Infinidat Blog

Looking Down from the Clouds after AWS re:Invent 2019

Another year, another awesome AWS re:Invent show. I could have written yet another vendor recap of the X hundred new product announcements across AWS and ecosystem partners – for example, our new higher-bandwidth connectivity from our Neutrix Cloud storage service to AWS and other clouds. But I think there is a more valuable story to explore for large enterprises, and it's something that AWS consciously isn't talking about: multicloud. Watch my video discussion with theCube at re:Invent for the quick synopsis:

At Infinidat, we've been focusing on enabling customers to transform their storage environments at scale - on-prem, in clouds, or anywhere in between. Our typical customers have petabytes of our storage deployed supporting hundreds or thousands of business-critical workloads. Individual applications range from traditional databases to next-generation machine learning runtimes. And the biggest seismic shift we've seen across our customers and the industry at large over the past year is the strategic embrace of multicloud philosophies - from both business and technical perspectives.
On the business side, the drive for multicloud is straightforward. Do you want to pledge allegiance to one specific cloud for a particular workload, forever? If not, then you need to consider your exit strategy before you even begin. One of our customers said it well at an executive briefing last week: "Never adopt a technology you can't escape!". In addition, any sourcing professional will recognize that a single-vendor strategy is never going to give you the best negotiating position, regardless of the associated technology choices. There are still business barriers to multicloud adoption, such as egress fees that limit the attractiveness of moving data from cloud to cloud, and volume discounts that incentivize centralizing data across clouds. But as enterprises start driving significant spending with public clouds, they get better negotiating positions that can significantly change those considerations. If enterprises aren’t thinking with a multicloud mentality from the very beginning, then they are missing a big opportunity.
On the technology side, it’s getting increasingly straightforward to place workloads in the right clouds - at least from a compute perspective. The rise of Kubernetes implementations across cloud and on-prem environments has made it possible to easily deploy and redeploy practically any stateless workload across any physical infrastructure. Single-workload scalability across multiple physical environments is much harder, with legitimate technical challenges related to application state management, latency, networking, and other factors. Stateful workload expansion across clouds is an even bigger problem. However, all of these challenges are getting easier with the rise of multicloud storage platforms like our Neutrix Cloud.
Finally, back to what wasn’t discussed at re:Invent… how are the hyperscale providers like AWS handling this shift? As The New York Times recently reported, AWS has had a stringent policy limiting even mentioning other clouds at their trade shows, including re:Invent. Of course, AWS is free to set the rules for participants at their events, and as one of the sponsors, we respect their rules.

No multicloud mentions here... just great conversations!

From a customer perspective, though, it seems myopic to not even allow acknowledgment that many solutions in the AWS ecosystem can work with other clouds (and on-prem environments, for that matter). What's the loss for AWS? But in any case, this myopia creates an environment where customers need to engage independent vendors like Infinidat (and our integrators and resale partners) to truly execute on strategic multicloud adoption. A single-cloud strategy may be appropriate for individual workloads, but it's a career-limiting move in the long term if you're talking about a cloud transformation for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of IT spending. 

In summary, if you left re:Invent thinking about what to do beyond Amazon’s ecosystem, be sure to talk to independent vendors like Infinidat as part of your strategy. You might be surprised about the possibilities, and the cost savings, once you think outside the AWS walled garden. And if you’re thinking about how that multicloud future looks from a storage perspective, you can actually explore that already - start a free trial of our Neutrix Cloud storage service today!

About Erik Kaulberg

Erik Kaulberg is a Senior Director at INFINIDAT, leading cloud strategy and key alliance partnerships. He has broad expertise in enterprise storage and frequently engages key customers, partners, and analysts. Erik previously ran worldwide enterprise storage strategy and business development for IBM, after he sold all-flash array innovator Texas Memory Systems to the company.