Amazon remains secretive about revenues from its business in providing cloud services to enterprises, and nothing was said in this week's earnings announcement to shed further light on the question. But if you consider the amount of content stored in its cloud service as any indicator, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is growing like gangbusters.
At the end of 2011, there were 762 billion objects in Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), up nearly three-fold, or 192 percent, from the 262 billion objects stored at the end of 2010. "S3 grew faster last year than it did in any year since it launched in 2006," said AWS evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post that revealed the latest metric.
It is widely believed that AWS was close to a $1 billion business in 2011 and, based on the $1.5 billion in annual revenues classified as "other," that appears to be on target.
Last year, Amazon's S3 annual growth was two-and-a-half-fold and, presuming it stays even close to the same trajectory, the number of objects will be in the trillions this year. Barr said Amazon is looking to expand the S3 team and has posted open positions for several software engineers, a senior product manager and a director.
|Source: Amazon Web Services |
Meanwhile, looking to address one of the largest complaints about AWS -- that it has limited customer support -- the company plans to role out new services for its Gold and Platinum AWS Premium Support offerings. In beta now, Amazon plans to offer support for operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu Linux, Red Hat Linux, SuSE and the Amazon Linux AMI.
The service, called Third Party Support, also lets customers ask for help with and administering Apache and IIS Web servers, Amazon SDKs, Sendmail, Postfix and FTP, according to Barr in a separate blog post. "A team of AWS support engineers is ready to help with setup, configuration, and troubleshooting of these important infrastructure components," Barr said.
Amazon is also readying a new service, called AWS Trusted Advisor, that will allow the company to inspect a customer's cloud environment and report on how they can save money, improve performance and address security holes, according to Barr.
"AWS Trusted Advisor does not have access to customer data," he said. "Recommendations are made by analyzing information gathered using a constrained set of internal and documented AWS API calls."
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on February 01, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Salesforce.com on Tuesday launched a cloud-based help desk offering conveniently called Desk.com.
Based on Salesforce.com's September 2011 acquisition of Assistly for $50 million and its procurement of the Desk.com domain earlier this month, the subscription-based help desk service will let businesses offer customer support from mobile devices and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Founded in 2009, Assistly was primarily aimed at small businesses, and that appears to be the focus of Desk.com, which will keep the $49 monthly subscription price per agent, but will also introduce in the future a fee for part-time agents starting at $1 per hour. This is not a traditional help desk offering, but rather one that is targeted at employees that use social networks to track their businesses and have support people who may not always be at their desks. The company estimates that 72 percent of small businesses use mobile apps.
"We built Desk.com so that every company can deliver personal customer service in a social and mobile world," said Alex Bard, Assistly's CEO and founder and now VP and general manager of Desk.com, in a statement. "Desk.com is social at its core; its mobile app instantly lets any employee, anywhere, deliver awesome customer service; and it can be deployed quickly and easily."
According to the Desk.com Web site, the service can link directly to a company's social network account to its customer help desk in five clicks. The Desk.com mobile app works with any HTML 5-compatible smartphone.
The company said it intends to offer analytics and reporting.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 31, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Wednesday introduced a service that lets enterprises connect their on-premises data with its cloud-based storage.
The company's AWS Storage Gateway consists of an appliance that sits in the customer's datacenter and allows them to mirror their local storage with the cloud. This lets customers create backup and disaster recovery scenarios using Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3).
Customers can install the appliance, which can support up to 12 volumes totaling 12 TB of data. The offering allows customers to install multiple gateways and they can choose between Amazon's datacenters in Northern Virginia, Oregon, Ireland, Singapore or Tokyo.
The gateways will create VM images based on VMware's ESXi 4.1, though AWS Evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blog post that the company plans to support other VMs in the future. Customers must have adequate local disk storage in the form of direct attached storage of a SAN for application data used by iSCSI storage volumes. Barr said Amazon currently supports iSCSI storage volumes using Windows and Red Hat iSCSI Initiators.
