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6 Cloud Upstarts To Watch
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RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/2/2014 | 12:27:45 PM
Brand Still Matters
"There is more to cloud services than a speedy architecture and new components." These upstart vendors' success will ultimately depend on their building a reputation and brand for reliable service. AWS led the way, showing the world--even the skeptical corporate world--that it could depend on cheap, on-demand computing. It took years to build the AWS brand, even on Amazon's hefty shoulders.
 
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
1/2/2014 | 1:29:25 PM
Inital AWS appeal was to developers
Yes, Amazon has spent years building confidence and credibility in its cloud service offerings. All of these smaller service providers need to do the same. But Amazon's initial appeal was to developers, who understood it was giving them control over online server provisioning. DigitalOcean also appeals initially to developers, which is doing the same thing, speeding up the process, charging less and providing tools. That might be a formula for success, if it can straighten out its data security mess.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/2/2014 | 2:05:22 PM
Re: Inital AWS appeal was to developers
The NSA scandal may prove to be the best marketing fuel that a few of these cloud upstarts could ever get -- for free.
accident
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accident,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/2/2014 | 2:08:20 PM
Re: Inital AWS appeal was to developers
Do we use the same AWS?   I get nothing but micro outages all day long and in the last year or two have had the worst and longest outages from them.


Here is just the informationweek articles on it:

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/infrastructure-as-a-service/amazon-ec2-outage-hobbles-websites/d/d-id/1097322?

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/infrastructure-as-a-service/amazon-web-services-hit-by-power-outage/d/d-id/1104880?

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/infrastructure-as-a-service/amazon-outage-scrooges-netflix-heroku/d/d-id/1107956?

IIRC you've even had articles on how certain large customers get around these problems.   Any technique could be applied to any host and using multiple hosts. 


When it comes down to it, nobody is perfect and if you put your resources into 1 provider your just waiting for an outage.   Even if that outage is a "planned event" by them.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 3:18:46 AM
Data leak
By reading this post, the fact that DigitalOcean (maybe other vendors as well) did not wipe the storage by default really worries me. This means that there is possible data leak. From end users perspective, by default we consider that when we order a new VM from cloud service provider, it should be in a clean state. But obviously this is not the fact here. Furthermore, some bad guys may try to dig more information from the residue data, which means security breach. Could the cloud service provider at least make a public announcement if they change the default setting like this?
KLC
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KLC,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 1:18:47 PM
Vendor Comparisons: The Cloud Wars
I believe that vendor comparisons at this level are almost meaningless. There are differing cloud markets in play, namely, consumers, Small-Medium-Business (SMBs), and Enterprises (I could, but won't, bother to break down Enterprises into multiple sizes).  Most of the vendors mentioned play in one or more of these markets, and their success and credibility is different in each.  Some of these vendors are struggling to define where they want to concentrate their marketing efforts. Plus the vendor landscape is evolving through acquisitions, mergers and partnerships.  Verizon/Terremark, NTT/Dimension Data/OpSource and CenturyLink/Savvis are good examples of Telco's trying to expand their horizons into the Cloud world, while you have AT&T trying to do it internally.  Don't forget Deutsche Telecom and T-Systems who were focused more on the full outsourcing spectrum, but have developed a fairly powerful cloud offering with their "Twin-Core" data center concept. Some of these players are struggling to define what they want to be when they grow up. Integration of the telco and cloud businesses has proven to be elusive.

 

And, of course, you can't completely ignore the traditional outsourcers who are struggling to get into the cloud game (CSC, Dell/Perot, IBM, HP, XEROX/ACS, etc.).  These providers are used to long-term, fixed-price contracts.  Pay-for-usage models are counter-intuitive to them.

 

It will be fascinating to see the market battles in the next few years, as the core cloud players (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, etc.)try to move up the enterprise food chain, and the above vendors try to compete.  The core players have established a powerful base that provides them with scale, and therefore, pricing advantages.  But that consistently have problems, as @accident rightly pointed to in his/her comments.  Have the biggies outgrown their ability to manage their environments? Many of the outages are actually caused by changes being made during mid-week, prime hours. The impact of such changes often start off minimal, but the entire environment then degrades into network traffic storms trying to "catch-up", which, in turn, affect many clients.  And, when they have problems, their client communications are horrific, if not, non-existent, usually, a blog site that is updated every 3-12 hours.  Enterprise-class clients will not stand for that kind of service.  The traditional outsourcers and telco's know how to deal with client communications, primarily through dedicated Account Executives and Service Delivery Executives.  I always love to see the defenders say "enterprises have outages, too".  The difference is that when an enterprise has an outage, all hands are dedicated to recovering that enterprise's most critical systems.  The cloud providers, by definition, can't dedicate their resources to one large client. There are no "dedicated" resources.  The outsourcers have a middle ground, namely, having resources working on the general problem, plus dedicated resources, focusing on the individual clients.

 

The cloud industry, for some time, has discussed the concepts of Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud models. Large enterprises need (at least, they believe) all three.  Few of the above players have successfully incorporated all three into their quivers under a single management umbrella.  Some are getting very close through acquisition of "cloud management" capabilities.

 

I have rambled all over the place (I apologize).  I think, someday, we will look back on these coming years as the "Cloud Wars".  Who survives, how long it takes, will customers be the winners, are all unanswered questions.  My bet is, this will be analogous to the battle between mainframes and distributed systems, with the declared death of the mainframe back in 1990.  We will continue to see remnants of all models for a very long time.  Should be fun.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2014 | 5:04:36 PM
DigitalOcean "Data leak"
Re: Data Leak.  Agreed, Li Tan, there has to be a public announcement if there's a service provider-supplied best practice that's been shifted to a decision by the end user. I think DigitalOcean has a good future, but using growth as an excuse to revert to a non-best practice amounts to shooting yourself in the foot. Has it irreparably harmed its own reputation or will this blow over before 2014 is out?
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2014 | 6:39:51 PM
Caveat Emptor, Joe
For sure the cloud will bring much tribulation, but a heck of a lot more misery as evidenced by data leaks.  Upstarts (and even established companies) looking to conduct biz on the cheap are train wrecks waiting to happen.  Consumers will have to be a lot more vigilant in deciding which services to patronize, but as usual, Joe Blow Consumer is never truly informed even if he wanted to be because of the allergic reaction certain companies have to full disclosure.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
1/6/2014 | 2:28:57 PM
Re: Brand Still Matters
I see that SAP has invested in Virtustream. I can see why: SAP needs to get more nimble and utilize virtualization better. That's not their core strength, and as such they need help with that technology. Other big companies could also use Virtusteam's technology to their advantage. 
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
1/7/2014 | 1:48:15 PM
Reliability, security edge shifting toward thye cloud
Cloud outages are heavily publicized; internal enteprrise data center outages are not. If the measure were uptime based on number of applicatoins running, the cloud would comfortably beat most data centers. Security remains an issue that will never be fully resolved. There are exposures. But as cited by Bankim Tejani elsewhere, some security measures can be automated in the cloud. In the long run, that's a big plus for cloud security. Tejani's analysis: http://www.informationweek.com/security/cloud-security/how-cloud-security-drives-business-agility/d/d-id/1113339?piddl_msgid=197256&piddl_msgposted=yes#msg_197256
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