Last week I was fortunate to join and also host two panels at HostingCon Europe. My main takeaway is whether or not the hosting and service provider community is innovating.
Apps vs. Infrastructure
Service providers haven’t yet innovated enough for infrastructure services. In fact, many are still playing catch up. Some hosters have decided the way to innovate may well be through supporting container technology for packaging of applications, as service providers have a long history of using containers, although with less desirable business models for new customers today.
CRN published an article “OpenStack Community Challenged by Dearth of Talent, Complexity.” In the article, the publication included comment from Josh McKenty, a former NASA engineer who helped build the platform and sits on the project’s board of directors. Now a co-founder and CTO of San Francisco-based Piston Cloud, CRN summarized McKenty’s comments:
Hear this, hear this – there are IP address shortages! This deserves the attention of any service provider in or entering the cloud market! IP address management and usage is rapidly becoming a hot issue with all the regional registries quickly running out of IPv4 addresses to allocate to their customers, and IPv6 still barely in use. Now more than ever, it is important for service providers to ensure they are optimizing the usage of their existing IP addresses. Within Flexiant, we understand this issue very well, from our past experience providing hosting services, and have built numerous features and functionality into Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator to assist with this. With the latest release of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator adding further improvements in this space, now is a good time to recap those features.
The key theme at HostingCon 2014 this week was how the hosting industry is changing dramatically. One area of particular focus was whether or not the hosting industry is coming to an end and what happens then?
The panel discussion featuring Philbert Shih – Structure Research, Kenny Li – Cloud Spectator, Al Sadowski – 451 Research and Ashar Baig – GigaOM crystallized the conversations and sentiment heard in conversations throughout the conference:
Is the hosting industry coming to an end? Do hosters need to change and, if so, how?
In my opinion, the hosting industry isn’t coming to an end. Instead, it is forcing hosters and service providers to change. They need to adapt their approach to selling cloud services to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering specific value. They need to consider how they’ll position themselves as the value added service provider against giants like Amazon or Rackspace.
Many of the conversations that we heard focused on the idea of federation and the virtual service provider:
This post was inspired by a post from James Urquhart.
One of the key challenges with public cloud, as far as perception is concerned, is the multi-tenancy problem regarding security, reliability and data privacy.
Of course, the definition of multi-tenancy in a cloud platform itself is confusing. Is something multi-tenant at the application, platform, virtual or physical infrastructure, level? Each of these has potential benefits and concerns depending on a customer’s requirements.
Depending on the customer and the application requirements, it may be quite possible to run parts of it using multi-tenant infrastructure at an application level (e.g. DNS, e-mail), but have a need to run other parts in a single tenant infrastructure (e.g. the database or web server).
Realistically, no customer just wants IaaS intending to run all services themselves. It wants one consistent platform through which it can consume services in a utility like manner. This is something service providers just starting to roll out IaaS need to wise up to fairly quickly.
The challenge until now has been that if you want to run anything at an application level, single tenanted manner you have to build and deploy the application yourself on top of a raw infrastructure platform, unless you can find an ISV offering that service. So to remove the (perceived or otherwise) risks of multi-tenancy, you unfortunately remove some of the benefits around scalability, risk management, knowledge required, etc.