All these three big players have their own way of connecting data center of an organization to public clouds, not to mention, each one of them come with their share of benefits and risks that should be considered before making a choice.
With the all new edition of Windows server, Microsoft looks committed to a patent computing model through which, the software biggie from Redmond assures that all paths head towards Azure, its own cloud offering.
This one is just one of the countless moves that are in the process through which all the big tech firms are trying to consolidate their own positions in the very important and futuristic space of cloud computing. Three of the biggest players, Amazon, Microsoft and VMware are each trying hard to make their positions even stronger through newer methods.
This may however raise concerns about vendor standards and lock-in too.
Microsoft is using a simple tactic- most of the organizations use the company’s desktop OS and many others also use its software for server management. However, most of the given workloads could be easily moved into the clouds, where the software giant is in direct fight with the likes of VMware, or to public cloud, where lesser number of enterprises are using Windows Azure compared to technologies of Amazon Web Services or AWS.
The solution that Microsoft strong believes, is tweaking public cloud of Windows Azure, offers even more features that’s what’s offered by Amazon; it has just updated Windows Server to make it the company’s all-new cloud OS. Microsoft has tried doing this by boosting the functionality of Hyper-V to be able to add much better replication and networking features, along with tweaks to make user interface as modern and unsophisticated as seen in Azure.
Along with doing all these, the company has also chosen to tie both Windows Server and Azure together.
For instance, now it has become much simpler tying data on two different systems by making use of the all new Windows Virtual Hard Disk, which allows the admins to bundle data in one VHD file and help in slinging it into Azure. With cloud services in hand, Microsoft is claiming that organizations and enterprise customers are wanting to make a move from one acquainted interface to another, for which it is dabbling new cloud management and is finally planning to put data in cloud, which in turn will make it look like an environment within the same premises.
VMware’s Take on Competition
VMware is taking a very different approach and is planning to leverage its absolute dominance of application layer, through its quite widely adapted virtualization technology. This can help VMware in moving companies to its cloud. As per IDC, 52.4% virtualized workloads was sitting with VMware’s hypervisor, while Microsoft owned 26.6%, till the end of July.
While on one hand, Microsoft is an expert in managing virtualized environments, on the other hand VMware’s trump card is its expertise in virtualized applications. In the world of VMware, administrators are normally not seen managing multiple OSs but they are instead busy managing applications. The benefits come in the form of flexibility that it brings to its administrators, with data migration and policies of access control made a whole lot easier by the greater level of granularity of technologies by VMware.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that if you want to take off all virtual machines, you need to make use of technology of the company, and then if you plan to make a move to cloud, you would require to get hold of one those who offer the same management tools that you are acquainted with. But, things are expected to improve with the new vSphere 5.1.
Amazon: The Toughest Player
Amazon, which is also touted as the strongest competitor in the cloud market, takes on both VMware and Microsoft head-on. While the other two companies chose to shift data of their customers to the cloud, Amazon went the other way focusing to make things simpler for administrators to access and pull down their data from Amazon and in their own private data center.
Its cloud can become the company’s own main cloud when they choose to go public and in order to actually do this, Amazon is working on a variety of technologies to make it simpler to interlink private clouds with their own. The underlying strategy of the company is something similar to divide and rule, through which it conquers an on-premise data center coming from different angles. It’s own features like Storage Gateway, helps it install itself in a private data center via one of the agents. It also boasts of some important partnerships like the one with Eucalyptus, which is one of the leading providers of cloud software for on-premise needs.
To top it all AWS is greatly being supported by big organizations like IBM and Oracle in making technologies that help in data transition from applications to cloud. Though the services offered by AWS are simply unmatched, they still remain a big headache for a storage administrator. They offer a variety of options that aren’t to be seen elsewhere, but management capabilities are just handful and it comes with absolute zero user experience.
With the launch of latest Amazon’s Glacier service, things are expected to improve, since this data archiving service will seamlessly integrate with their cloud storage solutions.