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How Recent AWS Acquisitions Help (and Harm) Enterprise Cloud Users

In a matter of months, AWS acquisitions have included TSO Logic and CloudEndure, raising the question: How can third-party tools acquired by one vendor still be useful to a broad range of enterprises?

AWS quietly brought two cloud backup and migration companies under its ownership recently, further consolidating an already tight space for enterprises. In a matter of months, AWS has acquired TSO Logic, a tool that helps enterprises map cloud migrations, and CloudEndure, a provider of cloud migration, backup and disaster recovery (DR).

The AWS acquisitions bring into question how third-party tools that are acquired by one vendor -- in this case, Amazon -- can still be useful to a broad range of enterprises that are moving towards multi-cloud models and need tools that address the complexities of these environments.

Most Gartner clients are operating in a multi-cloud world, if not at the IaaS layer, then certainly at the SaaS layer, said Angelina Troy, senior director analyst at Gartner focused on storage and cloud migration.

Ideally, she said, enterprises with a multi-cloud environment would use a third-party standardized tool that is able to leverage technologies that are native to each of these clouds while enabling users to create policies that can be applied across the disparate environments.

“In this area of picking up TSO Logic and CloudEndure, AWS is taking out a third party that is working with multiple cloud providers to provide a migration framework and a discovery tool,” she said, noting that in many cases, an acquisition can result in a significant drop in product development to support competing cloud providers. “I mean, that's part and parcel of what you do in a competitive market,” she said.

“My concern for my clients is now they have one less tool that they could use to standardize in a multi-cloud environment,” Troy said. “So now they must start looking towards other tools, a shorter list of tools than what they had before. But for a client that's heavily invested in AWS, there certainly could potentially be financial incentives, better integration and so forth. So, for AWS, this is a win. But for the broader market, now there's there is a little less choice out there in terms of third parties that can work with multiple providers.”

The technology both AWS acquisitions bring to the company fit well together, and certainly make sense from a strategic perspective, Troy explains.

“TSO Logic’s core premise was that it collects data from a bunch of existing tools that the organization may already have, and takes that into a central analytic engine that will essentially output what makes sense in terms of migration, what makes sense in terms of placement, and how you could optimize the cost of wherever you chose to put this,” she said. “CloudEndure tackles that second piece of the overall placement and migration challenge.”

“The other added benefit is that CloudEndure is also a disaster recovery tool. So you can see where there's some potential to say that, okay, we moved a workload or an application and it turns out that actually fit better somewhere else, and we can just fail that back to where it was beforehand.”

Todd Matters, co-founder and chief architect of RackWare, a hybrid cloud management platform, said that he has found most enterprise cloud users to have a hybrid cloud setup that takes advantage of more than one public cloud. RackWare, which got its start in cloud migration and DR, now expects its revenue around advanced hybrid cloud management to surpass DR over the next 12 to 18 months.

“The bulk of our enterprise customers, they have multiple environments, they have their private data centers, they have their private cloud, and they’re also selecting two, maybe three public cloud providers,” he said.  

Matters believes AWS’ acquisition of CloudEndure is less of a play about the particular technology, and more of a necessary move to keep enterprises locked in its ecosystem.

“I do think it’s less about the capabilities and it’s more about there’s a very active period right now with cloud providers, there’s a bit of a land grab, and we see all the cloud providers, not just Amazon, kind of scrambling to fill out their portfolio, garner features that are going to continue to lock customers in to their services and products,” he said.

To that end, Amazon recently launched AWS Backup, a service that aims to make it easier for enterprises to automate and manage backups from one central place.

“I don’t see the Amazon backup announcement as being focused on garnering new revenue, it’s more about locking in existing customers and adding value to customers that are already using their services. These features make the most sense to customers that are heavily using Amazon services,” Matters said. For enterprises backing up on-prem data, unless they are already using an Amazon storage gateway and using Amazon storage, they likely won’t benefit from the new service, he added.

Troy said that AWS Backup will help make it much easier for enterprises to perform, manage and monitor backups with fewer tools.

“So before now, AWS had several backup technologies that were built into some of its specific services, such as EBS, RDS, and so forth. For a backup administrator, who's in charge of data protection, this meant that you had to jump from one service to another, juggle a few different pieces, to get a complete picture of this aspect of data protection. What AWS Backup aims to do is consolidate all of that, and then put in that policy on top of it, and deal with all the operational aspects of managing backups.”

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