All posts by James

DigiPlex’s data centre guide focuses on sustainability as key to digital transformation

Nordic data centre and colocation provider DigiPlex has launched a guide designed to help businesses solidify their data centre strategies – and avoid making long-term mistakes.

The guide was put together to address gaps in knowledge which DigiPlex argues could significantly impact data centre decision making, with ramifications for the wider business.

Naturally, one of the key topic areas is around alternatives to running on-premises data centres and the skills and experience required, whether it is through cloud or colocation. The report affirms cloud as an inexorable trend.

"IDC predicts significant buildout of data centres in the Nordics beyond 2020 as data centres need to be located close to users to avoid latency in data traffic as cloud transformation and IoT expand," the paper notes. "If your in-house data centre is not ideally located, it is worth evaluating an additional data centre to achieve the digital proximity needed and avoid unfortunate digital congestion."

Sustainability is another important area the report focuses on. High energy efficiency, use of renewable electricity and effective heat recovery are all initiatives the report recommends. This is not an idle promise either; this time last year CloudTech reported on a DigiPlex initiative where waste heat from its facilities was being reused in residential apartments across Oslo.

By moving from a PUE (power usage effectiveness) rating of 1.67 to 1.2, the report asserts that organisations can save as much as a quarter on power consumption, which positively impacts the bottom line with it. This makes for an interesting comparison with other figures; when this reporter visited Rackspace's newest UK data centre in 2015, the claimed PUE was 1.15. The Rackspace build also featured sloped roofs for harvesting rainwater, and cooling using natural air. The Nordics' cooler temperatures mean many of the world's largest companies – Facebook being a prime example – are setting up shop there.

Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO of DigiPlex, cited further IDC research which argued two in three European CEOs were under 'considerable pressure' to deliver successful digital transformation strategies. "The data centre sits at the core of this challenge as a critical strategic concern and opportunity for competitive advantage and sustainability," said Eckhoff. "Data centres can be owned and operated in many ways, and there has never been a more important time to review and evaulate which options are best for you.

"Regardless of your industry, your current level of digitalisation or how you currently house and manage the data necessary to operate your business, taking an honest look at your data centre requirements and options regularly is critical to long-term success," added Eckhoff.

The full list of 10 requirements the report covers are high reliability, ability to release investment budget for innovation, predictable operating costs, levels of certified renewable electricity used, energy efficiency, heat recovery, high level of physical secrity, proximity to end users, proper connectivity, and a relevant data centre ecosystem.

You can read the full report here (email required). in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

Cloud Security Alliance publishes ‘egregious 11’ list of top threats to the cloud

If one other thing besides death and taxes is certain, it is that cloud security will remain a key talking point. Whose responsibility is it exactly – and why does the shared responsibility model continue to cause havoc?

Some areas however can be nailed down much more solidly. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has issued what it calls the ‘egregious 11’ in its latest report, giving organisations an up-to-date list of the biggest cloud security concerns to aid better risk management decision making.

Many of the biggest security risks are ones which regular readers of this publication will be more than familiar. Data breaches, insider threats and account hijacking, along with account misconfiguration, are usually at the sharp end of any public snafus, from Capital One in the former, to Facebook in the latter.

As a result, the CSA recommendations are more mantras than anything new. Data is rapidly becoming the primary target for cyberattacks, while data accessible via the Internet is the most vulnerable asset to misconfiguration. Companies need to bring automation into the equation to remediate any misconfiguration issues.  

The section subtitled ‘lack of cloud security architecture and strategy’ is an interesting one – and it is here where the report notes the lack of awareness around shared responsibility as key. “The functionality and speed of migration often take precedence over security,” the report notes. “Implementing security architecture and developing a robust security strategy will provide organisations with a strong foundation to operate and conduct business activities in the cloud.

“Leveraging cloud-native tools to increase visibility in cloud environments will also minimise risk and cost. Such precautions, if taken, will significantly reduce the risk of compromise.”

