Cloud computing has become the preferred model for how personal, business, and enterprise users consume IT resources, and is being adopted either wholesale, in a private cloud or as a hybrid solution. Cost savings are not, however, a given, and while customers often know that they can achieve efficient IT operations with the cloud, they don’t know how. Without expensive and extensive in-house expertise to manage their cloud resources, many organisations end up with a mismanaged or non-optimised cloud solution that is as costly as an on-premise counterpart. And with the ever-broadening vendor landscape and array of new technologies and applications, managing cloud resources is not an endeavor for the technically weak-hearted.
Managed service providers (MSPs) can assume the position of providing IT services to companies lacking dedicated IT personnel. Hosting companies are also uniquely positioned to compete in the recent industry shift towards cloud-enablement, and many hosting companies are already MSPs that offer IT services and support. As suppliers of the primary conduit through which customers access the cloud, the hosting and MSPs of today have the opportunity to use cloud management solutions to manage their customers’ cloud applications for them, shaving cost and complexity from the operations that would otherwise have to be done in-house.
Adding the skills and expertise into the MSP and hosting businesses costs money but cloud management tools offer a unified cloud computing and storage platform that make it easy for existing staff to deploy customised solutions for customers. Cloud management solutions allow multiple cloudbased solutions to be connected within a single platform, mitigating complexity and simplifying management and billing with one interface. By alleviating these pain points, hosting providers and MSPs can focus on creating more value for their customers – whether it be it be in increased cost savings, customer service or quality of service.
With their responsibilities no longer confined to keeping the data center managed, running, and backed-up, MSPs can now focus more on customer cost management. By decreasing management complexity for themselves, they can, in turn, extend the value and time/cost-savings to their customers. To be successful they must, however, provide the right combination of applications and resources to meet and manage their customers’ diverse requirements (particularly in a hybrid cloud scenario) while at the same time minimising the burden of management.
MSPs that can help customers take advantage of metered, scalable computing resources through the use of integrated cloud services and management solutions can be instrumental in making the cloud accessible to all sizes of business. A good MSP will equip itself with the tools to combine the best-of-breed on-premise solutions with leading cloud offerings.
Equally, for hosting providers to stay competitive and help customers transition from an on-premise or standard hosted solution to a hybrid or full cloud deployment model, they need to offer the best-in-breed tools and applications to ensure optimal delivery. As more hosting and MSP entrants saturate the market, effective use of cloud management solutions will be one of the primary differentiators of success. For providers with hosting-only or limited cloud offerings, the opportunity will rest in their ability to offer more cloud and managed services.
With the current industry momentum and adoption rates, there is no doubt that firms large and small are setting their sights on the cloud. Companies know they need to get there to be competitive, if they are not there already. MSPs and hosting providers using cloud management solutions can effectively bridge the distance between their customers’ current legacy infrastructure and cloud-based offerings.