June 27, 2013
At Structure last week a real theme that was apparent was the rapid maturing of the perspective of enterprises when it comes to the multi-cloud opportunity. As I explained in my review post of a panel I took part in at the event, organizations are seeming to adopt a position whereby their overall IT architecture is made up of many component parts – both in terms of location (public/private) and vendor spread (not trying to get everything from one vendor). It’s a refreshing approach and one which leaves behind the previous perspective on the topic which was more focused on achieving homogeneity between data center and cloud infrastructure.
Many people have long argued that true application portability, being able to shift workloads between all the infrastructure the organization uses, as little more than a pipe dream While it is true that the dual themes of increasing API/OS standardization and cloud migration vendors are making this more viable, from the perspective of where organizations need to focus in the future, perhaps the portability question is less important than one which looks for bite-sized, application specific pools of resources.
Anyway – into this rapidly shifting conversation comes RackWare, a hybrid cloud vendor that would seem to be chasing a more traditional view of what hybrid is all about. RackWare is today announcing it has raised $3M in Series A funding from a number of entities including Kickstart Seed Fund and Osage Partners.
RackWare’s elevator pitch is that they “integrate datacenter and cloud resources into a scalable and intelligently managed computing environment”. In other words they allow enterprises to achieve a greater degree of flexibility and some cost savings for their infrastructure spread. In fact the company is claiming that its customers realize a 40 to 50 percent cost saving – although, in true marketing style, there is no clarity as to how this analysis is arrived at. Basically RackWare creates a platform where by resources – physical, virtual and cloud – can be mixed and matched, and scaled up and down as demand patterns change. In terms of validation points thus far, prior to this series A, RackWare had real revenue from enterprise customers and was delivering upon its promise of dynamically shifting workloads for those customer.
There is no doubt, the future consists of a wildly heterogeneous mixture of infrastructure elements. Oracle might like to talk it up and gloat about the fact that Salesforce is committing to using the Oracle “cloud in a box” but the reality for the vast majority of organization is far more complex than this. At Structure we heard from companies like Pabst, PayPal and Box who are all following a multi-cloud strategy. If this becomes, as I predict, the norm going forwards, then the real opportunity lies less in creating these large scale hybrid cloud offerings and more on simply building platforms such as enStratius for the managing and monitoring of disparate resources .
A year ago I would have been excited about what RackWare is doing – but a year ago the industry was far less mature and cloud journeys were primarily about plotting a logical progression from increasing the utilization of legacy infrastructure to a more “cloudy” resource base. The most forward looking organizations have rapidly moved on from this and, judging by recent conversations I’ve had, the mass market isn’t far behind. RackWare could readily pivot its messaging to be much more of an enStratius management abstraction, but what I’m seeing right now really feels like last years approach to a problem that likely won’t exist going forwards.