GoDaddy is a funny beast. On the one hand the hosting business is huge, boasting 14 million customers worldwide and managing over 60 million domain names. It offers primarily small-business owners a one-stop shop. A place to buy their domain name, build their online presence, gain customers and manage their business.
On the other hand, however, GoDaddy is a bit of an anachronism. in a world which sees high-flying cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and DigitalOcean ramp up massive growth, GoDaddy seems a little . . . old school.
The company is looking to change that with the announcement today of global availability for its cloud servers product. GoDaddy's cloud product offers pay-as-you-go billing and control via either API or a user control panel.
Interestingly, GoDaddy's cloud product leverages the open source OpenStack operating system and is pre-integrated with GoDaddy's other products such as domains and DNS. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that GoDaddy has signed a deal with high-flying cloud marketplace vendor Bitnami to power the product.
Bitnami, a name that pops up with pretty much every cloud vendor, offers a cloud application marketplace. Essentially, Bitnami offers all the different applications that customers might like to use with a cloud vendor (content management, e-commerce, CRM) and pre-integrates their platforms with the cloud vendor of choice. Users then simply go to the Bitnami portal, tick the applications they want and -- presto -- the applications are set up on top of the infrastructure of choice.
In terms of the GoDaddy tie-up, the company is promising 54-second (or less) provisioning of cloud servers. Additionally, GoDaddy is enabling customers to create "snapshots" which store particular configuration settings so that new servers can be rapidly spun up complete with the configuration required. GoDaddy is guaranteeing 99.9% uptime, manages automatic backups and supports a number of different operating system distributions.
For Bitnami, this is another win and another validation in the seemingly endless list of vendors that are choosing the company to run their application library. It's a no-brainer, really.
Alas, not so positive for GoDaddy. It all sounds good but I'm not buying it. There's nothing here that shouts "competitive differentiation." GoDaddy has a massive footprint and will undoubtedly be able to leverage a massive existing customer base and move some people to cloud servers. But in terms of a real competitive differentiation, and a value proposition that is more than simply a well-known logo and some expensive Super Bowl ads? There's not much here.
As I said, GoDaddy will likely see some success off the back of its huge customer base. But to be frank, there's nothing I'm seeing here that convinces me that those customers would be better off staying with GoDaddy rather than moving to one of the multitude of other vendors.
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