Amazon CTO Werner Vogels explained the offering in a separate blog post.
The AWS Storage Gateway is a service connecting an on-premises software appliance with cloud-based storage. Once the AWS Storage Gateway's software appliance is installed on a local host, you can mount Storage Gateway volumes to your on-premises application servers as iSCSI devices, enabling a wide variety of systems and applications to make use of them. Data written to these volumes is maintained on your on-premises storage hardware while being asynchronously backed up to AWS, where it is stored in Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots. Snapshots are encrypted to make sure that customers do not have to worry about encrypting sensitive data themselves. When customers need to retrieve data, they can restore snapshots locally, or create Amazon EBS volumes from snapshots for use with applications running in Amazon EC2.
Amazon said the AWS Storage Gateway costs $125 per month per installed gateway. Snapshot storage pricing starts at $0.14 per GB per month (the company posted a more detailed price list here). Amazon is offering the first 60 days on a free trial basis.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Scribe Software, which last year released a cloud service to connect Microsoft Dynamics CRM data with other business applications including Salesforce.com apps, is extending its capabilities to synchronize content more easily with disparate premises-based business-critical software.
The company is billing Scribe Online Synchronization Services (SYS), released this week, as an alternative to integration middleware such as Dell Boomi, IBM Cast Iron and Microsoft's own SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and BizTalk connectivity software. Scribe Online SYS connects Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com data with business critical apps using third-party connectors via the cloud.
The goal of the Manchester, N.H.-based company is to extend the value of both premises and Software as a Service (SaaS)-based CRM environments to include other data sources such as ERP apps, marketing systems, legacy databases and even social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Among those developing connectors so far are GoodData, Metanga, Aplicor and Xactly. To enable partners to build connectors, Scribe this week has also launched its Spark Solution Developer Program, aimed at ISVs with SaaS-based apps, implementation partners and consultants. It is also available to corporate IT and development shops.
Participants in the partner program can use Scribe's new connector development kit (CDK), which consists of a set of APIs and documentation. With the connectors, updates to customer information are captured and reflected in both the CRM system and the corresponding application, ensuring information is always current and accurate across the organization, said Scribe CEO Lou Guercia in an interview.
Systems integrators can manage the use of these cloud connectors for customers, Guercia said. Scribe has 12,000 customers, 1,000 of which it picked up last year, and has 1,000 partners, according to Guercia. "That gives us tremendous leverage," he said.
Scribe, which claims it saw its business grow 22 percent over the past year, is hoping more systems integrators and VARs will build mappings between ERP applications, custom software and SQL databases. Likewise, internal IT organizations can opt to build their own connectors and can also access the CDK. If a shop has a proprietary system that they want to integrate with their CRM data, they can build a native connector rather than relying on ODBC or native SQL connectors.
The service runs on Microsoft's Windows Azure. When someone wants to build maps between different applications they use Scribe's wizard-based UI, enter the names of servers they want to connect to and the service will show the different entities that are within the target and source systems. "The user can drag and drop across the screen which entities they want to map and synchronize," Guercia said.
Dana Gardner, who follows the data integration market and is a principal analyst of Interarbor Solutions, pointed to the need for better connectivity between disparate CRM data and other data sources. Gardner believes Scribe is employing a unique and potentially effective route to market to solving that problem.
"Integration from a cloud vantage point is the right way," Gardner explained. "Doing integration point to point from inside the firewall is difficult and costly but standardizing and then creating a community effect, whereby more people create more types of connectors that then get relayed back into the community, that's an effective model. It's been proven in many ways in an open source type of environment. I expect that the same effect will play out in the cloud ecosystem or cloud of clouds. I do think there's a strong need and the go-to-market approach of the community and the channel is smart."
