There’s no better way to start a news year than with a big customer win. In our case, it’s truly a “David vs. Goliath” win, a win that demonstrates how the market is embracing open source, underdog disruptors to take the lead.
Just a few short days after writing This post first appeared in Openness Is the True Path of NFV for SDxCentral, we received confirmation that we just closed a strategic deal with a leading telecom carrier, beating all the “Goliath” legacy players in the industry. We beat out a legacy player that was already the carrier’s preferred vendor, a supplier who assumed that continuing the relationship was just a matter of signing on the dotted line. Simple as that.
They quickly learned that it wasn’t that simple.
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The legacy vendor offered its monolithic, proprietary, turnkey solution. They thought they were sweetening the pot by throwing in the orchestration layer: “it’s on the house.” But the customer realized that signing their deal meant committing to more lock-in, and they were ready to embrace an open source future in which they had more control over their own destiny.
Winning the deal is great all by itself, but the win validates the strategic importance of taking the open route over the proprietary turnkey approach. Here’s what I think is going on.
This win is a great example of organizational transformation manifesting itself in buyer behavior. This carrier decided to be bold and recognize the “dangers” as I describe them in the SDX Central piece. They realized that by working with any of the monolithic vendors they are basically signing on for yet another term of lock-in, neutering their entire rationale for taking the NFV journey. Proprietary lock-in diminishes the value of NFV, making those using it a provider or rather, a “simplistic” conduit to the legacy vendor’s services and features, limiting their ability to innovate and roll-out services that are unique to their offering.
The most interesting part was that with their decision to take the open, best of breed approach with Cloudify, they knew this decision would require more ownership on their part. They’d have to roll up their sleeves and work, compared to a turnkey solution. However, they also noted that this was actually one of the primary reasons they chose to go open—they were hungry to have better control of their destiny, costs, and ultimately their competitive advantage.
In 2016, we started seeing this coming. We’ve seen accelerating adoption of Cloudify among a growing list of leading carriers and across the NFV more broadly. We see this reflected in recent RFI activity as well. It’s clear to me that buyers are increasingly interested in embracing an NFV technology stack that is open, community supported and interoperable. Legacy vendors are having trouble pulling this off, and Cloudify has already proven itself able to deliver. It’s a good time to be the underdog!
We achieved a major milestone last year as well. A multi-year mega-deal with a North American bank who already was using Cloudify in production for several years decided to expand their Cloudify footprint. This bank that was looking for a way to regain control of their accumulation of “too much technology” by providing a scalable, one-click consumable way to provision heterogeneous “certified” environments, and ultimately manage and monitor them simply. Their experience with Cloudify told them that it was the way to go.
They chose Cloudify to build and expand upon their hybrid cloud—a 5,000+ VM deployment—across OpenStack and VMware infrastructure. Yet the more interesting aspect is that one of the key differentiators with Cloudify (it tipped the decision, in fact) was the convergence of enterprise IT and NFV—where the network orchestration piece has become key—and Cloudify’s ability to orchestrate across all layers.
So What’s Next?
We’re investing more around Azure support, and as a start we completed a case study on how a major insurance company is using Cloudify to manage their risk management application. Organizations are asking, “Azure or AWS?” and every hybrid cloud mix-and-match scenario is now fair game. Many enterprises are debating what to bet on for their cloud strategy.
Cloudify, in its orchestration-first approach, wants to make this a non-binding decision and ensure cloud portability between clouds and even the same cloud, such as Azure’s public and private cloud offerings. Azure is taking many strides to uniquely position itself to respond to the growing needs of enterprises, building a strategy around open source collaboration and enabling a hybrid stack approach. They are demonstrating that freedom of choice will tip the scales in their favor—not lock-in. And partners looking to spread the open gospel, are those that Cloudify always looks to work with.
Cloudify 4.0 and the Next-Gen Service Provider
Throughout our engagement during 2016 we came to the realization that there isn’t much difference among all large-scale multi-national corporations these days—whether a large bank, insurance company, satellite provider, telco or operator. IT engineering, network engineering, DevOps, and developers alike have all become “service providers” to either internal users or end users.
We have come to call these, “Next-Gen Service Providers”. These operators understand that it’s critical to be able to rollout new services rapidly, with little complexity in a repeatable and automated manner, all while controlling the process. The specific service that they deliver to their users can still be fairly different (Network services in the case of Carriers, and more standard web apps in the case of enterprises), but the way they need to deliver it and the cloud infrastructure in which they build upon is fairly similar and would rely on a combination of a hybrid cloud stack and containers as the common substrate.
This is where Cloudify 4.0 comes in. Cloudify release version 4.0 in Q1. It will be packed with features powering the next-gen service provider, and enabling fine-grained multi-tenancy, a simplified high availability architecture, more robust security, a new multi tenant portal designed to address the needs of both the end-users, through a simple one click catalogue, the operator that want a single pane of glass to control the user’s activity and the power-user that is looking for full control to customize and tune the way the application is being managed.
Cloudify 4.0 will also include many new reporting and monitoring, SaaS Cloudify Composer, among many other UX improvements. We believe that this shifts Cloudify into a whole new domain, what we have coined as “Orchestration First Cloud Service Management”.
There’s Just One More Thing
All this change and market adoption of Cloudify has led us to move the Cloudify team into its own business unit at GigaSpaces. This way, our engineering, product management, sales, support, and other team members can focus on Cloudify, without the distraction of other products in the GigaSpaces portfolio. I’ll serve as CTO of the Cloudify business unit. It’s a reorganization that benefits our customers, our employees, our partners and the Cloudify open source community.
2017 is off to a great start at Cloudify. We look forward to seeing you and talking about how your organization is embracing agile, open NFV at events around the world.
If you are interested in meeting at Mobile World Congress to speak about multi-VIM, NFV MANO, please send us an email at email@example.com.