What did we learn from the eleven providers that we announced last week?
Over the last week we announced eleven new service providers that have chosen SolidFire’s all flash storage array as their primary block storage offering. What is really interesting is how diverse this service provider mix is, yet how their ideas of the next generation data center are so similar. We announced some smaller, regional service providers along with some very large global service providers and they all have chosen SolidFire for similar reasons. With the cost of flash dropping they can now build their new clouds and new cloud services with an all flash architecture at costs significantly lower than spinning disk and with superior features and capabilities.
Interestingly enough there were five recurring themes that appeared throughout all of their unique storage purchasing situations:
Common vision of the next generation data center. Each service provider that we announced this week shared a common vision of the storage functionality required within their next generation clouds to meet the growing needs of their customers.
Issues with legacy storage architectures. Each provider was experiencing the exact same headaches with their legacy, controller based, SAN’s. They didn’t like the costs or the limited integration / automation capabilities and they all felt that their next generation cloud requirements could not be architected using legacy storage systems.
Required Flash. Each of these 11 providers required that their new storage architecture needed to be all-flash, capable of easily scaling out to accommodate growth, and capable of handling a broad spectrum of application workloads. In the end the requirement boiled down to one system for all applications and workloads.
Broad mix of infrastructure management platforms. Another interesting observation was that there is a very broad broad mix of platforms that providers are using to manage these infrastructures – VMware, OpenStack, CloudStack, as well as home-grown management frameworks.
Despite the commonality of the requirements and how these next generation cloud providers are approaching their storage infrastructure, each one has uniquely architected their services around their target customers. As an example, Codero Hosting (Austin, TX) recently launched their Elastic SSD Cloud Block Storage (ECBS) that is completely integrated into their control panel and deeply integrated into their backend storage fabric making it easily available to all customers whether cloud, managed or dedicated. Another example of differentiation is Clearview (Dallas, TX). Clearview is using SolidFire to offer performance storage as a service to its colocation and managed customers along with SolidFire being the primary performance storage behind its private cloud configurations. The final example of differentiation is GetCloudServices (Fort Pierce, FL). GetCloudServices is primarily focused on delivering desktop as a service and uses SolidFire to deliver consistent and predictable performance to virtual desktop users provisioned by its enterprise customers.
While all of the announced service providers deliver unique solutions to their customers there was one final recurring theme that appeared across the group.
Building the Business Case. The final recurring theme was that all but one of these service providers participated in the Fueled by SolidFire Go to Market program where we took the time to meet and discuss their unique service offerings, business goals and long-term strategic objectives. Once we understood the business drivers we were able to very accurately demonstrate the projected solution ROI, anticipated profit margins of their proposed solutions and how they should and should not price and position their proposed offerings. The financial validation that they could build their own unique solution on an all-flash system profitably, really made the decision to move forward with SolidFire and easy one that addressed both financial and technology requirements at the same time.
This is an exciting time for both service providers and SolidFire and as we move into 2014 we look forward to supporting the new solutions and services that our service provider partners will be bringing to the table Fueled by SolidFire’s unique capabilities.
Bring on the customers and the applications!
Stuart Oliver, Sr. Service Provider Program Manager