There is some good news, however. The previous report from the CSA focused around what it called the ‘treacherous 12’. Even for those with a less-than-stellar grasp of mathematics, it is worth noting things are going in the right direction, albeit slowly.

The report argues that many traditional cloud security issues which fall to vendors are no longer seen as a major threat. These include denial of service, shared technology vulnerabilities, and CSP data loss.

Yet while these areas can be seen as being well addressed, the other interpretation is that security issues which are the result of management decisions around cloud strategy and implementation are of much more concern.

“The complexity of cloud can be the perfect place for attackers to hide, offering concealment as a launchpad for further harm,” said John Yeoh, CSA global vice president of research. “Unawareness of the threats, risks and vulnerabilities makes it more challenging to protect organisations from data loss.

“The security issues outlined in this iteration of the report, therefore, are a call to action for developing and enhancing cloud security awareness, configuration and identity management,” Yeoh added.

You can download and read the full report here (email required). in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

Enterprise blockchain firm Cypherium secures Google Cloud partnership, adding to AWS deal

Meet Cypherium. The New York-based blockchain startup is partnering with Google Cloud – making it the third major cloud provider to secure a deal with the company.

The company’s goal is to provide an enterprise-ready blockchain platform which promises up to 5,000 transactions per second. Scalability continues to be a concern for organisations looking to utilise blockchain technologies, and is seen as a determining factor in why a pronounced gap remains between pilot projects and production for blockchain in the enterprise.

The collaboration with Google Cloud, in which Cypherium will join the technology partner program, is to ‘provide enterprises with a full-stack solution to harness the potential’ of distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), in the words of co-founder and CEO Sky Guo.

“The growing demand in the market for DLT solutions in the financial industry and beyond drives our commitment to this collaboration,” said Guo in a statement. “Cloud customers can rest assured that the blockchain solutions they implement using Cypherium Enterprise are clad in robust security, and capable of delivering rapid transaction speeds for its smart contracts and achieving fast data processing from its Java virtual machine.”

Cypherium had previously partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM Cloud. The former was announced in May with Cypherium joining the AWS Marketplace. The startup took pains at the time to confirm the partnership’s validity in a Medium post. “Cypherium is functional and innovative technology that has practical solutions to problems across a number of industries, and for that reason alone, it distinguishes itself,” the company wrote.

Partnerships between cloud providers and blockchain projects are certainly in vogue right now; last month aelf, a decentralised cloud computing blockchain platform, was made available on Microsoft Azure, joining AWS.

This is not something which Cypherium alone is tackling; as sister publication The Block has covered, the Telos Foundation has claimed a current record of 12 million transactions across 24 hours. Douglas Horn, architect at Telos and author of the company’s whitepaper, outlined the rationale for organisations. “Until the network’s there, built and active, that it can be rolled out on, nobody’s going to roll out, because they’re dooming themselves to failure,” said Horn.

“Google Cloud and Cypherium are bound by a perpetual need to innovate,” Guo added. “The future of commerce and blockchain are inextricably linked and we are well-positioned to leverage Google Cloud’s expansive resources and best-in-class infrastructure to accelerate the use of the technology to solve real-world problems faced by businesses today.” in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

The Globe and Mail moves to AWS, combining SageMaker with Sophi analytics platform

Publishing and media companies continue to utilise the cloud for their archival and architectural needs – and The Globe and Mail is the latest to move across.

The Canadian news brand has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud provider, citing the Seattle giant’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities as key to its decision.

The Globe and Mail’s usage of AI and ML technologies is extensive. Amazon SageMaker, Comprehend, Rekognition and Textract are all being utilised, while Amazon Polly is being used to convert text articles to audio in English, French, and Mandarin.

One of the more interesting injections of machine learning for The Globe and Mail is through assessing the value of articles before they go live. The publisher’s proprietary analytics platform, Sophi, uses SageMaker among other AWS services to help the editorial team identify which stories should go behind a paywall, as well as which stories to promote and when.

