On March 21, GoDaddy announced the launch of cloud services aimed at bringing the economics and operational agility of the cloud to its millions of small business customers. Integrated with its domain registration and DNS services, GoDaddy cloud services allows customers to provision infrastructure in less than 54 seconds by means of an intuitive user interface. Built on OpenStack cloud technology and powered by KVM virtualization, GoDaddy’s cloud application library integrates with Bitnami to deliver applications such as WordPress, Drupal, the CRM Odoo and eCommerce platforms OpenCart and Magento. GoDaddy’s cloud services are available to customers via the utility-based pricing that represents one key attribute of cloud computing. GoDaddy’s cloud services offering aims to build on its reputation and experience with cloud hosting for small businesses by additionally offering those same clients the ability to provision infrastructure and applications for a broader range of use cases than simple web or content management hosting. GoDaddy’s decision to offer cloud services illustrates its belief that small businesses may not have the confidence to collaborate with the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform, and correspondingly points to the market potential of a cloud offering dedicated to SMBs. GoDaddy’s cloud services offering also underscores the continued importance of OpenStack to contemporary IaaS cloud computing in the wake of a series of acquisitions of OpenStack startups by tech behemoths such as Cisco and EMC.
Go Daddy’s recent announcement that it plans to enter the IaaS cloud computing market throws yet another twist into the contemporary evolution of the cloud computing space. Although competing directly with Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, the domain registration and web hosting company proposes an IaaS solution called Data Center on Demand that provides fixed server resources for a monthly fee in sharp contrast to the “elasticity” and “pay per use” attributes of IaaS cloud computing. Moreover, the marketing brochure for Go Daddy’s Data Center on Demand offering asks its customers whether they have professional IT staff, noting, “managing Data Center On Demand machines requires technical expertise.” The disclaimer about professional IT staff reveals that Go Daddy has yet to build user friendly management consoles that do not require the use of shell commands. The service does offer load balancing capabilities that “can load balance any volume of traffic among an entire network of machines” and are “amazingly simple to set up.” The twist in the evolution of cloud computing represented by Go Daddy’s cloud computing product concerns its use of fixed pricing for fixed server resources. Data Center on Demand is currently in a limited release version scheduled for full deployment in July. Go Daddy’s entry into IaaS cloud computing marks a strategic move to leverage its ubiquitous brand name and gargantuan customer base to make a dent in the cloud computing revenues of AWS and Rackspace. Expect small businesses with technically savvy resources to lead the charge amongst their initial round of customers. Larger enterprises are likely to continue to stick with Amazon, Rackspace and more user friendly, pay per use models for now.