News briefs: Red Hat OpenShift Online goes live; Lenovo pushes cloud

This week, Red Hat's OpenShift Online rolls out for commercial use, Lenovo enters the cloud market and NTT deploys VMware network virtualization.

Red Hat OpenShift Online goes live

Two years after Red Hat released its OpenShift Online platform for beta testing, the Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering has gone live for commercial use. More than a million applications already operate on OpenShift, which is expanding at a rate of 2,000 new apps daily, as Red Hat's Ashesh Badani told InfoWorld. The platform lets users develop on a variety of languages and frameworks with Red Hat's lifecycle management tools and users' own software tools to simplify deployment. Red Hat is offering OpenShift Online with two pricing tiers: The free plan includes three small application containers and 1 GB of storage per year, and the Silver plan gives developers 16 small or medium containers with up to 6 GB of storage and professional support. The Amazon Web Services-based offering OpenShift positions Red Hat to compete with the likes of Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine and Heroku, the last of which has been in the PaaS market since 2007.

Lenovo steps up cloud offerings

Although Lenovo is best known for its prominence in the personal computer and laptop market, the company announced two big moves on the cloud computing front this week. First came the beta release of Lenovo Reach, a cloud storage service offering users up to 5 GB of free capacity and access to files stored across multiple websites with a single, encrypted sign-on. Lenovo also announced the North American availability of the platform it calls Stoneware webNetwork Powered by ThinkServer. Built with technology Lenovo acquired through the acquisition of software company Stoneware late last year, the software runs on Lenovo's ThinkServer RD330 and offers a browser-based, unified console with single sign-on for managing files, applications and reports stored on premises, with a cloud provider or on a local device. The company has positioned the software as a solution to bring-your-own-device management woes.

NTT deploys VMware network virtualization for enterprise cloud service

NTT Communications, the IT services arm of Japanese telecom giant NTT Group, will deploy VMware's network virtualization technology as the core of the Enterprise Cloud service it launched last year. According to a press release, NTT plans to use the software to improve connectivity between customer data centers and NTT's cloud, as well as to ease user migration to the cloud, using the network virtualization software to create a network overlay.

Former Oracle exec named Salesforce president

Keith Block, a former Oracle sales executive, is taking up the title of president and vice chairman at rival tech firm, where he will lead the global sales, customer support and consulting services divisions. After 26 years at Oracle, where he led the development of a multibillion-dollar sales business unit, Block left in the wake of a controversy resulting from emails he allegedly sent criticizing Oracle's corporate management, according to CRN. In its press release on the news, Salesforce also highlighted Block's positions as a senior consultant to Air Force executives and a member of advisory boards at Carnegie Mellon University, his alma mater.

IBM exploring Java Virtual Machine for PaaS

A "continuous platform experience" is the goal of IBM's recent exploration into making the open source version of Java Virtual Machine (JVM) function properly in a cloud-based environment, as NetworkWorld reported. IBM expects the JVM software stack to facilitate service provisioning to mobile devices, according to IBM research staff member Jan Rellermeyer, who was speaking at the Design Automation Conference in Austin. IBM's research teams are investigating how to use dedicated JVM on application servers and operate JVM in a shared Platform-as-a-Service model. But, as NetworkWorld noted, IBM still faces challenges in making the open software more scalable and lightweight.

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