Amazon has become an official supplier of enterprise IT by turning its cloudy Simple Storage Service (S3) into a back-up option for earth-bound data. It's a smart move on Amazon's part as it means the cloud pioneer is staking a claim on data centre SANs by abstracting them behind an iSCSI volume layer, which then ships data up …
The end of more IT jobs is coming
Look at the demo and marketing reels that Amazon recently posted to YouTube. They are saying that utility computing makes IT personnel redundant, and they're right, but before now they were subtle about describing this part of the value prop.
Smart IT managers should be resisting the cloud in the same way that they resisted virtualization ten years ago.
Smart development managers should now architect things like AWS into all new products.
Storage Gateways and the Enterprise
It is very interesting to see what Amazon has done for their first product that runs on-premise in the enterprise. Directionally, we see this as the first salvo from Amazon in terms of getting serious about enterprise storage. The suggested deployment for Amazon Storage Gateway is that it be deployed as a gateway (inline) to customer’s existing SAN and direct attach storage that sends data to the Amazon cloud. While that may work for small business deployments, many enterprise customers will not want the Amazon Storage Gateway, which does not have high availability features like non-disruptive patch updates and multi-patching, become a single point of failure.
From an enterprise customer perspective, there is a business decision to be made on whether they want to use a cloud on-ramp (gateway) that locks them into a specific cloud or have a solution that can work across the range of enterprise-focused cloud services – Amazon, Azure, AT&T, Rackspace, Google, HP, IBM/Nirvanix etc.
There is also the question of what capabilities still need be deployed on-premise to meet IT and business goals – be it enterprise-level scale & vailability, needed certifications (e.g. Microsoft, VMware), application consistency for backups or cost reduction via data reduction technologies (de-dupe, WAN optim, etc).
More thoughts on our blog this week: http://www.storsimple.com/blog/bid/101464/Amazon-Storage-Gateway-Welcome
Is Amazon Just Saying...
As El Reg and The451 point out, Amazon is now competing with a clutch of other gateway makers.
But its gateway is a tad basic - virtual only, no customer encryption, no caching-for-performance (yet), no de-dupe. So is Amazon serious, or is it just trying to publicize the gateway concept? Doesn't it like doing raw IT services more than it likes support and handholding? Don't all the existing gateways connect to Amazon S3 anyway? (They do.) I'm just saying....
More expensive yet still clunky and mostly DIY while...
... others are cheaper even with end-to-end service w/ support.
Seriously, Amazon, I like you but you have to do much better; for starter I think it's more than arrogant to ask a monthly fee for a single-purpose VM which only works with your stuff and even then the only thing it does is being a storage gateway.
IT SHOULD COME FREE if I use the service but if you really want to make at least $100-150 a month then offer it free after, say 500GB and more used space. Someone uploads couple hundred gigs (<$50/mo) and you ask 3x more for a VM he cannot use for anything other than connecting to your service but still has to provide the virtual host etc?
Nonsense, with this pricing I don't think it will be popular.
Who is the target audience for this?
I agree with the comments made here, and I'll add: While Amazon positions this as an enterprise solution, it's not something large enterprises would go for, for all the reasons Mark mentioned but also because the larger the enterprise, the more likely it is to choose private cloud deployments over public ones (it's not just me saying that - a recent Microsoft survey did too).
It's also not really attractive to SMBs, because of the pricing and because they would want something that is a complete solution, with NAS interfaces (CIFS/NFS), and not "bring your own hardware"/"bring your own backup". Alternatively, if the SMB outsources IT to an MSP, it should be something the MSP can manage easily and make margins on - not the case here.
So the way I see it, this has limited appeal to certain customers in the midmarket that have a spot need for this type of secondary storage.
Tim - I think Amazon is not going to get into the hand-holding business. They do want to focus on infrastructure. Offering this as a VM is their way of making it somewhat easier to use S3, but I don't see them selling boxes, setting up distribution networks etc.
Good points about target market applicability, Rani. And good feature points Tim.
Here are a few extra points to add to Tim's wrt enterprise reqt's vs. SMB, based on customer feedback over the last 12+ months. These speak to the need for enterprise-grade hardware vs. lighter weight VM approach like Amazon's.
* Enterprise-class performance and high availability – SSDs + SAS, HA, no single points of failure
* Multiple cloud provider support to have easy data portability between clouds for max business continuity
* Ability to leverage cloud storage as an additional, lower cost primary tier for colder data
* Certifications from VMware & Microsoft to enable mainstream enterprise apps to use cloud storage as a tier
* Truly consolidate multiple infrastructure components for data mgmt – like backup / archive / DR / tape elimination
* De-duplication + compression + WAN optim. to eliminate data redundancy to reduce cloud storage size and expense