Cloud brokerage RightScale is keeping a "close eye" on Australia's homegrown cloud operators with a view to potentially adding support for them into its cloud management platform.
The company today revealed it has expanded its Australian presence with a sales and business development operation, fronted by Giri Fox, who was formerly with Cisco.
RightScale's presence in Australia to date has been a "back office" function that supported its global operations, including support staff as part of a follow-the-sun strategy, and professional services personnel that help customers on-board to the firm's cloud management platform.
"It's not an outward-facing role that we've had [in Australia] until now — these are more support personnel and back office [functions]," senior vice president of business development and sales, Josh Fraser told iTnews.
"The big change with this hiring of [Fox] and commitment to the market is investing in the frontend sales and marketing, business development and pre-sales from a technical engineering standpoint in Australia."
RightScale previously ran sales and business development for Australia and New Zealand out of Singapore, although customers could also sign up with the service directly.
The company has nonetheless built a customer presence in Australia.
Fox told iTnews that RightScale would look to recruit more Australian staff over the next six months.
RightScale's cloud management platform allows enterprises to manage public and private cloud resources from a single dashboard. The firm maintains a list of supported public and managed clouds.
Fraser said increasing demand made it an "opportune" time for RightScale to set up a local sales presence.
Rackspace to spur more cloud endpoints?
Fraser cited Rackspace's decision to provide hosting services in Australia as a reason to establish a local sales footprint.
Rackspace services are among the options available through RightScale's platform. The two firms expanded their alliance yesterday.
"We tend to follow our cloud providers in market selections," Fraser said.
"if there was no infrastructure resource pool capability in Australia, our attitude toward that market would understandably be quite different.
"But based on the interest level we're seeing from our major cloud partners — and also what's available today through Rackspace and private cloud — we see it as a very ripe market for us."
Fraser believed that "global mega cloud" operators — Amazon, Google and Microsoft — would follow with "public cloud endpoints" in Australia.
"We expect over time all three of those will have strong presence in Australia," he said.
"There are many rumours swirling around about all three... but we're playing the wait and see game much like everyone else.
"We support all three in other markets and we expect that over time they'll continue their expansion efforts."
Local cloud integration
Fraser also noted some interest in supporting homegrown Australian cloud services in RightScale's platform.
"We are keeping close watch on other players in the market like Ninefold, like Telstra and we look at those from a variety of different standpoints," he said, noting "there's been no definitive decisions as yet".
"We do take a look at these providers and how they're set up, and vet them that way."
Examination of new additions typically involved looking at the prospects' "overall strategy and what type of cloud service they want to offer", as well as technical compatibility with RightScale's architectural strategy.
"RightScale's approach is we have some fairly deep integration with the clouds that we support," Fraser said.
"The technical requirements are pretty significant for us and we do scrutinise those pretty heavily."
Fox told iTnews he would also look at setting up discussions with Australian universities with a view to RightScale "providing an aggregation and brokerage capability to move workloads between ... academic clouds".
He cited the existence of research clouds such as NeCTAR as well as private clouds operated by universities that were connected to Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet).
"That's definitely a really interesting conversation I'm looking forward to having with those universities," Fox said.
"It's a difficult problem to solve otherwise — moving a workload perfectly from one [cloud] to another and picking the best cloud for the workload."
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