The week in cloud: SAP stakes cloud claim; legacy and new-look vendors arm for battle

Here’s a news flash: despite all the gazillions of objects stored in Amazon’s S3 cloud (the latest official count is two trillion!) we’re very early in the cloud migration. Not really sure how meaningful that number really is, but still, two trillion!

OpenStack Summit 2013

OpenStack Summit 2013


It’s earlier than you think

IThere was tons of energy and more than 2,000 attendees at last week’s OpenStack Summit but most of those were vendors that have signed on to the effort and hope to make money off it. The proof of the pudding will come when actual end-user organizations that are not necessarily tech companies start adopting.

451 Group analyst Carl Brooks estimates there are now a few hundred OpenStack projects in production now, 60 to 80 of which are in production. Of those 40 to 50 are run by service providers of which maybe 3 or 4 make money.

SAP seeks cloud cred

We all know that tons of startups and a growing number of bigger companies tap Amazon(s amzn) Web Services for storage and perhaps some compute loads, the vast bulk of corporate computing remains on-premises. We’re entering an interesting era in which the legacy powers — Oracle(s orcl), IBM(s ibm), SAP(s sap), are rushing to embrace cloud and reap fiscal benefits. SAP CEO Bill McDermott last week told the AP that the ERP giant “accelerated into the cloud in a big way about a year ago and already we’re making money on it.”

SAP_ExecutiveBoard_McDermott_003Not to get all Clintonian here, but much here depends course a lot depends on how you define “cloud.” SAP is most certainly lumping in any and all revenue coming in via Software-as-a-Service implementations where the company gets paid via subscription vs. big lump fund payments for software licenses. SAP said cloud computing contributed nearly $37 million to its first quarter earnings.

SAP’s favored child product, the HANA in-memory database, saw its year over year revenue triple to €86 million (or about $112 million) for its first quarter.

Muddying the waters

When the industry started down this path, AWS was the big, scalable public cloud — with an ever-growing number of services that startups used to write, test and then deploy shiny new applications. VMware plugged vCloud Director as the way for existing VMware customers (most big companies) to move their legacy applications to a VMware compatible cloud.

Cutting to the chase, and vastly oversimplifying the case, it was one cloud for new apps vs. another for

old applications.But things have gotten a lot more, um, nuanced, since then.  AWS has added more services to accommodate those older but still-mission-critical applications while VMware announced plans for its own public cloud (which it calls hybrid.) And VMware/EMC spinoff the Pivotal Initiative on Wednesday will talk more about its take on cloud computing.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ahockley