UK managed hosting providers have never done a great job of hiding their disdain for US public cloud giants AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google.
But have the frosty relations started to thaw? Last year CRN explored a comparable shift in the dynamic between infrastructure vendors: AWS partnered with VMware, Microsoft released Azure Stack with a handful of hardware vendors, and Google partnered with Cisco for Hybrid Cloud Play.
These partnerships brought together two camps that had previously, publicly at least, been at war.
Earlier this month one of the biggest critics of the public cloud vendors, UKCloud, announced it would be installing Azure Stack in its UK datacentre facility. Microsoft has chosen to partner with a local hosting provider rather than launch a new datacentre region for government customers, like it has done in the US.
Speaking to CRN about the partnership in more detail, UKCloud's cloud strategist Bill Mew said the partnership will address two issues of working with public cloud vendors, namely data sovereignty and vendor lock-in.
More broadly, he said, the partnership is proof that hybrid cloud is ultimately where the market will settle. Most organisations, he explained, will already have a mixture of cloud workloads spread across Office 365, Oracle, Salesforce and countless more.
"From our perspective it's part of a broader multi-cloud strategy," he said. "People are talking about one solution or another, but the reality is that people are already in a multi-cloud world now because you have a lot of different things in different places.
"There is a lot of interest in using the big boys for some of the more generic, less demanding workloads, whereas if you want something that is more critical with more sensitive data we can really come to the fore."
Mew said that hosting providers are in a unique position to offer customers the best mixture of cloud solutions from the biggest players.
UKCloud, he explained, now has Azure Stack from Microsoft, the largest multi-tenanted VMware platform in Europe, and a large Oracle cloud.
According to Mew, UKCloud currently has a 35 per cent market share of the infrastructure-as-a-service business going through the government's G-Cloud service, with around another half of this on top if you include the business that comes in through its channel partners.
"We can be objective and say we have a whole suite of options, so you can run workloads on whatever platform is best to run it," he said.
"We don't have a technology stack of our own, so you'll never be locked in. The only lock-in is customer satisfaction.
"Anyone who thinks they can go all in with one cloud provider is killing themselves because they're bound to have some sort of legacy workload and there's no one cloud platform that is best for everything. It's not always best to put it in one place, and you also have lock-in if you do so."
Dan Scarfe, UK founder of Microsoft Azure partner New Signature, said that the move by UKCloud is a natural one for local managed hosting providers.
"It's all around hybrid these days and while the vast majority of workloads can run perfectly well in the public cloud, there will always be some that require that local hosting that customers want, that consistent experience and consistent programming model against an open environment."
The debate around data sovereignty and how safe UK data is in a US company's datacentre could soon be drawing to a close.
Microsoft's court battle with the US government is restarting this week, this time in the Supreme Court.
The US government is trying to force Microsoft to hand over data stored in its Irish facility, claiming that because Microsoft is a US company it is governed by US law. Microsoft is however refusing because the data is stored outside the US.
The issues around data sovereignty have been one of the biggest weapons used by local hosting providers against AWS, Microsoft and Google.
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