“The Globe originally built Sophi for its own use, but has since begun offering Sophi as a service to other news organisations,” said Greg Doufas, chief technology and digital officer at The Globe and Mail. “With AWS, we are able to bring our tech experts and editorial leadership together to innovate and bring new ideas to the newsroom to provide great experiences for our readers.”

Many newly-announced AWS customers are keen to extol the virtues of AI and ML. Of the most recent, NASCAR became the latest sporting franchise – after Formula 1 and Major League Baseball – to sign up, back in June. The US motor racing governing body is looking to uncover its vast archive and release a periodic video series titled ‘This Moment in NASCAR History’, using Rekognition to automatically tag video frames with metadata for easier search capability.

The latter is an interesting use case across media. Boston TV station WGBH has been migrating its archive from tape and hard disk drives, which took up to 72 hours to access, to Cloudian’s object storage, leading to more seamless retrieval.

“What companies want to do is learn from the data – they want to be able to analyse and benefit from it, and it’s very hard to do if that data is sitting on a shelf,” Jon Toor, Cloudian CMO told CloudTech in 2018. “You need it to be sitting there with real-time access – preferably something that is cloud-integrated so you can also use tools in the cloud to help you learn about that data.”

AWS does not have a monopoly for North American publishers, however. The New York Times, when not working on a blockchain project to combat media misinformation, is a well-known Google Cloud customer. The publisher moved its gaming and crossword platform from Amazon in 2017, while in November it announced it was using Google’s AI to analyse its photo archive for story gathering. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

Microsoft and Reliance Jio team up in 10-year cloud deal to ‘transform Indian economy and society’

Indian network operator Reliance Jio has announced a 10-year partnership with Microsoft to utilise and promote Azure and ‘accelerate the digital transformation of the Indian economy and society.’

The alliance will comprise a variety of initiatives. Jio will move its non-network applications to Azure, as well as set up data centres across India with Azure housed there. The telco’s internal workforce will be supplied with the Microsoft 365 collaboration suite, while Jio’s connectivity infrastructure will promote the adoption of Azure as part of the company’s cloud-first strategy.

The move will extend beyond Jio internally to its customer base; startups will have greater access to cloud infrastructure, while Indian SMBs will have access to a range of cloud-based productivity apps. For larger organisations, the companies state that new Jio solutions can be leveraged which work with Microsoft offerings already in use.

“In combining efforts, Jio and Microsoft aim to enhance the adoption of leading technologies like data analytics, AI, cognitive services, blockchain, Internet of Things and edge computing among small and medium enterprises to make them ready to compete and grow, while helping accelerate technology-led GDP growth in India and driving adoption of next-gen technology solutions at scale,” the companies said in a statement.

India’s role in the cloud computing ecosystem is an interesting one. The country’s potential is unmistakable; a report last November argued more than one million cloud jobs will be created in India by 2022 while figures in April suggested the overall cloud computing market will break $7 billion by the same year.

Yet glaring weaknesses remain. The most recent report from the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) last April ranked India only above China and Vietnam in its 14-nation ranking of best cloud nations within Asia Pacific. Many of India’s problems are similar to China’s – the country’s vast expanse means that while certain areas are prosperous, the overall score for connectivity, sustainability and data centre risk are low.

The ACCA report noted at the time that one of the key areas where India could gain leverage is through its tech-literate workforce to improve its attractiveness as a data centre hub. It is however a slow process. “Cloud infrastructure is the weakness that is weighing India down,” the report noted. “Lack of access to quality broadband and sustainable power remain serious issues throughout India, making it difficult for even the most polished security and governance frameworks to drive cloud adoption.”

