Tier1 Research: Claranet opens Virtual Data Centre

Extract taken from Tier1 Research

Analyst: Daniel Beazer

Claranet has unveiled its long-awaited IaaS product, Virtual Data Centre. The pan-European hosting and network provider came to the market last year with Managed Virtual Hosting, a tiered (dedicated, shared, etc.) offering. That suite was well received by Claranet's SMB and mid-tier enterprise customers and prospects, and building on that success, Claranet is bringing out an even cloudier product with Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

A self-service portal enables enterprises to set up and configure their virtual machines or resources within minutes. The familiar features of scalability, usage billing and the like are all there. So far, so cloud, but what makes the launch more interesting (if a little less cloudy) are the features that make VDC different from what is offered elsewhere in the market.

To start with, Claranet VDC is not as hardware agnostic as a true public cloud offering is, such as Amazon Web Service's EC2 or S3. VDC is aimed at enterprises from small to mid-tier, and Claranet wanted to give its customers and prospects the comfort of an environment that was populated by familiar, trusted vendors. So we are pointed to Dell and NetApp, along with Cisco on the network side and VMware and Microsoft.

Then there is the local aspect of the Claranet cloud. Claranet carried out an extensive survey of its target customer base and found out that while SMEs to mid-tier are interested in migrating data and applications to the cloud, most want to keep the data and applications geographically close by. Consequently, Claranet is building out country by country in Europe, and adding local language support to local infrastructure. Similarly, on the network side, Claranet's customers were looking at moving workloads to the cloud but needed to do that in a way that did not punch holes in their existing infrastructure, creating security and compliance risks. So Claranet has closely integrated VDC to its network, making it easy for users to connect to the pan-European carrier's MPLS network.

Finally, Claranet's intention is to keep its cloud platform open, facilitating migration to and from VDC. So while the company has been long associated with VMware, it has adopted a hypervisor-agnostic stance, with the platform shortly to be opened up to Microsoft's Hyper-V. It's an approach T1R believes we will see more and more in the service provider world in 2012.

T1R take

T1R welcomes Claranet's Virtual Data Centre, and particularly the solid preparation and thinking that have gone into the final product. Tier1 Research's Daniel Beazer was present and spoke at the launch and there was a strong level of interest from the customers and prospects in the room.

It is refreshing to see a service provider taking the approach of ascertaining needs and building a product around them. Lastly, service providers should notice the similar level of care Claranet takes with its language and nomenclature. There is hardly a mention of the word 'cloud' in the collateral, and as with Managed Virtual Hosting suite, the products' titles give everyone a good idea of what the product actually does. Quite a contrast to some of the 'cloudwashing' out in the market, and one that will make life easier for Claranet's customers and prospects. If it becomes a trend – who knows – it might even put us analysts out of a job.

Reproduced by permission of 451 Research; copyright 2011. This report was originally published within 451 Research’s Daily T1R service.