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ScienceLogic, Driven By Surging Demand For Microsoft's Cloud, Integrates Deep Monitoring Capabilities For Azure

ScienceLogic's CTO says the IT monitoring and management vendor started seeing an explosion in demand for Microsoft's cloud about a year ago and soon fast-tracked its development strategy.

Several months ago, after recognizing skyrocketing interest from its channel partners in Microsoft Azure, ScienceLogic fast-tracked a deep integration of its IT monitoring and management software with Microsoft's public cloud.

Earlier this month, the developer of hybrid cloud tools introduced those Azure capabilities to market, thanks to a feat of agile product development, ScienceLogic CTO Antonio Piraino told CRN Thursday.

"Based on a lot of our partners and customers, we've seen a shift of tide, where there was suddenly a huge wave of demand coming for Azure services," Piraino told CRN. "We managed to work very rapidly."

[Related: IT Solutions Vendor ScienceLogic Rolls Out Free App Store]

The Reston, Va.-based software developer laid out a multicloud road map about four years ago. It took the company two years to build deep monitoring capabilities for Amazon Web Services, the first public cloud company it partnered with.

About a year ago -- some time after Microsoft's partner conference last July -- Piraino said he started noticing chatter from the company's channel partners about the need for Azure integration. The clamor, initially, was coming from solution providers in international markets such as Australia and Asia, he said.

"It wasn't till this year that we really started to see actual deployments picking up," he said. "It was such a dramatic and obvious shift in the market."

Colleagues at data center giant Equinix, a ScienceLogic partner -- an "objective onlooker" that directly connects its global infrastructure to just about all major public clouds -- also reported they were seeing an influx in demand for the Microsoft cloud, Piraino told CRN. Even some global hosting providers that were about to partner with AWS were suddenly telling ScienceLogic they would be offering managed Azure services instead, he said.

But ScienceLogic didn't want to spend two years developing a set of advanced capabilities for probing the depths of a new IaaS environment. The trick to rapidly achieving the same level of maturity with Azure as it had with AWS in a fraction of the time was simple: a large team, a much more-agile process, and constant goading from the market. With that formula, the company updated its CloudMapper software to visualize service by region and relationships between dependent resources hosted in Azure.


Those capabilities help users determine when configuration issues -- like a VM running in a different region than storage -- might contribute to poor application performance.

Piraino believes that Azure's market share is growing faster than any other of its competitors because Microsoft's cloud is finally being viewed as a delivery platform for Microsoft tools, not just an IaaS offering. That perception started to attract many in the developer community, then their downstream partners and finally a spate of hosting partners as well.

Piraino also sees more solution providers that are part of ScienceLogic's partner community embracing Microsoft's suite of cloud-based software, Office 365.

"A few years ago, a lot of our customers were not ready to resell 365 services. That mood has changed as well. We've gone through tipping point where more and more of these guys swore off them, and are now willing to accept it," he told CRN.

Solution providers were once worried there wasn't enough value to add to Office 365, and since Microsoft was still handling all the billing, they "were handling a slippery fish" -- customers that could slide out of their hands at any moment, he said.

"I think now the attitude is starting to change and these guys are starting to recognize that Microsoft cannot provide the amount of management that customers need for Office 365, and Office 365 is not a holistic solution in itself, so these guys have more of a play," Piraino said.

ScienceLogic is working on refinements to its Office 365 monitoring tools and instrumentation on a separate track from the Azure project.

The new Azure capabilities illustrate the challenges facing developers making tools for hybrid computing environments and the importance of maintaining agility to capitalize on trends in a rapidly shifting market.

"The bane of our existence is keeping up with all these technologies," Piraino told CRN. "You've got to decide where you're going to put your eggs, and you've got to put them where the market is going."

ScienceLogic also is working to mature its advanced monitoring tools for vCloud Air.


And, by the end of the year, the company plans to make a greater push to integrate with Cisco's Intercloud Fabric technology and the alliance of cloud vendors forming around it, a move that Piraino believes will drive solution providers who are on the fence into the emerging Cisco cloud ecosystem.

ScienceLogic is also planning at some point adding deep integration with IBM's SoftLayer.

Open-source cloud technologies are a critical piece of that equation as well -- ScienceLogic is certified around CloudStack and has done some preliminary work around OpenStack management capabilities, he said.

"We'll go down all those paths, but again, driven by the market. And we'll stay positioned to quickly react," Piraino told CRN.

Andy Schroepfer, chief strategy officer at Hosting.com, a ScienceLogic partner based in Denver, told CRN that as thousands of solution providers compete to bring to market services built around the hyper-scale public clouds, management tools become an important differentiator.

"We want to be the service partner for a world that wants to go to hyper-scale. We want to be the service layer across the hyper-scale cloud," Schroepfer told CRN. "We can do all those things that can help be that bridge. But to make that work, a company like Hosting.com needs great tools for managing them."

Which is why Hosting.com is elated with the Azure integration their monitoring partner now offers, he said.

Hosting.com, which offers cloud and co-location services, started with Azure as an IaaS partner, appreciating that Microsoft's public cloud "was trying to go catch up to AWS," he said. "They’ve done a commendable job of not only becoming relevant but becoming valuable and being in demand."

Hosting.com would have independently tried to manage that Azure environment, but having "great tools and a great platform out there enables us to more easily offer a great experience," Schroepfer told CRN.


The company wants to introduce more IaaS partners, and is carefully monitoring market dynamics as it ponders that strategy.

"The market gets to speak with their wallet on which hyper-scale cloud they want to use," he said.

Like ScienceLogic, Hosting.com has its sights set on IBM Softlayer, according to Schroepfer.

"Since our partner ScienceLogic is adding more clouds, it will make it easier for us to bring a service experience to the rest of those clouds," he told CRN.

PUBLISHED JUNE 19, 2015

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