Q&A: Digging Into the Channel Significance of the AppScale-Packet News

AppScale CEO Woody Rollins talks importance of hybrid cloud, AWS compatibility and channel plans.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

February 14, 2020

5 Min Read
Digging - view from the hole

As more enterprises seek to avoid cloud vendor lock-in through hybrid options, providers are innovating and accommodating.

The latest such news this week comes from AppScale Systems and Packet.

First, though, some background. AppScale is an Amazon Web Services-compatible IaaS platform. It is basically the former Eucalyptus — “same code, same people,” AppScale says on its blog — after a years-long M&A saga that involved Hewlett Packard. Eventually, the inventors of Eucalyptus got their product back and have rebranded it as AppScale.

Packet, meanwhile, specializes in public cloud data centers and bare-metal automation. Together, AppScale and Packet are enabling enterprises to deploy AWS workloads on Packet’s bare-metal servers without modifying those workloads. The companies say this allows for use cases including development and testing, placing computation close to data, and moving workloads to the appropriate platform based on current application requirements.


AppScale’s Woody Rollins

Channel Futures wanted to know what this all means for the channel and get a better feel for AppScale’s plans for its indirect partners. In this edited Q&A, AppScale CEO Woody Rollins explains.

Channel Futures: Talk about what the Packet deal means for channel partners. What’s the significance for them and their ability to build their businesses?

Woody Rollins: Today, almost 60% of enterprises are driving a hybrid cloud strategy that aligns application requirements and platform capabilities. Many of these enterprises want to leverage their existing AWS investments and embrace a single AWS development and deployment paradigm across hybrid cloud environments (Gartner sees 20% of enterprise customers deploying an AWS hybrid cloud by 2022).

The AppScale-Packet solution, which allows deployment of AWS workloads on Packet’s bare-metal servers, is a significant growth opportunity for partners as enterprises look to deploy AWS hybrid environments; and at the same time, fulfill key business objectives: vendor independence, data control and cost effectiveness. The complexities of hybrid cloud deployments will push the majority of enterprises to enlist partners to help with the assessment, migration and management of these AWS public/non-public environments.

Partners who have invested in AWS expertise, hybrid cloud professional services, and who can deliver attractive solution options that address unique enterprise requirements should see strong demand as the market for hybrid cloud solutions based on the public cloud market leader accelerate.

CF: Can you provide a concrete example of what the AppScale-Packet partnership might look like to a partner? In other words, what kind of client would a partner target with this combined capability and what specific business-outcome value would the partner bring to the table?

WR: AppScale and Packet are looking for partners that offer a full range of hybrid cloud services (assessment, migration, management) that complement the joint AWS-compatible infrastructure as a service platform offering. Partners can target a wide variety of enterprise customers who have embraced the AWS public cloud, intend to deploy a hybrid cloud solution based on AWS technology, and who find themselves looking for a solution that maintains business flexibility, allows for control of business-critical data and ensures cost objectives are met.

Today, partners can start by helping enterprises with…

…the dev/test use case. This is an extremely popular starting point for enterprises looking to kick-start their AWS hybrid cloud journey given the cost and potential productivity benefits (e.g., enterprises are typically seeing 30-40% of current AWS charges spent on development and quality assurance). With the partner’s assistance, enterprise customers now have a dev-test environment that can be used to rapidly and cost effectively develop and test applications that can be deployed to the public cloud for production use.

CF: Explain more about how if the AppScale-Packet cloud looks and behaves like AWS, that’s not actually AWS and therefore vendor lock-in?

WR: The lock-in fear is not the APIs but the vendor. With Amazon continuing to expand their market focus, many enterprises either competing today or that anticipate competing with Amazon, are looking for ways to avoid supporting, or more importantly, storing, data with a direct competitor.

At the same time, they want to leverage the significant AWS investments they’ve made in personnel and training, and create a single development and deployment hybrid cloud model. AppScale and Packet deliver an AWS-compatible environment that remains independent of AWS and Amazon, and directly addresses the mandate many enterprises have called out to their internal IT departments and partners to avoid using AWS going forward because of the competitive threat of Amazon.

CF: What kinds of add-ons do AppScale partners tend to create for their customers thanks to the AppScale product?

WR: Partners (MSPs, VARs, system integrators, cloud service providers) drive a spectrum of offerings that complement the AppScale infrastructure as services platform offering. This includes strategy, assessment, development, migration, hosting and management services, and complementary software offerings.

CF: What training and support does AppScale offer now for its channel partners?

WR: We offer sales and technical training for presales/solution architects, SDRs, account executives, professional services, and technical support personnel.

CF: What goals does AppScale have for its channel partner program over the next year?

WR: AppScale intends to be 100% channel-driven. We will have both referral and resell opportunities for partners, and provide sales and technical training, marketing support, and financial incentives.

CF: Now that AppScale has Eucalyptus back, what does that mean for the future? Will AppScale consider selling again or has that proven too disruptive? What should partners know about AppScale’s M&A intentions?

WR: Our sole focus is on driving innovation that continuously delivers differentiating value to our partners and ultimately enterprise customers. We see a significant market opportunity and intend to take a fair share of the AWS hybrid cloud market as an independent company working with a variety of partners. We believe in the democratization of cloud and we support an interconnected architecture. This allows our partners and their customers to benefit from a vast ecosystem of solutions.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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