Figures from Synergy Research last June showed that across APAC, AWS remained the leading public cloud provider, with Alibaba breaking the Microsoft stranglehold on second place – primarily down to Chinese dominance. Satyajit Sinha, an analyst at Counterpoint, told the Economic Times that the Jio and Microsoft team up would require AWS and Google to come up with ‘new, perhaps cheaper’ pricing models for the Indian market. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

Analysing Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host and licensing changes: Risk, rage, and reward

Microsoft is modifying some of its Azure licensing terms for dedicated hosted cloud services, with a knock-on effect of making services more expensive for customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Alibaba Cloud.

The move coincides with Microsoft launching Azure Dedicated Host, a service that enables users to run Linux and Windows VMs on single-tenant physical servers.

The overall rationale for the service was outlined by the Azure team in a blog post. “The emergence of dedicated hosted cloud services has blurred the line between traditional outsourcing and cloud services, and has led to the use of on-premises licenses on cloud services,” a post read. “Dedicated hosted cloud services by major public cloud providers typically offer global elastic scale, on-demand provisioning and a pay-as-you-go model, similar to multi-tenant cloud services.

“As a result, we’re updating the outsourcing terms for Microsoft on-premises licenses to clarify the distinction between on-premises/traditional outsourcing and cloud services and create more consistent licensing terms across multi-tenant and dedicated hosted cloud services.”

Starting from October, customers who buy on-premises licenses without ‘software assurance and mobility rights’ cannot be deployed with dedicated hosted cloud services offered by the three big competitors, including VMware Cloud on AWS. Microsoft added these changes did not apply to other providers.

Owen Rogers, research vice president for digital economics at 451 Research, noted an example of the potential change. “Back when Azure didn’t offer dedicated hosts, some AWS customers installed Windows Server Datacenter on an AWS dedicated host – as a result, all virtualised operating systems on the host were licensed to run Windows Server, from the single host license, which aided migrations and license management plus lowered costs,” Rogers told CloudTech.

“Now Microsoft is saying you won’t be able to install Windows Server on a dedicated host at all, unless you use Azure.”

It is safe to say that AWS responded to the news with claws out. Writing on LinkedIn Sandy Carter, AWS vice president, argued the announcements “certainly seem like they’ve been taken from the old guard software vendor playbook.” Amazon CTO Werner Vogels was similarly dismissive, writing on Twitter.

Carter cited eMarketer as an example of a customer which had begun its digital transformation journey on Azure but had moved to the other side. “The cloud enables your company’s agility and innovation. Do you really want to bring along the licensing baggage of the old world, especially if those rights continue to change?” wrote Carter. “At AWS, our goal is to provide our customers with choice.”

Choice at what cost, however? This statement may raise the odd eyebrow for those who have been monitoring the recent rumbles around open source and big cloud providers. MongoDB, Confluent and Redis Labs were three companies who had modified their licensing because of major cloud providers who ‘take the open source code, bake it into [their] cloud offering and put all their own investments into differentiated proprietary offerings’, as Confluent co-founder Jay Kreps put it last year.

Redis CEO Ofer Bengal told this publication in February that, aside from AWS, ‘the mood [was] trying to change’, inferring that partnerships between open source cos and big clouds were on the horizon. Lo and behold, less than two months later, Google Cloud announced partnerships with seven open source vendors – including all of the above.

“[The move] is controversial because Azure is restricting freedom of choice regarding where its software can be hosted, and is using its software to undercut its competition,” added Rogers. “Many will say this is just good business sense – Microsoft has invested billions in its software and services over the years, why shouldn’t it use its assets to capitalise on the opportunity? Others will say that some enterprises will have to pay more as a result without getting more value in return.

“The risk is that this move doesn’t encourage customers to move to Azure, but rather encourages customers to migrate to Microsoft’s competitors’ services,” added Rogers.

Ultimately, both sides appear to be looking out for number one – an understandable position given the long-standing supersonic growth from the hyperscale clouds appears to be on the wane. As Synergy Research puts it, this is more the ‘law of large numbers’ taking its inevitable effect – but perhaps the well-known proverb around stones and glass houses may also apply. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

The state of the MSP in 2019: Why flexibility and further moves to the cloud are key

Managed service providers (MSPs) are in a fascinating place right now. They more often than not have plenty of longevity, while the vast majority believe today is as good as ever to be in the industry.

