Summary:

MorphLabs made available in the U.S. today its cloud computing solutions, which are designed to let managed service providers enter the cloud provider market as they try to fend off cloud-based competition from the likes of Amazon Web Services and others.

MorphLabs made available in the U.S. today its cloud computing solutions, a series dubbed mCloud, which are designed to let managed service providers (MSPs) enter the cloud provider market. The company, which has offices in El Segundo, Calif., Japan and the Philippines, has been testing its solutions pre-release within eight Japanese service providers and already has two U.S. customers lined up. Transforming MSPs into cloud providers is becoming more common as traditional service providers try to fend off cloud-based competition from the likes of Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Cloud, GoGrid and others.

The mCloud series consists of two things: mCloud Controller and mCloud Server. The former is an appliance “used to convert commodity hardware into a cloud” for customers already running virtualized environments, while the latter is a holistic solution (which includes mCloud Controller) in the form of a preconfigured IBM BladeCenter S. The appliance-based approach is novel among cloud solutions, but according to MorphLabs CEO Winston Damarillo, it eases the transition into a cloud environment and, in this case, houses the solution’s hardware-based failover mechanism. In the same way that VMware partners can offer vCloud Express-branded offerings, MorphLabs customers can brand their cloud offerings as mCloud On Demand.

MorphLabs also hopes to capitalize on its compatibility with Amazon Web Services. Not only can end users port applications from a MorphLabs-powered offering to AWS, but smaller MSPs can complement AWS’s impersonal service with offerings such as personalized SLAs, server sizes and other such touches. For large enterprises that implement MorphLabs in-house, AWS compatibility means a smoother path to a hybrid-cloud environment. Letting its MSP customers work with AWS rather than necessarily against it aligns MorphLabs’ own experience as a cloud provider itself. Damarillo says it’s no use trying to compete with AWS when you can leverage its popularity to bolster your own offerings.

The company could face a tough road trying to sell against established vendors like 3Tera — which is now part of CA and which Damarillo says was a regular MorphLabs competitor in Japan — and cloud pundit Reuven Cohen’s company, Enomaly. Likewise, vendors such as Eucalyptus and VMOps have strong internal cloud products that could be part of MSP cloud transition efforts, too. What’s certain, however, is that small MSPs and traditional hosters won’t have to vanish when there are so many tools available to let them ride the cloud computing hype while continuing to sell personalized offerings that the big boys aren’t really equipped to sell.

For more on cloud computing, join the GigaOM Network at its annual Structure conference on June 23 & 24 in San Francisco.

Images courtesy of Morph Labs

By Derrick Harris

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