Zimory enables T-Systems' IaaS cloud

Analyst: William Fellows
Date: 3 Feb 2011
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German IT services and systems integrator T-Systems is to offer a cloud IaaS service to its customers as part of its Dynamic Services for Infrastructure portfolio using cloud-enablement software from Zimory. While T-Systems had been noodling with Zimory technology for a couple of years since it was released in 2008, Zimory subsequently spent nine months as part of an RFP process and beat out competition from other startups, as well as bigger players such as The VCE Co and IBM to win the five-year deal. A report on the T-Systems service will follow.
The 451 take
With its recent funding, a new CEO and now an anchor customer for its cloud-enablement software, it looks as if Zimory has finally achieved liftoff. That its customer is T-Systems doesn't come as a great surprise, but neither should it be understated. Zimory beat out large vendors, and the opportunity could scale. T-Systems, which addresses the (mostly German) enterprise market for IT services, is owned by Deutsche Telekom, which, in turn, addresses the rest of the IT services market opportunity in Germany. As a customer (and the parent) of T-Systems, Deutsche Telekom will in the future resell the Zimory-based service to its target market.
The T-Systems win comes after the arrival late last year of telco veteran Ruediger Baumann as Zimory's new CEO and a €4m ($5.4m) series A funding round in the fall, bringing total investment to €6m. The financing was led by Creathor Venture, High-Tech Gruenderfonds and VC Fonds Technologie Berlin (the vehicle of the IBB Berlin bank), T-Venture and KfW Bankengruppe (the bank of the German government). Deutsche Telekom, which provided some of the seed funding for Zimory – a 2007 spinout from the German telco – also participated in this round but has reduced its holding to 20%. Zimory has 22 staff.
The deal with T-Systems is exclusive in that for the price it has secured the Zimory software, T-Systems has agreed not to use another supplier for its cloud-enablement requirements for five years. It's paying an undisclosed up-front payment plus an annual charge based on the size of server farms with which T-Systems is supporting the service.
Outside of T-Systems, Zimory claims to be working in some government cloud deployments, closing in on German enterprise deals and in discussion with other service provider and hardware partners.
T-Systems IaaS cloud
The deal will see T-Systems make IaaS services available to its network customers initially. This is very much a private cloud offering in the sense that it is open only to customers that use T-Systems' network services. It's not available on the Internet or with a credit card. Moreover, while T-Systems' datacenters do provide a basic multi-tenanted resource to IaaS customers, they will be able to request isolated resources or resources shared with specific partners. Initially, the service will be VMware only, and while Zimory already has a Xen version of its platform operating in test mode, it doesn't expect T-Systems to support other hypervisors this year – although T-Systems does plan to support Microsoft, KVM, Xen and others over time. Zimory's technology manages T-Systems' server farms, provides self- and auto-provisioning of virtual machines and storage services, and claims to enable PaaS through template management. The service will be run from datacenters in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin initially, but the service will extend globally over time.
The service will be priced according to VM size – 512MB to 64GB RAM and from one to 16 performance (compute) units where one unit is the equivalent of 10,000 TPMC. There's no up-front commitment, but there is a reservation system, and customers are billed per hour. There's an ongoing discussion about annual up-front commitments by customers and a resource commitment from T-Systems. T-Systems will provide packaged OS instances and other templates, although users can bring their own, too.
Zimory says the SLA will be equivalent to other IaaS offerings in the market, initially sold as a 'Silver Cloud' guarantee, presumably with Gold and Bronze offerings to follow. Customers of T-Systems' existing VMware-based Dynamic Services (aka cloud) offerings will be offered access to the service, although workloads won't migrate seamlessly.
T-Systems' existing Dynamic Services is the delivery point for its on-demand, Web 2.0, cloud and SaaS services. T-Systems hosts or manages end users' SAP, Exchange, Lotus, archiving, Microsoft Dynamics Nav or desktop requirements (or does it in a mixed mode). The bulk of Dynamic Services is virtualized with VMware, although it also runs Hyper-V. Besides running its own IT on Dynamic Services, T-Systems has also been moving parent Deutsche Telekom's infrastructure to the platform.
In 2008, the Zimory Marketplace was introduced as a mechanism to aggregate spare capacity from supplier members and make it available on demand to marketplace participants in a brokered and federated model. Although two of T-Systems' datacenters (and, indeed, its customer base) were always seen as a target test ground for this, the Marketplace was never established. At one time, Zimory also counted Deutsche Post as a user and Fraunhofer ITWM, which built a hosted VM service for its developer community using Zimory's Xen implementation. At the time of the announcement, Amazon said it would participate in the marketplace if there were an opportunity, and Microsoft was referred to as a partner.
More recently, Zimory has rebranded its services, which are now packaged and marketed as a cloud-enablement service for enterprises and service providers. A single instance of what's called Connect is required in each datacenter as a local management hub and includes the core functions, enabling users to connect to local resources. A tool called Host is required to connect open source hypervisors to the cloud. Manage provides a manual management point for cloud users and an API. Multiple Managers can be connected to one or more Cloud Connector. Zimory Manage can also be connected to a single Connect instance to customize services for specific user groups. The Spree database hypervisor is now called Zimory Scale and will be (re)introduced in June. Its design point is to do for databases what virtualization does for operating systems, as a smart fabric in front of the relational database management system.
IBM (CloudBurst), HP (CloudSystem), Fujitsu, Unisys, The VCE Co, VMware, Microsoft, CA Technologies, BMC and Tibco are the competition on the vendor side. In the IT service sector (and excluding the above) are Accenture, CSC, Lockheed Martin, Capgemini, NTT Data, SAIC, Atos Origin-SIS, BT Global Services and Logica. Zimory's peers include Abiquo, Appistry, C12G Labs, CloudBroker, Cloudscale, CloudSigma, CloudSwitch, Cpanel, DediPower, DynamicOps, ElasticHosts, Elastra, Enomaly, Eucalyptus, Flexiant, fluid Operations, Hexagrid Computing, Inkspot, Joyent, Layered Technologies, Maatg, Morph Labs, Nimbula, OnApp, OpenStack, Platform Computing, ThinkGrid, Univa and Yunteq. Cloud.com arguably has the most marketplace traction in this segment.