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Morphlabs’ OpenStack cloud to arm service providers against Amazon

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Morphlabs is banking that service providers wanting to take on Amazon(s amzn) Web Services will want to take a look at mCloud Osmium, the company’s new OpenStack-based public cloud infrastructure.

Other OpenStack distributions have been available for a while but Morphlabs claims that its offering can provide a secure, multi-tenant infrastructure that these companies can pay for on a subscription basis, and that will provide them with the billing capabilities, credit card validation and processing that they need, said Yoram Heller, VP of business development for the Manhattan Beach, Calif. based company.

There is indeed a market for something like this. As’s AWS arm takes on more IT loads for customers of all sizes, it’s competing more with traditional IT outsourcing companies and hosting companies — that is just the sorts of service providers MorphLabs is targeting here. If you don’t believe that, check out the big enterprise push outlined at AWS: Reinvent, the company’s first trade show last November.

morphlabosmiumfotoBut it’s a tall order. Heller acknowledges that no service or cloud provider offers anywhere near the scale of AWS which some estimates runs more than 250,000 servers. “No one company can beat Amazon — not even Rackspace(s rax) or Dell(s dell) — but the perspective is that the whole industry can compete with Amazon and that’s good for us. There are 4,000 outsourced infrastructure providers in the world,” he said in an interview.

“Companies that are being disrupted by Amazon now could either download OpenStack and build a do-it-yourself cloud or they can get it from a vendor like Morph plus Dell, which provides an industrial-strength combination of hardware and software,” he added. That hardware is optimized to run Morphlabs cloud. Over time, that hardware will be built to Open Compute Foundation specifications, he said. Heller said the company will name two additional hardware partners soon.

The cost to service providers can work out to about $10 per virtual machine per month — with a hardware cost of $5 to $10 per month. With markup, they can compete with Amazon on price and — Heller insisted — get better performance.

Last March, Morphlabs and partner Dell announced mCloud Helix, an all SSD-based private cloud based on OpenStack, which it just updated. mCloud Osmium fills in the public cloud check box.

Right now customers can source their hardware from Dell — which builds optimized gear for the cloud — and software from Morph or buy everything from Dell.

Morphlabs is not alone in wanting to draw big service providers to its cloud. HP and others in the OpenStack cloud, and others outside it  are also targeting such customers.

3 Responses to “Morphlabs’ OpenStack cloud to arm service providers against Amazon”

  1. I wonder how the likes of will compete with companies that build around the open source alternatives. Open source has a clear advantage because you can always sever the connection with the commercial vendor you started with, depending on how different their fork is.

    That said, MorphLabs sounds like a new proposition but it’s really just the old school open source business model – take an open source product, add support and your own twist on part of the product then sell it on. It’s worked well in the past but I wonder if that’s limited to the company that creates the original product.

    • Yoram Heller

      I would argue that is in fact three ecosystems. VMware occupies the private cloud and AWS is the de facto public cloud standard.

      There was always going to be an open source alternative to both. Speaking from experience as a co-founder of Morphlabs, we though Eucalyptus was going to be the O/S alternative. However, due to several reasons that are too long to list here, they screwed it up.

      OpenStack has the flexibility and scale to be an alternative to both VMware and AWS, as well as the most vibrant community and most business friendly licensing.

      Ultimately, OpenStack is a foundation technology. The question right now is who will become the vendor that productizes it and simplifies the deployment so 1000s of clouds can bloom