A great analogy for cloud federation is the petrol station industry which is an entirely commoditised industry. A driver, when looking to fill their car with similar grades of petrol, will normally go to the cheapest nearby garage. These petrol stations are competing on price alone as they are not offering any service of additional value to the driver.
Now consider a cloud federation, where cloud service providers join forces to offer organisations the ability to move workloads from cloud provider A, B or C, for example, offers the customer choice and freedom in various geographies. As cloud becomes more prevalent, the basic cloud services will inevitably start to commoditise i.e. the basic offerings from each service provider will become more similar. Indeed this is the very change that enables federation and as a result, is an inevitable consideration any cloud service provider will face whether or not they federate.
IBM announced its intention to support open standards with a focus on OpenStack. This follows similar commitments from HP, Dell and others. Indeed Flexiant continues to monitor the evolution of OpenStack and we are likely to support the open source solution as soon as we feel that to do so will not restrict advanced functionality within Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator.
With heavyweights such as Dell and IBM making commitments to OpenStack, we believe that this can only be positive for the OpenStack initiative. Especially if this commitment translates into additional resources to help accelerate the development of OpenStack and deliver the functionality that is required to launch commercial cloud services.
However, OpenStack is not quite ready to support commercial ventures. We have already witnessed Dell delaying the roll-out of its cloud offering on OpenStack by a year. It is also common for analysts to rate the capabilities within OpenStack at the lower end of capabilities, innovation and maturity in a competitive evaluation of vendor solution – for example see the InfoTech report on cloud management solutions.
Gartner has released figures that support the continued growth in public cloud services. In the forecast overview, Gartner says:
Growth in public cloud services continues despite continuing global economic uncertainties. End-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 18.6% in 2012 to $110.3 billion and is expected to record a compound annual growth rate of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016.
The word that is particularly important in this growth prediction is PUBLIC. Enterprise organisations are moving away from CAPEX to OPEX models, relying on service providers to make this possible. If you are a service provider, you need to consider growth strategies to capture this market opportunity. The growth strategy should include a high degree of differentiation.
Today we continue our series of blog posts from Cloud Expo Europe 2013. David Wright, Founder and CEO of SolidFire joined us to discuss the frustrations many cloud service providers have because of the inability to guarantee performance and how storage has traditionally been a best effort service. David discusses how SolidFire is helping cloud service providers build high performance clouds with guaranteed quality of service (QoS) and why its partnership with Flexiant offers a complete management of the SolidFire solution.