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.

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.


The Future of Hybrid Cloud Computing

January 25, 2012

Currently there are few standards for interoperability between public and private clouds.

There are a number of ‘forces’ that are shaping the future of cloud computing

Amazon – AWS is still the dominate force in cloud computing.  They are the largest and at the same time the most innovative vendor in the space – no mean feat.  Amazon is working to working to support interoperability between its offering and private cloud enterprises via a published API.

Rackspace –  OpenStack – The community has over 150 members that are dedicated to creating an interoperability model for a variety of cloud configuration.  However, OpenStack is still ancient; it’s future as an industry standard is not certain.

VMWare – VMWare claims 80% market share in private cloud deployments.  vCloud – The service is based on VMware’s vSphere and vCloud Director (vCD), exposes the vCloud API.  vCD is a key part of VMware’s strategy for driving adoption of hybrid clouds.  It provides interoperability between VMware-virtualized infrastructures and 3rd party service providers.  These service providers are part of VMware’s service provider partner program.  Note. It can be challenging integrating public cloud services from vendor that are not VMWare based.

The efforts of the major players is shaping the future of hybrid cloud computing.

– AWS Direct Connect to private cloud vendors such as Equinox
– AT&T’s Synaptic Compute as a Service makes the company’s IaaS public cloud compatible with VMware’s vCloud Datacenter offering.
– CSC Cloud Services
Go Grid
– IBM enhanced its Smart Cloud offering by the acquisition of Cast Iron
– Rackspace’s commitment to OpenStack