Amazon Web Services is fully engaged in the enterprise push it initiated a few years ago, but unlike then, it now has major cloud rivals also shooting for that business. Two of these — Microsoft and VMware — already have significant mind and market share in enterprise accounts while another — Google –is gearing up there.
So, what does the public cloud leader need to buy (or build) to bolster its business cloud push? Here’s a completely speculative shopping list compiled with help from some long-time cloud watchers. Note: Amazon is nothing if not thrifty. Look for something akin to Amazon’s 2012 acquisition of Peritor, a Berlin startup that went under the radar and later became the basis of Amazon’s OpsWorks cloud management tool. No one expects a multi-billion-dollar HP-Autonomy-style deal.
1: Hybrid cloud enablers: Ravello Systems — which runs KVM or VMware workloads in AWS — might be a good pickup, said GigaOM Research analyst MSV Janikiram. VMware, after all, has 90 percent penetration in large business accounts, so accommodating those workloads is an important selling point for AWS.
Eucalyptus, which offers AWS API-compatible private cloud is another option. And, if AWS is serious about being more copacetic with multi-cloud deployments, it might buy a multi-cloud cost management company — Cloudability or Cloudyn, for example.
2: Data migration/transmission tools: Sure, Amazon already has Storage Gateway, but it might make sense to snap up a third-party option — Nasuni for example — used by companies to move and manage corporate files on AWS.
“AWS needs a better on-boarding strategy,” said the CEO of a storage startup that’s not in this arena. Microsoft bought StorSimple in 2012 for this purpose; then EMC bought TwinStrata. AWS and Nasuni, which supports the popular NFS and CIFS storage protocols, would be a good fit, this exec said.
3: Disaster recovery/business continuity: Many customers use AWS itself as a disaster recovery option, but implementing it right requires quite an effort. Here a company like CloudEndure or Sanovi makes sense. These services, both of which are already available on AWS Test Drive, replicate a customer’s application across regions. Microsoft, which already offered Azure Site Recovery, last month bought InMage to bolster DR, so again there’s precedent here.
4: IT services: Most of the big IT players either have their own services arms and/or an extensive network of affiliated systems integrators and value added resellers. Amazon already has some of that but, if it decides to go all-in on the sort of enterprise-focused servcies that make CIOs feel warm and fuzzy, it might buy consulting and integration expertise. A company like 2ndWatch might make sense.
And now the caveat
So here’s the problem: When AWS enters a new arena through building or buying a product, technology or company, it’ll face pushback from the other partners in related areas. This is exactly the tricky issue any big platform provider — Microsoft and IBM are key examples — faces as it seeks new growth. Sooner or later it will assume partner opportunities as its own and when it enters those new markets, it will inevitably cite customer demand as the reason. And that’s why any partner needs to walk into this situation with eyes wide open.
Anyway, these are my picks for Amazon’s shopping list. Please use comments to submit your own.