Datapipe and Rackspace take the two leadership positions in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, North America as illustrated below. Datapipe offers fully managed hosting solutions on Amazon Web Services in addition to private cloud and hybrid cloud solutions. Rackspace, meanwhile, recently introduced a managed cloud service that builds upon its branding for “fanatical support” by delivering managed infrastructure and managed operations solutions. CenturyLink was also positioned strongly as a visionary with a strong ability to execute. Managed hosting solutions are likely to play a critical role in the next phase of the evolution of IaaS adoption as organizations increasingly strive to simplify and streamline IaaS adoption by transferring responsibility for provisioning, managing and troubleshooting IaaS environments to vendors who specialize in managed cloud solution delivery.
Disclaimer: This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Datapipe here or Rackspace here. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Rackspace recently announced details of a managed cloud service plan that gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of managed services for their cloud deployments. The managed cloud service plan comes in two forms: (1) managed infrastructure, which provides advisory services regarding infrastructure set-up and architecture; and (2) managed operations, which enables Rackspace engineers to access customer servers to tweak code as necessary. The managed infrastructure and operations offerings represent Rackspace’s attempt to differentiate itself from competitors such as Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure, both of which demand greater responsibility on the part of developers and IT staff to provision, configure, deploy and manage Infrastructure as a Service environments. The introduction of the managed cloud service pivots on Rackspace’s famed “fanatical support” by building on the company’s strengths as a leader in consultative support for IaaS deployment and management. Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes summarized the new managed cloud offerings as follows:
Our basic level, called Managed Infrastructure, offers Fanatical Support with much more managed service than do the more-expensive, premium service levels offered by many of our competitors. Our higher service level, called Managed Operations, provides even more managed services, up the stack into the support of application level — addressing customer needs that most of our rivals won’t even touch.
Components of the managed infrastructure offering include architectural advice, support for workload migration and scaling, launch assistance and round the clock availability of cloud engineers to troubleshoot and resolve issues. Managed operations additionally delivers support for operating systems, web servers, database servers, cloud databases, cloud backup and monitoring and user provisioning and permissions. Rackspace’s managed infrastructure offering is priced at $.005/GB, assuming a $50 minimum per month while managed operations is priced at $.02/GB, with a $500 monthly minimum. In addition to its managed cloud service, Rackspace announced details of an expanded program for developers and more transparent pricing. Altogether, Rackspace’s new managed cloud offering is likely to give it some short term publicity and inject new life into its ailing IaaS positioning, but the San Antonio-based company will need a deeper transformation if it intends to seriously compete with the big players in the IaaS space, particularly given that competitors such as Amazon Web Services already partner with other vendors to offer managed services comparable to those revealed by Rackspace last Tuesday.
PredictionIO today announces the finalization of $2.5M in funding in a capital raise whose investors include Azure Capital QuestVP, CrunchFund, Stanford StartX-Fund, Kima Ventures, IronFire, Sood Venture and XG Ventures. The funding will be used to accelerate product development and marketing and sales and operations for the company’s open source machine learning server for predictive analytics. PredictionIO aspires to fill the role in the predictive analytics space played by MySQL in the relational database space by delivering an open source platform that empowers data scientists to both leverage a pre-defined library of predictive algorithms as well as create new algorithms that they can either choose to contribute to the platform, or keep to themselves. Built using Scala, the PredictionIO platform supports JVM and Java-based code as well as backend Hadoop-based data. Typical use cases for PredictionIO’s technology include the production of personalized content and recommendation engines, as well as algorithms that predict the behavior of users and industries based on historical trends. Available through the Amazon Web Services marketplace or via download, Prediction IO already boasts an open source user community of over 4000 developers and undergirds predictive analytics in “hundreds” of applications across of variety of verticals. The platform fills a critical niche in the big data analytics space by delivering an open source platform as a service-like infrastructure for the development of predictive analytics. Importantly, PredictionIO empowers companies who cannot afford to hire quant-level data scientists to quickly develop and tweak predictive models using its guided, machine learning-based user interface. That said, much of the success of PredictionIO will depend on the richness and variety of its library of pre-configured predictive modeling algorithms, but its initial round of funding represents a promising start toward accelerating adoption and expanding the platform’s impressive list of existing libraries and relevance for various use cases.
Red Hat today announces the release of Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2, the storage platform that Red Hat acquired in April 2014. Inktank Ceph delivers object and block storage for cloud storage use cases, with a specific focus to date on storage solutions for OpenStack deployments. Today’s release features the addition of erasure coding functionality that allows customers to more cost effectively store replicas of storage objects by using a mathematical technique that transforms an object defined by k variables into n variables, where n > k. Erasure coding breaks data into constituent components and subsequently delocalizes the fragments across different storage platforms in a way that circumvents the necessity of storing exact replicas of the storage objects in question. The addition of erasure coding reduces the cost of storage per GB, thereby rendering Inktank Ceph more affordable for customers that have massive amounts of structured or unstructured data. Additionally, Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2 features Cache Tiering functionality that moves hot data to high performance storage devices when needed, and cold data to lower performance devices. With today’s release, Inktank Ceph embraces a range of use cases over and beyond storage solutions for OpenStack deployments such as the storage of massive amounts of unstructured data for customers with high volumes of document-based, textual or media content. Inktank Ceph also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 and thereby allows Red Hat to deliver an integrated OpenStack solution based on technology from one vendor. In conjunction with enhancements to Calamari, the platform’s management console, Inktank Ceph 1.2 positions itself as a cost-effective storage platform that is able to manage an increasing variety of customer use cases.
