Cloud service providers start to diversify virtualization investments

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 1, 2016 11:57:07 AM

virtual_machines.jpgWhile there’s no doubt that VMware vSphere still rules the roost in terms of virtualization environments supported by cloud service providers (CSP), both Microsoft Hyper-V and OpenStack are starting to gain significant ground.

A survey of cloud service providers conducted by Tintri finds that while 95 percent of them are running VMware vSphere, nearly a third are also running either Microsoft Hyper-V (33 percent) or OpenStack (31 percent).

Given VMware’s dominance of on-premise IT environments, it’s not all that surprising to see CSPs running VMware vSphere. In fact, IBM just became the latest CSP to provide that service. But the relatively strong showing for Microsoft Hyper-V and OpenStack suggests that demand for alternative forms of virtualization is finally starting to pick up some momentum. How much that process might accelerate once Dell takes control of EMC, the parent company of VMware, is anybody’s guess.

See how Intronis protects VMware virtual machines

But it is interesting that the Tintri survey finds little correlation between the size of the CSP and the number of virtual machines they might be running. Well over half (67 percent) of CSPs have more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs), and 84 percent have more than 250 virtual machines hosted. However, 38 percent of CSPs with revenue below $50 million say their infrastructure needs to support more than 1,000 virtual machines. Therefore, it’s easy to see how sensitive CSPs might be to licensing fees for virtualization software.

Additional services and capabilities

In terms of services delivered by those CSPs, a full 84 percent provide infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). After that, private cloud hosting (67 percent), traditional managed services (48 percent) and disaster recovery-as-a-service (41 percent) take the next three slots in terms of classes of services provided.

The survey also finds that nearly one-third of CSPs spend more than 10 percent of their revenue on storage. Another 46 percent of CSPs spend between 5 and 10 percent of revenue on storage. Only about a quarter (23 percent) have contained their storage spend to less than 5 percent of revenue.

In terms of future capabilities that are most sought after, 61 percent of CSPs cited cloud hosting features (such as multitenancy and data security), 46 percent cited some form of automation (such as REST API and PowerShell), 41 percent cited quality of service, 41 percent cited storage operations, and 39 percent cited pay-as-you-go pricing. 

Those results would suggest that in terms of the overall maturity of their IT environments many CSPs still have a lot of work to do in order to compete more effectively against larger rivals that already have many of these capabilities in place.

Demand for more personal service

None of that means that CSPs can compete effectively against the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Platform. In general, the big three CSPs don’t provide much in the way of customer service unless they’ve enlisted the service of a channel partner to represent them. In contrast, many smaller CSPs have invested more in customer service to enable IT organizations to take advantage of multiple flavors of virtualization and move workloads dynamically in and out of a hybrid cloud computing environment.

As hybrid cloud computing using multiple flavors of virtualization becomes more prevalent, managing the overall IT environment becomes more complex. For that reason alone, smaller CSPs may soon find that demand for higher touch approaches to cloud computing has become the next big thing in IT.

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Photo Credit: Ian Boggs via Used under CC 2.0 License

Topics: IT Services Trends

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