Morph Labs: Amazon Web Services Meets Private Clouds (Again)

Lots of folks consider Amazon Web Services and their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) platform a market-leading cloud platform. Now Morph Labs, developers of the Morph Application Platform, think they have a solution for MSPs to form private clouds that are EC2-compatible. Here's the scoop.

If the idea of an EC2-compatible private cloud sounds familiar, you're right -- Morph's product line has the open source Eucalyptus platform at its core, and shares many of the same benefits, including the ability to leverage existing hardware as a private cloud. Of course, Morph Labs charges for their products.

But Morph Labs, which began in 2006 as a G2iX startup, takes it a step further by dedicating themselves to eliminating the cloud headaches that can plague unwary IT pros, says Morph Labs' Yoram Heller. To demonstrate, Heller gave me a guided tour of Morph Application Server, Morph Cloud Manager, and their mCloud solution in general.

While I watched, Heller was able to use their MAPbuilder frontend to provision a new cloud from their infrastructure, assign it two load balancers, generate a VM, install some basic message board functionality, and name a subdomain to access it all. Start to finish, it took less than five minutes.

For MSPs, this has the potential to be huge: one doesn't have to know all the nitty-gritty of private clouds and public clouds and hybrid clouds to administrate them anymore. Morph Labs also offers an IBM-powered mCloud data center appliance that comes pre-loaded with all the software you need and 100 VMs ready to go.

Moreover, Heller says that since they don't themselves host any clouds, there's a lot of room in Morph Labs' business model for services providers. When a customer requests an externally-hosted cloud from Morph, they just point them at a channel partner.

Assuming live deployments work as as well as the demo (a big assumption...) the Morph approach looks attractive. But so far it hasn't gained huge traction in any market outside of Japan, where Morph spent a fair amount of time last year developing their business, Heller says. He blames a lack of marketing on their lacking market share, but I wonder if it's also because not many MSPs are able to (or care to) run a private cloud, no matter how complete the solution.

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