google's sales department. Now offering the service to users of its $400-per-month Gold Support package, Google is primed for a torrent of potential users to join the waitlist, as an anonymous source told GigaOM. Google's offering may not currently provide services as comprehensive as those of IaaS veteran EC2, but tests show the GCE's speed and reliability will make it a formidable competitor in the IaaS space.

OpenStack Grizzly hits the computing space

The newest release of OpenStack delivers on promises of improved scalability and high availability, with new features for managing distributed clouds via one interface, in addition to support for Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor. Additional block storage options, better drivers, a new dashboard and updated database architecture are just a few of the changes in the stack's seventh release, which is currently available ahead of the OpenStack summit, April 15-18.

Supercomputer takes on medical research in Poland

New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center isn't the only institution in the life sciences to catch the big data bug. In Poland, the University of Warsaw is primed to tap the computing power of IBM's Blue Gene/Q, codenamed Nostromo, for big data analysis of chronic diseases. Taking 11th place on the latest Green500 list, which ranks the world's most energy-efficient supercomputers, Blue Gene/Q improves upon efficiency on more than one count. Research teams at the university hope to use the supercomputer to usher in an era of "personalized medicine" in which accelerated simulations will allow doctors to tailor preventive approaches to specific conditions.

Vendors cozy up to telecom agents

Ties between IT providers and telecommunications agents are becoming tighter, according to research by Channel Partners magazine and industry association CompTIA. The third annual edition of the study indicates vendors and agents are forging partnerships with greater frequency and strategy. IT firms reported joint marketing jumped from 4% to 10% and joint selling from 10% to 18% over the past year, and partnerships with telecom agents accounted for one-half to three-quarters of the revenue the companies bring in annually. Cloud computing is among the emerging technologies fueling new partnerships for a majority of telecom agents and IT firms, which have seen additional deals and profits as a result.

IBM expands social enterprise in European markets

Pressing further into the social sphere of business technology, IBM launched a new data center in Germany that focuses on delivering cloud-based social enterprise tools. Customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will pick up the biggest benefits from the expansion, which puts their data in closer proximity in order to meet some countries' local regulations regarding where data can be stored. Public, private and hybrid cloud delivery options will support services along the spectrum of collaboration media, social analytics and content management. The move further validates projections for growth in the social enterprise services market, analysts at Forrester Research noted.

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