How Media Temple and Dreamhost Differ In Approach To Offering Cloud Services

This week comes the news about Media Temple and its plans with Dell and Morphlabs to give customers their own “private cloud,” consisting of a souped up Flash-filled server, complete with all the fixings for automating the mind bending complexity when adopting a new infrastructure.

On Monday, Dreamhost announced its new DreamCompute service, a public cloud infrastructure for developers and entrepreneurs. Dreamhost will cater to the self-service crowd. Media Temple, with its new “Helix,” offering sees its opportunity in providing a high touch service, something executives liken to having a “sysadmin for hire.”

Media Temple executives pay careful attention the language they use so they do not scare off customers with geeky, technical jargon. Executives are still guilty of using marketing terms such as “private cloud,” but then again, who isn’t these days. They refrain from using “multi-tenant,” arguably one of the ugliest terms bandied about when discussing the cloud and the shared nature of a distributed infrastructure. Instead, MediaTemple execs talk about small businesses having their own dedicated servers. They use the term “share nothing,” to demonstrate to the small business that their server is theirs only. I find this a bit silly but small business fears about their data makes for a different use case.

Beneath it all runs OpenStack, which allows a customer to extend, if ever need be, to some third party cloud service.

So what do customers get out of Helix? I think it suits the customer whose applications need more capacity to run effectively. Morphlabs powers the Media Temple service with its own small business style of converged infrastructure built on top of Dell servers that they call mCloud Helix. Dell’s Crowbar software is used to automatically install software across clusters and scale out systems. In all, Helix is a hosted service with that new cloud flare that comes with OpenStack and the ability to extend into a federated, extended world if need be.

Dreamhost has a more pure cloud focus, more in the style of Amazon Web Services. It is not meant for the small business that wants a share-nothing environment. It’s for building apps and new services more than anything else.

The two differing approaches show how the hosting world is changing. One is not better than the other – they just each represent different kinds of markets.