Cloudistics enhances platform that takes on VMware ecosystem with on-prem cloud

The Cloudistics 3.2 release makes significant security and networking enhancements, and will be followed by some notable channel-side announcements next week.

Steve Conner, Cloudistics’ VP of Worldwide Sales

Reston VA-based Cloudistics, which provides an hyperscale cloud experience with all resources on-prem, has announced its new security-hardened Cloudistics Spark Guardian Edition OS, part of its new Cloudistics 3.2 release. The company is also preparing new elements in its channel offerings, with a new partner portal and robust deal registration system set to be announced next week.

Cloudistics was formed in 2013, and their product went to General Availability in 2016.

“We created software that allows you to take on-prem resources, aggregate them together, and make it feel like you are in Azure or AWS,” said Steve Conner, Cloudistics’ VP of Worldwide Sales. “Because it is on-premise, you are able to focus just on pools of networking, storage and VMs, so it takes a lot of administrivia out of running an on- prem infrastructure.”

It’s available for Dell hardware today, with Lenovo and SuperMicro coming in the future, Conner said.

The genesis of the Cloudistics platform lay in the experience of one of the three founders, Srinidhi Varadarajan, who also founded AppAssure, which was acquired by Dell.

“He has a PhD in high performance computing, and when AppAssure was bought by Dell, he had to move his dev/ops work to Amazon, with the result that his dev/ops bill went from $0 to hundreds of thousands of dollars a month,” Conner said. “He thought it would be simple to figure out how do this on OpenStack over a weekend, and after three weeks, concluded that OpenStack was too complex to run an enterprise dev/ops shop on. That eventually led to this platform.”

The goal, Conner said, was to have functionality that has an AWS feel, but has all the resources on-prem, and also provides complete control over the resources.

“The hyper-converged players like Nutanix and SimpliVity set out to do the same kind of thing, but we believe that they made a strategic error in their focus on storage,” he stated. “The key is the network. We focused on making a 100 per cent software-defined network at every part of the stack, and intertwined storage resources with these. It makes it completely composable, so you don’t need deep network, virtualization or storage management.”

Defining Cloudistics’ competition is a complex business, but ultimately, it comes down to VMware.

“We complete with the hyper-converged players, but as you peel back the onion, you find that we are different from them because we integrate networking deeply,” Conner said. “We don’t compete against them directly. We compete against them PLUS VMware.”

That presents Cloudistics with a significant opportunity.

“We are working with one of the largest banks in Canada, who we should be able to announce as a customer by the end of September,” Conner said. “The bank pays over S100 million to VMware each year, and they don’t see the value any more. They have a program in that bank to be free of VMware by the end of 2019, and no longer be paying them any money. Their goal meets what we can provide perfectly.”

That’s a common scenario among customers, Conner said. They have been talking with another of the large Canadian banks, who are in exactly the same position.

While much of the coverage of Cloudistics to date has focused on their relevance to the service provider and MSP market, their target customer profile is rather broader than that.

“We have gone after the service provider space because we are very well suited to hosted unified communications players,” Conner said. “We can provide true end-to-end multi-tenancy capability, because the design nature of how we separated our tiers makes each machine its own independent entity, which is unique. But that’s not the only market we go after. We have had success with legal services organizations, financials, entertainment, gaming, and oil and gas as well. It’s less the vertical and more the workload.”

Among the hosted players, Conner said that Cloudistics, being a younger company, finds it easier to get traction with what he called the mid-regional players, rather than the bigger ones.

“Those companies have money and need, but they don’t have a two-year vendor approval process, like Rogers, Bell Canada or Telus, or their equivalents in the U.S. like Verizon,” he said.

Cloudistics is committed to a channel strategy, and has a distribution relationship with Ingram Micro.

“The goal, and we are marching towards it, is to be close to 100 per cent channel as humanly possible,” Conner said. “We are focusing on recruiting attractive channel partners. We have some now in north Virginia and Atlanta. Our Toronto team is trying to recruit partners.”

While they have talked with some of the large solution providers in Canada, they aren’t targeting that group.

“We are not attacking the big guys because they are pay to play,” Conner said. “CDW would cost me a quarter million to get in the door.”

Cloudistics is enhancing the support it provides to partners, with some amounts of significance coming next week.

“We are in the process of releasing a full partner portal and robust deal registration, starting next week.” Conner indicated. “With deal-based registration, partners can often feel slighted in large accounts which can accommodate multiple partners. However, we are confident that we can find the right partners, who can attack an account and own it for us, and as long as they can close business, we are confident to them run with that.

“VMware margins suck, and that’s where my play is,” he continued. “They have single digit front end margins and rebates, and dealing with them is a necessary evil for most companies. Partners can negotiate price with customers, and we will support them to give a strong discount off the list. There’s no reason why they can’t make 20 points on a deal.”

Conner has been talking with one of Nutanix’s top partners in the U.S.

“They like the margins and being in the early adoption phase,” he said. “They want to get in early, which they were not with Nutanix.”

Partners who cover the compliance space will be most interested in the new announcement, which features the Cloudistics Spark Guardian Edition OS. It was designed for regulated industries which require higher level government standard compliance certifications.

“We have benefited here from the strategic decision we made to embed Red Hat into the product,” Conner said. “That allows us to provide a full range of certifications, including FIPs 140.2, and COMMON CRITERIA Level 2 in the hypervisor.” Cloudistics is also now certified with Gemalto SafeNet Key Secure and Vormetric Data Security Manager from Thales.

“With the 3.2 release, we have also added a lot of features around networking,” Conner noted. “The ability of people to extend VNets across geographies has led to them to want more basic business continuity in their DR – not just snapshots. So we have added the ability to have core backups integrated into the product. In addition, 3.2 provides advanced features for multi switching, and support of additional connectivity protocols. We also released a microservice for supporting file sharing.”

The 3.2 release includes as well the ability to install a local version of the management portal, allowing the platform to be managed without an Internet connection to the internet. This is designed for customers who require air-gapped environments.

The Cloudistics 3.2 release, including the Cloudistics Spark Guardian Edition OS, is available now.