Garantia Data’s (Garantia) Redis Cloud and Memcached Cloud products are now generally available on the IBM SoftLayer cloud by means of its Dallas region. As a result, Garantia Data’s Redis Cloud is now available on Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and IBM SoftLayer Dallas. Redis is an open source, in-memory, key value data store that differs from other NoSQL databases by way of its ability to “serve a very high volume of write and read requests…at sub millisecond latency” as noted by CEO Ofer Bengal in an interview with Cloud Computing Today. The partnership between Garantia Data and IBM means that IBM benefits from the feather in its cap marked by the addition of Redis to its IaaS platform, whereas Garantia Data cements yet another high profile partnership with a major public cloud platform that promises to attract even more developers into using Garantia’s distribution of Redis. The Redis Cloud offers developers a fully managed service for development within an infrastructure that includes “automated clustering, scaling, data persistence, performance optimization, and failure recovery from a single console” according to Garantia Data’s Itamar Haber. IBM is pricing Redis on SoftLayer Dallas aggressively at $79/month for 1 GB of storage in contrast to Azure, which charges $108/month for the same. In comparison, AWS prices the Redis Cloud competitively at either $79/month or $89/month for 1 GB, depending on the region.
A recent article by the Synergy Research Group (Synergy) claims that Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the IaaS and PaaS space in terms of revenue. According to Synergy, Amazon Web Services increased its quarterly revenue by 55% to over $700M in Q3 of 2013, whereas the aggregate of revenue for Salesforce, IBM, Windows Azure and Google was less than $400M for the same time period. Worldwide, total IaaS and PaaS revenues exceeded $2.5 billion for the quarter, with IaaS accounting for 64% of cloud revenues, a surprisingly small proportion given the limited penetration of platform as a service within the enterprise. Synergy Research’s John Dinsdale remarked on the company’s findings as follows:
We’ve been analyzing the IaaS/PaaS markets for quite a few quarters now and creating these leadership metrics, and the relative positioning of the leaders really hasn’t changed much. While Amazon dwarfs all competition, the race is on to see if any of the big four followers can distance themselves from their peers. The good news for these companies and for the long tail of operators with relatively small cloud infrastructure service operations, is that IaaS/PaaS will be growing strongly long into the future, providing plenty of opportunity for robust revenue growth.
Here, Dinsdale remarks that the “race is on to see if” Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft and Google can decisively secure second place in the battle for IaaS/PaaS market share. Strikingly, Microsoft, Google and IBM have revenues that are very close to one another, even though one might reasonably expect Microsoft’s Azure platform to edge out its competition given its earlier entry into the market than IBM and Google’s Compute Engine (GCE). That said, IBM’s sizeable IaaS revenue derives largely from its acquisition of SoftLayer, which itself had a rich and venerable history that predated IBM.
Synergy’s chart illustrating Q3 IaaS and PaaS revenues is given below:
Notable omissions from the findings include Rackspace, HP, Oracle, Pivotal One and Red Hat, the middle three of which (HP, Oracle and Pivotal One) are still relatively nascent, and hence justifiably excluded from the present calculation. As Dinsdale notes above, however, “the good news for these companies” and for remainder of the space is that revenues are set to increase significantly in the near term. Going forward, one of the key questions for subsequent IaaS market share analyses will be whether OpenStack’s momentum and gradual maturation propels disproportionate growth amongst OpenStack-based cloud platforms for vendors such as HP, IBM, Oracle, Rackspace and Red Hat.
IBM today announced that it exceeded $1 billion in quarterly cloud computing-related revenue for the first time in the company’s history. Of the $1 billion in cloud revenue, “$460 million is delivered as a cloud service” according to Mark Loughridge, IBM’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Enterprise Transformation. IBM’s cloud-related revenue for 2013 was up 70% in comparison to the same time period last year. A large part of IBM’s growth in the cloud segment of its revenues is presumably attributable to its July acquisition of SoftLayer, an IaaS public cloud solution that additionally features dedicated server and managed hosting solutions. IBM’s Smarter Planet and Analytics solutions delivered similarly impressive results with its Smarter Planet platform reporting earnings up 20% through September and its Analytics solutions up 8% through 2013. Cloud revenue represented a bright spot in an otherwise mixed earnings report for IBM marked by a 4% decline in overall Q3 revenue to $23.7 billion.
