Summary:

It’s well and good for a cloud to offer tons of compute, storage and networking services, but tying them together in a way that non-techies can use them, is value in and of itself, says Tier 3.

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Amazon Web Services-like public cloud infrastructure offers great scale and flexibility. What it’s not so strong on is being easy for non IT types to comprehend and use on their own without having to call in a devops or IT professional as intermediary. That’s the market Tier 3 is attacking with the latest release of its public cloud infrastructure.

In startups, devops or sysadmins typically set up (and wind down) compute resources in the cloud, but established companies want their business folks to be able to manage their cloud and oh-by-the-way self-provision the applications they need without bothering techies.

“What’s different between the world of virtualization and cloud is that cloud has to be about enabling automation of IT. Self-service has to happen,” said Jared Wray, CTO and founder of Bellevue, Wash.-based Tier 3. “Startups had someone setting up email and doing firewall configurations etc. — it’s all devops all the time. What companies need is full-blown push-button self service – the ability to get online and automate stuff without writing scripts.”

That’s a tall order. The company bills its offering as a full cloud-management platform building on VMware vSphere — at least for now — along with a  CloudFoundry-based PaaS, with Iron Foundry extensions to support .NET workloads.

“This is about IaaS and PaaS,” Wray said. “Ten years ago we used to make phone calls — you had to call the help desk or IT to figure out what needed to be done but we’ve hit the tipping point — the next level will require that every aspect of computing has to be automated — made simple,”

That message totally hews to the notion of IT as a Service, which holds that for IT to survive and prosper, it has to evolve from being a cost center to an internal service provider, an enabler not a roadblock, to projects and employees.

Wray said Tier 3 can be price competitive with AWS when total cost of ownership — including cost of personnel — is factored into the equation.

Tier 3 may not be AWS, but it’s got its share of admirers. Gartner cloud analyst Lydia Leong is one. The company’s current Iaas she summed up via email: “Nice interface, excellent functionality.”

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