Battle Begins for Application Workload Control in the Cloud

As more companies make the leap to different cloud service providers, how can solution providers cash in?

Mike Vizard, Contributing Editor

September 10, 2014

3 Min Read
Battle Begins for Application Workload Control in the Cloud

With the initial rise of cloud computing there was a lot of debate about the wisdom of deploying application workloads on top of cloud services built around a specific virtual machine and proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs). But in recent months many of the walls that cloud service providers built to keep control of their customers finally are starting to come tumbling down.

Case in point is CloudSigma, a provider of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud platform, that this week announced a partnership with CloudLeap, a provider of application workload migration tools that can be used to migrate applications to the CloudSigma public cloud.

Designed to work with application workloads running on premise or already in the cloud, the CloudLeap tools make it a lot simpler for CloudSigma to make a case for moving an application workload regardless of what virtual machine it is running on, or the APIs it invokes, said CloudSigma CEO Robert Jenkins.

CloudLeap works by installing an agent in the virtual machine that is running the workload that needs to be moved. It then spins up a virtual machine of any type on the cloud platform that the customer wants that application workload to now on. The two virtual machines then run in parallel until the transfer of that application workload to the new cloud is complete.

In general, cloud migration has been something of a cottage industry. But Jenkins said two larger trends are about to bring usage of these tools into the mainstream. First is the decision of vendors such as Rackspace to drop out of the IaaS space. Customers that made use of those services are now looking for tools that will allow them to move those workloads to other clouds.

The second trend is the simple fact that as customers become more comfortable with the cloud they begin looking for options that profit from either higher levels of consistent performance or cloud platforms that give them more granular control over the environment. In fact, Jenkins contended, cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) lose hundreds of customers a month, but it’s not generally noticeable because they’re signing up many more new customers to make up for the ones they lose, he said. In effect, many organizations are treating large public clouds as “starter clouds,” where they first gain cloud experience or run an application until it becomes strategically significant enough to make it worth moving to a different cloud.

Obviously, all that application migration in the cloud creates two opportunities for the channel. The first is obviously for cloud service providers that compete with AWS. The second is for IT solution providers that would be contracted to manage a process that can take place not only between two public clouds, but also between a public and private cloud.

Application workloads that move into the cloud are clearly not beyond the reach of solution providers. In fact, if anything, solution providers in the channel should take notice that many of those application workloads are now actually more portable than ever.

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About the Author(s)

Mike Vizard

Contributing Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel

Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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