Marketing automation vendor Act-On today announced a set of enhancements to its platform that enable marketers to more effectively evaluate and transform the efficacy of their marketing campaigns. Specifically, Act-On delivers enriched reporting, a more easily customizable user interface and expanded integrations with third party vendors that give marketers increased flexibility with regard to the bi-directional exchange of data with applications that participate in outbound and inbound marketing initiatives. Newly announced reporting functionality includes funnel report capabilities that visualize the flow of data at different stages of the marketing process as illustrated below:
Funnel reporting enables marketers to drill-down on leads from different stages of the application progress and track their progress over time. Moreover, Act-On announces the availability of a more easily customizable dashboard that allows users to selectively organize their favorite marketing campaigns and analytics and data visualizations of interest. As part of its focus on delivering a marketing platform for small to medium-sized businesses, Act-On now delivers expanded integrations and APIs for CRMs such as MS Dynamics, Sugar, NetSuite given that many smaller companies cannot easily afford Salesforce.com, which Act-On supports as well. Despite having roughly 200 customers with over $500M in revenue as noted by Act-On’s CMO Atri Chatterjee in an interview with Cloud Computing Today, Act-On’s focus on mid-market companies renders it unique in the marketing automation space, particularly because it delivers an integrated platform featuring increasingly rich user experience functionality and the one of the few month to month contracts in the industry. The marketing automation space should expect to hear more news regarding the rate of Act-On’s impressive product innovation as the company continues to focus on delivering a turnkey marketing platform for SMB customers with a richness of functionality more commonly seen amongst products geared toward the enterprise.
On Friday, Amazon Web Services announced the release of Amazon Zocalo, an enterprise grade storage and collaboration platform. Zocalo delivers file storage, the ability for users to annotate files and provide feedback for team members in addition to version control and fine-grained access permissions. Users of Zocalo can request feedback from team members and return to the section in the original document to which the feedback refers as illustrated below:
Image source: Look Out Box and Dropbox – Here Comes Amazon’s Zocalo
Collaborators can highlight words or phrases in the original document and receive notifications via email about recently inputted feedback or impending deadlines. Moreover, users have the ability to set up a folder that synchronizes with Zocalo by means of an encrypted connection across all relevant devices. Enterprise customers can use Zocalo as a production-ready collaboration platform that allows employees to dispense with lengthy email collaborations to finalize documents. Moreover, Zocalo features advanced security functionality marked by data encryption, audit logs and integration with Active Directory, all for the low cost of $5 per user for 200 GB of storage per user. The Zocalo platform represents direct competition to file storage and collaboration vendors Box and Dropbox, both of whom target personal users and enterprise customers alike, although Amazon’s pricepoint and breathtaking ability to roll out features renders it an attractive option out of the gate despite being a late arriver to the enterprise file storage landscape. Most importantly, Zocalo constitutes yet another example of Amazon’s investment in courting enterprise customers by delivering a solution that meets enterprise needs for security, simplicity and collaboration-centric functionality.
Datapipe today announced an expansion of its Managed Cloud for Amazon Web Services offering marked by the availability of enhanced functionality related to cloud security, risk management, the creation of hybrid cloud infrastructures and operational analytics. As an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, Datapipe’s Managed Cloud for Amazon Web Services delivers a fully managed solution for customers who would like to take advantage of the Amazon Web Services platform and its extraordinary range of features and ancillary product offerings. Specifically, Datapipe offers services that include round the clock issue resolution and monitoring, managed cloud provisioning, cloud scaling, database management, workload migration, SharePoint as a Service and orchestration. As a result of today’s announcement, Datapipe offers enhanced security and risk management solutions including advanced identity management and authentication services, managed security and threat alerts, backup and recovery options that leverage hybrid cloud infrastructures such as Datapipe’s on-premise datacenters and enterprise-level governance and security policies. In addition, Datapipe launches a “Managed hybrid cloud connect” solution that allows customers to create hybrid cloud infrastructures composed of the Amazon Web Services Cloud with Datapipe’s on-premise datacenters in Seattle, WA, Silicon Valley, Ashburn, VA, London and Singapore. Importantly, Datapipe’s “Managed hybrid cloud connect” solution leverages AWS Direct Connect, the dedicated connection to Amazon Web Services that bypasses the public internet. Finally, Datapipe revealed the availability of operational analytics about a customer’s AWS infrastructure that enables customers to track usage trends and operational KPIs towards the end of optimizing the performance of their deployments. Today’s announcement by Datapipe underscores the heterogeneity of strategic alliances in the IaaS space whereby vendors such as Datapipe partner with a leading IaaS player to deliver a fully managed offering with an increasingly rich range of features that enables enterprise customers to access a turnkey solution that meets their needs for infrastructure monitoring, security, data resilience and analytics. The industry should expect more vendors to offer managed cloud solutions on the platforms of major IaaS players as the market for cloud services continues to skyrocket and the need for cloud-related managed services increased in tandem.
Categories: Amazon Web Services, Datapipe, IaaS
Tags: Amazon Web Services, AWS Direct Connect, cloud analytics, cloud governance, cloud security, data resilience, hybrid cloud, Managed Cloud for Amazon Web Services, operational KPIs