I must admit: I can't keep pace with the number of software companies pushing their applications into Amazon's cloud. The latest example comes from Vembu Technologies, which has launched their StoreGrid Online Backup virtual appliance for Amazon Web Services. Here is some info from Vembu plus the bigger picture for managed service providers.

Until now, MSPs primarily deployed Vembu's StoreGrid backup and recovery software in their own data centers, introducing off-premise data protection services to small and midsize customers. Gradually, Vembu connected the dots between the MSP data centers and Amazon's cloud -- allowing service providers to take information from their data centers and move it into Amazon's cloud.

The latest Vembu move goes the final step, empowering MSPs without their own data centers to deploy Vembu's software directly in Amazon's cloud -- using the StoreGrid Cloud AMI. According to a Vembu press release:
"With the StoreGrid Cloud AMI and the popular Amazon Web Services infrastructure, it is now possible for service providers to offer a scalable, secure and highly redundant online backup service to their small and medium business (SMB) customers without any upfront capital investment in a data center."
Also of note:
"Even service providers who want to keep backup data in their own data centers can use the StoreGrid Cloud AMI virtual appliance as a replication server. This deployment would enable them to replicate the backup data into the Amazon S3 storage cloud, thus offering more redundancy to the data."

More Than Hype

While some VARs and MSPs continue to dismiss cloud computing as hype, I think that's a huge mistake.

I'm hearing from a range of MSPs and integrators that are shifting customer applications into Amazon's cloud, and profiting from related IT projects or recurring revenue.

If you're still skeptical, check out Levementum's success working in Amazon's cloud. And check out the Under the Radar conference, where many SaaS and cloud start-ups will describe how they're plugging into Amazon Web Services.

Likewise, Vembu says more than 50 service providers tested the beta version of StoreGrid Cloud AMI, starting in December 2008.

Meanwhile, cloud-oriented prices are difficult to ignore. Vembu says StoreGrid Cloud AMI is priced as an annual subscription per StoreGrid backup client, at $30 for desktops and $60 for servers. Testing the StoreGrid Cloud AMI virtual appliance requires an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account. I suspect their are additional bandwidth charges and fees from Amazon, so please double-check the costs on your own.

Always In the Cloud?

I'm a bit pressed for time, since I'm catching a flight shortly. But I do want to point out that (A) not all customers are moving to the cloud and (B) not all cloud deployments involve Amazon. In fact, 80 percent of software deployments will remain on-premise over the next five years, reports Gartner. (Though SaaS deployments are growing fast.)

Blended on-premise and off-premise services (from companies like Asigra, CA Inc. and Symantec) continue to attract attention from MSPs. And additional players -- from Datacastle Corp. to Intronis and Zenith Infotech -- have successfully recruited MSPs in recent months.

Sorry. Time to catch my flight. More analysis later.

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