Sanket Naik, senior director of cloud operations for Coupa, said his firm must keep its purchase order/procurement software-as-a-service (SaaS) available to customers at all times, and relies on Amazon's IaaS to do so. One customer is Subway, whose 35,000 sandwich shops order their supplies through the Coupa e-procurement system.
Naik said Coupa, a five-year-old company, would not have been able to establish itself so quickly if had to build up a large data center and staff. Instead, it concentrates on creating online purchasing functionality, while basing its system operations in Amazon Web Services. Again, RightScale is the front-end service managing its IaaS use.
There's a reason for that, Naik said. Coupa, in some cases, must handle data that has restrictions on it, such as the United Kingdom's and Germany's laws that data originated inside theose borders must stay inside.
[ Restrictions on the flow of international data were discussed by Robert Holleyman, CEO of the Business Software Alliance, in Is Cloud Computing A Global Market Yet? Nyet. ]
For that reason, Naik needs the option of launching its e-procurement system within national boundaries, and Amazon, which has a major facility near the United Kingdom in Dublin, Ireland, doesn't have IaaS in the United Kingdom itself. But Rackspace does.
Amazon and Rackspace have different hypervisors, different virtual machine file formats, and different service APIs, but Coupa doesn't need to re-engineer its SaaS for each cloud. It turns that complexity over to RightScale, which, having done it for one customer, can gain economies of scale by repeating the service for many customers.
In Canada, Coupa has gone as far as standing up a private cloud operation to run its service for a particular company that must heed Canada's restriction against Canadian citizens' healthcare data being stored on U.S. servers. There are no IaaS providers in Canada. So Coupa established CloudStack in a colocation site, and lets Rightscale manage the server cluster as a private IaaS.
"We're cloud agnostic," said Naik, and it serves his young company well. It has 200 customers in 40 countries; Salesforce.com is also a customer.
Both Music Mastermind and Coupa needed additional options after establishing their first IaaS operation. Here are six reasons from their experience that argue in favor of use of multiple cloud services: