Selection of Hybrid Cloud Vendors

February 22, 2012

How do you evaluate and select a hybrid cloud vendor; it really depends on the problem(s) that you need to address and solve. If data transfer and storage are critical then the most important issues are those of bandwidth and data transferring. If the system needs to support bursting, or spikes in web traffic and/or computation loads then price may be more important.

What follows is a description of our evaluation and comparison of vendors based on our needs for a hybrid cloud infrastructure that provides a private cloud (more like managed hosting) and a public cloud (that provided elastic/on-demand computing resources).
Please bear in mind that your needs are likely to be different.

Cloud computing vendors were evaluated using the follow criteria:
Completeness of Hybrid Offering – By vendor or in combination with 3rd party.
Maturity of Offering(s) – Relative length of time vendor has been providing hybrid offerings.
Cost – Total costs.
Reliability – SLAs for the private and public clouds
Bandwidth and Data Transfer – Maximum bandwidths for data transfers between clouds.
Self-service Support –
Developer Support – How ‘developer friendly’ is the infrastructure (and vendor).
Portability of Deployments – How easy is it to move deployment from one vendor to another.
Integration Support – Support for open standards or public APIs for integration.
Security – Tools and capabilities.
Management – Management tools for both public and private clouds.

Notes
1) As portability of deployment is a critical requirement, no PaaS solutions were considered as those solutions, by their design and implementation, are not portable.
2) Computing and storage costs are highly dependent on configurations.
3) Portability of IaaS cloud implementation can be heavily dependent on how the systems are configured and deployed.

The following vendors were considered as we believe that their current offerings could address most of our evaluation criterion: AWS, ATT, Datapipe, Go Grid, IBM, RackSpace, Terrmark.

Potential candidates
Datapipe – Has strong manage hosting and ability to hybridize Amazons solutions with its own. Claims seamless integration between AWS and Datapipe environments, high I/O performance, and integrated support and management.
Go Grid – Smaller, independent provider of public and private clouds. Very high SLAs. Competitive pricing. All APIs are proprietary, portability may be an issue.
RackSpace – Strong managed hosting. Open source development via OpenStack project. Offers some hybrid configuration. Is moving quickly to provide fully featured, hybrid offerings.

Vendors that are lacking in one/more critical areas
ATT – Very strong in managed hosting. And, Synaptic Compute is an ambitious offering. However, the services appears to still be in beta (not fully released)
AWS – Amazon does not provide a native, hybrid cloud offerings and they do not provide non-virtualized servers. They do provide hybrid offering in partnership with 3rd party vendors (e.g. Equinix) via Direct Connect. However, that would require us to provision two separate clouds with two different vendors.
CSC – Nascent hybrid solutions.
IBM – Strong managed offerings. Complex contracts and pricing structures. Focused on large enterprises. Level of commitment to full set of hybrid offerings is unclear at this time.
Terrmark – Moving quickly into the hybrid cloud space with the acquisition of CloudSwitch. However, their hybrid offering are relatively new.

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Business of WordPress Conference in Atlanta – June 22/23

June 23, 2010

The conference is targeted at non-technical business decision makers about how WordPress is becoming the defacto platform for business websites and also how companies especially SaaS companies and even large businesses can leverage the installed base by offering “plugins” that drive their business objectives. Think of strategies that leverage WordPress plugins being B-to-B strategies whereas iPhone Apps are often B-to-C strategies.  Name a large company in Atlanta and I can probably explain a reason why they would benefit from offering WordPress plugins for business users of WordPress.  Name a SaaS company and I can almost certainly name a useful strategy.