It will be interesting to see how much traction the new program gains in the coming months. Do you like Scribe's approach to the CRM integration problem or are you more partial to other alternatives? Leave a comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM1 comments
AppDynamics, a provider of cloud-based application performance management (APM) software, last week received an infusion of $20 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). The C-Series funding adds KPCB as its latest investor, joining Greylock Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
AppDynamics' namesake software helps IT manage distributed Web applications running on premises and in the cloud, and is targeted at both operations and development teams.
Jyoti Bansal, AppDynamics' founder and CEO, said in an interview that the company sees a significant market for managing mission-critical business applications on distributed cloud servers. Bansal, a one-time lead software architected for Wily Technology (now part of CA Technologies), founded San Francisco-based AppDynamics nearly four years ago. Large cloud-services users such as Netflix, Priceline and Tivo run AppDynamics app management software.
As companies move business applications to cloud architectures from large monolithic servers, operations and development teams are challenged with managing the apps and ensuring reliable performance, a satisfactory user experience and consistent availability. "AppDynamics technology is about providing a management platform for people to effectively manage applications as they move into the cloud," Bansal said.
AppDynamics competes with numerous software vendors that offer APM wares including CA, Compuware (which last year acquired dynaTrace), ExtraHop, Hewlett-Packard, Precise Software and Quest Software, among others. "The market for managing mission-critical Web applications is huge," Bansal said.
Last year AppDynamics' business grew more than five times, according to Bansal, though he declined to disclose revenues. Its software runs on Web servers on premises and in the cloud and works with applications written in both Java and Microsoft's .NET. AppDynamics also has a partnership with Amazon Web Services and has developed an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to run AppDynamics' instrumentation on potentially thousands of servers, according to Bansal.
That instrumentation allows customers to determine the source of bottlenecks and slowdowns and perform remediations. "You can reduce time to resolution of problems by many orders of magnitude from around eight to 10 hours to 10 to 15 minutes," he said. One major customer uses AppDynamics to manage apps distributed among 5,000 Amazon cloud servers.
In addition to its relationship with Amazon, AppDynamics works on Microsoft's Windows Azure and cloud services offered by Rackspace. AppDynamics also has partnerships with some smaller cloud providers as well as RightScale, a popular cloud infrastructure management provider, and has a co-selling pact with BMC Software.
With its new round of funding, Bansal said AppDynamics plans to expand its international business (it now represents 30 percent of its current revenue) and extend its product line with more management functions that, among other things, help deploy distributed agile applications in the cloud and help scale, monitor, manage and analyze those applications.
The software runs on Linux and Windows servers, with pricing starting at $4,000 per agent running on a single server or operating system instance.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
AT&T is the latest major IT provider to add a public cloud service. Revealed at its developer conference in Las Vegas alongside the Consumer Electronics Show last week, Cloud Architect is targeted at enterprise app developers.
I caught up Wednesday with John Potter, AT&T's VP of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), to discuss how Cloud Architect, available now, will extend the telecommunications carrier's existing enterprise cloud offerings and compete with IaaS offerings from the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace Hosting.
The plan with Cloud Architect is to go "down market," Potter explained. AT&T already offers hybrid cloud services through its AT&T Synaptic Hosting and storage offerings. The AT&T Synaptic cloud portfolio is a high-end offering aimed at extending private clouds via virtual private network connections to AT&T datacenters.
Cloud Architect is AT&T's foray into offering pure public cloud services, Potter told me. "Our Synaptic offering is a fully integrated stack as opposed as what we see as down market with Cloud Architect," Potter said, adding that the service gives customers choices around the sets of capabilities they can subscribe to, such as dedicated instances, single-tenant instances of servers and dedicated virtual machines, as well as bare metal machines for high I/O types of apps.