Amazon Web Services has won a legal ruling that allows it to retain its $600 million contract with the CIA after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) formally recognized a protest by IBM about the awarding of the contract to AWS. Judge Thomas Wheeler of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor of Amazon Web Services, which protested the necessity of a response from the CIA as a result of the GAO’s recommendation. The decision represents a huge victory for Amazon Web Services as it attempts to consolidate its early traction in the lucrative government cloud market. Meanwhile, IBM noted that it intends to appeal the decision by issuing the following statement:
We are disappointed with the ruling from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, reversing the GAO’s recommendation to reopen the competition and correct flaws in the bidding process. IBM plans to appeal this decision. This court decision seems especially inappropriate in light of the current times, since IBM’s bid was superior in many ways, including being substantially more cost-effective. In addition, IBM has for decades supplied the government with proven mission-critical operations. The company remains committed to provide secure, reliable and robust cloud solutions to federal agencies.
Amazon Web Services declined to comment on the decision specific to Amazon Web Services Inc vs United States, Case No. 13-00506, U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
IBM recently announced plans to work with Pivotal in order to accelerate the development of Cloud Foundry, the open source Platform as a Service project that is part of Pivotal, the spin-off from VMware and its parent company EMC. The partnership with Pivotal indicates that Big Blue is going all in on open source cloud technologies as underscored by its well-known commitment to OpenStack, the open source IaaS project that celebrated its third birthday on July 19. IBM’s support of Cloud Foundry means that it is now backing open source Platform as a Service in addition to Infrastructure as a Service in a move that illustrates how Big Blue intends to differentiate itself from its competition by staking out early positions of influence regarding the trajectory of promising open source PaaS and IaaS technologies.
Daniel Sabbah, general manager of Next Generation Platforms, IBM, commented on Cloud Foundry’s significance to IBM as follows:
Cloud Foundry’s potential to transform business is vast, and steps like the one taken today help open the ecosystem up for greater client innovation. IBM will incorporate Cloud Foundry into its open cloud architecture, and put its full support behind Cloud Foundry as an open and collaborative platform for cloud application development, as it has done historically for key technologies such as Linux and OpenStack.
Sabbah notes how Cloud Foundry will become part of IBM’s “open cloud architecture”and thereby illustrative of its belief that “cloud computing needs to be built on open source and standards.” Whereas the first iteration of IBM’s “open cloud architecture” philosophy was heavily based on OpenStack, its recent partnership with Pivotal is likely to compel a revision of the specifics of its commitment to open source cloud platforms and APIs with greater attention to Cloud Foundry. IBM’s backing of Cloud Foundry will enhance its credibility amongst enterprise customers as well as contribute to its governance processes. The larger point, here, however, is that the clamor for open source cloud technologies is trending towards increased support from the enterprise. As Pivotal establishes a Cloud Foundry advisory board, expect more and more companies to pledge support for Cloud Foundry in what amounts to an industry-wide demand for open standards and interoperability. We should also expect some kind of formal collaboration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry to develop as the latter’s governance process matures.
On Monday, IBM revealed details of a new product called the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator that allows users to: (1) deploy a private cloud based on OpenStack; and (2) configure and deploy resources within a private or hybrid cloud environment by using a graphical interface that absolves users of the need to develop and manage complex interfaces between systems. The SmartCloud Orchestrator allows users to select compute, storage and networking resources and combine them into an integrated hybrid cloud environment. The orchestrator simplifies and automates deployment and additionally streamlines application ifecycle management and integrations with 3rd party tools. The product is designed to reduce enterprise costs associated with the creation of cloud ecosystems as well as enhance the end user experience of a cloud-based IT infrastructure.
Meanwhile, IBM also announced its intent to base all of its cloud software and services on open source software frameworks. Big Blue’s decision to opt for open-source cloud infrastructures derives from its conviction that companies should not be locked into proprietary technology islands that constrain future decisions and growth paths. The release of SmartCloud Orchestrator and IBM’s concomitant backing of open source cloud technologies represents a huge coup for OpenStack even though IBM is already a Platinum Member of the OpenStack Foundation. On Monday, IBM also revealed plans to drive the development and adoption of cloud standards for open source cloud computing to ensure, for example, the realization of cloud inter-operability.
As IBM’s commitment to OpenStack deepens, any standards it promotes will be friendly to the OpenStack Foundation and the OpenStack community at large. At present, it remains unclear how and to what extent IBM will incorporate OpenStack into its base SmartCloud IaaS platform that predates SmartCloud Orchestrator. What we do know, however, is that IBM’s announcement regarding SmartCloud Orchestrator will accelerate OpenStack’s adoption in enterprise environments. In the meantime, IBM’s ability to drive the development of open source cloud standards is likely to weigh heavily in OpenStack’s favor as the battle for IaaS market share shifts from a three horse race between Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack and CloudStack, to a two player game between AWS and the community of emerging OpenStack distributions and the enterprise heavyweights that support the latter’s underlying technology.