Cloud and CDN provider OnApp announced on Tuesday at World Hosting Days that it has launched OnApp Storage, a storage platform that builds SANs using standard SATA and SSD drives in hypervisor servers. Designed for enterprises and service providers, it uses “smart disk” technology to overcome the limitations of scalability and cost of typical SAN products, and is available through a pay-as-you-go model.
In a presentation at WHD on Tuesday morning, Ditlev Bredahl, CEO of OnApp, says that OnApps aim is to keep its service provider clients profitable and competitive. This new storage offering will help service providers save money on SAN, and enable OnApp’s clients to complement the existing OnApp cloud services.
According to a press release, OnApp designed its new storage platform to address the need for resiliant and affordable SAN. Before this, OnApp says that service providers have had to choose between expensive enterprise SANs, with high upgrade and maintenance costs, open source SAN, or low-end SANs, which are more affordable but lack scalability and performance.
The smart disks are self-managing, self-discovering, self-healing and self-contained units, according to OnApp.
OnApp Storage is the third product launched by OnApp, joining its OnApp Cloud and OnApp CDN. OnApp Cloud is an end-to-end software cloud solution for service providers to offer public clouds to customers, and OnApp CDN enables web hosts to sell CDN services. OnApp CDN ties together idle resources through its marketplace across its service provider client base where they can buy and sell capacity to other OnApp clients.
Bredahl outlined some challenges he sees service providers dealing with in terms of competition in the cloud space.
Amazon is a headache for service providers and is taking clients from cloud providers because it has scale, geographical reach, and “unmatched product breadth.” He referred to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for cloud and pointed out that AWS is leading, while other cloud providers like SoftLayer are lagging behind.
Another challenge for service providers is commoditization. Bredahl says the IaaS business model becomes commoditised very fast, and AWS accelerates that process.
He says that service providers are almost giving up in this respect because of the limitations of marketing. He calls this “Where’s Waldo Marketing” in that it’s hard for customers to see the difference between the marketing of AWS and of other providers that offer commoditized cloud.
The third challenge is CAPEX, Bredahl says.
What works, according to Bredahl, is decommoditization. His clients have built highly specialized server images, focus on slim verticals, and by moving into new geographical markets, especially IaaS providers. Finally, he says OnApp clients build bespoke integrations with third party products.
Specializing works, he says, and service providers need to forget about competing with AWS on price/CPAs and build niches that are not reliant on CAPEX intensive investments.
The holy grail of hosting is the federation, and service providers will have success when they team up with data centers, service providers and ISVs, and use each others competencies. This federation would eliminate CAPEX concerns. Teaming up is the only way to compete with the big guys like Amazon, Bredahl says.
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