The intent is to give developers, ISVs and tech-savvy SMBs the opportunity to build as they see fit for the workloads that they need to serve, he explained. "It's really spin it up quickly and spin it down," he said. "Down market, not a lot of folks have VPNs. Developers in many cases don't want to be pinned down with VMware -- they don't need the functionality and they don't need the price point associated with it. And they want [Microsoft's] Hyper-V, they want Xen, they want other hypervisors that they can go and develop on, at different functionality points, and as a result a different price point."
That said, AT&T has a partnership with VMware and the company will be announcing new developments along those lines in the coming weeks, presumably for the larger-scale Synaptic cloud offerings, though Potter declined to elaborate.
Cloud Architect usage will typically range from $50 to $1,500 per month, compared with AT&T Synaptic usage, which will run form $5,000 to $10,000. "It's just a whole different bowl of wax," he said.
Given the fact that AT&T runs one of the largest mobile communications networks in the world, I asked Potter if the goal of Cloud Architect is to woo developers of applications for mobile form factors. To no surprise, he said yes. "For the mobile development environment, we are very interested in capturing mindshare and capturing the traffic and capturing the mobile developer," Potter said.
He argued that AT&T's Cloud Architect, which will spread workloads throughout its 11 datacenters throughout the United States, is a better option for mobile developers than AWS and Rackspace.
"The tolerance for Amazon scaling to a full production environment isn't there," he said. "From a security perspective, from an ability to scale perspective, folks are just not comfortable with the proposition being brought forward into a full production environment. We have the ability to provide a full value proposition with a single platform across development, test and run, and we are going to leverage that, coupled with the full mobility compliment of development capabilities that we think gives us a unique advantage versus the Amazons of the worlds and the Rackspaces of the world."
To aid developers in building apps to run on Cloud Architect, AT&T released a bunch of new APIs. Among them:
- Identity and security: To allow developers to federate identity across services
- Data analysis and personalization: Lets developers use data capabilities from AT&T to deliver personalized experiences for end users
- Network optimization: To ensure connections are used most efficiently
- Contextual services: Will let developers build location and presence into their apps
- Communications services: Provides session management, messaging services and call control
- Monetization: Provides a standard billing service
Among those major players who have recently announced public clouds are Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and IBM. Meanwhile, AT&T's largest rival in the telecommunications sector, Verizon Communications, last year acquired Terremark for $1.4 billion, giving it a significant cloud hosting presence.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Looking to build on its e-discovery, compliance and storage management portfolio, Symantec this week said it has acquired cloud archiving provider LiveOffice for $115 million.
The deal will allow Symantec to extend its push into helping customers address retention of e-mail and other content. EMC, IBM and Hewlett-Packard all have competitive offerings. Thanks to its $10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy last year, HP has become a major player in the market for enterprise search and e-discovery software and services.
LiveOffice focuses on cloud-based business continuity and offers an archiving and compliance service that is said to offer rapid access to archived data. Acquiring LiveOffice seems to make sense for Symantec -- it was already a hosted OEM provider of Symantec's Vault.cloud. LiveOffice already integrates with Symantec's recently acquired Clearwell eDiscovery platform, which allows for the analysis of data imported from LiveOffice, Symantec Enterprise Vault and other data sources.
I spent some time talking to the LiveOffice team last summer when Microsoft launched its Office 365 cloud-based e-mail and collaboration service. LiveOffice pitched its service as an add-on to Office 365 for those who need more storage capacity than the 25 GB per user limit imposed by Microsoft's service. The LiveOffice service is also a good hedge for organizations looking to regain access to their e-mail and SharePoint content in the event of an Office 365 outage.
LiveOffice also has partnerships with Salesforce.com, Dropbox and Box.net, in addition to Symantec. Symantec intends to continue offering the LiveOffice service offerings but a spokeswoman indicated that the company is considering branding scenarios in line with the Symantec brand.
LiveOffice CEO Nick Mehta will stay on board during an unspecified transition period. Jeff Hausman, LiveOffice's COO, is now VP of product delivery at Symantec.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Salesforce.com has nabbed Vivek Kundra, the United States' first CIO, as executive VP of emerging markets.