Yet the two points can be conflated. With longevity comes a need to change course, to avoid falling behind competitors. But as organisations continue to move to the cloud, and as their cloudy workloads become increasingly complex, the role of the MSP becomes increasingly vital. It is just about where exactly you play.

Datto, a provider of business continuity, networking and business management software, recently released its 2019 State of the MSP Report. The study polled more than 1600 MSPs around the world focusing on what they were doing right now in the channel and, crucially, where they thought the puck was heading.

Areas where providers felt their business was positively impacted included cloud storage and management, business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as cybersecurity. Kevin Damghani, chief partner experience engineer at IT Partners, told the report that as more clients shift to cloud-based productivity software, a ‘major opportunity’ presented itself for SaaS backup, with SaaS protection being the company’s fastest growing offering.

Rob Rae, VP business development at Datto, emphasised this positive approach. “MSPs have endless opportunities to expand their offerings, reach more industries, and grow their bottom line,” he told CloudTech. “The industry landscape for MSPs is constantly changing as technology advances – and nowadays, those advances are happening more rapidly than ever.”

Rae cited managed networking as a good example of this expansion where providers were showing plenty of interest. “It’s an easy concept for the businesses an MSP serves to grasp, because every business needs a Wi-Fi network. An MSP might manage their clients’ data backups, but what happens if the network goes down?” said Rae. “How would a client access that data? Businesses will invest to keep their networks, both wired and wireless, running efficiently.”

MSPs have endless opportunities to expand their offerings, reach more industries, and grow their bottom line. The industry landscape is constantly changing as technology advances

As good as it is for a business to have so many strings on one’s bow, it matters little when others aren’t aware of it. This was seen as one of the primary concerns of the report’s respondents; marketing and sales, cited by 44% of those polled, was the most frequent grumble.

Rae notes it has been this way for a few years – and is indirectly related to how long the companies have been in business. “Most MSPs don’t have in-house marketing teams and come from technical backgrounds,” he explained. “Maintaining healthy revenue growth and profitability is a common pain point as well as competition increases as more MSPs enter the space.

“Many MSPs began as break-fix shops or VARs [value added resellers],” Rae added. “As the concept of an MSP who operates on a recurring revenue model continues to grow in popularity across the IT channel, we can expect more MSPs to keep entering the space.”

Security was another concern, cited alongside ransomware by 30% of respondents. Regular readers of this publication will have seen the increasing sophistication of attacks, whether it is from greater attack surfaces or emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). The report notes that for many customers, the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mindset remains prevalent.

Datto has previously explored how ransomware remains a ‘massive’ threat to SMBs and how the channel is coping with it. Rae noted this heightened worry. “Concerns have increased because the risks have been more widely reported globally along with monetary and data losses – however, the threat never increased,” he said. “Bad actors merely were able to exploit at a wider scale more anonymously than ever before with the advent of ransomware and cryptocurrencies.”

Ultimately, MSPs have plenty of experience in terms of IT lifecycles, as well as an array of options in how to charm their customers and prospects. While the pain points aren’t going away, the 2019 State of the MSP Report notes an overall mood of optimism: in the next 12 months more than half of MSPs polled are expecting to add up to 10 new clients.

Editor’s note: This article is in association with Datto.

Skybox and Zscaler team up for stronger cloud firewall integration

If there is one thing safer than a cloud security provider, it is two cloud security providers – in theory, at least. Zscaler and Skybox Security are coming together to connect two of their products for greater end-to-end protection.

The two companies will combine Zscaler’s Cloud Firewall product with the Skybox Security Suite, which encompasses visibility, vulnerability control, as well as firewall and network assurance for enterprise use cases. Zscaler policy information will feed directly into the firewall and network assurance modules. The data will help inform Skybox’s visual model for hybrid networks.

