As we wind up the first half of 2014, we’ve noticed a sharp rise in demand for IaaS cloud orchestration showing that service providers are more prepared and ready for adoption this year than last.
Cloud orchestration serves as the principle foundation layer for service providers to launch cloud services on their own infrastructure. Clearly, one cannot launch their own cloud on their own infrastructure without this primary building block before ultimately arriving at the attractive shiny SaaS and PaaS solutions. Telcos, service providers and hosting companies require this core ability to orchestrate, from one UI, all the compute and networking power necessary to launch a local cloud. With this ability, these telcos, service providers and hosters now can offer customers an alternative to the norm or defacto– Amazon Web Services (AWS), the undisputed King of Cloud.
Amazon the King of the Cloud
But let’s first take a look at what Amazon has on offer. Amazon helped to create and prove the public cloud market and it quite rightly deserves the world champion belt for King of Cloud. Amazon certainly has the most mature platform and tool set for end users. Typically, their customer base is a highly technical application developer type audience, the people that would be most comfortable spinning up their own instances and not wanting to have support assistance. Moreover, this is the crowd that detests most the thought of any fully managed support center service.
However, as Amazon changes strategy to also target the enterprise/executive crowd (out-of-the-box and do it all for me and I’ll sign a blank check for you crowd) it begs the question, what does that mean for me as the smaller non-Fortune 500 customer?
These smaller non-Fortune 500 customers still want a world-class service from a cloud provider, but cannot afford to spend millions of dollars to get to that point. To support this notion, AWS shouts about its customer poster children like NASDAQ, SAMSUNG Financial and Dropbox.
AWS continuously improves its service for the enterprise/executive crowd. For example, upgrades were previously your responsibility, and now they are made automatically by AWS. Another example is that 1,000’s of servers can be spun up and down, with customers no longer waiting 6-25 days to spin up enterprise servers. At this years’ annual summit in London, as highlighted by Stephen Schmidt, Chief Information Security officer of Amazon, customers can also see cost reductions – an average reduction of 75% storage costs and 35% throughput costs – this clearly all speaks the language of the enterprise cloud user, so what does this mean for VMware?
VMware is VMware
Well VMware is VMware – a leader in virtualization technology for the enterprise space only. Bill Fathers, general manager of VMware’s hybrid cloud services business unit, backed this claim this week at Structure in San Francisco by stating less than 1% of VMware’s existing customer base are service providers. EMC (the owner of VMware) doesn’t do badly in the enterprise storage market either, apart from the occasional clash against Hitachi’s HDS potentially superior offering. Other than that, VMware is VMware, it ain’t cloud. It certainly does not have the legacy, experience and cutting-edge technology AWS offers its customers. Furthermore, with VMware, there does not appear to be a clear bespoke offering for service providers.
If you are a service provider or telco, you certainly need the ability to have a self-intuitive storefront of catalog products supporting every hypervisor not just a select few. You also need automated metered billing so you can deliver pay-as-you-go cloud, increasingly requested by enterprise end-users, and of course, you need to move away from manual intervention to full automation auto-scaling.
Service providers do not want to be forced to regularly change their cloud orchestrator either commercially or from a user perspective. However, VMware has a constantly changing strategy – consider its acquisition of DynamicOps in 2012 which transformed into vCloud Automation Center (vCAC). Why was this done? What was wrong with the previous vCloud Director (vCD)? Now there appears to be a push into DR via vCloud Hybrid service. Whilst VMware is an Openstack foundation member. Confused yet?
Well if you are not, I am. And so too are many service providers who appear to be loosing trust of the strategy and direction of VMware in their strategic cloud journey. Don’t get me wrong, VMware has a world class offering in the hypervisor market, hence the reason why VMware vSphere is one of the Flexiant supported hypervisors. Of course, you have the nicely done Vblock offering of storage, switches and virtualization technology. But Amazon is King and as it slowly positions the tanks to launch an attack on VMware’s enterprise target rich environment, VMware has something to be nervous about. We think it is definitely the strategy, consider for example that AWS now have a connector for VMware customers on vSphere into AWS, why do you think this is?
Flexiant, the Prince
Flexiant gives you an alternative by offering you the ability to launch a cloud based on your business requirements. Consider a local region you want to serve. For example if you are a service provider with your own data center in the Netherlands, how do you adhere to the local legislation that the data must sit in the Netherlands only with auditing capabilities of the local data center, Amazon cannot clearly do that. For example, if you are required to hit certain latency levels, then again the cloud needs to be as physically close to the geographic location of the ultimate end user as possible.
In terms of a full unified cloud, Flexiant allows you to achieve this with a fully API first-philosophy, thus allowing you to choose and shape how you need your cloud for your local customers. Flexiant also gives you white label capabilities and speed-to-market, with our international service delivery team remotely standing up customers in as little as days as opposed to months of expensive consultants flying all over the world, landing and attempting to figure out how to get your cloud up-and-running. The key is how to customize your cloud, rather than offer a uniform flat offering, but have the real features and functionalities needed for a cloud as opposed to features from a virtualization technology under the disguise as cloud. Service providers have been burnt by this in the past and are increasingly coming to Flexiant as the cloud orchestrator of choice to launch a local customized and easy-to-use working cloud entrance.
If you would like to have an open discussion direct with the author of this blog, Flexiant Senior Sales Executive, Ive Meme, please contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image provided by: jason train