The company announced Kundra's appointment Monday. Kundra, who was named by President Barack Obama as the country's first CIO in 2009, stepped down last summer to take a fellowship at Harvard University as a joint fellow at the Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Kundra's claim to fame was not so much that he was the nation's first CIO, but his footprint on shifting a huge portion of the United States' $80 billion IT spending to the cloud. Under his "Cloud-First" policy, Kundra set the bar to move 25 percent of agencies' IT spending, amounting to $20 billion, to the cloud.
Having evangelized the federal government's move to the cloud, Kundra's credentials and stature as a proponent of cloud computing should give Salesforce.com a boost as the company looks to expand into new markets.
"Vivek Kundra is an amazing technology visionary who opened the eyes of millions to the transformational power of cloud computing," said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's chairman and CEO. "His disruptive leadership is just what the industry needs to accelerate the social enterprise."
While the goal is to extend Salesforce.com into emerging markets, Kundra told The New York Times Monday that he will interact with all governments.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Amazon Web Services in August launched AWS Direct Connect, an option that lets customers build a dedicated network link from a datacenter or collocation facility to an Amazon facility, which it calls an AWS Region.
Amazon added this option to customers who were concerned about privacy, network costs and those who were seeking better connectivity than the Internet provides, the company said at the time. But the connectivity was limited to one location: an Equinix collocation facility in Virginia.
This week Amazon has added four new AWS Direct Connect regions that include Northern California (Equinix in San Jose and CoreSite One Wilshire in Los Angeles), EU West (TelecityGroup Docklands in London), Singapore (Equinix) and Tokyo (Equinix).
While Amazon's AWS Region in the EU is in Ireland and the Northern California AWS Region is in Silicon Valley, the additions of London and Los Angeles are intended for "additional flexibility when connecting to AWS from those cities," said AWS evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post.
Separately, Amazon customers who want added security beyond what Amazon offers can now use a variety of security gateways offered by Check Point Software. Check Point, an Amazon partner, last week said it is providing its security gateways as Amazon Machine Images, or AMIs, to customers looking to extend such services as intrusion detection, data loss prevention, firewall, VPN and URL filtering.
While Amazon offers its own VPN access and encryption, Check Point said the availability of these added security options should appeal to customers leery of using the cloud for sensitive data.
"As customers bring their servers and applications and their own IT stack [to the cloud], there's security that needs to be done that Amazon just doesn't provide," said Fred Kost, Check Point's head of marketing. For example, some customers require added access control mechanisms or want to watch for intrusions, Kost said.
Those with perpetual licenses can extend them to Amazon. Check Point also offers some of its gateways on a subscription basis.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
Looking to expand its global footprint and addressable market, cloud hosting provider Internap this week said it has acquired Voxel Holdings for $30 million in cash.
By adding Voxel, Internap can target smaller customers that require more automation and self-service implementation of cloud and hosting services. Internap addresses large enterprises that typically spend a minimum of $10,000 per month and as much as $1 million monthly, said President and CEO Eric Cooney, speaking Tuesday during an investor conference call announcing the acquisition.
Typical Voxel customers, by comparison, spend less than $10,000 per month and tend to require rapid, self-service provisioning of infrastructure.
Internap offers two cloud services. The first is its flagship Custom Public Cloud, based on VMware's vCloud Director platform. Custom Public Cloud is geared toward organizations running enterprise applications that require high availability. Also, in October, the company launched the first public cloud service based on the compute service of OpenStack, the popular open source platform aimed at building interoperable clouds.
Voxel's self-service platform runs on Red Hat Linux. While Voxel has closely explored OpenStack and even contributed to the community, it has not to date deployed OpenStack. Also differentiating the two companies is the fact that Internap owns its own datacenters, while Voxel rents its facilities.
