On Tuesday, the 25th February, Parallels and Flexiant announced a number of joint initiatives. This included integrating the Flexiant Cloud Orchestration platform with Parallels Automation and the creation of an APS package. It also included the news that Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator will support the recent iteration of Parallels Cloud Services with the unique container technology developed by Parallels. However, the announcements went even further. Parallels and Flexiant have reached agreement that allows Parallels to resell Flexiant globally.
What does this mean for the marketplace?
For many of Parallels existing 10,000+ customers it means that they now have the ability to create and launch differentiated, hypervisor agnostic (Flexiant supports VMware, Hyper-V, KVM, Xen and not to forget Parallels Cloud Server), IaaS services making them available through the Parallels storefront and utilizing both Parallels customer management and billing.
Parallels customers will be also able to deliver true PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go) cloud infrastructures, thanks to the ability of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator to run metered usage-based billing, something that end users are now increasingly want. Moreover, they will have access to the Flexiant infrastructure blueprint technology to build multi-tier applications, adding significant value to their cloud service and attract new workload to boost their business.
WHD.global is less than a month away. From April 1-3, 2014, we alongside hosters from all over the world will get together to discuss all the challenges and opportunities impacting the hosting industry.
If you are attending, you’ll want to sit in on the session Jim Foley, SVP Market Development, and I are presenting on, “10 Marketing Innovations Every Service Provider Must Know.” On Thursday, April 3rd at 11.45 in the Main Forum, we’ll discuss:
If you are in search of a cloud management solution, you need to assess Flexiant. Of course, we would say that, but look what Info-Tech Research Group (Info-Tech) has to say. In the second consecutive ‘Vendor Landscape: Cloud Management Platforms’, Flexiant has achieved the highest product innovation score among ten vendors (Abiquo, CA Technologies, Citrix, Eucalyptus, Flexiant, InContinuum, Microsoft, OpenStack, Virtustream and VMware) and was recipient of the Value Award.
The Info-Tech report says, “Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator is a complete solution, offering significant flexibility and ease-of-use at a very reasonable cost…With roots in the service provider market, Flexiant targets service providers in Europe, and has exceptional dashboard customization, and integrated billing capabilities.”
Flexiant maintained the highest Info-Tech Value Score™ of the vendor group scoring 100, well above the average score of 36. Vendors were indexed against Flexiant’s performance to provide a complete, relative view of their product offerings. Flexiant was rated exemplary as a product in usability, affordability and architecture.
We just spent the last three days at the Parallels Summit in New Orleans discussing our integration with Parallels and the launch of our global relationship. But more than this, we got to do what we love best, talk to the hosting and service provider market. Parallels is very unique in our industry having over 10,000 customers that span hosting, MSP and telco organizations. So here’s a few common problems for service providers particularly around the cloud management market we’ve heard at the Summit:
A number of the people we spoke to at our booth arrived with the tread marks of OpenStack still on their shirts. Unfortunately for many, they’ve been in long OpenStack projects without actually getting to market with permanent teams of developers committed to the project and burning CAPEX. This is a trend occurring from hosting providers up to large telcos.
OpenStack has certainly given the market some great technology. The problem however is that it doesn’t yet solve the business problems. These projects are failing because hosters, service providers and telcos cannot actually commercialize their cloud. For many the time to experiment with Openstack had come to an end and it was time to invest in a commercial grade solution.
2. The cloud management vendor doesn’t do what it says on the tin
This is a big one. We came across a number of attendees that are dissatisfied with their existing cloud management solution. Why? It’s pretty simple, they’ve bought the product to do what it says on the tin and it doesn’t. Partly this was stating that functionality exists when it did not, however more often the complaint was that the software was bug ridden and support was poor. Software quality is definitely an issue for many vendors and perhaps should be the subject of another blog. It sounds self-serving, but one of Flexiant’s differentiators is that our software is mature and works.
I’m at the Parallels Summit and just watched CEO Birger Steen discuss the service provider market. Birger spent a few quick minutes discussing what we know – the service provider market is facing consolidation, fragmentation, but also huge growth opportunities. What was particularly interesting though was his talk on the new breed of entrepreneurs. He used Carol, a florist from NOLA as an example of how SMB customers have changed.
Most customers these days start a business and need one, two or three vendors to support their IT needs. Fast forward a few years and now Carol the florist is no longer a florist. She is managing vendor after vendor to ensure she can deliver a service to her customers. And the attributes of these customers have changed. They go to their friends and then take to the Internet to find exactly what services they require. It’s a more informed customer and one that is looking for the best services for the business. Loyalty to a vendor isn’t necessarily part of the equation anymore because services are available from 1000s with only a credit card needed to launch.
So if loyalty alone is not enough, how do you, the service provider ensure you are still part of Carol’s business as it expands and grows? It’s about providing a seamless experience to your users with one UI that allows you to get back to doing your business – for Carol that’s being a florist. The theme of the session is putting the cloud to work for real businesses and that’s exactly what the service provider needs to do – let Carol be a florist!
The SMB market will be a huge area of opportunity for cloud service providers as single proprietor businesses open daily and need IT support so they can focus on their products and services. As these businesses grow, so too will their need for IT and that’s where Parallels sees huge opportunity for its customers.