Customers of Zscaler Cloud Firewall will be able to ensure they are adhering to policies more easily, as well as automatically flagging violations.  

“Organisations need a seamless way to deliver a consistent and compliant policy on or of network,” said Punit Minocha, SVP of business and corporate development at Zscaler in a statement. “Zscaler cloud platform’s fast and secure policy-based access connects the right user to the right service or application.

“Combined with the Skybox security policy management solution, we simplify management and allow customers to transition their access policies to a modern cloud architecture,” added Minocha.

Last week Skybox issued its mid-year report on vulnerability and threat trends which argued, among others, that cloud container vulnerabilities were on a steady upturn. Vulnerabilities in container software had increased by 46% in the first half of 2019 compared with the year previously, the company noted.

The overriding theme was of good news and bad news. While it was good that only a ‘small fraction’ of vulnerabilities published will have an exploit, increasing network complexity makes it much tougher to understand what goes where.

“It’s critical that customers have a way to spot vulnerabilities even as their environment may be changing frequently,” said Amrit Williams, Skybox VP products at the time. “They also need to assess those vulnerabilities’ exploitability and exposure within the hybrid network and prioritise them alongside vulnerabilities from the rest of the environment – on-prem, virtual networks and other clouds.”

Getting a greater handle on whether vulnerabilities are infiltrating the enterprise network is naturally key – and it is a cornerstone of the Zscaler and Skybox partnership. You can find out more about the collaboration here. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

David Friend, Wasabi CEO: Cloud storage will be a commodity – and clever vendors can make the most of it

Boston-based Wasabi Technologies has a clear business strategy. “We only do storage,” CEO David Friend tells CloudTech. “We don’t do compute, we’re not going to buy supermarkets, or make movies or TV shows – we just do storage and we’re very good at it.”

This will be the first, but not the last, veiled reference to a certain Seattle-based cloud storage provider. In some ways it is a legitimate concern. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has the largest share across infrastructure by a distance – between a third and half, depending on who you believe – but it also has plenty of offerings around software.

In fact, Amazon has just about everything. Across its 23 categories, there are a grand total of 183 products under the AWS banner, with management and governance, as well as machine learning, top of the tree with 19 each. Wasabi, by contrast, has just one. It’s a complexity thing, Friend argues.

“Our vision is that cloud storage will just become a commodity,” says Friend. “We don’t believe in having all these goofy tiers, because Wasabi is faster than [Amazon] S3 and cheaper than Glacier. So you don’t need six tiers of storage in between with all the complexity that implies and the consultants you have to hire in order to figure out what data to go in what tier.”

Whereas Glacier is cold storage, cheaper for workloads accessed once in a blue moon, Wasabi focuses on the opposite. The clue is in the name, with the company having been called BlueArchive in a previous life. Wasabi’s pricing model is simple: $5.99 per terabyte per month, translating to $0.0059 per gigabyte, with no additional charges for egress or API requests.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often crudely bastardised to add ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘internet’ to the bottom tier; with commoditisation, perhaps storage needs to be added beneath it. Things have come a long way from when Steve Jobs rebuked Dropbox as being merely a ‘feature’, after Drew Houston turned down the Apple chief’s acquisition offer.

Friend, alongside Thomas Koulopoulos, penned an eBook published earlier this year around the concept of the ‘bottomless cloud’, and spoke on the topic at the recent Cyber Security & Cloud Expo event in Amsterdam.

“We were talking about changing the mindset from thinking of data as sort of a scarcity to more a mindset of data abundance,” says Friend. “The idea that data storage gets to be so cheap that it’s not worth deleting anything.

“The people who are throwing away their data because they don’t see any immediate need for it… five, 10 years from now they’re going to look back and say ‘wow, with all the analytical tools we have today, I wish we had saved that data because we could be using it to gain competitive advantage, gain insights into what our customers are doing and what they want,’” adds Friend

“That’s the mindset that we have to change. We have to think about data as something which has probably got future value that’s in excess of what we think it might have today; we need to think of cloud storage the same way we think of electricity or bandwidth.”

