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Engine Yard to support Oracle's Public Cloud as infrastructure layer

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September 25, 2013

About ten months after taking a cash injection from Oracle, PaaS (platform-as-a-service) provider Engine Yard has announced that its technology will support the Oracle Public Cloud as a selectable infrastructure layer for enterprise customers.

The announcement of support for the Oracle Public Cloud was timed to coincide with Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, hours before Larry Ellison takes the stage for a cloud keynote.

Engine Yard integrates virtualized server, storage and networking resources, and places a runtime for various languages on top to minimize the amount of time software developers spend managing the infrastructure.

The company's main competitor is Salesforce-backed Heroku, though Engine Yard pursues more enterprises, while Heroku goes for budget-minded developers.

The catch is that while Heroku runs solely on Amazon Web Services' cloud, Engine Yard can run across multiple pools of infrastructure. This protects it from cloud outages and – theoretically – means that its customers cannot be locked into any one cloud platform, aside from Engine Yard's.

Additionally, the company believes that because its "orchestration and provisioning engine doesn't encapsulate or sit as a layer around the customer's application, there's complete isolation there, which gives very good resiliency in case of cloud or network blips," according to chief technology officer Rob Walters.

The addition of Oracle means the number of clouds supported by Engine Yard broaden to four, including Amazon Web Services, Verizon Terremark, and Windows Azure, along with the yet-to-launch Oracle public cloud.

Besides supporting the Oracle cloud, the PaaS also added support for the Java language, which had been expected following its introduction of PHP support in May. It also supports Ruby and Node.js.

Engine Yard received an undisclosed investment from Oracle in November 2012. Its product management vice president Carsten Puls insists that Oracle isn't influencing day-to-day strategy, and notes that it does not have a seat on the board.

In other IT news

Microsoft is now giving away its StorSimple arrays, but there's a catch: customers will need to spend big time on its Azure Cloud services.

Microsoft acquired StorSimple in October of last year. The company offers iSCSI SAN services, but could also dump data into the cloud and present that data to servers as if it were a local resource, and that's the main reason why Microsoft acquired StorSimple in the first place.

StorSimple arrays can still do that, and target any cloud storage service, but Microsoft has made sure it plays nicely with Azure and Windows Server 2012, ie-- customers are locked in with Microsoft and not another provider.

About five minutes of effort is required to create a volume on Azure and then use StorSimple to present it as just another drive available under Windows Server 2012.

To be sure, Microsoft isn't going after the transactional storage market. It's preferring instead to offer an alternative to those system admins seeking cold storage for infrequently-accessed files.

That the StorSimple arrays offer an iSCSI interface means that Microsoft feels its hybrid cloud plans will be attractive as applications and infrastructure won't need to be rewired to talk to cloud storage services' RESTful APIs.

Microsoft people are now suggesting that adding a disk drawer to a conventional array can cost upwards of $200,000, while a whole StorSimple unit ready to go with a few terabytes and using the cloud costs less.

Throw in the cloud for some extra capacity and Microsoft is confident it comes out ahead. Microsoft concluded a demo event yesterday in Australia with an offer whereby organizations that spend $55,000 (AU) on Azure will be given a 6.5 TB disk array.

Those willing to stump up $110,000 (AU) get a 20 TB box to play with. Microsoft representatives at the event said the offer is global and is based on a US dollar spend of $50,000 and $100,000. The offer expires at the end of this year.

Microsoft's initial ability to make that offer comes from a hiring spree that has seen it set up StorSimple sales and support teams around the world. In Australia, the company has hired people with experience at tier one storage companies.

We understand from this that similar team-building efforts have also taken place elsewhere around the world.

Microsoft has had a "few toes" in storage for a couple of years, largely through its NAS platform Windows Storage Server. Windows Server 2012 saw the company attempt to match VMware's SAN integration services.

StorSimple is an attempt to take Microsoft to a new level altogether, making it a credible hybrid cloud storage player in a thinly-populated market.

VMware's vCloud hybrid service integrates deeply with vSphere. NetApp's Direct Connect deal with Amazon Web Services is another alternative.

Microsoft's vast customer base, extensive channel and ownership of Azure's ten data centres mean it deserves to be considered a hybrid storage cloud contender of sorts.

Without wanting to be sycophantic, the audience Vulture South was part of today agreed-- asked if Microsoft is a storage company at the start of the session, almost no hands were raised. By the end of the session many more headed to the ceiling.

The notion that Microsoft is a devices and services company also looked rather less like a surface-level presentation.

Source: Oracle.

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