While investing in building new data centers all over the world and creating the management overlay in order to be able to sell their hardware, IaaS operators are also relying on their ecosystem to support the evolving enterprises that go to the cloud (e.g. the “Enterprise Grade Cloud”).
API First – The move to the cloud pushes the data center to re-invent itself within the new environment. It is a fact that, although the cloud is a pure revolution (at least in MHO), terms such as SLA, TCO and ROI are still valid in this new IT era. Thanks to industry leaders such as Salesforce.com that realize the notion of “API first”, vendors such Amazon cloud present new capabilities first through their APIs. In this way, the cloud operator platform enables development of its ecosystem.
Cleaner Fish - Besidesthe native support ofthe emerging online industry with its organic players that were born with and for the internet, it is no secret that the giant cloud whales are looking forward to conquering traditional IT where the big money is. However, while running, deploying, improving, and maintaining their infrastructure, the whales left behind some of the crucial needs of a traditional IT vendor. The best example of this is the AWS cloud that was built by possibly the biggest internet vendor in the world, Amazon. While in the market for the last 6-7 years, this huge whale realized the need to prove its enterprise grade capabilities only in the last year. In comparison, Microsoft and HP with their vast experience are struggling to meet the online low margin internet business. On both sides, the vendors recognize that their ecosystem of “cleaner fish” can close these gaps. Alternatively, the new cloud vendors go with the flow and generate new solutions to support enterprise needs. Let’s not forget the cloud users – the in-house enterprise IT team already focuses more on using the Cloud to quickly meet the business needs rather than configuration and implementation of application wrappers that can support SLA and performance.
1st Case - The Amazon cloud still doesn’t support all enterprise grade storage needs. Zadara storage is an enterprise grade block store storage that actually enables NAS (Network Attached Storage). Essentially, you can use AWS EBS volumes that are attached to a single AWS EC2 instance. In comparison, using Zadara, you can actually link your high performance block storage array to multiple cloud (EC2 in case of Amazon AWS) instances. This capability enables capabilities such as data sharing, storage isolation, and greater IOPS for high availability purposes. Zadara created its own storage within an Equinix data center and is attached to the Amazon cloud using direct connect.
“If you are a small size cloud user an EBS volume including the IOPS one will do the work. Enterprise cloud users get bigger and very fast hold dozens of Teras. Their experience with NAS within their traditional data center gets them to look for solution such as ours”. – Nelson Nahum, Zadara CEO
Another interesting capability coming from Zadara takes the NAS to the next level of seamless replication of your enterprise grade block store across AWS regions. With this capability, the “cloud NAS” user can replicate clusters that work with the same block level storage and thus generating a great high availability level. The basic need was high performance and availability to meet enterprise needs.
2nd Case - Another solution that supports enterprise IT operations is Newvem (I work at Newvem as its Chief Evangelist). Newvem recently released its analytics for the Windows Azure cloud, supporting a natural extension to enterprise IT operations by allowing them to relieve IT resources and prevent bottlenecks. With this new capability the enterprise can confidently choose the workloads that should be moved back on premise where they can be managed with higher SLAs and control.
“Newvem gives you the visibility to understand what you’re using and easily helps you use Windows Azure services in line with your business’s specific goals and needs.” Zev Laderman CEO & Co-Founder of Newvem
In traditional IT, the complexity and lack of a homogenous platform means that integration is accompanied by a large investment and high risks of failure. In the cloud, the ecosystem is proven as a market differentiator. The open systems and public APIs have created great developers communities that create add-ons and applications for app stores to solve important enterprise use cases and needs. The IaaS (cloud) ecosystem is still immature however it has already taken a significant role in the industry within the cloud operator’s marketplaces and apps’ stores.