Cooney indicated that in the coming quarters Internap will look at relocating some of Voxel's infrastructure into Internap facilities. Voxel, based in New York, has a large presence there, where leasing and powering datacenters can be more expensive than other locations. But Voxel also has a presence in Amsterdam and Singapore, giving Internap an expanded global footprint.
"With Voxel's strong track record in dedicated hosting and public cloud and Internap's robust collocation and enterprise hosting presence, we are now positioned to capture and hold customers through the majority of their IT infrastructure lifecycle," Cooney said.
Though Cooney forecast that Voxel closed out 2011 with a 25 percent growth rate, he suggested it lacked the sales and marketing infrastructure to compete with much larger giants such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. Internap has 60 direct sales reps and a network of channel partners that will help expand Voxel's footprint, while extending Internap's portfolio.
"We've been doing very well in the marketplace competing against the three major players in head-to-head RFPs, and now we look at this Internap deal and just clearly see a huge potential with combining that kind of product set and Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform with an established sales and marketing organization," said Voxel Founder and CTO Raj Dutt during the investor call. "So we're very optimistic we can continue to grow the business with that combination."
Will Internap transition the Voxel infrastructure to OpenStack? Cooney indicated that is the plan. "Obviously, they are separate platforms. We have not done the engineering development work to integrate the two platforms, but you can expect that top of our list of integration activities is to integrate those two public cloud platforms together," Cooney said. "Without putting too much of our future roadmap on the table, suggest to say that OpenStack we expect to be a key part of the long term platform."
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
IBM kicked off its first acquisition of the new year on Wednesday saying it has agreed to buy Green Hat, a provider of tools that lets application developers use cloud resources to test their software.
Big Blue did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Green Hat will be folded into IBM's Rational Software business where it will be offered in conjunction with the company's application lifecycle management (ALM) portfolio.
By acquiring Green Hat, IBM said it is looking for a way to provide lower-cost ways of letting developers test and ensure the quality of their software without cutting corners. Properly testing software today requires an investment in simulation labs that can cost anywhere from $5 million to $30 million, said Charles Chu, IBM Rational's director of product management and strategy.
"That's not a trivial number no matter what size company you are," Chu said. "By providing this virtualized environment, the agile developer is able to come much closer to the vision of realizing continuous integration and continuous testing."
While IBM emphasized that Green Hat's GH Tester, GH performance and Green Hat Virtual Integration Environment (GH VIE) tools are aimed at using cloud resources, Chu acknowledged that developers must use private clouds today. "We don't currently have any announced plans for a public cloud offering," Chu said. However IBM has a cloud service in beta that allows developers to provision a test environment.
GH VIE allows for cloud testing in a virtual environment, Chu said. "Once the configuration is done, that environment is available and provisioned in a matter of minutes for a developer to run tests against," he said.
Founded in 1996, Green Hat's tools support a variety of software environments, including those from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Software AG, Sonic MQ and Tibco, as well as supporting Web services and Java protocols.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 04, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments
With the rush to the cloud, it's no surprise that some of the largest IT vendors shelled out big bucks to gain ground in 2011.
Many players were slow to acknowledge that the cloud is for real, or they have legacy platforms that are not easy to transform. Consequently, some pioneers in cloud computing are now becoming parts of established vendors such as Verizon, Oracle and SAP. Meanwhile, leading cloud pioneer Salesforce.com continues to fill in gaps that exist in its offerings.
With the new year upon us, we can expect to see more big cloud computing acquisitions in 2012. Here's a look at the most noteworthy cloud acquisitions of 2011:
Earlier this year, Verizon Communications announced it would pay $1.4 billion to acquire Terremark Worldwide, one of the largest independent providers of managed hosting and cloud services for large enterprises and government agencies.
The move gave Verizon instant credibility as a provider of enterprise cloud services. Verizon President and CEO Lowell McAdam told investors when the deal was announced that it made more sense to acquire a leading provider of cloud infrastructure services than building out datacenters throughout the world.
