Nebula, Synnex Join Forces To Offer Integrated Private Cloud

Cloud innovator Nebula is teaming up with distribution giant Synnex to offer a fully integrated private cloud with a pay-as-you go financing model, the companies said Monday.

As part of the new Orion Alliance, businesses can order a preconfigured cloud rack with Nebula's controller, Synnex's professional services and turnkey integration and delivery services from SolidFire, which requires little on-site investment.

"Not only can you buy an integrated cloud, but you can buy an integrated cloud with software and hardware products," said Gordon Stitt, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Nebula.

[Related: Q&A: Synnex CEO Talks PCs, Mobility, Vertical Markets And More]

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Synnex will offer the solution with a unique pay-as-you-go utility pricing model, meaning end users pay for the cloud on a monthly basis based on the capacity being used.

"This can bring people into cloud technology without a huge expense up front," Stitt said.

A traditional financing model forces end users to guess at the beginning how much capacity they'll need three or four years down the road, said Kirk Nesbit, Synnex's vice president of design and support services.

But with the utility model, end users can avoid wasting cash by scaling up capacity only when the company starts to grow.

"There will never be a point where they have to guess what their capacity will be and spend more than they need," Nesbit said.

Channel partners should be able to achieve margins of 10 percent to 20 percent on sales of Orion Alliance clouds, even if they lean on Synnex for help with deploying or installing the technology, Nesbit said.

And a managed care or consultancy component focused on monitoring available cloud capacity and ensuring the infrastructure is operating 24/7 should provide recurring revenue opportunities, he said.

Demand is expected to be most pronounced from enterprise organizations in the genomics, higher education, government, media and financial services verticals, Stitt said.

Company executives tout the offering as a saving grace for solution providers since public cloud vendors such as Amazon (which offers Amazon Web Services) typically deal directly with end users and write the channel out of the equation, Stitt said.

Adoption of the public cloud and Software-as-a-Service also reduce demand for IT hardware and software, he said.

"This obviates the need to build up infrastructure in the enterprise or in medium-sized businesses, and that has a significant negative impact on the channel," Stitt said.

In contrast, Nesbit said the private cloud should keep the channel in a normal flow by allowing solution providers to maintain account ownership.

NEXT: Why Private Cloud Is A Better Bet For Many Businesses

And the private cloud offers businesses superior data sensitivity, data gravity and value than the public cloud, Stitt said.

Many health-care and financial services firms are barred from storing data in the public cloud due to security concerns, Stitt said.

Plus moving large data files -- such as those containing photos, videos and satellite images -- out of the cloud is very expensive in a public setting; Stitt said on-site networking through a private cloud preforms dramatically better.

Incurring more than $50,000 a month in public cloud expenses is likely to fare better financially with on-site resources and a private cloud, Stitt said.

The Nebula/Synnex solution also doesn't get too far ahead of the marketplace, Nesbit said, given that IDC research indicates that 70 percent of enterprise and midmarket companies will still have data resources on-premise through 2017.

Orion Alliance offerings will allow end users to both store data using an on-premise server and host it on a private cloud, Nesbit said.

The solution is vendor-agnostic when it comes to servers, Stitt said, meaning end users are free to select from Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM or Supermicro offerings.

In addition to SolidFire, vendors with pre-integrated offerings include CloudBolt, CloudEndure, ForgeRock, NetApp, Racemi, Scalr and Super Micro, Stitt said. That list is expected to grow as the Orion Alliance expands, he said.

Blue Door Networks, a Nebula partner based in Herndon, Va., said firms have traditionally been unsuccessful in their efforts to scale, integrate and ship a private cloud solution.

"Others have tried and struggled in this particular space," said Lee Koepping, Blue Door's chief technology officer.

But based on the announcement, Koepping said it looks like Nebula will be successful at packaging the OpenStack technology to make it more appliance-like.

Koepping said Nebula can offer enterprise businesses a true cloud -- rather than small, individual parts -- and allow solution providers to avoid reselling technology with components from competing vendors.

Plus the integration with Synnex will provide sufficient space for self-financing and allow channel partners to bring the product to market more quickly.

"There's absolutely a fit in the market for something like this," Koepping said.