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Datapipe Talks Balance Of Cloud In IT, Places Bets On AWS, Azure And VCloud

Datapipe, a Jersey City, N.J.-based MSP and one of Amazon Web Services' largest Premier partners is placing its bets on AWS, Azure and VCloud. The company says that the industry begs for a hybrid model.

Amazon Web Services customers are starting small, but they're ramping up fast, said Datapipe Chief Marketing Officer Craig Sowell.

One of the company's AWS customers started at around $100,000 a month. Now, that same client is going all in -- spending more than $1 million a month on the technology, resulting in more than $12 million a year in sales of AWS alone.

That company isn't alone, Sowell said.

[Related: AWS Darling Datapipe Adds Microsoft Azure Partnership]

"That's the majority," he said. "They really believe they can move their entire infrastructure over to Amazon. It's pretty amazing when you think about it."

Datapipe, a global MSP and one of Amazon Web Services' largest Premier partners, credits company founder and CEO Robb Allen as a "visionary" for foreseeing the growth potential of AWS and cloud services in 2010 when Jersey City, N.J.-based Datapipe signed on as an AWS partner.

However, Sowell said, the balance in the market is starting to change, as more big-name cloud players stake out their share of the market. He said he sees AWS as still the leading player when it comes to cloud, but also sees Microsoft Azure, in particular, making its presence known.

Datapipe started supporting Azure earlier this year because of the growth potential it sees in the platform, while it's already "gained momentum in the market" from existing Microsoft and on-premise customers, according to Sowell. By adding Microsoft Azure to its portfolio, Datapipe can serve its clients who prefer Microsoft technology in addition to offering hybrid solutions.

"For us, it was a no-brainer," Sowell said.

The resulting dynamic in the market is a mixture of usage as large customers pick and choose among multiple public cloud providers for different tasks, Sowell and Chief Technology Officer John Landy agreed.

"[Customers] are asking for both," Sowell said. "It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, but our prediction is that it's not going to be one or the other. It'll be a mixture. We are seeing customers already behaving that way. They may not be thinking in their mind, 'I'm going to use this or this, I know AWS is good for things. I know Azure is good for things. So help me, I want to have a heterogeneous [environment].' "

Landy said you might see certain services perform better on Azure, such as storage, and you might see mixes, leading to a hybrid install. One area Azure might excel at in particular is around the database, the two executives agreed.

Amazon and Microsoft are also tackling the market in very different ways, Sowell said. While AWS has blanketed the market with its public cloud solution, Sowell said, Microsoft is mostly targeting its extensive existing customer base. The execs agreed that clients that are Microsoft partners are more often than not opting to side with the Microsoft cloud platform in Azure.

"AWS is everywhere," Sowell said. "Every enterprise customer we deal with is using AWS. It could be a small project all the way up to a major application. AWS is ubiquitous. It's somewhere in the enterprise. Microsoft is a little different. It's growing out of the base that they have. It's a different strategy. Microsoft is already there, so they're just growing out of their base," Sowell said.

While the Datapipe execs see the balance in the industry between AWS and Azure, they say there is room for a third platform that can join the others at the front of the pack in the cloud atmosphere. Based on the direction the market is going, the execs say, it's almost obvious who that third cloud giant will be.

"I think it will be AWS, Azure and VMware," Sowell said of the future of the growing cloud industry. "You can almost predict the mix. I mean, why would it not be? The interesting thing will be what happens to HP, IBM and even Cisco."

Sowell and Landy say VMware's VCloud could have an advantage over all other platforms, as the company has focused a great amount of time and resources into creating an easy migration process for users. The two Datapipe execs say this could be a tipping point in the industry, as it's all about whoever makes the cleanest path to the cloud.

"[VMware] has such a big install base on their VMware products today," Landy said. "The thing with that is, you might see [it take] one click to deploy to the cloud. … VCloud has an easy migration platform. They're really working on that. They're investing heavily."

Going forward, Datapipe stresses the importance of continuing to invest in the emerging technology and adjust to the growing industry to stay ahead of the game.


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