"This is a classic make-buy decision," he said. "By the time you build datacenters and then outfit them and build the employee capability and all of the software applications that ride in these datacenters, it takes time, and to be honest, that is not our core competency."
At the time of the deal, Miami-based Terremark operated 13 datacenters throughout the world. Now Terremark is a subsidiary of Verizon, led by Nelson Fonseca, who was named president of the new unit on Dec. 16. Fonseca was previously Terremark's chief operating officer.
Verizon wasn't the only communications provider to jump onto the cloud bandwagon in 2011. Shortly after that deal was announced, Time Warner Cable said it would acquire NaviSite for $230 million. But both would prove paltry to CenturyLink's bid to acquire Savvis for $2.5 billion.
After the deal was completed, CenturyLink combined Savvis with its managed hosting business. That business unit is led by Savvis CEO Jim Ousley. CenturyLink in 2011 became the third largest communications provider with its $12.2 billion acquisition of Denver-based Qwest Communications.
By acquiring Savvis, CenturyLink said it now operates 48 datacenters throughout North America, Europe and Asia, with nearly 2 million square feet of floor space. With its domestic 207,000-mile fiber network and 190,000-mile international access network, CenturyLink is looking to offer combined collocation, network access, managed hosting and cloud services to both large enterprises and government agencies, as well as small and medium businesses.
Relative to the other deals in this roundup, Salesforce.com's acquisition of Radian6 was the smallest. Nonetheless, it defined the cloud-based CRM giant's emphasis in 2011: enterprise social networking.
Salesforce.com acquired Radian6 for $326 million. The Radian6 Engagement Console allows customers to discover what is being said about them on a variety of social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as on blogs. This sophisticated search engine is important for organizations that are concerned about their reputations. Radian6 customers include Dell, General Electric, Kodak, Molson Coors, PepsiCo and United Parcel Service.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's outspoken CEO, spent much of 2011 emphasizing his belief that enterprises need to embrace social networking to interact with each other as well with as customers, suppliers and partners. "We were born cloud in 1999 but we've been reborn social" was his oft-quoted sound byte in 2011.
As Salesforce.com continues to bolster its Chatter service, look for the company and others to continue their emphasis on enterprise social networking in 2012.
The success and growth of Salesforce.com's cloud-based applications have been a thorn in the side of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The tension has been hard to ignore as Ellison and Benioff have taken the gloves off in a number of public rants over the years, which came to a head this fall.
Ellison put his money where his mouth is, though, with Oracle's recent deal to acquire Salesforce.com rival RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion. RightNow covers the customer service niche. RightNow's cloud-based Customer Service Cloud product is used by 2,000 organizations, according to the company.
RightNow competes with Salesforce.com's Service Cloud, as both companies go after the call center, by helping organizations use the Internet and social networks to modernize how they provide customer service.
The deal is the latest sign that Oracle is looking to step up its emphasis on cloud computing. In October, the company launched the Oracle Public Cloud, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that runs Oracle apps, middleware (including its Fusion Applications) and database platforms.
SAP may have a huge base of customers that use its ERP and line of business applications, but the company has struggled to embrace the cloud. Its core cloud initiative, Business ByDesign, has been slow out of the gate.
Looking to address one growing segment, human capital management, SAP in early December said it has agreed to acquire SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion. SuccessFactors is a leading provider of cloud-based human capital (a.k.a. human resources) management solutions.
While complementing its own premises-based HR software and providing a more robust move to the cloud, SAP sees the deal as having broader implications. SuccessFactors Founder and CEO Lars Dalgaard will lead SAP's overall cloud strategy. "Now is the time to take this game to the next level," he told analysts on a call announcing the deal.
Indeed, SAP needs to take its cloud game to the next level. It will be interesting to see if Dalgaard sticks around and is able to make that happen.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on December 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments