Cloud computing makes for some strange bedfellows

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Credit: Jorge Salcedo

Last week there was so much going on at AWS Re:invent, I missed a lot — even some eyebrow-raising stuff. Like for instance, that OpenStack-oriented Rackspace will now support and sell Microsoft Azure services. Second, Microsoft-oriented Apprenda private PaaS will now run on Amazon Web Services.

First [company]Rackspace[/company]. It joined the Microsoft Cloud OS Network meaning it will run Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center and Azure Pack in its U.S. data centers. That means it will provide service and support to its customers for all that infrastructure as well as [company]Microsoft[/company] applications like Exchange, SharePoint and Lync running on that stack.

According to the release, this new arrangement “gives customers the choice to host applications on Microsoft-based private clouds with hybrid connections to Azure, as well as associated other services from Rackspace. More here from Informationweek.

The decision is a tad less surprising when you remember that Rackspace, a managed-service provider after all, has long offered Hosted Exchange and Sharepoint. The San Antonio-based company is just filling in check boxes.

Now [company]Apprenda[/company]. The Troy, N.Y.-based company made its bones offering a .Net-focused private PaaS that also provided an attractive hybrid-cloud option when linked to Microsoft Azure on the back end. Apprenda added Java support later and last year when it raised $16 million in new funding, its one priority was to forge strategic partnerships with “other” vendors. I’m guessing that [company]Amazon[/company] would qualify as a strategic partner. Apprenda gives AWS yet another building block to forge hybrid clouds, perhaps even some in Microsoft-centric shops that would otherwise naturally move to Azure.

To be fair, VP of Products Rakesh Malhotra, said Apprenda was more multi-cloud than it may have appeared at the infrastructure layer.

“Even when we were just .NET, you could hand us Windows servers that were virtual, physical, on prem or public cloud. We had a formalized integration with Azure but you could always run us wherever you wanted,” he said via email.

With [company]Red Hat[/company] pushing JBoss App Server plus Red Hat Enterprise Linux plus OpenShift PaaS (just updated) together and Pivotal pushing what Malhotra characterizes as [company]VMware[/company] plus [company]Cloud Foundry[/company], Apprenda has to speak up.

“It’s important that we point out that we don’t have a legacy business to prop up with our stuff. We are truly infrastructure agnostic because we only build and sell PaaS,” he wrote.

Which is an interesting place to be since AWS itself is really becoming much more than infrastructure, adding more higher-level PaaS-like capability seemingly by the minute. Which is one reason that partners putting higher-level services atop AWS are doing so with one nervous eye on what AWS has up its sleeve. As I wrote last year, partner love for AWS is a mile wide but about an inch deep and mixed with a good dollop of fear and anxiety. 

All about AWS Re:Invent, Hortonworks IPO and open-sourced .NET on the Structure Show

This week we hit on the top-level news out of AWS Re:Invent — the new enterprise-grade MySQL database clone Aurora? Check. [company] Docker [/company]support a la new EC2 Container Services? Check. New event-driven compute service tier Lambda? Check. (Click on the link at the bottom of this page for all of Gigaom’s show coverage.)

Amazon SVP Andy Jassy speaking at AWS Re:Invent 2014

Amazon SVP Andy Jassy speaking at AWS Re:Invent 2014

But also on deck the planned Hortonworks public offering and what it means to the Hadoop world and (say what??) Microsoft open sources .NET, the crown jewels of Windows development. That’s an acknowledgement by Microsoft corporate VP S “Soma” Somasegar that Microsoft has to go where the developers are and not expect those developers to come to it.

One of Microsoft’s biggest issues is that while existing enterprises and small and medium businesses run a ton of Windows and .NET code, most developers building next-gen applications and forming startups are very open-source and Linux oriented. They are at best indifferent to Microsoft tools and at worst downright hostile. This is a step towards appeasing and attracting that crowd and appears to be a keystone of Microsoft’s strategy under new CEO Satya Nadella and enterprise-and-cloud guru Scott Guthrie.

Scott Guthrie and Satya Nadella of Microsoft

Scott Guthrie and Satya Nadella of Microsoft

 

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Photo of Andy Jassy courtesy of Amazon Web Services, photo of Satya Nadella and Scott Guthrie courtesy of Jonathan Vanian/Gigaom.

2 Comments

David Mytton

Interesting to see rackspace broaden their offering. This is perhaps a move to become more of a broad hosting/managed IT company delete with offerings to meet the requirements of a range of businesses, not just technical cloud services targeted at developers. It makes sense when you consider their tagline and goal is about managed cloud IT services and that doesn’t mean they necessarily have to stick to their own in-house offerings.

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