It's Not All About The Cloud, Says CEO Of Cloud Hosting Provider Hostway

Emil Sayegh, CEO of Hostway, a cloud and dedicated hosting provider based in Chicago, told attendees of the NexGen Cloud Conference and Expo on Wednesday that "it's not all about cloud."

Sayegh, who took the top job at the provider only a couple months ago, made the argument that hybrid infrastructure connecting clouds with on-premises networks, for most customers, is the right solution.

Hostway often hears from customers who are frustrated by overspending after a cloud migration, he said.

[Related: Lenovo Cloud Director: Open Source Technologies Are The Glue That Binds The Hybrid Cloud]

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"Hybrid is frankly the best of both worlds," Sayegh told attendees of the conference in Anaheim, Calif., produced by CRN parent The Channel Company. "It gives you flexibility; it gives you more choice, also gives you the right tools for the right workload and eliminates overspending."

Cloud providers are solving real problems, from bottlenecks to scaling, "but that's not the only answer," Sayegh said. "We need a true hybrid."

Corporate IT departments struggle to find suitable environments for hosting hundreds of applications, and "each one of those applications, my friends, has requirements," Sayegh said.

Some workloads are great sitting in the cloud. Others, often those with predictable loads, like databases, typically achieve greater cost efficiencies on dedicated gear.

And the needs of companies, from startups to established enterprises, are always changing as they evolve their businesses and scale.

By interfacing one private network to a public provider, putting the application in the place it's best suited for, without a technology bias, partners can optimize costs for their customers, he said.

If they have a burst in demand, they can scale in the cloud; for constant workloads they can rely more on their dedicated infrastructure.

While the trend is to outsource IT, and there's plenty of pressure from business managers to shift costs from capex to opex, and get away from buying hardware, the cloud in many cases does not offer the most savings.

"I cannot describe to you how many companies come to us and say, 'We are overspending with AWS, overspending with Azure,'" Sayegh said.

Hybrid cloud is a construct that "solves a lot of these problems, eliminates a lot of these risks," Sayegh said.

Hybrid hosting essentially is the third-generation of the cloud, he said, after private and public waves, and the third-generation of most technologies often proves the optimal one that sticks for the longest period.

"The biggest jump in improvement is that third generation," Sayegh said. "As service providers, we have to make it easy for you to do hybrid."

Kevin Walsh, owner of San Diego, Calif.-based MSP HostForYou, told CRN that he sees much the same dynamic Sayegh discussed in his own business.

Customers often are irritated by costs they weren't expecting when leveraging large cloud providers—finding the front-end pricing not matching their actual bills.

"Especially with AWS when you get data transfer costs," Walsh told CRN after hearing Sayegh's presentation. "It seems cheap, but once they start seeing the data transfers, it's sometimes not as cost effective."

A lot of his customers also worry about internet latency and prefer the networking speed of on-premises infrastructure.

"Most customers are still concerned about their data moving to the cloud," Walsh added. "So if they have more of a private system, they would prefer to have their data there. That's what I'm learning from my customers."