Just back from a trip to Europe - the perfect rally point for meeting with many of our European customers to discuss how they are using our growing London-based cloud platform and how Savvis should prioritize its development backlog.
We were also able to meet with a number of industry analysts Cloud Expo Europe and update them on some exciting new developments inside the Savvis Cloud, such as our Symphony Cloud Storage offering and the savvisdirect project.
Whilst a broad range of cloud technology was represented at the show, a few key trends stood out:
Cloud Derby: One of the questions that kept coming up in our discussions was a variant of the old horse track greeting: "Who do you like?" We heard a variant of this question from any number of industry analysts, enterprise cloud buyers, and software vendors at the event. Will Hyper-V win out? What will VMware do to stay ahead? OpenStack or CloudStack? Who can challenge AWS? We heard, in a British accent, the hypervisor horse race handicapped in so many ways, I thought I was listening to an old Eddy Izzard bit. It started to become clear what the driver was behind this line of discussion - customers still want to build their own private clouds, they just want to pick the one with the most optionality in the public cloud market. "Winning" the hybrid cloud race is all about options and tight integration.
Where's My App For That?: There were a number of discussions around the application lifecycle space, with the clear desire for a "vending machine" type approach to common business applications in public and private clouds. There is a growing realization that bit-based application packaging can only scale so far, and many organizations are re-thinking their release management processes and application modeling technologies to enable adaptive enterprise app stores. (Ran into our old friend @jyung99 with Appcara, and they're doing some interesting things in this space.)
Heavy Metal: There were a number of allusions to the continued need for bare metal architectures, especially in big data use cases. It remains to be seen how long it will take computer science to optimize all software workloads for virtualized, scale-out cloud platforms. In the significant mean-time, physical environments are being considered a prime candidate for data center automation, orchestration, and workload scheduling. There is a growing sense that, in the enterprise, cloud essential characteristics can be met through resource pooling and automation - without necessarily using the hypervisor.
Colo... And?: There were numerous colocation providers at the show, some sophisticated and others nascent. All providers are starting to realize that, in order to justify the fixed commitment of a colocation contract, many enterprise buyers want to know what else they can get access to. Some providers are responding with matching engines that help buyers get access to other networks and clouds, others are pitching house-branded cloud services. It's becoming clear that enterprise colocation is being evaluated on what types of other services can be "AND-ed" on to the environment.
When the Americans come over to the UK to talk shop, some of them tend to get in hot water. But not our global-minded team - Savvis knows the European market well, and with our recent expansion to Frankfurt, Germany, is poised to have a strong, growing presence for years to come.
David Shacochis is vice president, cloud platforms, for Savvis, a CenturyLink company.