A close look at the customer cabinets inside SunGard Availability Services’ data center located at 1500 Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA.
SunGard Availability Services has wagered on CloudStack and is not afraid to share why. Fundamentally, SunGard AS believes CloudStack is the best foundation for enterprise-grade cloud computing.
"What's important for SunGard AS is being able to make it clear that our offerings are and will be easy to consume and meet the types of service levels and performance requirements that the enterprise customer demands," said Chip Childers, Principal Engineer, Cloud Services at SunGard AS.
Childers has been with SunGard for about a decade w,ith a deep expertise in engineering. He was responsible for thecompany's first online portal, and operational tooling. When SunGard moved into the enterprise cloud services space, he was responsible for the initial feasibility analysis.
“We basically kicked off a process of evaluation," said Childers. "At the time, we were writing out own orchestration code. Late 2011, we decided we were going to look at alternatives. We looked at all three (OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus). We did a technical bake-out, primarily, with CloudStack and OpenStack. CloudStack won out."
Childers states four reasons for choosing CloudStack over other options such as OpenStack.
CloudStack was the best foundation for the enterprise grade cloud computing environment.
"It’s simple to implement, yet massively scalable,” said Childers. "It’s also compatible with Amazon Web Services’ APIs and supports multiple hypervisors such as Xen and vSphere 4 and 5. This interoperability and its horizontally scalable management layer make it the most functional user interface for supporting enterprise cloud."
The large Spectrum of workload profiles.
“CloudStack is very flexible,” said Childers. “The way SunGard looks at workloads, we don’t see it as ‘cloud native’ or ‘not cloud native’ – a two sided coin, a very diverse set of application needs. What we really liked about CloudStack is that it does a good job of both. As enterprises go about the process of r-earchitecting, we needed to support all of those applications, we needed to be able to support everything in between.”
CloudStack is production-proven.
SunGard liked that CloudStack was in use in more than 70 production ecosystems."Its maturity and the number of real world deployments are two reasons that CloudStack is well established in the ecosystem," said Childers.
SunGard believes CloudStack has a superior model for open source governance.
CloudStack became part of the Apache Software Foundation around the time that SunGard began seriously thinking of cloud. “We were betting on something that had a good governance model. We were timed very perfectly,” said Childers. “We looked at the Apache software foundation as the perfect Hadoop ecosystem of the project. Open Source platforms should be industry collaboration projects."
SunGard’s Cloud portfolio is named Enterprise Cloud Services. There are three major variants of its cloud. That last to roll out is the public cloud offering. "It’s currently in limited availability in Europe,” said Childers. "We’re looking to roll out more broadly. This is for dev/test and web 2.0 architecture, with full API access.”
The company offers a managed cloud offering. “It’s been around beta late 2008. This is the offering that is the core service. It takes the management of different apps. SAP is a common one we do. We handle applications that haven’t been designed for failure, dealing with availability, security and regulatory compliance."
There’s a variant of managed cloud, called managed private cloud. It’s single-tenant hardware, but running on the same network.
SunGard AS has also invested in disaster recovery capabilities. There’s a suite of products called “Recover to Cloud”. The company which is known for disaster recovery, says it has no concerns transitioning to a cloud platform delivery.
“We’re looking at rolling out cloud more broadly,” said Childers. “We’re looking at supporting IT departments.”
“With a deep heritage in helping businesses solve complex disaster recovery challenges, SunGard Availability Services is applying its 30 years of experience to meet the markets’ evolving needs, including managed services, Cloud and hybrid environments," said Christine Nurnberger, VP of marketing at SunGard Avaiability Services. "We’ve seen great momentum in both our Managed Services and Cloud lines of business in the last year."
Childers highlights what he sees as a major hurdle in enterprise cloud adoption today. “There’s a spend management problem,” said Childers. “A lot of the IT spend it going through expensed transactions. That’s problematic for the business.”
Another issue he sees is line of business apps growing out of public cloud “Very frequently, these line of business apps become mission critical very soon,” said Childers. “These apps are sitting out in the public cloud and it becomes mission critical.
If you use our offering, we’ll allow you to collectively credit budgets. We’ll run them on our environments.” This effectively enables IT departments to give devs cloud, with SunGard providing them a full self-service development environment.
“I can tell you the cloud business is growing in Europe and the US,” said Childers. “I can’t give you specific numbers. There’s a very large pipeline building up behind it. We’re typically working with customers that have these diverse application platforms.”
Childers says that in the end, customers should only care about the technology used by providers. Flexibility of the software is a key capability, and CloudStack allowed SunGard to support our customers in different models. CloudStack has been around for quite some time, and nearly all major IaaS API wrappers (Fog, jClouds, Libcloud, etc...) support its APIs, as well as most commercial cloud management tools.