With Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure now on greater than US$2 billion annual run rates and expanding their application services nearly weekly, it’s starting to look tougher than ever for traditional hosters, enterprise cloud players and managed service providers to compete against them.
“When you just can’t see how to win, the better option might just be not to try,” advises James Staten, analyst, Forrester Research.
According to Staten, when examining the market, that seems to be the new trend in enterprise cloud vendor strategies as evidenced by recent moves by Datapipe, Google, and VMware.
These moves follow similar shifts in strategy taken by Accenture, Rackspace, and others in the past quarters, with Staten believing such strategies acknowledge “a reality that is redefining what they hoped hybrid cloud meant.”
That reality: Hybrid means Hyperscale +
“Sorry, CIOs,” adds Staten, “but hybrid cloud does not mean your traditional on-premise environment plus the enterprise cloud of your choosing.
“It has meant from the beginning, and many CIOs are sadly coming to this realisation a bit late, a public cloud service connecting back to your traditional IT environment.
“And you’re all hybrid; and have been since the sales team connected Salesforce.com to your data centre.”
Equally, Staten believes managed service providers have been slow to acknowledge this reality as well, hoping they could add and mature their public clouds faster than your developers could figure out how to leverage AWS.
“Wrong answer,” he says. “Datapipe saw this coming early on and pioneered a unique offering in 2008 where this traditional hoster would manage your applications deployed atop AWS.
“While not explicitly in its marketing, the subtle benefit to Datapipe here was that in taking this position they could help customers realise that certain apps and elements of complex systems simply didn’t fit on the AWS platform (weren’t elastic or transient, or needed their own hardware or the commercial software license was too expensive on a pay-per-use platform) and thus should instead be placed in Datapipe’s cloud or traditional hosting environment.”
According to Staten, this offering positioned Datapipe as one of premier AWS partners and won them a ton of business as the cloud platform market emerged.
“Enough business, in fact, to fill its coffers with cash and investments that let them pick up key rivals LayeredTech and more recently GoGrid to expand their data centre footprint and in-house skills,” he adds.
Now, Staten reports that the company has expanded this Hyperscale+ management strategy through a formal partnership with AWS that culminates in a jointly funded centre of excellence in hybrid deployment and management.
“This is a new more proactive approach to hybrid by AWS,” he adds. “Whereas before they had helped Eucalyptus maintain EC2 and S3 compatibility for its private cloud software solution, that was more passively supported by AWS.
“This joint effort is one AWS is actively supporting and investing in.”
Microsoft is fostering similar partnerships with managed service providers also, adds Staten.