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Tech Giants Rush to Partner on Hybrid Cloud

Bill Bradley, SVP, Partners and Alliances
November 16, 2016

The technology industry has exploded with new partnerships between multiple major players, all seeking the right combination of hardware, software and connectivity to expedite and scale hybrid cloud deployments. These innovative pairings, many announced in the few months since I wrote about our strategic partnership with AT&T, will almost certainly impact the industry with increased demand for brick and mortar data center capacity and ever faster and more flexible connectivity options.

IBM and VMware announced a partnership that will package cloud compute services and virtualized servers together “to automatically provision pre-configured VMware SDDC environments on the IBM Cloud.”

More recently and dramatically, VMware and AWS co-announced a “seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud service”, whereby “AWS will be VMware’s primary public cloud infrastructure partner and VMware will be AWS’s primary private cloud partner.” The announcement goes on to describe “a jointly architected solution” that “delivers Software Defined Data Center as a service on elastic, bare metal AWS infrastructure.”

More traditional tech players have announced partnerships aimed at preserving business value as hybrid cloud computing becomes the technology choice du jour. Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have aligned to offer consulting services for pairing Windows 10 with cloud and mobility platforms as pre-configured applications and solutions for specific vertical markets, healthcare, automotive and financial services among them.

Big Data Means Big Business

Big data is here to stay and just about every industry on earth is trying to make it behave. As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes reality, driven by the proliferation of interconnected digital devices of all kinds, pundits now anticipate a 750% increase in the data center capacity needed to collect, store and manipulate it. "Equal, or even greater, investments in the IoT platform services residing in the datacenter will be instrumental in delivering the IoT promise of anytime, anywhere, anyhow connectivity and context," said Rick Villars, vice president of IDC's Datacenter and Cloud research practice.

Which brings us back to our core business, the data center, where a 750% increase in capacity may well entail a 750% increase in energy consumption to sustain it. Think about that.

Without the foundation of an environmentally friendly, secure, reliable and impeccably connected web of data centers, the cloud is no more than a fuzzy little icon on a PowerPoint slide—and the IoT will falter. Digital Realty is now aggressively partnering to provide exceptional hybrid cloud solutions out of the box.

Our partnership with IBM Cloud has led to the development of Direct Link Colocation, which delivers a minimal latency, high throughput dedicated private fiber connection between Digital Realty data centers and IBM Cloud compute infrastructure that connects public and private clouds housed within contiguous DLR properties. When we talk about minimal latency, we mean 1.5 milliseconds or less. When we consider the kinds of purpose-built hybrid cloud solutions Direct Link Colocation might enable, the words “limitless possibility” come to mind.

The Digital Realty Partners and Alliances team has added resources to help develop additional partnerships and go-to-market programs with cloud service providers, managed service providers and network operators to help facilitate successful elastic hybrid cloud deployments.

Our Colocation and Interconnection products allow us to partner with vendors that offer customers a clear path to stand up hybrid cloud solutions or connect to the cloud nodes of their choice. And we’re very excited by the truly limitless possibilities enabled by our recently announced Service Exchange, which allows for the automatic provisioning of multiple private cloud connections, virtually on the fly.

We’ll talk more about this in a future post, I promise.

Finally, strong multi-vendor partnerships are key not just to solving technical problems. A solution that combines products and services from several vendors can offer best-in-class services, faster implementation, and better support than is likely possible if you set out to define, build, integrate and deploy a one-off hybrid cloud of your own.

That, finally, is the aim of ours and others’ rush to partner.

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