Today, enterprise cloud-as-a-server provider HyperGrid is making a statement of their strategic vision, and also announcing how the new 5.0 version of their HyperCloud platform drives it. The vision emphasizes ‘cloudifying existing infrastructure and transforming existing apps to the cloud model. It also stresses the importance of automating IT operations with software-defined infrastructure, and intelligent workload placement.
It’s a clear change in focus for HyperGrid since the company was formed in 2016 when all-flash HCI provider Gridstore acquired cloud management startup DCHQ and rebranded the company, while positioning it as an HCI-as-a-service provider.
“HCI was always just a means to an end, and we thought beyond HCI right out of the gate,” said Manoj Nair, Chief Product Officer at HyperGrid. “It’s a multi-stage model, and you don’t get there overnight.”
It’s also a model that blurs existing industry sector parameters.
“We do straddle multiple categories,” said Jim Ensell, Hypergrid’s CMO. “We are cloud management, but we go above that, with capabilities around application management and software-defined infrastructure. While there is a challenge in defining our category, we most closely align with next- generation cloud management.”
“We intentionally collapse multiple categories,” Nair said. “We also have elements of Platform-as-a-Service, software-defined services and cloud brokerage.”
Nair said that while their initial HCI offering was ‘more of a public cloud in a box,’ they immediately moved to move beyond that.
“The first stage was ‘how do we make that better,’ and the answer was to ‘cloudify that,” he said. “Automation and agility were our first steps.
“Putting apps in the cloud also became a necessary part of the model,” Nair added. “Some customers have thousands of apps and they won’t rewrite them for the cloud. We can make them work with a cloud model with microservices and containers. We also created mechanisms to manage costs, like for MSPs, how to do granular billing of customers. This lets you intelligently deploy to any cloud with automatic cost optimization.”
HyperGrid’s software-defined cloud is purely cloud-agnostic.
“Today, most companies want multi-cloud solutions,” Nair said. “Research says that organizations average between four and five clouds, although how those are defined are interesting. We offer a private cloud on-prem ourselves, but that’s not our bread and butter. Our differentiation is the ability to manage all these clouds on a consistent basis.”
HyperGrid sells entirely through channel partners, which includes MSPs, VARs and systems integrator partners like IBM Global Services. The objective of their software-defined cloud is to create new revenue models for service delivery, and empower partners to become service brokers who manage multiple clouds for customers.
“VARs and SIs are the route to enterprises, and we have a value channel philosophy,” Nair said. “We don’t need a lot of partners. If someone just sells a box, they won’t be interested in us. That’s not what we do. Our MSPs are a value channel as well. They are not just typical hosting companies. They are the ones who want to be transformative, who want to move beyond what they have been doing and provide new kinds of services like the ability to build containerized apps, and provide white glove services around AWS and Azure. We provide a fantastic platform for that.”
The HyperCloud 5.0 release is designed to put the finishing touches on the strategy, and fully enable partners, with more advanced capabilities powered by new HyperCloud Analytics.
“We are now focused on the last stage of the journey, intelligent workload placement, with two big new features connected to it,” Nair said.
One is the introduction of intelligent workload placement around services, with a new expert system recommendation engine. for continuous workload optimization.
“This will recommend what would be the best cloud option for specific cases,” Nair said. “MSPs can now bring this under management with a rate card. There are thousands of VMware hosted private cloud vendors out there, but ones with this will be able to recommend the best cloud for each customer’s use cases.”
The other is a paid SaaS services offering.
“We always had a version of SaaS, which was targeted at developers and was free,” Nair stated. “What we have created with this release is SaaS for business for IT leadership folks who are starting to use the public cloud.”
Multitenancy has also been enhanced.
“Multitenancy is something that we have always been very good at, but MSPs wanted it to be easier to create new tenants, and to set budgets for each tenant and subtenant,” Nair said. “We have also added the ability to be very granular in governance and compliance, in terms of who can access what.”
On the application side, the main news is support for Kubernetes.
“We supported the container model before, but were very focused on Docker,” Nair said. “Adding support for Kubernetes makes us container-agnostic at this point because we can now orchestrate either open source platform.”
The enterprise app store has also been enhanced.
“This was in our last release, but we have significantly enhanced customization capabilities as well as the ability to bring in new templates,” Nair indicated. “We provide over 40- templates ourselves, but you can point to other repositories like the Docker registry and bring them in too.”