Naturally, if you’re going to take on AWS the battle cannot be won alone. Wasabi has emboldened its approach in recent months with expanded geography to Europe and a channel strategy; the former saw a data centre open in Amsterdam in March, while the latter included partnerships with Veeam and Pax8 among others.

“In Europe particularly, we’re going all-channel for practical purposes,” explains Friend, albeit adding users could still sign up for storage directly. “When you look at Veeam’s new cloud-enabled backup product, there’s a dropdown menu. You can pick Amazon storage, Google storage, Microsoft, IBM, and Wasabi. So we’ve broken into the ranks of the top storage vendors now, and that’s clearly where we want to be.”

As far as managed service providers (MSPs) are concerned more generally, Friend notes that the move to the cloud – and the recurring revenue which results – reaps its own rewards. “We’re teaching the MSPs how to make money in this,” he says. “Instead of getting a one-time pop for a box, you get a revenue stream that goes on and on year after year. If you’re the person selling this cloud storage, every year they’re paying for what they’re using, and it just grows.

“It’s an opportunity for the MSPs to really get on the bandwagon and get in front of the cloud migration curve.”

Even though the hyperscalers are hogging public cloud infrastructure, plenty of innovation can still be found. Friend cites Stackpath, a content delivery network (CDN) and edge computing provider, and fellow CDN-er Limelight as companies ‘flourishing off picking pieces’ of the cloud.

“What the MSPs can do is learn how to put these things together and make money,” Friend adds. “That’s the part that we’re playing. Right now we’re the big guys in independent cloud storage, and we can provide the MSP with a great revenue stream.”

Picture credit: Wasabi Technologies in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

VMware extends Google Cloud deal, positions as hybrid partner of choice for the hyperscalers

VMware and Google Cloud have extended their partnership with the launch of a new offering which enables organisations to run their VMware workloads in Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

The product, the snappily titled Google Cloud VMware Solution by CloudSimple – the latter being a verified VMware cloud partner – will give customers the opportunity to run VMware workloads on-prem, in the cloud, or as part of a hybrid architecture.

Both sides naturally came across as agreeable in the soundbites. “With VMware on Google Cloud Platform, customers will be able to leverage all of the familiarity and investment protection of VMware tools and training as they execute on their cloud strategies, and rapidly bring new services to market and operate them seamlessly and more securely across a hybrid cloud environment,” said VMware COO Sanjay Poonen.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian noted similarly in a blog post confirming the news. “Customers have asked us to provide broad support for VMware, and now with Google Cloud VMware Solution by CloudSimple, our customers will be able to run VMware vSphere-based workloads in GCP,” wrote Kurian. “This brings customers a wide breadth of choices for how to run their VMware workloads in a hybrid deployment, from modern containerised applications with Anthos to VM-based applications with VMware in GCP.”

The move – as Poonen noted – meant VMware now supported the five largest clouds, in this instance AWS, Azure, Alibaba and IBM alongside Google. VMware’s dealings with AWS are better known; the launch of AWS Outposts last November all-but brought the house down at re:Invent when CEO Pat Gelsinger took to the stage. Outposts enables organisations to deliver a ‘truly consistent hybrid experience’, in the company’s words, either AWS-native or running VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware’s positioning as a partner has been long in coming and is coming to a head now. In February 2015, this publication put out an op-ed titled ‘Here’s why VMware hasn’t left it too late with its hybrid cloud push.’ Back then, VMware’s move to cloud was relatively late, having previously had a long-standing heritage in virtualisation. Many companies had their aborted attempts to move into the public cloud – CenturyLink and Verizon to name two in the telco space – yet VMware evidently saw two apparent trends.

Enterprises were not only going to focus on a handful of primary players for their public cloud infrastructure – and not focus on just one vendor but go multi-cloud – but they were also not going to give up certain on-prem assets.

You can read the full Google Cloud blog here. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.