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An end to AWS' public cloud dominance? Cloud Foundry offers vision of multi-cloud era

Matthew Finnegan | Oct. 4, 2016
Tools like BOSH are making it easier to deploy between major cloud providers

After years of Amazon Web Services dominating the public cloud infrastructure market, a multi-cloud approach is gaining in popularity with many businesses.

The ability to move workloads between AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or whichever supplier is most appropriate for a specific application, is vital in avoiding the lock-in that enterprises fear.

It is a subject that is of huge importance to Cloud Foundry, the open source platform as a service that can be built on a range of cloud providers.

"We see a world of cloud computing that is ubiquitous and flexible, that supports multi-cloud environments," Ramji told attendees at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Frankfurt this week.

"It is portable and interoperable, enabling users to go where they want. This is actually a revolutionary concept in cloud computing, that the user should have control over their applications as they come and go."

As cloud computing has become more widely accepted in recent years, moving workloads to a public infrastructure as a service - and the resultant benefits of greater agility and potentially lower costs - no longer offers an edge over rivals, who are likely to be doing exactly the same more often than not.

"You come to a stage where your competitive advantage from choosing AWS, for example, is starting to erode," said Dan Young, CEO of UK Cloud Foundry specialists EngineerBetter.

"It has become much more ubiquitous and the skills have started to diffuse a bit more throughout the industry. Everyone else has got the same capabilities as you, more or less."

At the same time, a decade of Amazon Web Service dominance has, until fairly recently at least, resulted in a near-monopoly. Although Microsoft Azure has grown immensely, and more recently Google's corporate cloud strategy has solidified, this raises the spectre of lock-in. 

Young said: "Many people will have lived through a couple of decades of Microsoft and VMware and Oracle and these buying decisions we make. And sometimes this begins to feel very familiar when we are looking at cloud as well."

German car manufacturer Volkswagen is building a Cloud Foundry PaaS on top of OpenStack to support development of new customer-facing applications and does not want to be tied to one vendor.

"The reason we chose Cloud Foundry is that we have a chance for a multi-cloud environment," Roy Sauer, Volkswagen's head of Group IT Architecture and Technology told Computerworld UK.

"We have implemented on a small scale in an on-premise cloud in the Volkswagen data centres and we want to link to several public cloud providers like AWS, IBM or Azure," Sauer said.

"[We will have our] own data centres for critical data, for secure data, and several public cloud providers because we have to have this global footprint. And even to swap from one public provider to another if it's necessary."


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