Many in the content management industry (and beyond) seem to be slightly obsessed with the buzz that the “cloud” is. The opinions can be quite polar, but for now we’ll concentrate on those embracing virtualization.
In today's interview, Emmanuel Garcin, VP and GM in North America for open source CMS provider Jahia (news, site), shared his thoughts about cloud trends and told us how Jahia is going about it with the newest release of Jahia Cloud.
Did you ever think Zipcars were a more flexible option than, say, Hertz? Jahia is transferring this principle to web content management (+/- one JVM).
The ECM Industry Didn’t Invent the Cloud
Jahia won’t be lonely in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) platform adventures. When asked about the competitive landscape, Garcin said that with Nuxeo, Alfresco, etc., the issue is the same: the real innovation is in the hardware, but not the software. Therefore, there will likely be no competitive differentiators among any ECM or WCM vendor announcing their cloud deployments.
What software vendors can and have to do is adopt and understand the cloud, but “Let’s be honest, we didn’t invent it,” rightfully noted Garcin. In addition, software vendors have to comply with the cloud and bring these modern capabilities to the customer.
While the content management industry had nothing to do with the rise of these virtualization capabilities per say, it is important to “make sure that customers benefit from this innovation.”
“It’s really a new ballgame for software vendors. We know there’s need, and if it tends to become a general need, then we need to adopt a different pricing strategy.” When the cloud becomes main stream, ECM and WCM vendors will have to fully rethink pricing, similar to the way Zipcars has done.
From Zipcars to JVMs
In his brilliant Zipcars analogy, Garcin explained how he thought the service was really cool, alluding that the ECM industry could use more flexibility. You can rent a car with Zipcars for even a half an hour, depending on your need. You have a choice of a Chevrolet one day and a BMW the next day, depending on, for example, which girlfriend/boyfriend you are going to pick up that night ;). It is all about the flexibility and responding to customer needs.
The content management industry could use the same levels of flexibility when it comes to hardware in the cloud. It would be a different business model, depending on a customer’s needs, where customers can pay per JVM, if JVMs are only used on demand. The point of this story and the main goal of Jahia is to allow flexibility for the customers, concluded Garcin.
Jahia’s Cloud Offering
Jahia’s Amazon EC2-based offering combines its web content management, document management and portal features. In this effort, the vendor aims to address the needs of organizations that need a Web CMS, but cannot afford related infrastructure and IT expenses. Some of the top benefits, according to Garcin are as follows:
- Flexibility: The cloud may not necessarily address all needs of large organizations that have their own data centers and get the benefit from owning their hardware from a CapEx perspective. However, they can use the cloud for certain scenarios. When deploying in a new region, for example, where a data center is not available; or when traffic patterns are not predictable. For small companies, with less than US$ 500M in yearly revenue, using the cloud for running web-accessible apps could be a much more sensible option than buying the hardware.
- Reliability: “Amazon is extremely reliable with lots of computing power. And smaller companies may not have the money to get a reliable environment.”
- Scalability: This is “an important driver of this offer,” as customers can benefit from the elasticity and add clusters and publish to server farms, which can be beneficial for all looking to save money.
Jahia Cloud is offered on an annual subscription basis starting at US$ 2,990. Existing Jahia customers have the option to expand their systems with pro-rated peak time cloud computing services, for anywhere from a few days to two months.
But is the Cloud Safe?
Often, security concerns come up as one of the roadblocks in enterprise cloud adoption. But, as Garcin said, it is possible to get a secure, controlled-access Amazon EC2 computing environment: “Security here is not a Jahia concern, but an Amazon concern.” Customers can host Jahia wherever they want, and it is up to them to address those security concerns for content management activities inside/outside the firewall or within a LAN. “Nothing prevents from adding security,” said Garcin. “As a software company, we comply with any type of security protocols (like HTTPS),” and Jahia CMS can be configured to publish from an authoring instance within a LAN to a production environment in the DMZ
Take Me to the Moon... Err.. the Cloud
Surely, we’ll be hearing more from other content management vendors about their cloud deployments. Alfresco still has to go cloud-ready with their Enterprise Edition following up on the recent community edition deployment. Nuxeo is out there with their Document Management Cloud Edition. Open Text was playing with Windows Azure, and Ektron deployed CMS400.NET in EC2.
Who is next? Is it your cloud day today?