Summary:

Cloud provider GoGrid has expanded its Infrastructure-as-a-Service catalog by launching a Hosted Private Cloud that maintains all the features multitenant clouds, but on dedicated physical servers. It’s an interesting tactic, and it highlights the different value propositions and visions of the leading cloud providers.

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Cloud provider GoGrid has expanded its Infrastructure-as-a-Service catalog by launching a Hosted Private Cloud that maintains all the features of GoGrid’s standard multi-tenant cloud offering, but on dedicated physical servers. It’s an interesting tactic for getting new customers, and it highlights the different value propositions and visions of the leading cloud providers. Unlike Amazon Web Services, which today went even further down the developer path by releasing its own PaaS offering, GoGrid is targeting more-conservative IT types who want the benefits of cloud computing but still aren’t sold on the security of sharing resources.

The dedicated servers aren’t the most noteworthy about the GoGrid Hosted Private Cloud — the company already offers those as part of its hybrid cloud offering — the retention of the core IaaS features is. That means on-demand provisioning, pay-per-use billing, the same APIs and management portal, load balancing and the complete lineup of partner products in the GoGrid Exchange. Additionally, customers can choose from multiple data centers — GoGrid, Verizon and Digital Realty Trust in San Francisco, and Equinix in Washington, D.C. Ashburn, Va.– in which to host their private-cloud servers. According to GoGrid CEO John Keagy, infrastructure is already in place in the GoGrid and Verizon data centers, whereas customers choosing Digital Realty Trust or Equinix will have to rent their own private cages.

If you’re wondering how dedicated resources can scale on demand, here’s how Hosted Private Cloud works. Customers have their own pools of physical servers on which they can scale up and down VMs as need be. Keagy says that adding VMs is a truly a real-time experience, while adding new physical servers, which GoGrid calls “nodes,” is near real-time. This is because Hosted Private Cloud nodes are the same “super-large Intel boxes” atop which the GoGrid public cloud is built, meaning they’re already in place and ready to go when needed. Each node can house up to 250 VMs.

Cloud computing purists might deride efforts like Hosted Private Cloud as “fake clouds,” but that won’t likely make any difference on sales, and certainly doesn’t make it any worse an idea.  For cloud providers like GoGrid, which have their roots in managed hosting, it’s smart to make use of that expertise for differentiation instead of always trying to compete with AWS.Further, Keagy told me that GoGrid is doing a lot of business with service providers, including Orange, looking to resell GoGrid resources under their own banners, and Hosted Private Cloud is the result of their desires.

Keagy understands why AWS focuses on developers with efforts like Elastic Beanstalk, but says that GoGrid is focusing on “where the available market is” now. “We think the bulk of the 3 trillion IT economy is for production challenges, where you can’t just Greenfield new applications,” Keagy explained. “We’re not targeting developers so much as we’re targeting systems administrators.” However, he added that cloud watchers “don’t want to count us out” on the PaaS front, as GoGrid is working on its own flavor of platform services that will be tailored to its customer base.

CIOs appear interested in private clouds, so GoGrid’s challenge will be getting them to buy into its approach instead of building their own in-house clouds. It might come down to a matter of weighing cost savings against the peace of mind of knowing exactly what’s going on with their infrastructure and who’s tending to it. Also, GoGrid will have to compete against a number of competitors selling their own flavors of dedicated, physical cloud resources, including StrataScale. Peer1 Hosting and VMware vCloud Datacenter partners. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Rackspace get into this market too, as a complement to its dedicated-shared hybrid cloud offering.

Image courtesy of Flickr user midom.

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