Traditional webhoster and their fight with real infrastructure-as-a-services

Some days ago I had a briefing with an european webhoster who presented his product line-up and the strategic alignment. I reluctantly would like to use the term cloud-washing. But this call showed me again that traditional webhoster have massive problems to define and build a real infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

Difficulties with modernity

It is what I often see in the portfolio of a “cloud” services provider. These are mostly classical webhoster, who did not want to miss the cloud hype and jump on the bandwagon by cloud-enabling their offering on the paper. There are exceptions, but these are very rare. At this point, the providers purely and simply jumped on the hype and understand the Internet as the cloud.

The portfolio of the provider I talked to had the same shape. It includes dedicated server und cloud server, which a few months/ years ago had been named virtual server. These “cloud servers” are offered as five fixed different variety of configurations incl. 1 to 4 cores, storage and ram for a monthly fee of x EUR/ USD. Not to forget: the deployment period is indicated from 1 to 5 workdays. Further questions revealed that there is no on demand offering and for example no API to manage or start and stop additional server. Additional services or software images around the offering also lack just as a pay as you go model.

Internal structure and strategy: check

Upon request the provider acknowledged that, except for the word itself, the server offerings have nothing to do with cloud computing. But he seems to be on the right way. About a year ago he converted the internal infrastructure to CloudStack to benefit from a better provisioning for the customer servers. But, customers can’t take advantage of it so far. Moreover they switched with KVM to a modern, open and widespread hypervisor. Also the issue of network virtualization was implemented a few weeks ago. On his own admission, the provider already do have a cloud strategy which will give the customers the opportunity to get resources on demand plus a pay as you go model. Since he his now self-aware that it is absolutely necessary.

Nevertheless, considering these experiences each user who seriously wants to go to the cloud should be informed in advance intensively.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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