CenturyLink, a Monroe, La.-based telecom company, beefed up its cloud offerings through its acquisition of AppFog, a Portland, Ore.-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider that offers a platform for cloud application deployment, and specifically targets the software developer community.
According to Carlson, applications can be deployed within 30 seconds of logging into the system. Small deployments can be done at no cost, but a fee structure that starts at $20 per month becomes engaged as the scale increases.
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“Being able to combine Platform-as-a-Service with Infrastructure-as-a-Service and the network is a unique opportunity to leverage the fact that we live in a heterogeneous world of data centers,” Carlson added. “When you own the pipes that connect those data centers, you get a unique opportunity to deliver cloud services in a way that breaks down the silos of clouds that exist today.”
The AppFog offerings will be made available through CenturyLink’s Savvis organization and listed in the Savvis cloud product catalog.
“We have very deep co-location and Infrastructure-as-a-Service capabilities,” said Jonathan King, vice president of cloud strategy at Savvis. “Customers of all sizes are working with developers to build mobile applications, e-commerce applications, line-of-business applications and consumer-facing website applications. The AppFog capabilities, coupled with our infrastructure service as well as the rest our managed services, security, consulting and networking offerings, establishes an increasingly valuable portfolio.”
The services also are available through a wide variety of partners, including Avnet, CDW, Ingram Micro and Tech Data.
“The AppFog addition is a great extension of their private cloud Platform-as-a-Service capability to now address public Platform-as-a-Service, and increase the strength of that offering,” said Tim FitzGerald, vice president of cloud solutions at Avnet Services. “We see this as a logical extension of the channel ecosystem work that Avnet is doing with Savvis today.”
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
PUBLISHED JUNE 17, 2013
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As much of the focus of the IT industry moves toward the cloud, distributors who once drew their profits from pick-pack-and-ship services, along with logistics and finance, are finding themselves hard-pressed to carve out a new role for themselves in an environment that is becoming less dependent on customer premise equipment. While many distributors are attempting to get out in front of the transition through various channe-enablement strategies and sometimes their own cloud services, some VARs, integrators and MSPs are beginning to wonder whether such efforts will be helpful to them or competitive to them.
According to some partners, the answer to that question depends largely on strategy and the portion of the market that the partner serves. Many of the distributor efforts tend to be geared toward the small market and, arguably, portions of the midmarket.
“There’s no doubt about it,” said Paul Cronin, senior vice president of Atrion Networking, a Warwick, R.I.-based integrator. “Distributors are trying to come downstream to the partners that don’t have the capability, or the resources, to invest in developing their own offers. So after I’ve made the investments necessary to deliver full value to my clients, I end up looking like the high-priced guy. But it’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison because I’ve built more value into mine, and can deliver it on my own.
“It’s kind of a confusing game right now,” he continued. “It’s a situation where you’ve got channel partners, suppliers and distributors competing in a single landscape without clear rules of engagement. You might get faster adoption, but it causes a lot more confusion.”
Cronin compares the situation to the carrier model, except instead of selling circuits, full solutions are often on the table. While the current strategies are mostly aimed at the lower end of the market, Cronin intends to closely watch developments, hoping that the strategies do not cut into his opportunities with larger customers.
A recent example of a distributor’s attempt to shore up its cloud position involves Avnet’s announced agreement to acquire Seamless Technologies — a move that is expected to substantially extend the automation capabilities of the distributor’s services division, and, by extension, the distributor’s network of channel partners.
“I understand why they’re doing it,” said Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of BlueWater Communications Group, a New York-based integrator. “But like a lot of things that distributors do, they don’t always apply very well to the partners who can make those investments on their own. We’re not going to go to Avnet for those types of services. We build those kinds capabilities ourselves …”
NEXT: The View From A Distie
Hewlett-Packard COO Bill Veghte Thursday ended the company’s Discover conference with a bang, revealing that HP has moved one of Amazon Web Services’ biggest customers to the HP enterprise-grade public cloud.
In the final main stage keynote session, Veghte said Workday, a Software-as-a-Service provider that bills itself as the enterprise cloud for human resources and finance, moved over to HP’s public cloud this week. The announcement received thunderous applause from conference attendees.
“They are doing that because they want a cloud that they can rely on as an enterprise serving enterprises with some of the most rigorous SLAs in the business,” said Veghte.
The Amazon takeout comes as HP this week unveiled extensive cloud offerings in a drive to dramatically increase its cloud services footprint.
Saar Gillai, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Converged Cloud, said most of Amazon’s business comes from startups or large companies that are looking for an alternative.
“Those very large players want choice,” he said.” They don’t like to be dependent on one player. Obviously, they would like to talk to an enterprise company, maybe a Fortune 10 company that provides that kind of choice.”
Gillai said he expects Amazon customers concerned about cloud lock-in to embrace HP’s public cloud. “I think people will be surprised [by new customers moving from Amazon to the HP public cloud],” he said. “These very large players that have built [services] on Amazon want choice. Like any situation with a large company, nobody wants to have a sole-source vendor. So all those guys you should assume they are looking for a second source.”
HP this week launched HP Cloud Operating System, an OpenStack-based offering that is the cornerstone of the computer giant’s new converged cloud common architecture.
That could give HP a big advantage as it moves to provide customers workload portability in an open architecture across public, private and hybrid cloud environments.
HP CloudOS strikes at the heart of providing customers an open platform aimed at preventing cloud lock-in. “Choice is a big deal,” said Gillai. “We don’t lock you into one stack.”
CloudOS, he said, provides open APIs for solution providers to build modern applications for hybrid cloud environments, said Gillai. “The Amazon challenge is they only have one model,” he said. “You can write in Amazon, but that is public cloud. If I want a private cloud I can’t write in Amazon. I don’t have choice in model with Amazon. I am stuck. And if I want to move it somewhere else I am stuck; you have to rebuild the app.”
In response to a request for more information, an Amazon spokesperson told CRN that it is inaccurate that Workday moved its cloud operations from Amazon to HP. The spokesperson added that Workday remains an Amazon Web Services customer, and that the relationship between Amazon and Workday continues to grow.
Workday has yet to respond to requests for more information.
PUBLISHED JUNE 13, 2013
This story was updated on June 13, 2012, at 3:15 p.m. PST, to include comments made after press time by an Amazon spokesperson.